32 hours of travel hell: A diary

travel hell

6/8/2017 6:36 am

I just boarded my plane to London. I’ve been up since 3:30 am. I managed to sleep a full 8 hours prior to my flight with the help of a sleeping pill. Because in case I don’t sleep for the next 4 flights and 32 hours, I wanted to remain mostly coherent.

I remember a time when I would never take an inconvenient flight. I didn’t mind paying a little more for a shorter, more comfortable itinerary. I don’t have that luxury anymore, because if I don’t go on the cheapest available flight, I can’t go. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay for having a more convenient life in general. I recently read an article that said happiness increases with pay until about $20,000 and then it drops off.

That’s how I’ll mentally reassure myself to withstand the next 30 hours on 4 flights from Europe to the US to South America. I have a vague worry about my checked bag that is tagged for Lima, but which I was just informed at the gate of this flight that I’ll have to pick up in the US.

Flight from Prague to London: 2 hours and 10 minutes

The guy sitting in front of me is miming playing something like a bassoon or a baritone sax with his friends.

We’ve been informed that passengers continuing to the US must go through additional security. Specifically, all laptops, phones and tablets must have enough power to be switched on.

I’m not too worried about my connection which is an hour and 45 minutes. They’ll have enough time to check out my blog and look at my Facebook photos. And if I do miss my flight, I’ll get to watch the Comey testimony from an airport pub with rowdy Londoners. I can think of worse things.

Man, this oboe guy is really jamming. He’s not listening to anything, but he’s definitely hearing something. And he’s moved on to the piano. He looks like Thom Yorke does on stage except he’s in an airplane and he doesn’t have any real instruments. Maybe he’s a brilliant musician on his way to a festival in the U.K. All brilliant people are insane. But he’s definitely looking crazy AF on this flight.

8:54 am (London time)

A full security check and a mini interview with airline staff later and I’m at my gate waiting to board the plane to Miami. (They didn’t look at my phone.) If I can’t sleep I’m going to read Eat Pray Love, which I’ve surprisingly never read. But I’m hoping for sleep. I’m also starving. I haven’t eaten anything since 4 am (Prague time).

There seems to be an entire children’s sports team or class on this flight. So fuck me. The question is are they well behaved British kids going on vacation in Florida or shitty Miami kids flying back home after a trip to London?

9:46 am

I’m surrounded by these kids. They take up the entire middle section of the plane. But they’re British. Also I don’t think live TV is going to work so I’m going to miss the Comey hearing. One of the kids is sitting in my row. They’re going to space camp. Kinda cute actually. They’re all very quiet. But the baby sitting one row behind me is not.

10:14 am

We’re in the air and live TV is working! If I didn’t have 2 more flights after this one, I would get shitfaced at 10 am EST. Captain just informed us we’re going to be 15 minutes behind schedule because of bad weather. Pretty sure it’s the same bad weather that’s flooding South Florida right now.

10:26 am

All these little kids are definitely just as pissed off about the baby as I am.

12:55 pm

I finally got sleepy and now some toddler is running up and down the aisle laughing. It’s been at least 15 minutes. I don’t actually hate kids; I hate parents. These British children are super well behaved. I hope they have a great time at space camp.

I made a kick ass playlist. Did you know Brie Larson has a shitty pop album? Oscar winner Brie Larson. Yup, playing on AA. Not on my playlist though.

“I Will Always Love You” should have been full acapella. The music sounds like a preset song on a 90s era Casio keyboard. Beat.

2:40 pm

Fuck it. I got wine. I’m not going to get through a congressional hearing without wine.

travel hell comey testimony

3:28 pm

I need so much more wine! I get too invested in politics. Especially now that it’s become life or death for my generation and others to come.

4:14 pm

I’m going to pay dearly for this wine later. I should work for the FBI. I love keeping contemporaneous notes. Especially when people are being shady.

5:20 pm

God it’s been 2.5 hours of the same questions. The sleepiness is starting to set in. This administration is a circus. I’m so glad I’m going on vacation and getting away from the constant bombshells of information about the ineptitude, shadiness, and Twitter addiction of our president. It’s fucking embarrassing.

If he’s not impeached by the end of the summer, I’m renewing my visa for the Czech Republic. I can’t live in the US with all this nonsense.

6:41 pm

The weirdest thing about this trip is that I’m traveling through Miami, which is my home, but not stopping there. And judging by this delay, it doesn’t seem like I’ll have enough time to grab a snack at Versailles at the airport. I still don’t know if I have to pick up my bag here or not.

My favorite thing about being in the US is that my phone speed is no longer tethered. I could have really fast and cheap phone service in the Czech Republic but I don’t want to give up my US number.

“John Wayne” by Lady Gaga is my official song of this flight. If I hadn’t spent 5 hours watching political hearings and commentary, I’m pretty sure I would have just put this on repeat.

My 3rd grade row partner was the most respectful young man. I hope he loves space camp.

Part of me wouldn’t mind missing this flight, sleeping in Miami, and flying to Peru tomorrow. But I’m pretty sure I’ll make it.

4:11 pm Miami time (If you’re keeping track… 10:11 pm Prague time)

My flight to Lima was delayed because of rain. I was really hoping it would get cancelled. It’s kind of a bummer passing through Miami for the first time in months and not stopping.

4:30 pm

Finally boarded. I’m surrounded by annoying white girls who are talking across several rows to each other. I fucking hate these people. I just wanna sleep. I feel like these are the kind of American people that are super abrasive to other cultures because they’re like a lead brick. Is it necessary for the entire rear of the plane to hear your conversation? No one gives a fuck that Morgan didn’t message you after you told her to 12 times or that you didn’t send him a postcard. No one thinks you’re cool bro. Most of the people on this plane don’t even speak English. When I see people like this I think to myself, “Was I this much of a dumb bitch at 21?” Then again, I think that about some people in their 40s. I guess being a dumb bitch really has no age range.

I’m gonna try to sleep before I kill this girl. Her and her friends probably go to FSU. I don’t know how I know, I just do.

I miss the British kids.

5:24 pm

Finally taking off. This flight was supposed to be in the air at 4:05 pm. Just been sitting waiting for the MIA traffic to clear, which is just as bad in the air as it is on the road.

5:50 pm

I can’t sleep at all. Gonna finally take a crack at Eat Pray Love.

6:00 pm

I already hate this book.

6:26 pm

It’s well written. She just has an obnoxious personality and way of going about things. Kind of like a more spiritual version of me. I would write something annoying and self-indulgent like this if I believed in God. I obviously already write about travel constantly.

And I hate people who remind me of me. Which is weird for someone who loves herself as much as I do. Maybe it’s because when my girlfriend tells me there’s only one of me, I want to believe that.

6:37 pm

Honestly if I lived in Thailand for 6 months, I would definitely write this exact same book. I hate it.

6:53 pm

Three flights’ worth of airplane food is tough.

8:25 pm

Between the turbulence and this chatty bitch I’ve snoozed all of 10 minutes. I haven’t slept in 23 hours.

I was wrong. They’re not from Florida. They’re from St. Louis. But I’m sure they would “looove to live in Miami for a couple of years. Like maybe for an internship or something.”

9:08 pm

People who take photos with flash in darkened plane cabins, fuck you too.

9:17 pm

I’m pretty sure this is a sorority on their trip to Peru. I can totally see the girl sitting next to me using a vodka soaked tampon to fit in. That makes perfect sense.

9:41 pm

This girl has been standing over her 4 friends for the past 2 hours orating like motherfucking Caesar. I hope I never see these people again. And I’m not just saying that because I haven’t slept in 24 hours and I’m cranky. I’m so tired that I don’t even feel anger. I just never want to see these people in my life ever again. I would get on the first flight to Siberia if I could be guaranteed never to see these people again.

10:10 pm

Thank God. We’re landing. I thought this day would never come. I remember 3 or 4 years ago, I cancelled a trip to Machu Picchu because my friend bailed and I didn’t want to take this precise flight and have to stay overnight at the Lima airport by myself. I’m so tired now that I’m pretty sure I’m gonna sleep like a baby.

10:17 pm

I fucking hate the Lima airport. I left the plane, went through passport control, and then had to pick up my bags and go through customs since this is my first stop in Peru. But after you go through customs you’re automatically funneled out of the secure area.

So I had to go to the check-in counter, check my bag and get a boarding pass. But my flight is not until 3 am and it’s 10 so security is closed. Now I’m outside the secure area with nowhere to sleep because this place is packed. And I don’t have any fucking internet here. I hate this place.

11:23 pm

I found a hallway where a bunch of people are sleeping. So I laid down there to try to rest. The floor is cold, my back hurts, and I can’t sleep for more than 7 minutes at a time. Fuck this airport.

travel hell lima

And fuck these people. I know a ton of awesome Peruvians in Miami. But the Peruvians that work at the Lima airport are all dicks. I spoke to them politely in Spanish, asking questions I couldn’t otherwise find on an airport sign. I don’t know what their problem is.

I can’t sleep in public. I just can’t. And I’m too bougie to sleep on the floor. I rather start hallucinating from the sleep deprivation.

I’m not convinced all these people are travelers. Some definitely potential homeless people here.

Also, white guys with long blonde hair, you look ridiculous covered in alpaca from head to toe.

11:58 pm

Do these people think I don’t speak Spanish? Is that why they’ve been so rude? I just went to buy a water and I ordered in Spanish, paid, and then the girl said “Thank you.” I’m kind of offended.

6/9/2017 12:38 am Lima time (6/9/2017 7:38 am Prague time)

I’m having coffee for some reason. And I just had the best empanada. Chicken and Peruvian corn, even though it looked to me like avocado. I don’t know what anything is here. So I probably don’t speak their Spanish. But this girl was very nice.

There are people sleeping all over the airport and all the food places are still open which tells me that this airport always functions at unfortunate hours of the day. This coffee has improved my mood 300%.

Three more hours before my last flight departs. Been awake for 28 hours. At what point do you die? I should have looked that up before planning this trip.

1:34 am

Finally able to go through security and sit at the gate where more people are sleeping. The Lima airport is like a 5,000 bed hostel with no beds.

I always get a kick out of going through security and seeing the gnome on the screen. I wish I had the balls to take a pic but I’m not trying to get taken backstage at any airport. Though here would have been a pretty good place to do so. I forgot a water bottle in my bag and I mentioned it as my bag was going through the X-ray. The lady just shrugged. In Heathrow they would have searched my bag, tested my hands for explosive material, given me a talking to.

2:27 am

I wish I had known about these comfy couches where I could prop my feet up on my bag and take a wonderful nap. I wouldn’t have had coffee. There’s two middle aged Hispanic women loudly losing their shit non-stop in this area where everyone is trying to sleep. You see what I mean about dumb bitches having no age limit? Around age 55 you graduate to being an inconsiderate cunt.

I miss my quiet, respectful, considerate Czechs. I hate almost everyone in the Americas. This is my first time in South America, and it feels exactly like Miami. Which is precisely why I’ve never bothered to come here. I’ve lived here my whole life. Maybe with less ancient ruins.

But what do I know? I haven’t left this airport in a week. Maybe the locals that aren’t traveling at 3 am don’t have this egregious lack of consideration.

This is the part of travel that travel bloggers leave out. The part where you’re exhausted, pissed at everybody, and wishing you were in bed at home. I’m sure I’m gonna have a fantastic time in Peru and rave about all it has to offer. But make no mistake, these are the most awful consecutive 32 hours you could possibly subject yourself to.

3:18 am

This post is absolute garbage. Who is even still reading this?

I might just delete the whole thing while my last flight descends (into madness). I wonder if Cusco has exorcists. I could use 20 hours of sleep and an exorcism.

I can already tell my hair is not gonna look good in this country. On a pretty consistent basis wherever I travel, the worse my hair looks, the better the food is. It’s like a horrible irony.

4:18 am

We’ve been on the tarmac for almost 45 minutes. No explanation. The flight was supposed to depart almost an hour ago.

5:07 am

Oh wow we’re landing. This flight is like 45 minutes. I think the tarmac wait time is built into the scheduled times.

6/9/207 5:30 am Cusco time/12:30 pm Prague time

Finally in Cusco. I’m so excited… but I can’t breathe. There’s no air. My legs are tingling and I feel lightheaded. I’m gonna die here.

They have free coca leaves at the terminal. I don’t know how to properly eat this, but I need it to feel better. Thankfully my bag made it to Cusco.

6:45 am

Finally, a real bed. A shower. I’m so tired. Wait.. why is everything moving? It feels like turbulence on the plane. I keep checking if other things in the room are moving to see if it’s just in my head. It is. I still can’t breathe easily. I can’t sleep. Oh yeah… coca leaves are where cocaine comes from.

How’s that for contemporaneous memos?

Fuck this itinerary. Never do this. I would testify under oath to that effect.

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