The flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to Miami was scheduled to depart at 08:30, so one would think boarding would begin at about 08:00; it started at 08:18. By 08:36 everyone was on board. Regardless, the door was not shut nor did we push back from the gate until 08:53. “We just completed the final paperwork”, was the explanation from the captain. Oh well.
About halfway through the flight, when I looked out the window I found myself feeling almost disoriented. Looking down at the ocean it was just as blue as the sky. In the distance was a small thin layer of clouds. They appeared to be at about our same altitude. Focusing on the clouds it was difficult to tell if we were flying upside down or right side up! It was beautiful though.
As we neared Miami, flying over and near the big island of the Bahamas, I was struck with how crystal blue the water was. It was a beautiful shade of turquoise.
Landing at 12:35, little did I know there was another travel surprise coming. Leaving the gate where the plane parked, one has to go up an escalator and then walk to immigration. When I got to the top of the escalator, in between me and the first moving sidewalk, there was a large crowd of people just standing there. I thought it was some kind of tour group, so I began to walk around. Then I noticed it was actually three lines. At the head of each line was a Customs and Border Patrol officer. They were checking everyone’s passport. I went back to the end of a line and waited my turn.
On my customs form I wrote that I had been to Guyana and Suriname on this trip out of the United States. When I handed my passport to the agent he did not look at it at first. He pulled out the customs form, looked at it and then at me. He asked why I had been to those two countries. As I began to answer his question he saw that my passport was a diplomatic passport. He immediately said, “Oh, never mind. Have a good day sir”. Off I went to immigration.
I passed through immigration and customs quickly. As I exited I found myself in Terminal H. I had to go to terminal D, but first I had to re-check my baggage and get my boarding passes. That all took about an hour. Luckily I had a three-hour lay over.
Of course my gate could not have been D2 or D3; it was D42! What a hike! When I got near the gate I had a quick chicken Caesar salad and waited to board.