See Us Eye Miami

Trip Start Sep 22, 2012
1
7
12
Trip End Oct 21, 2012


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Flag of United States  , Florida
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ah, the joys of staff travel! Sometimes I wonder whether it's worth paying only 10% for airfares, when the whole process ages you badly. After our horrid 4.40am wake up, we dressed and went downstairs for breakfast before our airport pick-up. Fortunately, since the majority of tourists to Cusco come for sunrise moments and Inca trails at Machu Picchu, most hotels serve breakfast from about 4 or 5 am. We didn't get to breakfast as early as we'd liked though, as the hotel was a complete labyrinth, meaning it took us about 10 minutes just to find the dining room.

When we arrived at Cusco airport, the place was in chaos. Our first flight of the day was already oversold, as were all the flights until 10.30am! Since our connecting flight to Miami was departing from Lima at 12.45, we did a rare thing and bought a full fare ticket with Taca, the El Salvadorian (crikey!) airline. As it turned out, it was just as good as LAN, with a shiny new aeroplane and efficient cabin crew. The taxiing took forever though. I'd already read the inflight magazine, the entertainment guide and the duty free catalogue by the time we took off.

When we arrived in Lima airport, we went straight to the staff travel office and tried to check in, only to be told the flight to Miami was similarly oversold, and we were number 11 on the list. We were asked to come back at 11.30, so in the meantime I went to the American Airlines office enquiring about flights. They didn't have a flight until 10.30 pm, but the agent said we would get on the flight at that time.

When it came time to go back to the LAN office, all the other staff travellers were standing around looking similarly sad, desperate and anxious until we received the news we wanted to hear - we were on the flight! Getting to the flight was the harder part. After choosing the airport's slowest moving customs queue, I finally reached the counter, only to have the agent close her desk and walk off! When she finally came back, we headed to the gate.

We would have liked to spend our final Peruvian soles but weirdly, all the food stores near the boarding gates for the USA only took American dollars. Ted and I weren't sitting together on the flight but a kind word to the flight attendant resulted in myself sitting next to Ted, so he wouldn't have to sit next to the six foot tall, muscular, hot male model lookalike he would have been stuck next to for six hours.

All these flights on LAN we've done meant that I'd exhausted all the inflight entertainment, and was left watching Dora the Explorer and the Julia Roberts/Jennifer Aniston chick flick movie marathon. One good part was flying over Cuba and the Florida Keys which brought back memories of past holidays.

When we arrived in Miami, we unfortunately chose the immigration queue staffed by the airport's most obnoxious agent, who had us all waiting over an hour in line so he could send text messages whilst processing our documentation. After collecting our bags, our taxi driver conveniently missed the exit and went the long way. The hotel was worth it - it's one of the best, with everything you need.

Our good friends Sean and Mike, the Southwest airlines pilots who we visit tomorrow were on TV tonight, on a program called "House Hunters". The premise, on the Home and Garden network, involves a couple who are shown three houses and then choose one. Since we were starving and didn't want to miss the show, we compromised by walking to a nearby sports bar, and asking them to change the channel - even though the sports were on! It was great to watch, I think we are converts to the show.

What a relief being in the USA - now that we're in Miami, we won't have to worry about having to speak Spanish any more (or do we?). Tomorrow we fly to Dallas for a few days to kickback with Sean and Mike. After our frantic South America schedule, it will be great to enjoy the savours of the USA!
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