Years of dreaming. Week and months of detailed planning. Tuesday night my flight left New Jersey for South America. A one-way ticket with a connection in Bogota had been secured for a very reasonable 20k frequent flier miles. There was a little action at Gate 103, Newark International. A man’s name had been called on the public address system and when he approached the counter a small group of undercover cops pulled him aside, then led him away. A wanted man was caught trying to leave/flee the country. I don’t think the commotion added to what turned into a 90-minute delay in taking off. A 3-hour connection window in Bogota, Colombia, lay ahead. No need for concern given the seemly comfortable connection buffer.
Going through security in Bogota, pointy-tip tweezers and tiny fingernail scissors were confiscated. Colombia has a past of aviation violence, therefore no security risk, even a small one, is tolerated. Picture me approaching a pilot or steward with the threat, “Take me to Cuba or I will give you a bad manicure!”
After reaching the Avianca gate I remembered the four Apple Air Tags are in my travel bag of tricks. These tiny wonders of modern technology are assigned to track and inform me of the location of my keys, the new motorcycle (to be installed soon), the backpack which could go missing and importantly my checked luggage. Before boarding the Avianca plane I spoke with the gate agents to confirm that my bags would be transferred from the United to the Avianca plane. Yes, was the confident reply. Sitting on the plane the AirTag in the checked bag containing laboriously selected tools, tent, hammock, sleeping bag, and blah, blah, blah was a far distance away, and being loaded on the plane was not looking promising. After consulting twice with the crew and 10-15 minutes before departure, the crew advised me that my tie key bag wasn’t going to make it on this flight and I could get off the plane…after my seat was checked by security. I wasn’t leaving my bag in Bogota with the hope and prayer it would get to Lima, so I gathered my stuff and went back to the terminal.
What happened? The 90-minute delay leaving Newark, NJ, reduced a 3-hour connection window to transfer bags to 90-minutes. The reduced window was the explanation (a.k.a. excuse) offered for not getting my transferring bag on the connecting flight. Avianca generously assigned blame to United Airlines. The upshot, Avianca re-ticketed me for an afternoon flight, and Copa Airlines, a partner of United, let me use the lounge for 6-7 hours.
My Lima plans for the day were quite different from how the day unfolded. Arrangements were in place to get a day room in Lima at a simple hotel in the center, freshen up, take a nap after a redeye, and store my bags, then spend the afternoon re-visiting the contemporary art museum Museo de Arte de Lima (Museo de Arte de Lima - MALI) and getting a bite to eat to Al Toke Pez, the amazing hole in the wall celebrated on Netflix Street Food Latin America.
Al Toke Pez photos from 2021
The plan was replaced with trying unsuccessfully to nap in the Copa Club lounge (Bogota) and addressing assorted logistics and quality time wasted surfing news websites and social media. So sad. My updated literary is to go from the Lima airport to a night bus. With the energy-sapping redeye flight, I am sure to sleep well on the 170-degree reclining, nearly lay-flat seats, on the night bus. The trip is not off to a stellar start. It could be worst and on the bright side, I’m in South America again. =)
Flying from Bogota to Lima...