Damn You, Taca Airlines, I Just Want to Sleep

San Francisco Travel Blog

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Highlights of Central America Death Tour: Panama City

My bag survived the cross-country bandit bus to Flores. My bag survived being strapped to the top of the chicken-van winding up unpaved roads to Belize. My bag survived the unlockable hostel room in Panama City, the hooker hotel in San Jose and the roach motel in San Ignacio. My bag survived 5 hours in the janitor's closet in Tikal, the flying greyhound bus that was the flight to Bocas Del Toro, and being toted around numerous neighbourhoods with LP warnings for bag slashers.

My bag was not waiting for me at the baggage carosel in San Francisco.

We had spent way too long in the Belize City Airport, spent endless hours on two flights back via San Salvador and arrived in SFO past midnight.

Highlights of Central America Death Tour: La Fortuna
 Now, I never check bags and only did so this time because I had bought a hammock in Antigua that I was pretty sure Taca wouldn't let me on with in addition to a big backpack. Annoyed at the concept of waiting for baggage, I decide to go pick up dinner while we wait. The airport was empty except for a couple of seurity gaurds. I figure they might know where the open food court was, so I walk toward them. Only obstacle in my way is one of those little rope barriers they use to form lines with, so I step over it. All hell breaks loose. Apparently that rope barrier is the official US border, and I've just snuck in illegally. I get yelled at by a security guard who obviously gets a kick out of his authority manning the late night SFO baggage carosel and get sent back to wait for my bag in shame and hunger.
Highlights of Central America Death Tour: Tikal

All the bags clear. Everyone is gone except me and Atousa. Yup, they lost our bags. Both our bags and only our bags. We file our reports, Atousa gets picked up by her boyfriend and I'm left to take a cab home. This is when I realize my house keys are tucked safely into the bottom of my bag, where it can't get stolen by bag slashers. DAMMIT.

I tell this to the cab driver who immediately starts trying to sell me on the idea of spending the night at his buddy's cheap hotel. He starts driving the wrong way. I see a giant cab fare to Chinatown in my near future if I don't get out now. Oh good, there's the Dover Club. I tell him to stop and I just get out with my hammock and stumble into the bar. Dee takes pity on me and gives me a free drink. It's last call and I walk home.

Highlights of Central America Death Tour: Caye Caulker
I ring the manager, but as expected, she's asleep and no one answers. I ring some more random doors, feeling bad for possibly waking people, but hoping someone will buzz me in. No one answers. Great.

I walk to the back of the building and yell at the 3rd story window with the light on. No one answers. I hear someone talking about me in the building behind me. I'm not drunk, I swear. I walk to the front and yell at a 2nd story window with the light on. No one answers, but someone turns off the light. DAMMIT.

My outside windows are open, as usual, and there's a tree that almost reaches up there. I climb on a truck and try to climb the tree, but I'm exhausted and I can't pull myself up to the second branch. Some girls are walking down the street and I ask them the weirdest question ever: "Will you help me break into my own house? I just need a boost" Luckily, they're totally nice and the tall one offers to go up the tree herself.

I need a drink
She gets up the tree, breaking a branch in the process, but it's actually too short to reach the window. DAMMIT.

I try ringing some more random doors. This time, someone actually buzzes me in. Success! They're very nice and say I didn't wake them at all and assure me they would have done the same thing in my situation. Next step: getting into my apartment.

The door's locked, and for once, I've actually locked the kitchen window that faces the hallway. That only leaves the tiny bathroom window. It's over 5 feet off the ground (I'm 5'2) and about a foot and a half wide in each direction. Sigh.

Long story short, I shoved myself through the window, head first, feet dangling in the apartment building common space, hoping that somewhere in my bloodline there might be one Chinese acrobat/contortionist.

Good times, good times.

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I need a drink
I need a drink