Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 13 - the Looooooooooooong Trip home!

OK, just go get a cup of coffee, a soda....and maybe some rum or vodka and sit back because this is going to be long.  And by the time you are done reading, you will either be adding the booze to your drink....or packing it up and sending it to me!  LOLOL!!!

We started out at 6 am Colorado time.  Had to get up and get the last minute packing done, then grab some breakfast, go check out and be at the van pick up point by 8 am.  We were there.  Van wasn't!  So we sat there trying to figure out where the hoards of people were coming from and going to.  Definitely a convention of some kind going on in the resort today.  Hundreds of people walking towards the convention center, even more people checking in....and we are glad it didn't start til the day we were leaving!

It's interesting that here in the US, you need to be at the airport at least 2 hours before the plane takes off.  3 hours for an international flight.  And they close check-in 45 minutes before your flight leaves.  There, the van picks you up a mere  2 hours before your flight departs....and there's a 20 minute ride to the airport.  But it's a very small airport, so I'm not too worried!

Kerry and I have gotten to the point with all of our travel adventures that we always look at each other the very first moment something out of the ordinary happens.  Well, sure enough, the military set up a checkpoint on the road to the airport.  We've been through these before and they always wave you through.  Not today!  They pulled us into secondary inspection which pissed our driver off!  And the fact that he was pissed did not endear him to the inspectors who made him get out of the van.  Now, understand, we are sitting inside the van with about 10 military servicemen with rifles and machine guns (yep, you read that right!) pointed right at us.  No, not pointing to the ground, or to the sky....but right to the van.  Immediately, I have visions of the Bridget Jones second movie where she is whisked away to a prison in a 3rd world country.....only problem is that I certainly don't know an international lawyer!  LOL!!!  

They made our driver open up the back, look at our bags.  I could understand that he was trying to convince them we were just going to the airport, we had been at Dreams resort, we were American tourists.....but they continued to inspect his backpack, beltpack, under the seats.....while the machine guns remained aimed right at us

Not exactly the moment I want to grab the camera and start taking photos!  But oh!  I really wanted to do just that!

We finally get to move on and I'm looking at Kerry with that look, "what next???" and start to giggle at the look he is giving me back when the van starts beeping.  The engine quits.  The driver has no power steering, no brakes - nothing!  We coast to a stop and he restarts it and we drive off.  Going only about 20 mph....this happens EIGHT more times!  I'm checking my watch thinking we are never going to make it to the airport on time....and then my brain goes to that movie where the bus goes over the side of the bridge - and the people all die and come back as ghosts.  But each time the engine dies, the driver manages to keep us on the road and we coast to a stop and he restarts the engine.  Only when we get to the entrance to the airport and his walkie talkie starts sqwaking do I realize that we were without any communication while driving through the jungle.  The van died one last time just as we pulled up to the drop-off point.....and barely in time to make it through security and into the boarding area.  Really - next time I'm going to insist we leave 3 hours early!!!

It's a small plane - just a 1 hour flight to Mexico City and it's not crowded at all.  BUT (ok, seriously, this is going to be really long!) there is a man and his 4 year old daughter right behind us and his wife and their 5 year old son across from them.  These children have absolutely no manners and spend the next hour talking as loud as they possibly can in Spanish to their parents.  I can tell that they are excited and they are telling mom and dad what they are seeing below them.  But when the boy talks, the girl talks louder, then the boy's next line is louder than hers, then hers is louder than his and the parents do absolutely nothing to quiet them!  By the time we got to Mexico City, we both had migrain headaches and I had to get the tylenol out.  

We get off the plane and I show our boarding pass for the next flight to the attendant and she tells me gate 19.  It wasn't too far at all and we get there and I go to information and the girl tells me to come back 1 hour before our flight.  We have a 3 hour layover, so we go find a nice diner and had the most wonderful sandwiches ever.  A nice long lunch.  We are getting relaxed.  Nothing like our last trip through Mexico City 2 weeks ago.

OK, why do I think that?  Why do I even think that's possible???  LOLOL!!!

We go back to gate 19 and there's a guy in the information booth now.  So I go ask him and I get the same answer.  I'm starting to worry.  Our flight is not being listed on any of the boards.  Does no one know where it is taking off from?  If we wait til one hour before our flight, which is "international" to Dallas, and we only have 15 minutes to get to our gate, and it's one of those mile and a half long halls...will we make it?

I finally go back up and he doesn't even look at me, he just says gate 39.  I know he knew.  I know it is a game.  I was NOT happy.  Gate 39 is TWO MILES away!!!  So we took all the electronic walkways that we could.  And we stopped and rested when Kerry needed.  No, we were not running, but we were speed-walking.  When we get to the duty free mall, I thought I heard them announce on the overhead:

Yen-E-fur Low-E please come to the desk at gate 39.  But it was in such a heavy Spanish accent, I wasn't sure.  I told Kerry I thought they had called my name and he said they didn't.

We have another long corridor to go down and then through another shopping area where this time I'm positive they are calling my name!  Am I going insane?  And I'm seeing an immediate rerun of Bridget Jones in prison singing to all the other girls.......

Yet another long corridor with walkways to go down and we turn the corner and our gate is there and I walk right up to the counter and YES....they were calling my name!!!  YIKES!!!!!

Now, think about the movie "Meet the Fockers" where the attendant is typing into her computer forever?  This girl starts typing and typing and typing.  Then she looks up and Kerry  and he says to me, "oh, that's not good!"  She is speaking in Spanish to the gal next to her who starts typing in her computer.  About 3000 clicks per minute.  Looking at each other.  Telling each other stuff.  No, they don't want Kerry's passport.  They don't want his boarding pass.  They don't want his immigration papers.  Just mine!  And their typing goes on forever.

I really do have to learn Spanish!

Finally the second girl looks at the first one and shakes her head yes.  The first girl then takes my boarding pass and writes on it and hands it back to me and says ok.

That's it??   That's all?????  And then I tell myself, "SHUT UP, SIT DOWN, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO JAIL!!!"


I need to back up here and say that we went through security in Hualtulco when we left.  Then in Mexico City, between our arrival gate and gate 19, we went through another security to get us into the international wing.
So next, as we are boarding this plane, they take all of our carry-on bags and open them up and do a physical inspection of their contents.

At this point I'm nothing short of a nervous wreck.  We get on the plane.  It backs out of the gate.  Gets on the tarmack and then they start revving up the engines.  Let them idle down, revve them up.  And Kerry announces to me that they are having problems with the right engine.  

You don't even want to know the movies that went running though my mind at this point!  I have to quit watching movies.  I just have to.  That, and learn Spanish!

And then we take off.  I do NOT like flying anyway.  And now, I'm hearing every single itty bitty tiny sound that the engine is making.  I KNOW we are going down.  I KNOW we are not going to make it to Dallas.  And I KNOW I'm going to break Kerry's arm - I'm holding it a bit too tight - I think it was the pained look on his face that gave it away!

I was never so happy to make a landing as when we set down in Dallas!!!  Will this day ever end?  Of course not!  We have to go through immigrations, get our bags, go through customs, recheck our bags, go through sercurity YET AGAIN!,  go up to the tram, go to another terminal, and get to our under 2 hours!   Why is it that immigration is always such a death march for at least a mile?  Up escalators, down ramps, around corners, down long halls.  I think Kerry is finally going to agree to a wheelchair next time!   We made it to our gate on time.... and yep, the gate had changed!  We did get checked in and get on the plane.  Could airports....any of them....make international travel any more difficult?  OK, Amsterdam and Chicago are still worse that Dallas and Denver, but they are all just horrible!!!

We are in seats 25 E&F on this flight.  And while I don't know her name, the woman in seat 23 D with her 3 year old son in 23E should have been taken off the plane!  With all the changes going on in the world right now....I am going to actively fight for the right to fly on a plane with peace and quiet!  We are raising a generation of heathens.  No discipline.  No consequences.  Nothing.  The kid jumped into the seat and immediately started punching all the buttons overhead, including the call button.  I would have set him down in his seat and put his seat belt on but I soon learned why she didn't do that!  He was looking out the window and the poor gal who had that seat came to claim it.  She explained later that she gets motion sick and needs to be by a window. Something I totally understand.  

When the mom went to get her son, he refused to leave the window.  She tried to reason with him.  OK, he's 3.  You do not "reason" with a 3 year old.  So she picked him up and took him into the aisle while the other woman sat down.  Then she sat down with the kid on her lap.  I could hear her talking softly to him, trying to appease him and out of nowhere this child lets out a blood curdling scream at the top of his lungs - the likes of which I have never heard and never want to hear again.  I can't describe the pain in my left ear and I was 2 rows behind them!  

The whole plane went dead silent and turned to look at him.  Of course, the first thought would have been that the mom had hurt him.  No, this is a child who was screaming because he could not have a window seat.  We were not in flight, there had been no cabin pressure change, nothing to affect his ears.....he was just mad.

A stewardess came back and told this kid that she would do her best to get him a window seat once we took off but that he could not yell like that.

What do you think?  Do you think that actually worked?  HA!  Well, he didn't scream like that again....but he was crying and yelling at his mom and horribly loud and I didn't have earplugs like Kerry did and I just don't know why he wouldn't give them to me!  I wanted to do 3 things.  1.  take my socks off and go stuff them down the kids mouth.  He didn't have a cold so he could have continued to breathe through is nose and he would not have continued screaming.  2.  Ask the woman for her name and address so I could sue her for loss of hearing.  Seriously, think about it - screaming like that in a tiny confined ears were ringing for the next hour! 3.  Get the stewardess's name and report her for not removing the mom and child from the plane.

And do you think anyone could seatbelt that child during takeoff?  The stewardesses didn't even try to enforce that rule - no one wanted another scream like the previous one.

So yep, we are raising a generation of heathen children.  No discipline. No consequences.  I have to wonder....if I had stood up and screamed at the absolute top of my lungs because someone else took the seat I wanted....would they have allowed me to stay on the plane?  Or would everyone have coddled and cajoled me?  At what age do we expect children to follow the rules when there is no discipline?  3? 5? 7?  21?

I will be writing to American Airlines.  I think I have the right to be on a flight that I pay for and not suffer hearing loss.

The mom finally rocked the child to sleep.  I felt so sorry for the poor woman who took the window seat.  Not only did she fight her nausea the whole trip to Denver, she had to sit next to that child!

We arrived in Denver on time.  I picked up our bags while Kerry went to the super shutle to check in.  The first shuttle was full (at 10:00 pm???) so we had to wait an HOUR to get our ride home!  And because everyone was out waiting for the shuttle, there was no place to sit!  It was midnight before we got home and we started at 8 16 hours of travel.  You would think this story would end here! NOT YET!!!

Our driver drops us off in front of the house and Kerry goes to open the garage door by entering the code....and it doesn't work!  I'm not worried because I know he has a house key in his bag.  But then....he can't find it!  At least the front porch light is on and I sit down and I don't know if I was laughing or crying, but the tears were in my eyes as we are both searching through his bags trying to find the key.  I'm so tired a movie doesn't even pop into my brain at this point!  He's joking that we are going to sleep on the front lawn.  By now we have both gone through every single pocket in his bags and I keep saying "I know you showed me where you put it, I just can't remember - it was down inside of something", and then he takes out his ipod bag and goes through that and doesn't find it, hands it to me to search and I take everything out of it and sure enough, in the bottom of the front pocket, there's the house key!!!

I have never been so happy to be inside my home, safe and sound (where all is QUIET) and life is good!!!

And in case you are wondering.....would we do it again after today?  In a heartbeat!!!


Tamara said...

glad you are home safe and sound...i enjoyed traveling along. Thanks for sharing the beautiful country with us.

TA Carbone said...

Jen what a shame you had to go through all this on your return home after such a relaxing trip. Regarding your comment "So yep, we are raising a generation of heathen children. No discipline. No consequences", that because of this so called capital punishment and these people that say if you hit or smack a child it is child abbuse but they sure don't care about anyone around them. Maybe if they smacked their kid he would learn he can't scream like that