Friday, January 14, 2022

Home and still Negative

 I pride myself on being a very positive person, but right now - Negative is the way to be! We've been home 3 days and just took a home Covid test and both of us tested negative! Yay.

How we got here ...

OAT arranged for a driver to take us to the airport.  It's about 45 minutes from where we were in San Salvador to the airport and we had a delightful conversation the whole way. Our driver was El Salvadoran, but he lived for 20 years in Canada - Edmonton, Alberta no less! Aha! that's why his English was so good. He told us about how he messed up with getting Canadian citizenship because he came back to El Salvador for a visit and stayed just a bit too long. He forgot to read the fine print! Weatherwise - he's certainly better off where he is now, on the Pacific coast of El Salvador running a small business. A hostel for tourists in El Sunzal.  

The airport was a busy place! Everyone, and I do mean everyone, was wearing a mask. There were extra airline employees greeting passengers at the door, guiding them to the correct line, and checking their vaccination cards and Covid-19 results. I'm so glad I thought to get the hotel to print our results out so it was easier to show them.

They were very friendly and efficient getting us checked in, but then we had a problem. The lady at the ticket counter handed us our boarding passes and said, "Gate 6." We looked around and saw no signs for gates. If we walked to the right, it only led to doors outside, so we went left. No signs. We went upstairs - no signs. We just kept following open corridors and ended up in a kind of food court, but no sign of security or gates. So we went back downstairs. We asked someone for directions and they tried to send us back to the ticketing area - no, we have our boarding passes ... WHERE IS GATE 6?

We ended up going outside and starting over again! In the doors by American airlines, take a left and go upstairs. We then noticed a small sign that said "Passenger pre-check" - well, that sounds like security, but there was no line?!? Yep, that was where we needed to go. Take off your shoes, everything out of your pockets, laptop out of your bag etc. etc. I was called aside and they took me and my belt bag to a separate room - oh sh*t - I forgot to take my swiss army knife out of my personal bag and pack it in the checked bag. So, they confiscated it. Oh well, my fault.

We're on our way to Gate 6. I really want a beer. That's our standard airport routine: we make it thru security, find our gate, then find a beer - or if it's morning we get a bloody mary! But, no .. when we found our gate we had to go thru another security - take off your shoes, everything out of your pockets, laptop out of your bag etc. etc. I was called aside this time because my boarding pass had the secret code that identified me as a winner of the special treatment club. They swabbed my palms with some kind of test paper looking for explosives? or drugs? I don't know, but I passed and we could now find a seat to wait for our flight. We still had nearly 2 hours but could not leave our gate in search of food or drink. Oh the horror!

Really, no big deal. We finally boarded the flight, I got a a window seat again and enjoyed seeing the Pacific ocean, then farmland, giving way to mountains further inland and soon I was seeing the Caribbean and Honduras where I've been diving at Roatan. 

Before Jim's movie had even finished, we were landing in Miami. 

Speaking of movies ... things are different from the last time we flew just a few years ago. In 2019, when we flew to Australia, the plane had a sophisticated touch-screen on the back of every seat! This time there were no screens at all. Not in the back of seats, not dropping down from the overhead, NO screens. They assume that every one of us has our own screens - phones or tablets. The plane has an entertainment server with a local Wi-Fi. So, what you do is connect your phone to their server via free Wi-Fi (no Internet, just a connection to their entertainment). The airlines must be saving a ton of money this way!

The space where the fancy touchscreen monitor used to be 

We disembarked in Miami, sailed thru customs with my Global Entry credentials and Jim's Mobile Passport app. We found our bags in short order, made our way to Tri-Rail and got off at the Cypress Creek station where Devon picked us up and took us home.

Yes - we're glad to be home.

Home Covid Test

Oh ... after we got our luggage and were on our way we passed some people from the CDC who were handing out free Home Covid tests. They said we should take them in 3 days. That was today. 

How interesting ...

The kit includes a swab, a dropper of testing fluid, and a tester - and lots of instructions. You need to have a smartphone because the whole thing runs over bluetooth with the special app. What blows me away is how nothing on the package makes it clear that you need a smartphone - it just assumes that everyone has one! The instructions simply say, "Download and install this app" 

In any case, we both tested negative.  Life goes on.

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