I’ve never flown from Santiago to Toronto, just Toronto to Santiago, twice. Let me tell you that the flight back was longer, hotter and even more boring. To be fair, that could be because the electricity in my seat stopped working and I had no light (so no reading that romance novel I bought from the musty back room at a bookstore in Santiago) and no personal entertainment system for the entire 11.5 hours. Things got hairy when the young Argentine woman next to me fell asleep and her head fell on my shoulder. The first time I flicked her off like a tiny bug and her forehead fell and hit the armrest. The second time, something maternal came over me and I sat there for an hour while she drooled on my coat… I’m going to be a kick ass mom!
In all, in spite of the lack of my tiny personal entertainment system, the flight wasn’t bad. I even ate the food!
I had to go through U.S. customs in Toronto which I wasn’t expecting. I wasn’t aware that Canada had a pre-clearance act with the United States, but we had to picked up our suitcases and declare their content just like any point of entrance in the U.S. I waited an hour for mine. Finally, I walked up to the Air Canada desk and asked, “After how long can I assume my suitcase has been lost?”
“Don’t worry ma’am. Sometimes it takes up to 40 minutes,” the employee responded with a confident, albeit slightly smug, grin.
I asked if 65 was the new 40.
My wayward suitcase had been sent to the wrong carousel because the tag got too crumpled to read. They brought it to be on the freight elevator and I was on my way. I filled out an actual U.S. customs form and got my passport and ticket stamped by a legit U.S. border patrol agent who asked me if Chileans were really loud and like to get into your personal space (no to the former, yes to the latter).
While I was waiting for my flight, a woman who reminded me very much of my white-haired grandmother came up to me with an iPad. She asked me where I was traveling from. I said Santiago. She asked me if I lived in Santiago, and I replied that I did. She then rubbed her hands together excitedly and asked if she could give me an official Canadian Tourism Board survey and I could answer it like I was Chilean. “It’s so hard to find people from Santiago!” I did. I am now, Sara resident Chilean survey taker. All real Chileans feel free to do that head wag thing you do.
A short later and I was on my way to Minneapolis, with another malfunctioning little TV. Damn you, Mercury in retrograde!
My brother picked me up from the airport with a spoon and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy. I kid you not. I was so happy to see it, I almost cried.
Despite being exhausted, I couldn’t sleep a wink yesterday afternoon. Instead, I went shopping for baby clothes with my mom. We took advantage of the close parking.
Tomorrow morning, I have a doctor’s appointment to see what’s up once and for all with this placenta. Wish me luck!