Terra americana

I’m back in the United States, currently in Minneapolis, after 21 hours of some of the most unpleasant travel I’ve ever experienced. I will never fly British Airways again because of their ranging-from-merely-inconsiderate-to-downright-rude customer service agents on the ground at Heathrow, the 2 1/2 hour departure delay due to the airline not completing its paperwork, the lack of preparations they made for people leaving customs 3 1/2 hours late (this due to a broken conveyor belt at baggage claim), and seeing stateside agents be rude to an elderly customer. Thanks to these delays, I missed my flight to Minneapolis and found almost nobody willing to help me–only willing to hand me off to other people equally unwilling and unable to help me.

Thank you Joseph B., a CSR who got me a limo service from JFK to LaGuardia for my Northwest flight to Minneapolis. He, the flight attendant Martin Gillespie, and the cashier at London Heathrow are the only truly polite and kind people I encountered. They were the only ones interested in helping me to find a customer-friendly solution to the flight delays (all of which were caused by their airline and not my actions). In fact, for once in my life, I was at the airport far earlier than was required, a full three hours with online check-in.

By the time I got to Minneapolis, I had been in transit for 21 hours– from London. This is about the same amount of time I needed to get from JFK to Bangalore, with a plane change in London. Unreal. I was grumpy and exhausted, but some spicy chicken wings, with crunchy carrots and celery (my current biggest food cravings, ask Ruth), made me feel better. Then, a substantial night of sleep. I’m still groggy, I’m still not sure where I am when I wake up in the night–last night, I found myself wondering if I had to be up earlier for a train or a flight–but I was safely at my mom’s place, woken in the morning by Skeeter’s visit to my bedside. He sounds like an avant-garde cello concerto. It’s a nice wake-up call.

And I’m now at Dunn Bros. in St. Paul, the original one a few blocks from where I grew up. I pick up Enrique at the airport in an hour. Glad to have a quiet week in Minneapolis before I need to get another plane.

I’m catching up to email and such, and will get back to people later today…