Day of Fun

Guitar (Un)Hero

Guitar (Un)Hero

Most days we do a lot, and see even more. We’ve been racking up the passport stamps and entrance tickets to world heritage sites and historical landmarks, while trying to eat and do as the locals do, engulfing ourselves in the culture of whatever country we happen to be in. But today was not one of those days.

Our day began with a warm chocolate banana muffin-half for me, half for Jeff. Next up, a free foot massage (the first of four each in the span of 24 hours). Then we weighed our options and decided to take in a movie. We walked over to the movie theater and caught a showing of The Transporter. On the way back, we passed a fun zone, so I tried my hand at guitar hero and a video game. I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of either one, so both attempts were relatively short-lived (although I’d love to give Guitar Hero another shot one of these days as I sense the potential for much fun to be had). We realized our lunch options were limited, and ended up having Western food (Burger King, to be exact), which turned out to be embarrassingly good, given the rarity of eating good old American fast food. After our meal, we strolled through some shops. The selection was overwhelming and too high-end for our needs, so we just browsed around and moved on. I’m sure if you’ve managed to read this far this has all the makings of a cheesy high-school date, rather than a day in the life of a world traveler, but do read on (if you are so inclined). We saw a large banner advertising a Tribute to Michael Jackson event scheduled for the evening, and we were just in time-lucky us. We hopped on the tram and made our way to the event, just ahead of the crowds. I was even able to find a space near the stage. The performer/impersonator was Edward Moss. Never heard of the guy, but apparently he is famous on the circuit and has stood in for Michael Jackson at several events, as well as played his likeness in movies. The guy put on an entertaining show and even from the second row, the resemblance was probably as close as you’re gonna get. After the show, we grabbed a quick dinner and yet another foot massage, checked our email, and found a clean, comfortable, and quiet place to lay our heads down for the night.

Tribute to the King of Pop

Tribute to the King of Pop

The next morning we awoke to the sounds of the early morning hustle and bustle, but continued to lounge around for a while and took in a couple of episodes of “The Simpsons” and “Seinfeld”. Then we got up and visited some gardens within walking distance. The Sunflower Garden was cute, the Orchid Garden was beautiful, but my favorite by far was the Butterfly Garden, full of live colorful butterflies of all sizes, fluttering about, drinking, resting, and one even emerging from a cocoon.

From the Butterfly Garden

From the Butterfly Garden

As we exited the garden, I glanced around for a clock and discovered that our time stuck in the transit terminal was almost up. Who knew one could have such a busy day of fun trapped in an airport? After having spent two full consecutive days and nights in airports–Manila and Singapore, we were glad to make our escape. Still, if we are ever stuck in transit again, we could do worse than Changi International in Singapore. Next stop-Vietnam.

Posted: October 12th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Singapore | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Night at the “International” Airport

4/9/09
At the Airport

Since our flight to Costa Rica departed at dawn, we opted to spend the night in the Guatemala City airport. Apparently, although it is an international airport, people simply do not stay overnight. We arrived close to 8 p.m.-all the airline counters were dark and deserted. In the food court restaurants above, the “late night” shifts were wiping counters and storing food. Even Pollo Campero would not let us order any pollo. Fortunately, trusty old McDonalds was still serving the last of its fast fried goodness, which served as our last meal in Guatemala.

We found a row of leather seats and settled in for a long night. There was not a passenger in sight and the only people we saw were the occasional guard, janitor, or flight attendant heading home after a full day’s work. I fell into an uncomfortable and restless sleep, each set of footsteps convincing me that we were seconds away from being kicked out to spend the night outside on the streets. When I had finally fallen into a sound sleep, I awoke to an airport security officer asking for our passports. He asked us a series of usual questions (Where were we going? For how long? Where did we come from? What time was our flight?), and then asked us to follow him. Anxious and groggy, we followed him to the entrance of the airport where he conferred at length with the woman guard at the door, trying to make sense of what to do with these stupid foreigners who apparently were camping out after hours at the airport. Fortunately for us, they allowed us to stay, albeit in significantly less comfortable plastic chairs attached together by metal armrests, making lying down impossible. Jeff courageously asked (in Spanish, no less) if we could possibly move back to our leather seating area, to which the guard replied, “Solamente aqui” (“Only here”). So there we remained for the rest of the night, staring at the shiny floors, empty kiosks, the vast empty silent space of the concourse, and the darkened food court above. When the doors to the airport opened at 4 a.m., employees appeared behind their now illuminated stations and a slow but steady stream of passengers began filing in. We grabbed our bags, headed to the ticket counter, checked in, and then proceeded to our gate as we watched the duty free shops and cafes open their gates to serve the early bird travelers and to wait for another two hours to board our plane.

Posted: April 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Guatemala | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »