Pack, Shave, Panic
Portland, United States
This morning I reviewed the final contents of my backpack. The piles of belongings stretched from my pack and sprawled across the floor—it was organized chaos.
I was trying so hard to keep my pack light, but it's amazing how fast things can add up (both in volume and weight). A handful of batteries here, a bottle of DEET lotion there, and before you know it you're up to a 35 pound monster stuffed to the brim. Thank goodness my backpack is on the smaller side (59 liters). I have no doubt that I'll discard at least 5 pounds of pack weight before I end up leaving Puerto Rico.
Speaking of Puerto Rico, I ended up booking accommodations for $22 a night at a hostel in the surfing town on Rincon, located in the northwest part of the island. I've decided to (tentatively) stay there into the New Year. What's going to be interesting is figuring out how I'm going to get there from San Juan, which is 100 miles away on the others side of the island. I'm seriously thinking about asking the flight attendant to ping the cabin and ask if anyone is going to west coast.
Hair No More
One of the things I really wanted to leave behind from my domestic lifestyle was fussing with my hair. Frankly, I didn't want to have to deal with it after long transports (bus/plane/train/etc.) or pack the products to keep it in check.
My brother Glenn was tasked last night with the honors of chopping my hair (which was over due for a trim anyways) into oblivion. We had a pretty good time doing it—and now I look like an escaped mental patient (which is almost fitting with what I'm about to embark on).
I was in the middle of tearing down and packing up my apartment about a week ago when I received a call from Delta Airlines—never a good sign. Delta had decided to cancel one of my flights east, and the itinerary I had booked earlier in the summer was no longer valid. The options they presented to me were lackluster at best: An eight hour layover at JFK, or take a morning flight out of Portland and get into San Juan in the middle of the night 17 hours later. Needless to say, I wasn't very happy.
Delta informed me that I could ask for the price of my non-refundable ticket to be returned to me if I found alternate arrangements elsewhere that were more to my liking. But at less than two weeks before my trip I knew I would be hard pressed to find a fare close to the $260 that I had paid months before.
Hurriedly, I started scouring for new flights. Amazingly in the midst of a sea of $500–800 one-way fares I found a single $270 itinerary that fit perfectly. The flight was booked, Delta was called, funds were returned, and all was well… or so I thought.
An Expensive Mistake
I had just finished checking into my flight on the Continental Airlines Web site when my dad and I were discussing the printout of my itinerary. We were adding up the flight times and the time zone changes, trying to figure out what time I would arrive Portland time. Dad said something wasn't adding up—insisting there was a missing hour in our conversion that wasn't being accounted for. Then he noticed it: I was scheduled to depart at 11:50 tonight… from PHOENIX! [insert several choice explicatives and a laugh here]
In the rush of booking my Delta recovery flight, it seems I selected the airport code PHX (Phoenix) instead of PDX (Portland). Yeesh. Amazingly, this itinerary had been hanging on the refrigerator for a week now, but no one had noticed.
We priced out a quick flight to Phoenix from Portland to see if I could make my flight, but it was apparent that it would just be simpler to call Continental and see what could be done. I called, and after having a good laugh with the Continental agent, she found a flight from Portland to Newark departing earlier in the evening (just a few hours from now) where I could pick up my original flight from Newark to San Juan. She was nice enough to waive the $25 ticket change fee, but I was still left with a lovely $275 fare to Newark to cover.