This is a travel blog for desktop travelers and other ramblers who want to know the world just a little bit better.

Right now I am living in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala where I'll be settled for a while. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chicago Nobody

Having traveled for a while in South America and Asia I am used to uncomfortable travel. Long bus rides, delays and just waiting around is pretty normal to me which is probably why I booked a terrible (cheapest) flight ticket from Denver to Guatemala without even thinking about the consequences. However, as I soon discovered, this type of travel does not translate well in the USA. Airports are too big, everything is expensive and the ever-burning flourecent lights wreak havoc on my natural bio-clock (think casino without gambling or slot machines).

My flight from Denver to Chicago arrives at 11:15 PM and my connection to Guatemala is at 5:30 AM the next day. No big deal, I'll sleep in the airport, right? Usually my concern with sleeping in any public place is that someone will walk off with my stuff if I doze off, but in Chicago (the third largest city in the USA) this should not be a problem. I am sure plenty of fellow travel zombies will be out. Boy was I wrong, there was nobody.

According to statistics from 2010, Chicago's O'Hare airport is the third busiest in the world. Almost 67,000,000 passengers passed through in 2010. And from 1 - 4 AM, I saw maybe five of those 67 million plus a skeleton crew: cleaning toilets, hanging Christmas decorations, waiting for no one to pass through security and manning the open-24hrs Dunkin Donuts at the food court in terminal H.

Some photos from the world's third busiest airport:

Meanwhile at 4:30AM, when the airport begins to come alive again, my airline tells me that I have to stop in Houston for a plane change even though it is the same flight (I am confused also). Anyway, me and the other seven passengers headed to Guatemala from Chicago get screwed because we have to circle in the air for an extra hour waiting for clearance to land. Because the airline did not give us enough connection time we all miss our same flight (but not same airplane) connection and have to take the 7 PM flight to Guatemala which gives me 10 more hours of hanging around an airport.... and I thought bus travel in Bolivia was bad.

The International Rambler Travel Tip:

I do not want to get into a rant about how there isn't free wifi at US airports, so I will just say this: Guatemala's airport has free wifi throughout and free PS2 stations. Why can't major US airports do it too? Anyway, if you find yourself in Houston airport and not wanting to pay for some stupid internet provider feel free to loiter outside the United Airlines club in terminal E and use their signal.
My view of doors to United club


  1. Sorry about your computer.
    I guess the food services in Chicago were closed, too. Looking forward to your tales of Guatemala!

  2. Thanks. It{s okay, now I have a new one. i actually got some money from the hotel owner so wokred out in the end.

    Chicago has in one terminal a 24hr dunkin' donuts and a Starbucks was open all night in another, but donuts and coffee at 2AM is not so fun.

  3. sorry about your computer loss. hopefully it's password protected.

  4. The International RamblerDecember 12, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Thanks Mike,
    Anyway, got a new one. It was password protected but an israeli computer guy at my hostel assured me that there are ways around it for those in the know. Good thing not too much interesting on it.