What a nightmare………..
The airport was packed with everyone flying home to somewhere. Mostly Americans like me that would like to live in Costa Rica or move to Costa Rica permanently.
I got to the airport at 5:00am
My flight leaves at 6:55
2 hours… not problem… right?
I had to pay $30 extra for the big black box but I knew that before I left the resort community I was staying at down near the Osa Peninsula.
I waited through a huge line in security but then they saw duck tape, a tape measure, my mattress pump, two diamond grinder wheels and the small Makita grinder in my carry on. They/I broke the zipper getting it open and then they told me that I could not bring any of the above onto the plane. I told them I flew down with it from the US. “Does not matter” I am told. Living in Costa Rica the rules are different, you can’t take these things on board.
Now I have an hour left.
I have to go back and have the bag plastic wrapped to keep it closed ($12.00) then I cut to the front of the ticket line and tell them I need to ship the whole carry on. A third bag is $150.00.
I say nicely to the Tico lady at the ticket counter… “you have to be kidding me”. “I could have put these things into my green bag because it was under weight”. The black box weighted 50.5lbs and I didn’t weigh it ahead of time at the hotel because I had no scale. I got lucky there and they let it go. She feels very bad for me after I explain to her what happened. She then calls down to the baggage handler at the plane and asks them if they can get my green bag. “No it is already on the plane”. She calls again and she thinks we have enough time to get the bag off the plane and she will walk with me and get security to let me into the baggage claim area where you arrive in CR. I will then have to go through customs to get the bag back out, go across the street and back upstairs to the ticket counter with that bag and then take the illegal stuff out of the carry on and put it into the green duffle… then back through security and try to catch the plane I will go. She says, “I think we can do it!”
So she goes the back way. I have to go outside, down a flight of stairs to the arrival area, cross the street and wait for her and security. She shows up about 5 minutes later and she walks me to the oversize baggage area and we wait. 10 minutes go by and still no bag. It’s now 40 minutes to departure. She goes to call the guys outside. They found the bag (both of them… we only wanted one) and it is now coming in on the conveyor belt. She grabs a cart, I throw both bags on the cart and we run to customs. She gets customs to waive any review of the baggage.
We now go outside where we catch the taxi’s but we cannot take the cart across the street. She radios for a helper to help with the baggage. She takes off for the ticket counter and I follow the baggage guy to an elevator, go upstairs and cut to the front of the ticket line again. I now have to open up the shrink wrap on the carry on bag I had wrapped, get the illegal stuff out and put it into the green bag. After all of this now the green bag weighs too much! 5lbs to heavy. Nothing can come out except all the plastic bags of liquids and cosmetics. I throw the mouthwash and eye cleaner away… too much liquid to pass through security but now the carry on bag has to be re-wrapped because the zipper is still broken. A baggage handler at the ticket counter takes the bag and runs it back outside to the shrink wrappers, they re-wrap it for free and I then grab my passport, computer, and carry on and run to security and get in a bigger line than an hour ago… no way… I will not make it! The lady who took me downstairs now appears from nowhere and opens up the security chain and says, “you won’t make it…..come with me”. She takes me to the front of the line that checks the passports and then puts me at the head of the line with the conveyor x-ray machine. I strip down again, watch, belt, phone etc. The guy is looking at the machine and again stops it on the carry on bag. By this time the nice lady has finally left. These were, by the way, now different inspectors. The guy asks me what is in the bag. I tell him a tent, shoes and some other stuff, I have no idea what is in it by this time! He says, is there a “motor”. Oh crap, I forgot to take out the air pump. What the Hxxx? This is turning into something like the adventure tours I took last time I was down, only faster paced.
So he now cuts open the shrink wrap to get at the pump. He sees it, I turn it on. His eyes light up like, gee…. this is cool. He then takes the bag back through the machine and runs it again. He then lets me take the bag now half ripped opened in shrink wrap (looking like trailer trash now) and I grab the pump, try to stuff back in the shoes but the pump won’t fit so I shove it into my computer pack along with all of the cosmetics etc.
I now start running to gate 5. Luckily for me it was the closest gate and they were still boarding (5 minutes to spare). I then strike up a conversation, dripping in sweat, with a lady who drops her ticket without knowing it. I pick it up for her. I’m then talking to her about swimming pools and the eco-smarte system as we are waiting on the loading ramp. I’m virtually the last person on a full plane and I’m in the back of the bus all the way to the end. I then tell the guy at the front of the bus to check the carry on in the hull so I don’t have to hassle with it. He says, “oh there is room right there in the ‘first class’ overhead bin.”
So all of these up-tight “first classers” see me toss my shrink wrapped bag with shoes hanging out next to their Christian Dior luggage. Then as I bend over to pick up my computer out of my passport neck bag falls $4,000 in large bills, the lady behind me sees it and picks it up saying, “now we are even”. I walk to the back of the bus and sit down.
The lady at the ticket counter and the baggage handlers are why I want to move to CR. Can you imagine anyone in the US even for a second doing all of this? I felt bad, I had no small bills and did not have time to tip anyone, oh well… next time.
Just another story to go along with thousands of others… I feel blessed that I am moving to the Osa Mountain Village Resort Community.