I thought that being held at the La Guama police station the night before my flight would be the last hurdle I had to over come before landing on American soil. I was wrong. I woke up bright and early the following morning to catch the chicken bus into San Pedro Sula. It was cramped, crowded and fly infested. It was extremely hard to keep my mouth shut while the bus bounced and swerved on the highway. I’m pretty sure I had a few flies for breakfast.
When my friend and I arrived at the San Pedro Sula bus depot one and a half hour later, my behind was still vibrating. We took a cab to the airport and I was so glad that we arrived ahead of schedule. Wanting to get rid of some lempiras and to pass the time, I browsed through the only gift shop and magazine stand in the airport about eight times but came out empty handed.
It had been a long and eventful week in Honduras and I was exhausted. I was anxious to get back to NYC. But you know the more you eager you wait for something to come; the longer it takes to get there. As it turned out, our 2PM flight was delayed for two hours. During that time, the airport had about four blackouts, which left me a little uneasy. I wondered what would happen if the control tower blacked out during take off. I’d have a conniption.
When my plane arrived at 4PM, I was so relieved to be on board. By the time we landed in Miami, it was 8:30PM. Even after we left Honduras, there was another hurdle keeping us from home. Our connecting flight to JFK was at 9PM. My friend and I were contemplating the worse case scenario. If we missed our flight to NYC, we’d have to crash at the airport for the night. Thought it wasn’t the worst thing in the world, I longed for my own bed and a clean shower.
As soon as we stepped off the plane, we jetted through customs, which was conveniently located a mile away from our gate. I went from a full speed spring to jogging to speed walking to limping. I felt the same burning sensation I had when I was running down Taishan Mountain in China trying to catch the very last bus into town. After my Charlie horse subsided, I picked up speed and zoomed past eager family and friends who were waiting by the arrival gate to greet their loved ones. In the corner of my eyes, I saw the look of bewilderment on their faces. Can you image seeing two little Asian girls carry backpacks twice as big as they were running by like chickens with their heads cut off?
We managed to avoid the long line at customs as the people ahead of us saw that we were out of breath and in dire need of catching our connecting flight. They let us skip them and as we threw our backpacks through the screener we waved and said thank you. I wonder if they even heard us. By that time, we were half way down the hall. Luckily, our gate was the first one at the end of the hall and we boarded the plane with 5 minutes to spare. All eyes were on us as we arrived breathless, disheveled and grinning from ear to ear. Success!