Wednesday, April 2, 2014

C orpus R egional A ir P ort

Our latest crew change wasn’t nearly the giant Charlie Foxtrot that our regular Corpus Christi crew changes have been. The boat was at the dock. The other crew arrived pretty close to regular time. And there was no “launch boat of death” involved. Things were looking pretty good.

There was, however, the issue of the Corpus Christi airport.

Sorry, folks. Airport’s closed. The big moose out front should have told ya’.

Fun fact: The Corpus Christi International Airport shuts down at night.

Not just ‘the flights don’t operate at night’ kind of shut down. But, the airport locks up tight and ‘rolls up the carpet’ type of shut down.

Most airports we frequent are at least open to the point where you can get in the doors and find a seat to kick your feet up until the airlines start business in the morning. Corpus International is the exception to the rule.

At Corpus, if you arrive at the airport in the wee hours of the morning, your only option is to stand outside in the weather until they unlock the doors.

Which was exactly what we were doing.

After waiting outside for more than an hour, our patience was waning and our boredom was increasing. Not really a good combination when mariners who have been cooped up on a boat for 2 weeks are concerned. A remedy was required. And soon.

When the local airport constabularies showed up in their SUV response vehicle, we knew it was about time for us to depart the airport and find a different location to pass the next few hours. And since the local officers were less than receptive to our suggestion that we could all fit in the police car and that THEY could take us somewhere else to pass the time, we resigned ourselves to calling a cab.

Enter Siri and the joy that is the internet. Just as long as you remember to bring your cell phone with you off the boat. A few key strokes later, a cab had been summoned to bring us somewhere. Anywhere. Just not here anymore. Thanks for nothing, Corpus Christi International Airport cops! 

Actual Corpus Christi Airport cop. Nice helmet.

So off to the local Denny’s we went. It was no Denny’s like the one across from the airport in New Orleans that we are so fond of. Heck, no cab required in NOLA, it is right across the street from the airport.

But it did afford us a quick breakfast and much to our delight, a show as well.

Turns out, less than legal activities occur at 3 o’clock in the morning. In particular, when two cars pull into the alley between the Denny’s restaurant and the local LaQuinta! Inn, and out of one car hops a scantily clad female, who then proceeds to get into the passenger side of the first vehicle, spends approximately 15 minutes in said vehicle completely out of sight, and then returns to her own vehicle and drives off. One can only imagine that the two participants weren’t exchanging dinner recipes.

As you can imagine, we had some choice comments concerning the two drivers and their late night activities. Although, I will say that I was impressed that the female driver happened to be driving a very nice Chevy Tahoe. Relatively high class considering her particular line of work during the third shift hours. 
I would have it cleaned and sterilized just in case.

Upon finishing our breakfast, and the departure of our side show cars, our waiter asked us if, “we needed anything else?” Of course, being the adult sized versions of 5-year olds that we are, we inquired where we could find such attentive females companionship that drives a Chevy Tahoe as her company car. Turns out, such activity is just two blocks and two left hand turns away from the local Denny’s restaurant. Which is good to know.

When our taxi cab driver returned to bring us back to the airport, we asked if we could go two blocks and take two left hand turns to see what the locals do for fun. Her answer, “No! I’m NOT taking you into that neighborhood.” It also turns out, according to our driver, that we would never make it out of there alive. Which is also good to know.  Instead we were resigned to the fact that we had to return to the still closed Corpus Christi International Airport and wait for the doors to be unlocked.

When we got back to the airport, a few more of the early flight patrons had arrived. “Did you know that the airport is closed?” “Yes. Yes, we did. It opens at 5. Grab a seat.”

At 5 AM, the same cop that refused to let us ride in the back of his car with the K-9 unit, showed up again and unlocked the doors. We then got to go inside and wait some more until the Blueberries showed up to sexually assault allow us to pass through security.

Finally, we made it to where we wanted to be the whole entire time, sitting outside of the bar ready to toss back a cold one after 2 weeks of forced sobriety. Turns out, some new bar manager had decided that he didn’t want to serve patrons at 5 AM and we had to wait until 7 to have a beverage of our choice. The Corpus Christi International Airport had OFFICIALLY worn out its welcome at this point.

57 Varieties. And we were determined to put them all in one glass.
So wait we did. At this point, we were getting good at it. We people watched. Made obnoxious comments. Made ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, mayonnaise, sugar, and coffee cocktail in a glass that had been left over from the previous night. Made normal crew change banter. Just waiting for the clock to strike 7. Fortunately, the bartender took pity on us.  And at 10 minutes to 7, almost 6 hours after we started this journey, our wait was over. Which was good. Because we were running out of legal things to do in order to keep us busy.

There were 6 of us left at the airport. The Boss had already left us behind in order to catch his earlier flight. In addition, one member of our crew wasn’t having a beverage with us because it was Lent, which seemed like a dumb thing to give up. So we were down to 5. Yet, in the ten minutes we had before we boarded the plane, we managed to fill the table we were sitting at with empty bottles.

Even if we had to wait outside, or at a Denny’s, or outside again, and then for security, and finally for the bar to open up, officially or not, after two weeks on the boat, it was worth the wait.

It may have been worth the wait, but that still doesn’t mean that Corpus Christi is in our good graces. The place HAS tried to kill us before.

It’s probably a good thing that we avoided the neighborhood that is two lefts and two blocks around the corner from the Denny’s.
There is no need tempting fate in this town any more than we have to.

Where was that neighborhood again?

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