Sunday, February 17, 2008

Avianca...the Colombian national airline off to a bit of a rough start here in Caracas since our flight was 3 hours late. We left the gate late as many people (including ourselves) were late getting onto the plane since security was horribly backed up. Security seemed a pretty disorganized mess with metal detectors not functioning and travelers forming their own lines to jump the other lines.

But we finally left the gate about 40 minutes late. Proceeded to taxi around on the runway for about an hour. The pilot seemed to enjoy doing brake checks as he kept slamming them on every few minutes for no apparent reason. Finally, the jerk came over the intercom to tell us that since we had taxied for so long we now had to return to the gate to refuel. Hard to believe that they would burn enough fuel taxiing to have to refuel...the theory of the Scandinavian fellow next to me was that they had left the tanks as empty as possible in order to show up in Ven with little extra fuel...gas being riduculously cheap here (costs about $1.50 to fill the tank of the average car here...and that is at the official rate). That same guy yelled out in English at one of the flight attendants calling him a piece of shit as the flight attendant tried to move his garment bag a little further beneath the seat. It is funny how you will say things in a language that is not your native tongue things that you would never say in your own language...I have experienced this myself, although in an entirely different context... He was pretty angry though, maybe he would have said that anyway.

At any rate, it was amusing seeing how angry he kept getting...people would have their phones ring for awhile before answering and he would get flustered. People starting singing in the back of aircraft and that pissed him off. Oh, and the little beep noise that they make when they hit the ´fasten seat belts´ button kept going off repeatedly like a damn slot machine that just hit jackpot. He loved that. So did I. As we were dying of thirst waiting for takeoff the flight attendant yanked the curtains shut right in front of him leaving the curtain on his foot (we were in the front row of coach) and then immediately after we hear what sounds like a party going on first class. Felt like a Seinfeld episode. Gotta love the dichotomy between the serious Western businessman and the locals singing and laughing during the delay.

Yes, Avianca, they run a tight we finally touched down we could hear the sound of dishes breaking in first class.

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