Thursday, March 13, 2008

San Jose to Victoria

2008-02-15 – Friday – San Jose to Seattle – I'm up at 4am after about 4 hours sleep. I'm going to be beat flying to Seatac, but it's probably a good thing that I now have to overnight in Seattle. At least I'll be able to get some sleep before returning home. Diego and Walter are there at 4:45am to pick me up along with another couple on the same flight. I guess they will be going back and forth to the airport all morning as flights depart. Do those guys ever sleep?

I pay my US$26 Departure Fee at Juan Santamaria Airport, clear security and wait for my Continental flight to Houston. I hesitate to call the departure area a lounge, since there are only folding chairs to sit on, there is no counter, and the gate itself is well-hidden. I find a carpeted bench area to sit on which has a power plug nearby, plug my notebook adapter in, and start the waiting process by sorting through my photos Since I'm short of sleep last night, I try to get some rest on this leg of the journey. Our flight was full except for one empty seat. As on previous flights, I zoned out by listening to music from my PDA through the Shure earphones. That way I isolated myself somewhat from the stress of a full aircraft cabin as well as from the noise of the jet engines.

I like George Bush airport in Houston. Although it is huge, it is well laid out, and I found it easy to navigate. There is a good choice of services near each group of gates, and the airport staff are helpful and friendly. I found that Seatac airport is also improving as far as customer service is concerned. The only strike against Seatac is the poor layout, and those infernal trains, which force passengers to figure out how to navigate to the various terminals to find their gates.

When I arrived at Seatac I cleared customs and immigration, retrieved my checked bag, and then asked at the Horizon counter if there was a seat available on the flight leaving this evening. They confirmed the flight was fully-booked, so I found the Continental counter and they gave me the hotel voucher for my overnight stay in a nearby airport hotel.

2008-02-16 – Saturday – Seattle to Victoria – I was up at 5am in order to be at the gate at Seatac for my 7:30am flight to Victoria. After check-in, I find the line to clear security is very long, but it moved quickly and I find my gate with almost an hour to spare. The Horizon flight to Victoria departed on time, and the flight to Victoria was uneventful. Although there were lots of clouds, there were enough clear spots to give me opportunities to photograph the Olympic Mountains from my left side window seat. My checked bag appeared on the baggage belt at Victoria airport, and I cleared Canadian Customs in short order. I found my vehicle parked in the long term parking and drove home. The Costa Rica trip is officially over!

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