Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Despite the deafening silence on this blog in recent weeks, I have not fallen off the earth, as some may have supposed. In fact, as many of you know, I survived the end of the semester with only an incomplete to add to my collection. The number of students who hate me personally is probably countable on a single hand, and the number who hate linguistics is quite possibly less than the number who like it.

So I'm in Recife now, at my sister's house, com a meu papai, a mea mamai, as meas hirmãas e a meu hirmão menhor. My older brother and Elsiene will be joining us again in a couple days so we can have Christmas. We spent the beginning of last week at the house of Elsiene's parents, hanging out with them and her cousins. There was also a wedding. Then the end of last week we spent at Porto de Galinhas, a little beach resort just south of here. More about each of these will be forthcoming, but this post is about traveling.

I arrived at the house of Elsiene's parents about 40 hours after leaving SD. Splitting lanes from SD to Oceanside and from Irvine to Buena Park, I made the drive in 3 hrs in Friday evening traffic when without traffic it takes 2. After repacking and getting dinner, Pinker's friend drove us to LAX, arriving about 9:00. There were lines all over. Pinker asked the man tending one of the lines what his line was for.

"It's the same as inside."

Apparently all the lines were the same. So we got in the one outside. When we got to the front of the line, we gave the guy our passports. He checks them in his machine and asks, "Thomas?"


"Are you Thomas?"

We both respond that no, we are not Thomas.

Holding up Timothy's passport, "You will have to go inside. This passport requires special handling." He pointed us to line number 19.

After getting to the front of the line we found a machine for automatic check-in. After poking around and asking around, we found that by scanning my credit card it would read my name and find my ticket info. After doing so, I was told that since my itinerary included international travel, I would have to see an agent. The agent that came by told us that for international checkin, we should have gotten in the blue line, the one marked "Domestic Checkin". So we got in that line. Standing in that line, I got out the info I had on my itinerary, and discovered that the flight was due to depart at 10:00 rather than 11:20 as it said on the printed ticket. What time was it now? 10:08. Oh. A man came by and told us to go over to a fourth line and we could get it straightened out.

By this time Pinker and I were both quite frustrated. Thus, Pinkerton was mad and I was discouraged. The next 3.5 hours passed in somewhat of a blur, but it involved a fair amount of standing in line, standing at the counter, Timothy demanding that Delta do something to straighten this out, and me sitting on the floor against a post. I think it also involved being told to go back to the long Domestic Checkin line, but we didn't. In the end, they were able to get my ticket fixed through to Sao Paulo, but Pinker would have to get his fixed in the morning since he had an e-ticket and the international flight was a different airline. I was convinced that the Delta people had been quite helpful, but Pinker thought they were still being less than forthright with their promises to help. We were told to come back in the morning and go to the line marked "Domestic Checkin". We spent the night in the Bradley Terminal, talking philosophy, sleeping uncomfortably, and splitting a Haagendasz ice cream and coffee for breakfast.

We returned to the Domestic Checkin at the Delta terminal, and the guy guarding the entrance to that line informed us that we should go down to the international checkin down the hall. Dubiously, we proceeded through that line, and he proved correct. Checking our bags we were redirected yet again, but we eventually made it onto an airplane, almost 12 hours after getting to the airport.

The flight to NYC, the NYC airport and the flight to Sao Paulo were fairly pleasant and uneventful. I read a lot. Pinker slept a lot. I must have slept a fair amount too.

The flight to Sao Paulo was an hour late, which meant we just missed the flight previously reserved for us. There proceeded another series of lines, a taxi ride across town for $45 to the other airport (which we paid for half in Euros, half in USD, since that's what we had), a rush through checkin, a run to the gate, and then another brief flight to Goiania. When we didn't show up on the earlier flight, Matthew guessed we were on this later flight, and met us at the little airport shortly after we arrived. This was Sunday afternoon, approximately 40 hours after I left San Diego.

Leaving Goiania was quite an ordeal as well. Everyone but Aileen and I left on a morning flight with one airline, while Aileen and I left in the evening with Varig. We were originally supposed to leave before them, but Varig canceled that flight. Five minutes after Elsiene's parents left Aileen and me at the airport, we found out that the flight was delayed. We camped out in the airport until it left later that night, putting us in Sao Paulo about midnight. Varig put us up in a nice hotel, since the connecting flight wasn't leaving until the morning. We packed into the hotel shuttle, ate dinner, slept several hours, ate breakfast, packed into the shuttle again, checked our luggage back in, and waited around while they delayed our flight again. By the time I arrived in Recife, I had spent more time in transit than I had hanging out in Goiania. But in transit, I got lots of time to read and to hangout with my brother and sister. Traveling is about the journey, not the destination, right?


the girl in the red hat said...

I think that you should avoid buying a computer. Your Chi is at outs with the universe.

Also, I didn't find the paper you thought might be at my houe. Also, Radioboy says you should come home now.

serapio said...

"Pinker" is *the* Pinker, also known as Patiunky, Pinkerton, Piunky, or my little brother. No relation to Steven Pinker.

caedmonstia said...

Who's that attractive young woman eating the fine foods? Now there's true beauty.