The First 48 Hours
Here’s a rundown of the first 48 hours of our trip to beautiful sunny Mexico. Remember that we are starting in beautiful, snow laden Rochester.
22 Feb 11
0300 – Wake up sunshine!
0315 – Actually get out of bed
0400 – leave for airport
0415 – Walk into airport (yes, we’re that close)
0416 – Go to kiosk for e-ticket, learn that 0525 flight to Philly is cancelled
0417 – Shit pants a little bit
0418 – Get in line for re-ticketing
0530 – Have confirmed seats out of Charlotte, NC to Cancun for around 1130. Have standby seating (#’s 1 & 2 on the stby list) for the flight to Charlotte which leaves around 0900.
0900 – Re-affirm that NOBODY takes a bump when flying out of Rochester in the winter. Can’t really blame them.
0930 – NOW have tickets & seats from Rochester to Philly, scheduled to leave @ 1115, tickets & seats from Philly to Miami scheduled to leave @ 1430, tickets & seats from Miami to Cancun scheduled to leave @ 1920
1000 – Flight to Philly delayed, not leaving until 1345 (Yes, that makes the connection time in Philly negative. There was NOTHIING positive abut Philly that day.)
1100 – Bar at airport finally opens
1345 – Actually on a plane leaving Rochester. Per our original schedule, I should have been grabbing a Negra Modelo outside the Cancun Airport while waiting for our ground transport right about now.
1440 – Land in Philly, learn that our connection to Miami has been delayed. This is a negative thing that appeared to turn into a positive thing, but was really a negative thing all along. Don’t worry; I’ll catch you up in a bit.
1650 – Leave Philly bound for Miami.
1900 – Land in Miami (our first visit ever to Miami)
1910 – Deplane. Now we need to change from USAirways to American in 10 minutes. Check out the airport map. That lovely green line is our intended path. Those pairs of white arrows that point in opposite directions? Security checkpoints. When we crossed over security leaving the J concourse, I had a bad feeling.
That green line is the path from our arrival gate (in the red section) to our departure gate (in the blue section). I’d estimate the distance at nearly a mile, with a chunk outdoors due to construction, and a minimum 20 – 30 minute penalty phase due to security checkpoints getting INTO Concourse D.
1919 – Sweating, having left Cindy in the dust, I approach a security person at one of the Concourse D checkpoints and ask if there’s any chance in hell they can hold flight 2147 while we get through security. Her answer? A polite version of “Not a fucking chance buddy”.
1923 – Break the news to Cindy.
1925 – Get in line for re-ticketing AGAIN. This will be the 8th flight we’ve been scheduled on for this trip. Granted, we’ve only been on 2 planes, but it’s not for lack of effort.
2000 – Went all the way back to the USAirways ticket counters to see if we could get a voucher for a hotel room for the night. The ticket counter is totally, completely, 100% abandoned.
2010 – Decide to NOT leave the airport via shuttle for some unknown hotel. Instead decide to stay at the Miami Airport hotel. Just as unknown, but it avoids two shuttle rides.
2030 – Dinner at Burger King. Oh Joy.
2200ish – Collapse in bed.
23 Feb 11
0700 – Out of bed, shower, put on yesterdays clothes. Oh Joy.
0730 – In line @ Security checkpoint Delta
0830 – Through security, navigated the last quarter mile to our gate. There are NO OPERATING SLIDEWALKS in this god forsaken airport. WTF is up with that?
1015 – We are on a plane that actually has an intended destination of Can-fucking-cun.
1115 – Land in Mexico. The flight was 2 hours, slip an hour for translating to Central Time.
1215 – Through the first part of Customs. Got a Mexican visa stamp in my passport!!
1220 – Go to the baggage carousel/belt thingy to get our bags so they can inspect them.
1230 – Come to grips with the fact that our bags did not arrive. Why should anything go easy on this trip?
1300 – Finished filing claim with airlines for lost baggage. Friendly Mexican baggage agent assures us that he’ll get our bags to the hotel tonight.
1330 – Got fast tracked through the baggage inspection, ran the gauntlet from customs to the exit door, got outside & located our ground transport agent.
1333 – Got me a Negra Modelo, finally.
1415ish – At Hotel. Impressive looking place in person. Checked in, got the schpiel for how meals, drinks, entertainment, pool towels and everything else works.
1430 – Get into room, check things out. Drop my camera case, book & fleece jacket (Cindy’s too) on the bed. Go back downstairs & join Cindy in the hotel shop.
1500 – Drop $350 on grossly overpriced new, clean clothes. Basically got swimsuits, sandals, a couple of shirts each & some toiletries.
1530 – call airlines lost baggage office for an update. What did I get? “Aaaahhhhh, Meester Bikinfool – we’re not sure just where your bags are. We think they may still be in Rochester. You may not see them for another 24 – 36 hours.
1535 – Hit up the room bar for the first shot of Tequila.
1540 – Hit up the lobby bar for a Tequila & grapefruit.
1550 – Find some poolside chairs in the shade. All our biodegradable, eco-friendly sunscreen is in our suitcases, somewhere north of where we are.
The next several hours are kind of boring. Hop in the pool, get out & dry off. Sit in the shade for a bit. Wander around the hotel & grounds, get the lay of the land. Got dinner, wandered some more, had a few drinks, went back to our rooms around 10pm & went to bed. Exhausted.
2300ish – Phone rings. Unwisely, I shit my pants a little, again. It’s the front desk, the airlines have delivered our bags!!! I tell the desk clerk I’ll be downstairs in a minute.
2302 – I’m downstairs, fondling our luggage. (slow elevator). The luggage has these little zip-tie things securing the zippers to the handles, giving the illusion that they are secure. I signed for the bags and high tailed it upstairs, happy to have clean underwear for the foreseeable future.
2310 – I start to go through my suitcase and notice I am missing a brand spanking new pair of sneakers. New Balance 623’s, size 10.5 2E. Worn just long enough to make sure they fit. Gone.
2312 – Cindy notices that her digital camera is missing. Camera, case, couple of memory cards. She also notices that her jewelry has been sorted through. The sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach is the realization that a sapphire & diamond ring willed to her from her mom is gone.
2315 – Pretty much disgusted with the state of humanity right about now. Resolve to put this shit behind us for now and file claims once (if) we get back home.
Next morning we are advised by the friendly Travelocity rep at the hotel that we need to call the airlines and register a claim about the stolen property within 24 hours of either discovering it is missing or receiving our baggage. Either way, I’m on the phone again Thursday afternoon talking to yet another American Airlines Baggage Service person about another problem. I’m sure they’re tired of hearing from me by now.
In trying to make up for our lost day, we hit the beach & sun a little aggressively Thursday. Overall it wasn’t too bad, but Cindy sucks at applying sunscreen. I had a lovely stripe of lobsterness running down the right side of my back that I really only felt when I tried to sleep on it. Too bad I sleep best on my right side. To pay Cindy back, I slept on my left side and snored like a chainsaw – practically in her face. That probably explains a thing or two, come to think about it.
Friday was our day trip to the pyramids – a good day to be out of the sun. Saturday we managed to find a couple of chairs by the pool that were in the shade the majority of the day, so we managed to keep from really getting burned. Spent some time in the gulf – like all good northerners do when they visit the south. We are perfectly content in water that’s anything above 72 degrees, a little cooler on really hot days. I don’t know what a genteel southerners lower limits for water temp are, but I’m sure everyone in the gulf last week was from well north of the Mason-Dion line, or Europe even.
Now I’m in negotiations with our homeowners policy, Travelocity’s Trip Protection Plan Insurance Company and American Airlines trying to recoup some of what we lost on vacation. Hopefully, between the three of them we’ll recover better than half.
Of course, because Murphy’s Law is like some physical constant that can not be countered, the trip home went smooth as silk. Why couldn’t we have gotten stuck in Cancun? Totally not fair, damn Murphy.