We woke up at 7 a.m., finished packing, and got showered and dressed. When we opened the door to our room at 8 o'clock, we found Yasmin and Paola there to greet us. Rocio soon appeared as well. We went over to the house and Paulina already had breakfast cooking. Eddy was awake and was wearing his cute hand-knitted socks that he had received as a baptism gift. Aracely had just woken up. We had Abuelito’s orange juice, fried plantains, cream, black beans, and scrambled eggs. It was a delicious breakfast.
Yoselin woke up and then, finally, Vanesa. Humberto and Paulina presented us with a very nice gift - some locally made carved wooden bowls and candle holders. They were stained dark to look like mahogany. They said that it was to remind us of our second home in Guatemala. We even got to see Terri this morning and say goodbye to him, though his attention was focused on a cat which had climbed the back wall.
Craig played dominoes with Yasmin and I played Jenga with Aracely. Alejandro arrived in the van at 9:30. Humberto had a tour today, but all of the girls said that they wanted to come with us to Guatemala City. Paulina agreed that she would accompany them. We were very surprised, as it was a long ride for them just to turn around and come back home, but we were very happy that they’d be keeping us company and we’d have a few more precious hours together.
Abuelita came outside twice to say goodbye. We said goodbye to Humberto while Paulina went back to the house to pack a small day bag. Rocio joined us as well, as did her brother Carlos and two of his friends, who needed a ride to Sololá. Rocio sat in the front seat. Paola sat with me and Craig. Paulina, Eddy, and the other girls piled into the van. The girls are understandably prone to motion sickness when driving on the curvy mountainous roads out of Panajachel. Aracely was the first to succumb, but Paola, once again showing her maturity and maternal nature, was very good with her. She was soon followed by Yoselin and Yasmin. Paulina had come prepared with plastic bags for each of them. We felt awful that the girls were putting themselves through this on our behalf, but were flattered that they were eager enough to go that they didn't let it stop them.
Eddy slept for most of the ride. We stopped at the same rest area where we had stopped on the drive to Pana. The car-sick girls perked right up when they got out of the van and into the fresh air. Aracely picked some pretty purple flowers for her padrinos. There was a convenience store here and we bought each of the girls a box of Tic Tacs. They definitely like mint flavors (though Yoselin got my favorite - orange).
We got back in the van and Yoselin sat with me. She started to get sick again and headed for the window, but the windows were closed because the girls were chilly, and she didn’t manage to get it open in time. Paulina was able to clean up the small mess with tissues, water, and plastic bags. She is SuperMom. We opened the windows a bit so that the girls could get some air. Vanesa was cold and Craig let her wear his coat, which was huge on her.
Alejandro made the girls get out of the front seat as we approached Guatemala City, and Rocio sat with me for a while. The girls got more clingy as we approached the airport, laying their heads on our laps and Yasmin grabbing my hand. We got to the airport at around 1:30. The family got out at the curb and we gave lots of hugs and said goodbye which is always difficult. I took one last picture of the family, and they got back into the van as we entered the airport.
We waited in a short line at the American Airlines check-in counter. After checking in, we went upstairs to the food court and got Pollo Campero (Humberto would later tell us that the family was eating in a Pollo Campero at the same time before heading back home to Pana). We got 2 piece fried chicken meals with fries and Mirinda orange soda. Lots of Guatemalans heading to the U.S. were buying large bags of Pollo Campero to take with them. It sure was tempting.
We went to the rest room and then headed downstairs and paid our departure tax of $6. The man stamped the back of our boarding passes to prove that we had paid. We showed our tickets to the security guard and she looked at me a little funny but let us through. We went through the security line and X-ray scanner and then walked through the long hallway to our gate. Craig went to the bathroom and while he was gone I looked at our paperwork and noticed a huge FAIL. Somehow both of Craig’s boarding passes had exit tax stamps, and none of mine did. I had been accidentally showing one of Craig’s boarding passes as my own. I feared this would come back to bite me, so I ran over to the desk at the gate and explained the problem. The woman assured me that they only ever look at that at the security checkpoint, and if I had already made it through there, I was home free. That wasn’t exactly encouraging in terms of airport security. But at least they wouldn’t make us walk all the way back to check-in! When Craig came back I told him about this whole adventure.
Our flight boarded on time and we took off at 4:50. Craig and I had an empty seat between us, so we could spread out comfortably. We landed in Miami at around 7:30. Miami customs was so slow. Rather than one main line, they have several individual lines that all run at their own pace. Whichever one we get into is inevitably the slowest. Why on earth they make U.S. citizens wait in the same line as residents who need fingerprinting is beyond me. We had lots of time to wait and people-watch.
The teams with the two best records in football had played in the AFC Championship while we were away: New Orleans and Indy. We saw a guy wearing a Saints shirt and we asked if New Orleans had won. They had, and he was so excited. As we made our way through the airport on the tram and then got into the huge security line, we saw many other fans with Saints jerseys. We were happy that they had won and looked forward to seeing them in the Super Bowl.
We got pepperoni pizza and breadsticks from Pizza Hut. Our flight was just about on time, taking off at 9 o'clock. The movie was "Post-Grad" which looked just plain awful. We landed 10 minutes early and were out of our parking spot by 12:05 a.m.(our scheduled arrival time). This was nice, as we’d have to go to work in the morning.