My step-father died so I am headed back to the United States to be with mi mama to spend more time with her and, apparently, the Dallas airport as well. While easy and rather cheap to get a flight back for only $630 with a one-day advance, I am always amazed at how a flight that normally takes between 3-4 hours from Guatemala to Florida can take 12 hours because direct flights from Guatemala are hard to come by. So I have been in Dallas for the past five hours, two more to go, doing my time in layover land.
What most impressed me today, however, is the Guatemala City airport – sleek, shiny, clean, modern. It’s the most well-thought and intimate airport I’ve experienced. I walked into it and a smile cut across my utterly dumbfounded and sleep-deprived face at 6:15 AM.
My first memory of the Guatemala City airport was watching my mother leave from the second floor, my head poking out from between two wooden railings into this large open courtyard, all indoors, with one set of glass doors leading into it and the area where you checked in your bags. She turned and waved back at me and disappeared into the security check and then the gates beyond headed to the US. I remember how the light streamed through the dirty windows and the vendors piled up against the entrance, the dirt road and the wooden planks around the small moat created by the rain. The taxis weaved around each other and honked incessantly.
This morning, the sun’s rays reflected from the cool blue of the glass of the second floor where a neat lined formed as two people took traveller’s passports at the entrance and everyone else waited patiently around a railed section. Inside neat lines moved quickly and attendants walked around helping people fill out their forms.
I bought a Prensa Libre from a woman walking inside and as I tossed my bag over my shoulder, I realized how much Guatemala had changed and how much I was changing with it, just by being here to witness it.