Thursday 28 July 2005
After my final exams, I was finally free. I had just flown all the way from Guadalajara to Philadelphia and driven to State College on Tuesday. Now that the exams were done and over with, I was heading back to Guadalajara. The ride back from State College to PHL was uneventful but I really enjoyed it. I got lost around Harrisburg, but still managed to arrive 5 hours before my flight departed.
Surprisingly and pleasantly so, the wait at PHL was a delight. I did not know that Philly airport had so many beautiful artworks. It was like visiting an art museum. The new East-Wing of terminal A was quite an attraction—modern, clean, yet animated with rocking chairs, artworks, and cozy bars.
My most favorite piece at PHL was this series of mobile sculptures made with miniature clay figures suspended on cables by Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter, titled “Impulse.” These mobiles were done in-the-round and one could look at them from virtually any angle. The series depicts a bird metamorphing into an airplane.
-Part of “Impulse” by Helmick and Schechter
-Liberty Bell made of LEGO pieces
Boarding was messy. Check-in staff unmotivated, cabin crews couldn’t wait to go home. Half-way into the flight, I went to the lavatory and, on my way out, I was thirsty. The flight attendant was reading a magazine so I stopped by at the galley and served myself a glass of water, she came charging at me. “We really don’t need you here, sir!” “Is there anything else I could get you?” I understand that she is doing her job. But she said it in such a disdainful manner—totally uncalled for. When I told her that she only had to tell me politely, all the words which passengers are prohibited to say at airports just glutted out of her mouth: “bombs,” “terrorists,” “September 11,” “not allowed in the galley.” Other passengers who heard the conversation were quite frightened. I did not bother to argue. Because if I had, they would probably hand-cuff me for being “combative” once we landed at DFW.
One of these days flight attendants are going to have the right to slap passengers in the face and justify it with 9-11.
Anyhow, I got to try Skylink at DFW. It was soooo cool everyone. It was like riding in Space Mountain at Disneyworld because you could stand up front and see through when the train moved. Everything was computerized. NOW THIS IS WORTH A SERIOUS DISCUSSION. DOES ANYONE HERE REALLY THINK THAT SKYLINK WAS NECESSARY??? HOW MUCH MONEY WAS SPENT ON THIS? I MEAN THE STATIONS ALONE WERE JUST SO EXTRAVAGANT. WHAT FOR? CAN’T PEOPLE WALK? HOW MUCH TIME CAN YOU REALLY SAVE? I hope this project did not sprout out of tax money.
The flight was supposed to leave at 9:56PM but the incoming plane from Atlanta was delayed due to the weather. We did not leave until 2 hours later. Again, the flight was normal. More smiles from flight attendants this time. But everyone was so tired so we all hit the hay by the time we got to our seats. The Mexican girl next to me was in a worse shape. She was supposed to return from London Gatwick to Dallas Fort Worth but the taxi took them to Heathrow. Eventually they got on BA at Heathrow with little fines but they were standing by for almost the whole day there.
We landed at MEX shortly after 2 in the morning. IT IS JUST IMPRESSIVE, MEX after midnight!!! Since the airport is going through an extensive renovation, workers were everywhere. EVERYWHERE, and working like bees. You went into the bathroom for a while and by the time you come out, 6 blocks of marbles have been replaced and perfectly polished. I’ve never seen such efficiency in Mexico. KUDOS to all these workers who work behind the scene for all of us.
My AM flight from MEX to GDL was leaving at 7AM in the morning. I intended to go out nightclubbing if I had been able to check in my bags with Aeromexico. But, as we arrived late from DFW, all Aeromexico counters were closed. So I had to spend the night at the airport amidst all the equipment noises. The authorities were cool about it. People slept on the floor everywhere. I slept in front of Aeromexico’s check-in desk. Comfy enough.
-My refuge for the night
AM: MEX-GDL (the next morning)
Benito Juarez Airport in the morning was such a chaos as businesspeople were leaving on their business trips. I got up, checked in and waited at Sala B as usual. Mexico City airport is very small, so, often, you have to wait in this collective waiting hall and keep looking at the screen to find out what gate your flight is assigned, which usually happens 45 minutes before departure and sometimes 10 minutes before departure. I really hate this system because the screens are so few and far in between. You’d have to go back and forth and back and forth to find out your gate.
The flight was operated on one of AM’s new B737’s. The airplane was impeccable. Service was indifferent. But it was only one-hour flight, so I should not be too demanding. One hour after we landed at GDL.
-AM’s 737 airplane at GDL airport
Wonderful summer (whatever that’s left of it) everyone!!!
NEXT TRIP REPORT: AM and AF: GDL-MEX-CDG
ANOTHER ONE AFTER THAT: KL and AM: CDG-AMS-MEX-GDL
[Edited 2005-08-20 04:37:00]