Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2016! I'll be posting to the according letter every day, except Sundays.
We are going to start with A because we like our order here.
You may thank the alphabet for not getting to read my travel diary in chronological order.
D is for Departure won't be published until this coming Tuesday.
A is for Arrival it is.
Let me ask you a question:
To you, what is a good arrival after being crammed into an airplane for 12 hours? That's how long it takes to fly from Zurich, Switzerland, to Los Angeles, CA.
Keep in mind, due to the time difference, your body thinks it's in the middle of the night, and your tolerance for bs is low.
To me, hypothetically, this is the best case scenario:
- Getting the h*** out of that aircraft
- Finding a restroom
- Not having to queue at immigration too long
- Having a friendly immigration officer
- Not having to wait at baggage claim too long
- Actually getting my bags and all of their contents without damages
- Passing customs without being harassed about an innocent apple in my backpack
- Hopping into my means of transportation immediately
- Finding my hotel plus the parking entrance right away
- Getting my welcome baggie at the hotel, usually bottled water and a snack
- Getting up to my room with a working elevator
- Logging onto wireless internet
- Getting a good night's sleep
Let's say 8 out of 13 is an OK score.
Even #7 went OK - even though, upon filling in my customs form, I suddenly began to worry about the chocolate I wanted to bring.
You can't read very well, but it says "I am bringing fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, food, insects", and it's favorable if you can check NO with a good conscience.
One time I did just that, and I got inspected.
I swear I had totally forgotten about the apple that was at the bottom of my backpack. I had put it in a couple of days prior to our departure, and I had no idea it was still there!
Contrary to the Canadian immigration guys who didn't have a problem with my bringing Swiss cheese for our friends, the U.S. officers took it pretty hard and confiscated my apple.
Back to the issue at hand. What do they mean by "food" anyway? Is chocolate food? Sometimes we claim it is even a vegetable.
And you're not supposed to bring vegetables! That's why I was a bit worried. I decided to take a risk, check NO and use my totally harmless face when walking by the officers.
Then I moved on to ground transportation which is a whole entire separate post you'll get to read on April 8, and when I arrived at the hotel, they didn't give me a welcome baggie. Too bad, I was really thirsty.
Not to worry though, there was a gift shop in the lobby. I picked up a bottle of water and gave the lady my credit card.
"I'm sorry, there is a five dollar minimum for card purchases" she said.
At least she didn't say Ma'm.
Unfortunately there was no possibility to charge it to my room at this time. (WTH does this mean anyway? Should I come back and try again tomorrow?)
Now of course I could have started to dig for my envelope with the US Dollars I brought and see if she had change for a 50 bill, or I could have bought two bottles of water to exceed the five bucks' limit, but I was in my unhappy mode, I could just as well stay there.
Put the water back, waited for at least 10 minutes until the one elevator that was working (the other one was being fixed) made its way back from transporting families with luggage carts filled up to the brim, dropped my bags, grabbed my wallet and walked to 7/11 to get some dinner:
Update: Tonight's arrival in Seattle scored 8/9 (immigration and customs don't apply) - deduction for no bottled water.
Off to bed, working on that good night's sleep!