Saturday, June 25, 2005

Back home

A fairly uneventful trip if you don't count the precipitious drop our plane experienced just east of Japan. I reckon we dropped 50 metres in less than a second. Boy am I glad I leave my seatbelt fastened when I'm seated. As it was there was liquid sloshing around the floor immediately afterward. Glad I wasn't in the dunny!

When I hit LAX I was, of course, shunted off to secondary inspection again. INS still haven't sorted out my greencard fiasco. But they are getting better at handling it. This time it was a young guy who seemed to have all the facts at his fingertips. He seemed surprised that they hadn't yet expunged the record of my old card. It took nearly 45 minutes to be cleared to continue to customs but I imagine that was because our plane was the fifth mass transit plane to deplane within a few minutes; I've never seen the immigration hall so crowded. Given that there always seems to be someone who falls afoul of immigration requirements it scarcely surprised me to see about 60 people ahead of me at secondary inspection.

Then came a 4 hour wait at LAX. Long but bearable. Our travel agent had booked my LA to Phoenix flight on United Airlines; I was free at LA by 6:00 PM but the flight wasn't until 10:12. Of course I fronted at the United desk hoping for an earlier flight but they don't have one. Literally, they don't have one. Bit of a bummer but on the other hand I do get frequent flyer points for it.

It was an excellent flight from LA to Phoenix. Tonight was one of those nights when there was no cloud over LA or Phoenix and I had a window seat on one of those 50 seater regional jets. Out of LA over the Pacific Ocean, turn south and then turn east, fly back over LA following the I-10. The pilot even said, jokingly, that we'd follow I-10 to Phoenix. We did! There are quite a few black patches between LA and Phoenix but then, on the horizon, barely perceptible from the odd angle you get when looking forward from the side of the plane, you start to see the glow indicating home.

We banked to the south and flew in over the South Mountains. If you've ever been to Phoenix Sky HarboUr at night you'll surely have seen the row of blinking red lights off to one side warning aircraft of the South Mountains. We flew just to the south of those lights; I looked down on top of them. Then, losing height, we did a 180 turn over Mesa and swooped in low across the Hohokam Expressway and landed at Terminal 2. That's the best terminal in Sky HarboUr because you can smoke there!

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