Pre-trip weight = 165 lb. If I somehow gain weight on this trip, I plan to fund research into antimatter inverse tapeworms.
I left my apartment at 9:35pm on the 11th. Just before that I sent a couple goodbye texts. The reply to one caused Richard Marx to get stuck in my head, because I misremembered it. The second re Boston should have gotten more than a Scott Turicchi "thx".
As usual I took the subway to Union Station and then the FlyAway bus to LAX. Arrived 11:05pm at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. My grandest day ever at the TBIT was in 1993 when I dropped off Amy Milov and picked up The Lawyer Guy, and coincidentally I was chatting with Amy last night after a ~14-year hiatus. She enjoyed my mention of her in a previous travelogue so much that I am mentioning her again!
But lo, in the TBIT, the boards didn't show any TACA flights. I guess I just assumed. I asked a guy and he said TACA leaves from Terminal 2. So I walked there, and arrived with plenty of time to still pick up Jerry. Checked in at 11:30pm. TACA is kind of an umbrella organization of airlines, like the NWA. And unlike the oddly-capitalized TAKA Michinoku, TACA is a legitimate acronym that stands for something. It's the George Costanza of airlines.
The X-ray machine in Terminal 2 reminded me of this, which always scared me.
The agents at the TACA counter speak Spanish, but they look different from Mexicans. Like how Alberto Del Rio looks different from Mexicans.
I took a PM pill and drank a Coke at home (reminiscent of the Steven Wright humidifier vs. dehumidifier thing) but after I checked in the pill was winning out, so I got an Orange Crush, and also Bossypants (which won out over 3 Chelsea Handler books, which split the vote) to read during the 12-hour layover in San Salvador. A lot of girls on OkCupid cite Bossypants, so this will gain me some street cred. On Girl Street. And by cred I mean credit and not credibility. I also had the La Salle magazine to read. Has there ever been a university magazine with even one interesting article? One that speaks to me? And by "speak to" I mean "speak to" and not "speak about". I will proactively move my bowels the next time I'm in a meeting at work and someone mentions "speaking to" a topic instead of an audience. Or "slice and dice". These are not actual English idioms. Note to 30-year Korean immigrants.
A guy on the plane was stowing a bag and I saw "Dude, Where's My" on it. I assumed the rest of it was something clever. Then I saw "Car?". I'm working toward that kind of swag. It's still a step up from the free beers at Beauty Bar.
Everyone on the plane speaks Spanish, yet can afford to fly! This must be opposite day. Or a parallel universe. Or Lidsville.
The usher showed me to my seat in 31F, but I had to climb over a woman in 31D who looked like she expected to expire in flight.
I was thinking...when I bought the Tina Fey book, the Asian woman in front of me in line bought a whole book of sudoku. I mean, I like puzzles, and I do sudoku in the LA Times every day to stimulate that part of the brain, but one a day is plenty. Not a goddamn book.
Landed in San Salvador at 7:10am. Realized I'd fallen asleep during takeoff--i.e. after the plane started accelerating but before it left the ground. The PM pill vs. caffeine thing worked out perfectly, within seconds. With 2 hours left in the flight I removed my mask and earplugs so as to not miss instructions from the pilot. Not sure what I was thinking here. I had a dream that I was talking to my dad and we couldn't hear each other because of the airplane engine, even though we weren't on a plane in the dream. I woke up and put my earplugs back in. Then I dreamed I landed in New Orleans on the Tulane campus, and I couldn't call Mike because my ears were blocked, and then I woke up and my ears WERE blocked...by earplugs. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Can't live with 'em, pass the beer nuts.
The air here smells like a different country. Humid and stale. This was supposed to be a 1-hour layover but the flight was changed and Orbitz never notified me. I discovered it on my own when I checked the flight info a couple days before my trip. They send me an e-mail whenever a flight changes by a couple minutes, but an 11-hour delay doesn't warrant an alert. Yes, I will fill out the feedback form they sent me. So it was a 12-hour layover. I thought about using some of that time to legally enter El Salvador and go into the city for some sightseeing. Decided not to. San Salvador was once ranked as the World's Most Dangerous City. Mel Brandt used to tout New York as The Most Dangerous City in America, and I never believed him. Non-Pardo asshole.
I was still reading Bossypants as of noon. Putting off food as long as I could. The terminal had the highest concentration of Subways (4-6 among 17 gates) and I'd eaten at Subway yesterday thinking I wouldn't have access to a turkey sandwich for 2 weeks.
There was an announcement about a flight arriving from "New Jork". They really talk that way. How cute!
After 7 hours I still had no desire to go through immigration and back. It's the honorable way, even though it would count as another country. I really had nothing to see in the city and there was no train.
At 3:25pm I got food at a decent airport restaurant (Aero Connection). Had garlic shrimp. Got free Wi-Fi with my meal! So what if the garlic would allegedly stink me up on the plane. That's an old wives' tale, Clark.
After lunch I saw a colorful bird on the windowsill. Sparrow-sized, but beautiful. But he flew away before I could get my camera out. For some reason the first thing I thought was "come back here, Cupid Me!"
I finished Bossypants and went sleepybye. I would link to Jim Ross's call "Rick Steiner is going sleepybye! A bedtime story being told to him by Mike Rotundo!" but I doubt it exists outside my memory. Combined with lunch and Internet I used up 9 hours of the layover. Not bad. I remember when I had a 4-hour layover in Frankfurt once and thought that was excruciatingly long (TWSS). I've gotten better at inefficient travel.
The flight to Lima finally left at 7:42pm. Had chicken and mashed potatoes on the flight. It came with a beet salad, and though I tried to work around the beets, a couple chunks fell on me and stained my shirt and jeans. What's the deal with beets? I've hated them ever since the burger I had in Sydney where everything was like a Northern Hemisphere burger except with beet instead of pickled cucumber, and there was beet juice everywhere.
I dozed off for maybe 1.5 hr on the flight, then landed just before 1am in Peru (country #46). Hey, start catching up to me, everyone. I even spotted you one by not entering El Salvador. Lima smells like Calvin Klein's "Ocean". I can't just say it smells like the ocean after I said "pickled cucumber" in the previous paragraph. And hey, if lima beans are from Lima (Peru) then why are they pronounced like Lima (Ohio)? Which was named after which? And was Kobe Bryant really named after the beef and not the city?
The instructions from G Adventures (which, by the way, was the original title of Sanford & Son) said the taxi from the airport should cost ~$27. I went to one of the official desks inside (I knew to avoid the crooks outside) and the guy quoted me $55! I told him I'd check with the other companies but he said that's the standard rate, and it was. The next desk was $53. I took it, but damn. That's going in the feedback form.
Part of the ride from the airport was along the beach, with cliffs on the left (east) and ocean on the right. Looked just like PCH. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" came on the radio and it reminded me of listening to Elvis the last time I was on PCH, coming back from a hike in Malibu. That was the day I got booed walking into the Philly bar in Santa Monica (The Shack) because I was wearing a Dodgers shirt. I didn't expect to go to a Philly bar and I was wearing my trashiest shirt for the hike. It was game 2 of the 2011 NLDS and Cliff Lee coughed up the lead soon after I got there, so I take full responsibility for the Phillies losing the series. Ryan Howard's cortisone shot was probably cursed as well because of me. And what's the deal with Olivia, the waitress at The Shack? She thought we were so cool, and I added her on Facebook after she said to do so, but the friend request is still pending 7 months later. Broads are crazy.
Got to the hotel (La Castellana) at 2:30am. My room was very close to at least one club with girls singing, and the fan didn't work. This is what PM pills are for. Bed 3am.