Detained but Entertained: This was to be the day I would begin discovering my 48th country, but mechanical problems would delay that; arriving 3 minutes before my connecting flights departure in another terminal did not permit me time to re-plane. This is par for the course, the nature of travel. To pass the time I engaged with the people I encountered.
The morning started off with a taxi ride to the airport, the driver has lived in Canada for 37 years and has a son who works for Boeing, with landing gears, in Seattle. He complimented me on my coat, which I told him I had made in Morocco just a few months before. He was quite happy, he too was from Morocco, but had not been there for 10 years, when he took his daughter. I discussed with him how the friendliest people I have met, in the countries I have been, were from Rabat, which turned out to be his hometown. I provided further experiences I had in Morocco and he thanked me for the update, of his country. He spent time discussing with me the importance of American politics and his hopes, in that regard.
With the plane’s delay, I needed to send some emails and make calls to make sure those expecting me in Cuba, would know of my delay. In the meantime, a 4-year-old French speaking girls took an interest in my cameras. She appeared to have some life challenges but was delightful. It came time for boarding, and families went first, causing the early departure of my new buddy. I was in the last group to be seated, and ended up being seated next to the girl’s mothers and younger sister (2-years-old).
Instead, of fretting about my making my connection. The 2-year-old and I made a connection, at her age her French is better than mine. We engaged in various activities, as her mom and dad cared for her younger brother and older sister. She had coloring pens, and I tried to name their colors in French as she took them to color. It was a wonderful way to pass the 5 hours of flight and not worry about connections or not connections to come. I said good bye to my new friends Stefan, Patricia, Jasmine, Flor and Laurent, to see if I could make the distance to my flight in another terminal in less than 3 minutes.
It was not to be, but as I left the plane, my emails must have had an impact. I was told that the airline’s main office had called and I was to be taken care of. I have a room in a nice hotel, unlimited meals until I depart and first choice on my seat to Cuba the next day. My escorts Hector and Eduardo were of great help in getting me settled for the night. (There was a taxi driver who was assuring me he could do better for me than the airline. When I told him not to worry I was already taken care of and what the airline was going for me was, “They do all of that?” and I said, ‘Si Senor.’