Tico Tuesday: We’re Here in Costa Rica… Just Barely
We set out for Tamarindo, Costa Rica at 4:30 am yesterday morning. We had packed the car the evening before and the morning preparations went smoothly. The boys and I arrived at the Continental check-in counter at 4:50 am while Derek went to return our rental van – we had exchanged our rental car for a van for the trip to the airport (we had an opportunity to break our lease in October and we rented a car for the last three months).
We had done a web check-in so the document verification and bag check was quick. Derek arrived 5 minutes later and had his passport verified.
We proceeded to the very long security line with 65 minutes to spare. If you have ever been to the Ottawa airport, you know the lines are rarely long and the small airport means an easy flow to the gate.
I have never seen the line that long. Thirty minutes later, we arrived at the very long customs and immigration line. There was no way we would make our flight if we had to wait through the line. Fifteen minutes into our wait, I started getting nervous and wondering if the gate personnel might come looking for people. The young twenty-something in front of us was on the same flight and so were another half-dozen people in line. Twenty minutes into our wait, I decided I needed to act. I turned to Derek and said,”I can’t handle this. I’m gonna just barge through.”
I told the girl in front of us, “just follow us”.
In my best “Francoise voice” (my mom , Francoise, was never afraid to speak her mind when I was a kid and then it embarrassed me to no end. Now, I’m glad I learned from her – she’s mellowed some now and I would say that we are pretty much on par these days), I said loudly, “we have a 6:15 am flight and we need to go through – and we just started weaving our way through the line.
Someone stopped and us eventually, a guy who said he was on our flight. So I let him go ahead but I cut in front of everyone else. Another young woman made herself known too… and some others who had 6 am flights (which I’m assuming had long since departed).
We were probably the third or fourth group to get to the customs agent after my little performance. We would otherwise have been about thirtieth. We made it through and onto the plane along with the second young woman I mentioned. But the first girl who had been in front of us, who in deference to my helping her get through the line and to having small children, allowed us to go first. She must have had a slow customs officer because she did not make it onto the plane.
Of course, then we sat waiting for de-icing for 45 minutes.
So, 45 minutes on the runway and a 53 minute connection in the huge Newark airport made me less than optimistic.
The plane gods were on our side yesterday. We arrived, caught the bus to the other terminal and boarded the plane with just minutes to spare.
The bright side
- No waiting in the gate area
- DirectTV from Newark to Liberia, CR
- Sweet, well-behaved children who understood that we were adding excitement to our adventure
The down side
- No food except granola bars which the boys kept refusing, the breakfast snacks for purchase on board which almost all contained nuts or looked unappetizing; we survived from 3:50 am to 3 pm on candy, Pringles, Two-Bite Cinnamon Rolls, and juice.
- Slightly higher parental stress though Derek and I both had a “what shall be, shall be” attitude throughout
- Quick connection = no luggage; still waiting. We understand it should be delivered to us this evening.
- New clothes for all (I did have one change of clothes for the kids, but inadvertently packed pants instead of shorts for Lil C)
And this morning I went to the grocery store for the first time… that’s a whole other story for tomorrow.