Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - Departure (and an airport labor strike)

we had a nice breakfast with Aracely, Eddy, Paulina, and Humberto. Josue even stopped by (something he never does that early in the day) to say goodbye. Paulina woke baby Ian up and he was in such a good mood. It was as if he could sense that we were leaving. He let me hold him for a long time, snuggling into me and just generally being sweet and cuddly.

Humberto drove us to Guatemala City in the van, and we dropped Aracely and Eddy at school on the way. While waving to Paulina and Ian through the open van window, Ian lurched forward to grab for me through the window. He is such a sweetie!

Humberto drove us 3 hours to Guatemala City this morning. As we took the airport exit, there was absolute gridlock. We saw police officers with AK-47's preventing us from going into Departures. Humberto asked the officers what was going on, and they said that the airport workers had gone on strike 2 hours before. We didn't know what to do...things like this could last days.

We now only had 2 hours until our flight was scheduled to take off. While we were stuck in traffic, I jumped out of the van and walked to Departures to see if I could get any info. Nobody was allowed to enter the building. Protesters were chanting and blocking the doors, there were news crews, etc.

There was no way we would be getting on this flight. Humberto called Luis in his office to see if he could get any information from American Airlines. We exited the traffic mess, wondering if we needed to drive 3 hours back to Panajachel, rebook for another day, etc.

I spotted an American Airlines travel agency located within a hotel. I jumped out of the van again, and went inside. I asked the woman what we should do. She said that they had just gotten a call that the airport had just reopened. Now there was only an hour and a half until our flight. It seemed unlikely that we would make it. She suggested trying anyway, so we turned around and went back to the airport. This time we could get to Departures.

We checked in and they told us the flight was delayed an hour. Not bad! No flights had been able to land, so our plane wasn't even there yet. But it soon arrived, and it indeed took off only an hour late. We made up some time and were only about half an hour late landing in Miami.

We weren't in danger of missing our connection as we had a significant buffer. And we can honestly say that it was our single best experience in the Miami airport EVER. Craig needs a wheelchair there as he can't walk the extreme distances, and our wheelchair attendant was amazing.

The flight got into Boston 30 minutes early at 12:30 a.m., which is nice since I have to go to work in the morning. A dear friend was kind enough to pick us up at the airport. And now it's time for bed!

It was an amazing trip and we miss the family already. We are grateful that the strike did not impact our ability to get home - hopefully it ended amicably. We can't believe that we made it home - it seemed so unlikely. I imagined having to call my boss and tell him I wouldn't be in on Thursday due to an airline strike! Luckily, he is a fellow travel junkie, and has even visited Panajachel in the past, so I'm sure he would hae understood, but I'm glad it didn't come to that!
Aracely inspects my passport

Aracely inspects my passport

Steph and Ian

Steph and Ian

Paulina, Ian, and Craig

Paulina, Ian, and Craig

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