Night Flights, The Stressful Arrival and First Impression Fail
The flight was long, I was tired and it was late. My flight was scheduled to arrive in Lima late in the night. When the wheels touched down in the South American city, my heart raced several more heartbeats a minute.... though my eyes could not stay open to save my life. My limit4ed knowledge of Spanish didn't help matters either. Though the plan was simple enough, its carry through did not progress nearly as smoothly as hoped.
Making my way to the luggage carrousel containing my suitcase and guitar, two things crossed my mind. First, the time was nearing 1:00am, and people were waiting to pick me up and take me to my new residence for the next five months. Secondly, the luggage carousel was not moving! After waiting for several minutes and overhearing several airport officials discussing the latent carousel, I discovered that my luggage had been lost. I laughed to myself...I had to. Already I was late for meeting the people I would be living with for five months, so making a good impression was definitely out of the question, or was it...
My thoughts were interrupted by the banging of luggage carousel starting back up again. My bass guitar dropped onto the carousel-I was quick to hoist it off of the metal plates of the carousel. As my eyes scanned the remaining luggage on the carousel, I noticed several people speaking with an airport official. Not wanting to leave my place in front of the carousel, but also wanting to see what was going on with the official. Just as I was ready to stand my ground....
the carousel stopped again
The next step was a no-brainer. As I made my way over to the official, I was made clearly aware of two things....
the airport officials only spoke Spanish
how little useful Spanish I knew to help me in this situation.
As I set my carry-on bag and computer on the ground beside the official's desk, I understood that my main suitcase had been misplaced and would need to be inquired about the next day.
I looked at my watch to see the big hand start passing the twelve. It was now 2am and I was still down a bag and my guitar!spotting my guitar on the floor I quickly ran over and grabbed it before someone else beat me to it.
Slowly I made my way to the customs gate feeling disappointed and wondering what I would wear tomorrow-not to mention if my ride would be waiting for me when I exited the building.
STARS and a loud BANG interrupted my thoughts. In my over-tired condition, I had failed to notice teh large metal support pillar in front of my face.
After picking up my carry-on bag and guitar case, I proceeded to the customs desk, only to be horrified after discovering that my computer bag was gone-including all of my documentation.
After several frantic minutes of rushing around the airport and checking every corner and crack of the airport, I remembered the official's desk and my first awkward Spanish conversation involving lost lugage. The worst part of the search was that nobody spoke English.
As time continued ticking away, an airport official spotted my computer bag. What else could I say except, "Gloria a Dios!"
After filling out the customs forms, I walked out of the airport doors and 2:15am on February 2.
Thankfully, my hosts were waiting for me in the lobby of the airport.
Exhausted and embarrassed, I followed my hosts into the sticky darkness of my first Peruvian early morning.
Originally posted to Facing the Mirror Inward