It’s always night when I arrive.
The lit­tle Embraer 145 lands and shud­ders to a heav­i­ly braked stop at the end of the run­way. Then turns and taxis back toward the ter­mi­nal. Where an air-stair is wheeled up to the side of the plane and we, the pas­sen­gers, descend.
The air is warm and damp, and smells of wood smoke, jet fuel, silt, and drains.
At the bot­tom of the stairs I pick up the car­ry on lug­gage that nev­er fits in the over­head bins. Then pull my click­ing, wheeled bags across the tar­mac and onto the con­crete side­walk under a canopy beside a patch of coarse, unnat­u­ral­ly green grass.
The Arrival Hall is a flu­o­res­cent lit, eight-foot wide cor­ri­dor full of grin­gos attempt­ing to puz­zle out the immi­gra­tion form with its dense, cryp­tic, oh so for­eign instructions.
I am anoint­ed as “one who knows” not for my awful Span­ish, but because of my abil­i­ty to prop­er­ly fill out this form — infor­ma­tion repeat­ed twice. Once in ample spaces at the top of the form. And then again at the bot­tom in tiny spaces bare­ly big enough for your ini­tials let alone your Appeli­dos and Nom­bres. Con­tin­ue reading