Monday, May 18, 2009

Getting to Huatlco - Day 1

Every single time we have traveled in the past, I have decorated a journal to take with me and record my adventures. This just didn't get done. So I'm going to use my blog to record my travels, then print it out and add it to a journal when I get home.

So first....getting to Huatulco.

I should have known that when the shuttle driver showed up 25 minutes early at FOUR THIRTY would be a fun ride to the airport! Fortunately, we were up and almost ready. We hustled everything into the van and then he explained that he had been scheduled to pick up at 2 locations at the exact same time. Not good!

His GPS started to take him out the back way of our addition and we immediately told him to turn that thing around as you could spend 30 minutes weaving around back roads, over speed bumps and hitting a stop sign a block! (OK, it's really almost that bad!!!) He got back to the highway and headed towards the other location. Pulled into their neighborhood, pulled up the the "address", but there was no matching house number. Up and down the street he drove. Still pitch black outside. I'm thinking to myself, "we have a bit of a problem here because there are no lights on inside any of these houses and whoever is leaving town is going to miss this van!"

Kerry gets out his iphone and asks for the address, maps it and tells the drive we are on the "drive" and probably need to be on the "street". Kerry then commences to tell the driver where to go, where to turn and sure enough, we arrive at a home with 5 people in the driveway ready to go!

Pretty funny when an iphone tops a GPS at locating a house!!!

Got thru security at DIA in flying time. I mean seriously, who is there at 5:30 am? LOL!!!

I truly do not like to fly. No one would ever believe that as much as I hop an airplane to San Diego and other places....but it is my worst fear. I try to convince myself that the more I fly, the easier it will be. Absolutely NOT true!!! For this trip, we flew from DIA to Dallas, to Mexico City, and then to Huatulco, changing planes at every place. Several years ago after literally running through the airport in Amsterdam, I made a resolution that I will never again run through an airport.

So just to keep it clear....speedwalking is NOT running!

Our flight in to Dallas was perfect. I called my friend, Torrey, to let her know I was going to be close by and I literally felt her presence when we landed!!! But barely enough time to make the connecting flight and no, no speedwalking or running there. But what a massive airport with a really long tram line to get to the next terminal. Beyone me why if you are flying the same airlines they change you to a completely different terminal on a 1 1/2 hour layover. It's a plot to consume our time and get us to walk past more "stores" that beckon us to come buy?

The flight to Mexico City was perfect. Kerry had a window seat, I was in the middle. Plane was full. I slept!

Flying into the city, I was busy looking out the window. Wow! Beyond HUGE! Kerry thinks maybe 30M residents? Makes Denver look like a dot! Buildings everywhere. High rises on the tops of hills. Interesting. Looked a lot like flying out of Cairo....everything totally crammed close together, no trees, no parks, except there were lots of hills in and around Mexico City. Cairo was flat. But it gave me the very same impression and I've decided I have no interest in ever going to Mexico City.

Got off the plane and of course, it's all in Spanish. Now, we both know enough to read and get by. But there our connecting flight was nowhere to be found. So I went to an information booth where the guy told me we had to get out bags and go thru immigration. I was a bit confused as they had told us in Denver that our bags were checked through to Huatulco, but I also know that you must go through immigrations when you set foot in another country.

So we followed his directions and proceeded through immigrations. Line was forever long and once again, we only had 1 1/2 hours between flights. I was just a tad nervous at this point. Get through immigrations and go to get our bags and they are NOT there. I'm really trying not to panic. I know I don't want to get stuck in Mexico City overnight. Kerry finds a nice airline representative for Mexicana who pages someone else and then informs us that our bags are going direct to Huatulco and we need to walk all the way to the other far as we can see, then take the esculator up and then walk all the way back to the far, far, far, end of that corridor and we are looking for gate 15.

Being a diabetic, Kerry has problems walking long distances and I think this was at least 1 1/2 miles, maybe longer. There are no trams in Mexico City and it is a huge airport. There are moving walkways and he needed to stop and rest at each one. I'm really sort of starting to panic at this point. But since I can't pick him up and carry him.......HA!

We finally get to the end of the upper walkway and a gal stops us and wants to know where are bags are???? I explained that they were checked to Huatulco and she asks to see the baggage claim tickets. Do you think I can find them? Of course not! But finally, I dig them out and she has to write down each and every claim check number for each bag.....could she write any slower??? We did manage to get past that point and by then, I "think" we are there....but oh! no! It's still so far down the course that you can't even see the gate number, so at this point, yes, I think you could classify us as speed-walkers!

We got to the gate just as they were boarding, not a minute too soon! Out of breath, sweating, exhausted...but hey! we made it! A little puddle jumper with a 55 minute flight and we set down at the airport in Huatulco. I'm so happy that our long day of travel is over. We started at 4:30 am and it's not 7:30 Denver time. 15 hours of travel. Of course we are both exhausted....but just laughing at the day. I think we were laughing because we were so tired. We followed the stewardess into the airport terminal. They had us fill out yet another form about flu symptoms (really didn't see anyone wearing a mask) and get to the checkpoint and the girl won't let us through. She says, "is that your luggage?" no, it's our carry on and she points to where we have to go wait for our bags. Which don't show up.

I just wanted to cry! We wait until absolutely everyone has left the airport (tiny little airport) and finally a guard comes up and asks us if he can help. We tell him we are waiting for our bags (the plane is still outside) and he asks where they are coming from. Then he points and says we are in the wrong terminal (ok, honestly, I did follow the stewardess!!) He walks us to a different terminal and thank goodness....our bags are all there waiting for us. Yeah!

At this point, my nerves are frayed and I'm thinking my luck has got to change. And it did! The travel agent was waiting for us right outside the entrance and put our bags in his van and brought us right to the hotel! Glory be! We are here!!!

Until we go to check in and the reservations agent shows that we are leaving the same day we arrive! And he did not believe me when I tell him we are staying for 12 nights. No, we are checking out the same day we are leaving! I started laughing! Sorry, but after the day of travel we had just had.....there is no way I was leaving the day I checked in! We finally got that all straightened out (good thing I print every single email, huh?) and they escorted us to our room.

Now, I have to write a little bit about the mattress problem. We were here 2 years ago at a different resort called the Camino Real and our beds were brick hard. I had contemplated bringing my blow up camping mattress with me as I am fully aware you can't buy a mattress of any type in this little village - you can't even find a blow up air mattress for the beach! But I opted to leave my mattress at home, determined if the beds were like brick I would complain until they fixed it this time. Last time, I ended up bringing in seat cushions from the lounge chairs and sleeping on them at night while they slid apart!!!

I am happy to report that our beds were absolutely wonderful!!! Pillow top mattresses in fact! I guess I had been more worried about sleeping on a brick that I wanted to admit to myself. Sometimes, things just work themselves out.

We unpacked, then went to The Patio for a late dinner. Very good shrimp cerviche! My favorite thing to have when we are here.

Tomorrow, I'll report on our first day at the resort. We have opted for the concierge package....and we are both connected to wireless internet in our rooms....another first ever for us! For now, it's off to bed for me!!!

From the air looking down at Huatulco:

This was the view flying in to Mexico City.....houses as close as could possibly be.....
The view from our balcony at dusk
Nice soft pillowtop matresses!!!


Rose said...

Well Jen your travel mishaps sound scarily similar to mine! Unfortunately seems to be part of the whole experience almost everywhere.
I swear that every departure gate is always the furthest from where you arrive and that we always get the furthest hotel room away from reception too!!
Try not to have too much fun now that you have finally arrived.

Margie Higuchi said...

WOW, Jen! Sounds like you traveled across the globe! OY! So glad that you & Kerry got there in one piece.

Can't wait for your next post...hope you had a great night's sleep! Those beds look comfy!!