Sunday, October 17, 2004


I flew into LAX from Toronto on my roundabout way to Seattle (saving me a couple of cnotes by doing so). The pilot dropped the plane lightly on the runway after two tries that were a little too high, and then immediately hit the brakes hard, the engines roaring with reverse thrust to slow the plane down. Perhaps there was less runway to play with after taking the extra time to execute the light landing. I was instructed to catch the shuttle bus for terminal four to get to terminal three. We cruised around the airport tarmac at a sedate pace, taking in the sights of large aircraft taxiing by and the myriad of aircraft support vehicles running seemingly random routes around the tarmac. The LAX fire crew was testing their equipment, emitting a cloud of mauvish purple smoke as we went by. It was an enjoyable ride for one who loves to watch machinery at work. We arrived at our destination which the shuttle bus driver said was terminal three and the only reason I believed him was because I saw a couple of Alaska Airlines aeroplanes sitting at their gates waiting to take on passengers, one of which would be me. The two other people and I got off the bus and wondered which way to go, there were no signs, no arrows, not even a "that looks like where I need to go" sort of door. The security guard, looking more like someone who is about to sell me something illegal than an airport officer, sneakily pointed me toward a line of concrete barriers that looked like they lead into the underground bowels of the airport. I sceptically following his finger and turning the corner expecting again to see something self-explanatory found a dead end with nothing more than a back door. I tried it but it was locked. Hmm. The security guard came up, swiped his security card through the reader and opened the door for us, muttering something about going up the stairs. I climbed the narrow stairwell upward and encountered a gaggle of baggage-laden passengers waddling the other way. Squeezing by I emerged through yet another door guarded by a woman in uniform to find myself at the gate I was looking for. Good thing the flight was delayed or I would have been more panicy than I usually am.

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