Contd from ” A journey…part 2″
The time came and we were on our flight to San francisco. Long Flight…very long indeed. Tired..exhausted…physically and emotionally. What Lies Ahead?
I want to confess that being a woman and traveling with a small kid is too difficult. Actually traveling alone is easier than traveling with a kid. I’ll continue with my travel story now.
After a very very long flight, we reached San Francisco. Took my son and cabin bag and got off the plane. My eyes were looking anxiously for that promised ground staff and to my horror, no one was here. Damn! I don’t remember how many times I swore that night. Looking here and there for any ground staff, started rushing where everyone was going….to the immigration counter. Oh My God! so many people! Though there were more than 15 counters for Non-US residents, the queue was till infinity. I needed to clear immigration as soon as possible and collect my checked-in luggage and proceed to the domestic airlines desk for further journey to Seattle. I was already feeling dizzy by looking at this long a queue. There were more than 200 people in one line. Where was that jump the queue promise? I already started doubting that if I don’t clear this immigration thing soon, I am going to miss my next flight again. Had it been India, I would have requested other people to let me go ahead of them. But in foreign country, I didn’t know whether I should do that. So. I thought better of it and patiently waited for my turn. The line was moving at snail’s pace. I was looking at my watch every 5-7 seconds as if merely looking at it will push me to the front. Aah that wait! Finally, I reached that border where next turn was mine. I was keeping my fingers crossed and praying,” God! Please let everything be in order”. Suddenly my son pulled my hand and said that he wants to go to the washroom. WHAT??? ” Can you hold for a while?”, I asked. His answer was “NO”. He was jumping and twisting and by his expressions I knew that he’ll pee in his pants if I don’t take him to the loo immediately. He started leaking, intact. I went weak at the knees. Why was this happening to me? Frustrated, I left the queue and took him to a washroom which was half a mile away from there. I started crying. Now, nothing could put us on the flight we were booked on. I was crying and scolding my son ( I just couldn’t help it). He was also feeling sorry. Felt sorry that I scolded my son. I gathered myself, kissed my son and said, ” Let’s try again”. So, we were again in the queue behind 200+ people. Time dragged by and we managed to reach the immigration counter successfully. 2- 2.5 hours were wasted in all this. Thankfully, everything was in order and we cleared immigration. Went to collect my luggage and found them lying beside the conveyor designated for our flight. All my copassengers had collected their luggage and left. We were the last. Looked at my watch again and I knew that we’ve missed the flight. Ok…time for next plan of action which was:
1) Reach the counter and get rebooked on another flight to Seattle
2) Ask the airlines people to inform my shipping agent about my status and next flight number and timing so that he can pick us up at the airport.( I didn’t have any phone with US number)
I proceeded for luggage drop-in. Saw the luggage collecting staff, showed him my luggage tag and told him that I’ve missed my flight, please suggest where should I go for rebooking. He looked at my tag, scanned it at his some electronic device and said that this flight hasn’t left. You can still catch it. WHAT!!! REALLY!!! I asked him to confirm it again and he did. I jumped with happiness, hugged my son. Collected our boarding passes and asked the executive to call my agent and tell him the new timing. But she didn’t have the phone. Awww. After clearing security and all, went to the waiting lounge in the hope of getting wifi so that I could inform Ship’s captain who in turn will inform the agent. Wi-fi was there but something wasn’t working. I asked the airline person who was on the desk to help me log in their wi-fi network, that I urgently need to inform someone about my new status. He didn’t help. All he said that it’s working…it’s working. Requested him to atleast call my agent but he didn’t do that either. How Unhelping! Frustrated, left everything on destiny. Boarded the flight….reached Seattle. I was so tired and frustrated that didn’t click any photo. Again the same question: “What lies ahead”? Clouds of doubt started hovering over. “Will my agent be there to pick us up?” Ok…Let’s see. Whatever has to happen will happen. Collected my luggage and was looking for a trolley to put them on. Found the trolley and started pulling it out of the stack but it wasn’t coming out. I tried it so many times but it just wasn’t coming out. Someone said from behind that I need to pay 5$ if I want that. Looked back and much to my pleasure I saw a man standing with a placard of our ship’s name. I wanted to hug him tightly but refrained. I was so relieved. I asked if the ship is still at the port and he said, yes…ship is still there and we are going directly to the ship. Yayyyy! He helped us with the luggage and we hopped on in his SUV. After more than 2 hour drive , we reached the port terminal. It was chilly. We were shivering but I was happy and warm inside. Our ship was berthed right in front of me. Security personnel called my husband from the ship to collect us. He came, we signed a few papers at the terminal gate and with tears in my eyes and relief in my heart we 3 hugged each other. Happy times ahead…family time ahead….
And we really had a great time onboard. And by this ship, we crossed the international date line that I talked about earlier. Would love to hear others’ travel experiences.