So as many of you know, our flight from Miami to Guatemala at the very beginning of the course was canceled, and we spend a frantic day and a half searching for alternative flights. Our incredible Lauren had tirelessly worked on finding 35 last minute seats on a plane to Guatemala, while simultaneously working on finding our checked bags, and dealking with 11 cranky teenagers (please give her a round of applause). I felt like reminiscing on one particular moment of the debacle that we dubbed the Great Chili´s Run.
As it was lunchtime on that day at the airport, Lauren decided to start orientation in the Miami Airport and gave us a group bonding activity: we were given a hundred dollar bill, and asked to find a place for lunch for all 11 of us (no easy feat, especially considering expensive airport food, 18% group tip, and tax). We eventually settled on Chili´s, frankly more because it was close than because it had cheap food.
The Waiter (yes, this gem of a human being deserves a capital letter) came over as we were arguing about splitting food and menu prices. He was not even fazed at our request to speak in Spanish with him, even as we stumbled over broken sentences and contradicted each other. He patiently noted our orders down, and even supplied us with missing Spanish vocabulary!
Just as he started bringing out the food, I got a call from Lauren, who informed me that: “WE GOT A FLIGHT!!!” and asked us to run over to the hotel lobby “as fast as possible.” I, panicked, asked the Waiter (*as he was bringing out plates of food!!!*) for 11 takeout boxes and the check. He provided these last minute items and watched our frantic shoveling of the food into the boxes, shoving of bills, and rapid packing with bemusement. After thanking him profusely and paying, we sprinted out the door of Chili´s to our awaiting flight.
What ensued was very nearly utter chaos. We called the chaperones and were called by the chaperones too many times to count. Each time, they informed us of a new destination we needed to get to asap. We ran first to the hotel lobby, a good five minutes away, then to the hotel´s 7th floor, then back down to the lobby, then to baggage claim, then to the baggage claim help desk, then to bag check ins, then finally to the Avianca desk, where we met up with groups A and C waiting in line for customer service. We finally, finally, sat down and ate our Chili´s food at 2:00.
And then it turns out the tickets for that flight never existed. The sum of money from Dragons through to the airline was way too big and too last minute, and it set off all of the alarms. We had a reservation, but no tickets.
And that was but one of many hijinks of the Miami Airport. Thank you for reading!
P.S.: Written safely from Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.