Merida was cold when I got up this morning. I woke up before my alarm clock and tried to go back to sleep. It was harder than I thought. I took a shower to warm up, got my things ready and had a sandwich for breakfast with Esperanza. We didn’t really talk. Senor Sala (the family’s cab driver friend) came, Espy woke up Daniela, and I brushed my teeth while Espy and Senor Sala took my bags downstairs to the car. Espy went with me to the airport and said “don’t forget us” “te queremos mucho.” I was too much in my processing mode to figure out how to conjugate “Te quiero mucho” to how I wanted it to be, which should have been “les quiero mucho.”

Well, after trying to juggle four bags and still have one hand free (two backpacks, two pieces of rolly luggage) I managed to fall over while standing in line to check-in. I also managed to walk towards the wrong counter twice after checking-in, marking me for a day of screw-ups and uncertainty.

Although the plane was scheduled to depart at 9:40, due partially to the last minute time change by Chàvez and the country being Venezuela, my flight was thusly delayed until noon. Having already checked-in, I took this opportunity of being free from my luggage to go walk around the city a bit and take pictures of some murals which I thought were special. Murals captured, I headed back to the airport to wait another hour or so. I’m not really sure what time the plane got there, or when we left, but it was after noon, for sure.

I sat next to a weird dude from Belgium on the way to Caracas. I got my luggage and mentally reprimanded myself for not bringing more Bolivares to pay for the weight overage that I would most certainly have on my luggage. It turns out that I was not the only one from the Merida flight headed to Miami, as one of the airline porters was calling out “LAN – Miami” to come to the head of the line. My departure tax was prepaid, and I didn’t have any baggage overage like I though, so I really didn’t need to worry about changing my dollars.

I tried to ask another guy in the airport where I should head next, but I was so rushed and flustered that I had no idea what I should be saying in English, and thus was extra rambly in Spanish. He was helpful anyway, and kindly guided me towards immigration. The lines in immigration were horrendous, and I would have missed my flight for sure if not for the same porter as before calling out “LAN – Miami” for me to step to the front of the line. He told me I had ten minutes left to catch my plane. I caught the next available customs agent, but couldn’t understand him as my ears had still not popped from the last landing. He thought that I couldn’t deal with the Spanish, tried asking me a bunch of questions in his horrible English that I couldn’t hear either, and then he gave up and just made a broad, sweeping motion with his left arm and said in English “flight.”

I had no idea what he meant by that, but I had little time to care. I ran to the terminal, where the boarding pass checker asked me a bunch of questions I couldn’t hear either, and she too finally gave up on me and let me board the plane. Just in the knick of time, too. I believe that I was the second to last person to get on the plane. After the initial welcome glass of champagne (woo-hoo first class!), I’m well settled into my first class seat, with automatic 10 way adjustments and oversized screen set in to the headrest of the seat in front of me. Even the tray-tables are harder to figure out up here. The sun is setting on the clouds as I zip along the horizon over the Carribean sea.

It’s harder to accept the fact that the sun has set on my time in Venezuela, but knowing that I’ll have family, friends, and a girlfriend to come back to sure make it easier. I don’t know whether or not I’ll continue this blog after I’m back home and firmly adjusted back into my old lifestyle, but one thing is for sure – I would love to do this again.

Thanks for following along with me – Cfox

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