Got myself down to Miami no problem on my standby ticket. Miami is a nice stopoff place on your way to Latin America - kind of ease yourself back into the language and culture...kind of like stopping in Hawaii on your way to Asia. Anyway, flying to Lima from Miami would prove to be a bit more difficult. Both flights were pretty full on my first day due to weight restrictions. I asked the ticket agents what the deal was with that and they acted like a lot of these people flying down to Peru were taking all sorts of stuff with them (refrigerators, farm animals, lol) so they couldn´t hold as many passengers. I was actually next in line to get on when the jet pulled back from the gate...but then the plane came back a minute later and dumped off 8 people. Ouch, gotta be rough to get your name called, get on the flight, have the plane leave the gate, and then return and kick you off.
It was already after midnight when I found out I´d missed the last flight to Lima...I was hoping some of the other standby passengers with family in the area would offer me their place, but no such luck. That kind of hospitality is hard to find in the States, although not at all uncommon in other places I´ve been. So I decided to spend the night at the airport and save myself some money. Saving myself some money is going to a determining factor in many decisions I´m going to make over the next few months...10 months without a paycheck and I´m starting to feel a bit of a squeeze. Anyway, luckily I´ve spent some time at MIA before so I was familiar with a quiet place with some benches (3rd floor, Concourse J for anyone who is curious). that might serve my purpose...certainly didn´t want to try to sleep in the ´anti-sleep chairs´ they have at airports and I refuse to sleep on the floor even if it is carpeted.
I probably managed to scratch together an hour or two of sleep throughout the night as I turned over every 20 minutes or so when my arm and shoulder began to throb after falling asleep (the arm and shoulder that is...not me). Rough night, but it´s amazing how even one hour is so much better than no sleep at all. At one point, I was woken when a man mopping floor tapped my bench. I felt like a vagrant, but then when you´re sleeping in a public place with all of your possessions by your side I reckon you are a vagrant.
Ended up spending 25 hours at the airport before I finally got a flight so it was a full day at the airport. Ended up deciding to bail on Lima as the flights were looking pretty full...so now I´m here in Quito. Other than the many phone conversations I had with friends and family probably the best feeling of the day was when I shaved. I managed to drag the shaving out into a 15 minute affair, which gave me a real sense of achievement when I realized I was that much closer to leaving.