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I grumble therefore I am

I'm almost back in Chile, currently in JFK airport with a 4.5 hour wait before my next flight. So it's time for travel griping.

Huh, that almost sounds like Dido on the airport music. Sounds like the Dawson Creek song.

4.5 hours... feels like I could almost go into NY and get a bus to Boston in this time. But then I'd have to haul my big bag around and pay more money, and I've already checked that bag. Oh well, I'd likely just be on my laptop a lot once I got home, I can do that here.

Overall I have nothing to gripe about; nothing's gone wrong on the flights, my checked luggage made it from La Serena to NYC fine even though two separate tickets were involved, I had an empty seat next to me on the long plane, etc. But my Zen masterhood while I lose games repeatedly turns into close-grained nitpicking for travel annoyances. I suppose that's actually rational: someone has to lose a game, while there's no need for the inefficiencies I observe. Not that everything here is grumbling, some is observation, I'm sure you can figure out which is which.

1) I was getting the popular 1815 flight out of La Serena, and the checked luggage line was slooowww. I worried about making my flight but S noted this was The Flight and it wasn't leaving without the line. I timed: I spent 10 minutes in one place. OTOH, they printed my boarding pass to NYC and checked my luggage, pretty quickly too, so yay. Didn't get the NYC-BOS ticket and I didn't taken up S's offer to try to squeeze it out of them.

2) Previously in leaving Santiago for the US, there's been a surprise luggage screening between the ramp and the plane, X-raying everything and throwing out liquids. Last time a guy threw out my empty water bottle; I'm still bitter. This time general international screening had a separate line for USA people, with shoe screening and liquid disposal, so I figured they'd smartened up and I could take my refilled bottle onto the plane.

Nooooo, there's still a surprise check. No X-ray machine, just gloved women molesting our luggage for liquids. WTF. I don't know if this is the USA being insane or SCL being schizoid, e.g. having started doing X but not stopped doing Y. But they took the X-ray out, so they did change...

S points out on Skypechat that with separate lines you could pick up Dangerous Liquids from someone going elsewhere who didn't go through the USA line. I guess that sort of makes sense, given the premises. But no, then I realize that I could also have swapped footwear with such a passenger too.

I found power outlets in an obscure place, via checking the magazine; it's possible that my previous flight did too, and I just didn't look down far enough. I accidentally put seat entertainment machine ended up in Portuguese and there was no way to reset that. I was happy to listen to Bach all flight anyway, but the sound stopped working after dinner. Not sure if that was me or everyone, but I tried spare headphones and the adjacent seat too.

Dinner and breakfast were decent, though my Subway Italiano BMT was better than the breakfast sandwich. The usual free wine, metal tableware, and lots of water, and I accidentally discovered middle of the night snacks too when I went back.

Four hours of sleep I think, not quite a record for me. Yeah I'm getting punch-drunk.

Gotta wonder why no cell phones or cameras around the *baggage carousel*. I associate security paranoia about civilian cameras with soldiers in African dictatorships.
JFK has Boingo Hotspot Internet. At first I thought it was free, because Google (Search, Reader, probably Mail) worked, but nothing else does, so I'm back to tethering.
JFK Dasani liter water bottle was $4.35. Ripoff.
The water fountains have low pressure, and one didn't work period.

Scanners are millimeter, not backscatter; the guard said they'd trashed all the backscatter ones. I wonder if that's nationwide already. (G says no but soon.) I also got my ribs patted down afterwards, lending support to online claims that these fancy-ass scanners can't find a knife taped to your side.

That's all I can come up with. I'm getting mellow.

Oh wait! The airplane locator map on LAN. The map itself was actually quite neat, with the usual satellite coloring (green vs. desert) and even ocean topography (continental shelfs.) But it kept claiming that the outside temperature was -21 F and -53 C. It also kept claiming that the time in Santiago was one hour ahead of NYC, which would be true if you ignore daylight savings. It was giving the right NY time but the wrong Santiago time, which seems odd for a Chilean plane.

Very much #firstworldproblems

By way of some sort of contrast, I left my spare cash as a tip for the maid; I think it amounts to 3.5 days' wages for her.

Also it's -14 C in Cambridge, which I'm not even calibrated for. Calculations show that's 7 F which is way too cold and I have no scarf. Or probably warm enough layers. Well, only need to be outside for 7 minutes...

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Damien Sullivan

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January 2019


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