Monday 7/5/2004 - Departure

We woke up at 7 am, having no idea what time our airport pickup would be. Our flight was at 11:37, so we wanted to make sure we were ready. We headed down to the lobby to check out at 7:55. While Craig was checking out, I met up with Jose, our driver from Olympus Tours. He was very nice. At first he looked over his list and told us we wouldn't get home today, but his bright green eyes belied him, and he soon broke into a smile and told us he was only kidding. Apparently our pickup time had been 7:50 (thanks for letting us know, Pablo!), so we were pretty much right on time. We went to pick up some guests at other Mayan Riviera hotels on the way to the airport in Cancun. We told Jose about our trip, and he knew all about the Xel-Ha ruins. We wished he was our tour coordinator rather than Pablo! It turned out that both of the drivers we had from Olympus Tours were far more friendly and informative that the one assigned to us to help coordinate our trip. Fortunately Craig and I had done our homework for this trip since we had so little time to make decisions on the fly. Talking with Jose on the ride we discovered that he really likes to camp on the beach and suggests that tourists rent a car when they visit the area. He said that he is also the type of traveller that likes to drive along and when he sees something that interests him, just pull over to check it out. When you've had enough, you move along to the next place of interest. After about an hour drive Jose dropped us at the airport at around 9. We checked in, and didn't even have to go through customs or anything like that. We ate breakfast at Burger King while watching a bunch of vulture-like frat boys descend on two young women. We honestly couldn't determine if they were interested in any of the guys or if they were just having fun making fools out of them.

Our flight to Miami took off on time. We were sitting on the starboard side of the plane, and we got a really good view of Cuba out our window. We took a few photos through the cloudy plane window since it's likely that will be our only chance to see Cuba. We arrived in Miami on schedule and waited for a very long time at customs. After we were only about three people from the desk, we heard a baby crying. Suddenly a woman drove by us with her crying baby in a stroller, marched straight to the front of the long line and asked the people at the front if she could cut in front of them. The baby immediately stop[ed crying and off they went. Everyone was in line making various comments about how she probably just pinched the baby to start crying and immediately stopped him once she had her way. Disgusted by her antics we finally got our chance and proceeded to the gates.

While going through security a pilot cut by us and the woman operating the xray machine said "You're not going to Boston are you?" and he replied "No, why? What's going on in Boston?" The woman never answered him but it left us wondering what was going on at home. By the time we got to the gate, we decided to forego food, thinking we would just stop to get a sandwich on the ride home from the airport. Well, at just about 3:30, when we had all boarded the plane and were buckled in, they told us that there was bad weather in Boston, and we were looking at at least a two hour delay on the plane!! They still wouldn't be serving food on this short domestic flight, and I was really beginning to wish I had bought something in the terminal. Then they announced they would be starting the in-flight entertainment early to keep people occupied, but they wouldn't even give us free headsets. This was ridiculous. We realize it isn't the airline's fault but they could at least try to be accommodating in such a situation. Fortunately, they announced that people could get off the plane with our boarding passes, and I was able to go to a food stand and get us each a turkey and provolone sub and some chips. I got back on the plane and we ate while sitting at the gate. We just talked for a while and ended up trying to nap. After about 2 hours we had to leave the gate as a flight was coming in and they sent us off to a far corner of the airport to wait some more. Finally, about 30 minutes later, we got the ok and we took off.

As we were approaching Boston suddenly we felt the plane spin around and start heading south again causing a lot of grumbling from the passengers. The pilot came over the intercom saying "Don't worry, we're not flying back to Miami, but we do need to circle Boston for another 20 minutes while we wait for an available runway". When we finally landed the whole plane broke into wild applause. It was really funny. We were supposed to land in Boston at around 6:45, but we ended up landing at around 9:00. The pilot made up a little time on the flight so we weren't as late as we might have been. As soon as we entered the gates we became aware that the problem was more significant that they let on. Every gate was still packed with people so it was clear many flights had been delayed. We had no luggage to pick up and we had parked in Central Parking, so we were able to leave the airport immediately and get right home. On the way to our car we ran into this very frazzled woman who left Las Vegas at 5:00 am, got rerouted to Los Angeles where she sat for 5 hours, and then finally just got home at the same time we did. She said she still had a two hour drive home. We found out the next day that a power outage had closed down major portions of the airport for many hours and in fact that was the problem. It had nothing to do with the weather at all. That is why they wouldn't even let the plane leave Miami until they knew the problems had been resolved. We figured our trip home could have been much worse.
Exterior of our room

Volkswagen beetle, a common sight in Mexico

Cuba from the air

Cuba from the air

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