Tuesday 7/5/2005 - Departure from Merida

We woke up at 7:30 am, finished packing, and headed out at 8 to try to buy some more Yucateco hot sauce. On the corner an older gentleman pointed at me in my Leones cap and said "Lions! Baseball! Is good!" and gave us the thumbs up. The little bodega where we had bought provisions the other night was closed, so we walked back to the room. At 8:15 our cab arrived. The ride to Merida airport cost 80 pesos. Once we got to the airport, we checked in for our first leg of flights (Merida to Mexico City) on Mexicana. When we checked in, they couldn't give us boarding passes for the Mexico City to Boston leg, since the second leg used AeroMexico. So we needed to stand in an AeroMexico line as well, which was fine because we had plenty of time. One of the guards questioned what we were doing in the line. A lady who spoke English explained that we needed our boarding passes for the second leg of our journey. The guard said that if we didn't have luggage to check we could go directly to the ticketing window. We did so, and waited ten minutes at the desk for a guy to finish up on the phone. When he got off the phone, he just said "No" and sent us back to the other line. He wouldn't listen to us at all. So we went back into the original line. Eventually we were served by someone who understood what we needed. However, he wasn't able to access the flight info on his computer. He said there was the possibility that it may have been cancelled, and that we should check when we got to Mexico City. He said that there was one other way we could make it to Boston today, and that was to go Mexico City to Atlanta and Atlanta to Boston. However, we would need to check the status of our own flight in Mexico City before even attempting to get ticketed for an alternate flight. We passed a cafe and headed through security. We then proceeded to the gate, hoping to find something to eat. There was a snack cart. We tried to go back to the cafe, but we would have had to exit security, etc, so we just sat at the gate and thought over what might happen if we couldn't get our flight home after all. We saw some folks buy sandwiches from the snack cart and decided to do the same, only to find that he was sold out. We settled for the granola bars that we had brought from home. We boarded our 11:45 flight and I slept most of the way to Mexico City. They gave us a packet of Japanese peanuts and some orange juice. Then we each had another granola bar.
We arrived in Mexico City at 1:30. We were overwhelmed and didn't know what to do. We went to an information counter and they pointed us at a small AeroMexico counter and told us to get our boarding passes there. The girl at the desk told us that the flight was not running today, and we would need to see a supervisor at gate F1 to see about booking another flight, possibly through New York City. She told us to go through immigration and then go to F1. While we were in line at immigration, a worker told us that we didn't need to be there and he told us to go to gate 12. So we hustled to gate 12, getting more and more frustrated, and losing all hope of getting back to Boston any time soon. At gate 12, a flight had just left for Tijuana. We found a bunch of "connection specialists" at the gate and asked them how to get to F1. One of them was really helpful and walked most of the way with us. The airport was under construction (as all airports seem to be). We found terminal E, and there was a sign pointing down a hallway to Terminal F. However, we arrived at a dead end. The hallway had been blocked off by construction. We asked two security guards how to get to F, and they sent us upstairs, around a corner, and back downstairs again. We got in line at AeroMexico, and were assisted by a very pleasant and helpful man. It was 2:40, and he hoped to get us on the 3:55 Delta flight to Atlanta. However, passengers were still checking in, and they would need to wait until at least 3:00 and see what kind of availability they had.

The minutes dragged by. If we missed this flight, we could fly home via NYC. Of course, the flight would get into LaGuardia at 11pm, and the connecting flight would leave JFK at 6 am. Far from ideal. Plus it would mean missing at least another half day of work. We waited until well after 3:00, as passengers to Atlanta continued to check in. The employee was so nice and helpful, and he was working with the Delta staff to try to make this happen. Eventually he managed to get us two seats on the Delta flight to Atlanta, but we would have to run to gate 31 to catch it. Luckily there was no line at security. Of course, Craig's shoes chose this moment to set off the metal detector for the first time on this trip, so we had to deal with that. We ran to gate 31. It was still boarding. Our zone had already boarded, so we were able to get right on. Seat 6A and 6B. As we got onto the plane, the flight attendant ushered us to the left rather than the right. Our seats were in first class!

We sat down, winded from running, and the flight attendant immediately brought us each a mimosa and a newspaper. It was such a relief to be on a flight at all, and to be in first class was just unbelievable. We hadn't had time to do anything in Mexico City (buy food, go to the bathroom), so we used the first class bathroom on the plane, which, incidentally, had hardwood floors. We each had another granola bar, making our grand total of food by 5 pm 3 granola bars and a package of Japanese peanuts. Soon, to our surprise, the flight attendant came by to take our dinner order. We had a choice between steak and shrimp. Wow, a real meal! And we were starving. We chose the steak. Craig got a Heineken and I got white wine. The movie started - it was Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher in "Guess Who?". It was contrived, but was fun, lightweight fare, and we enjoyed it after the stressful day we had had so far in airports. They passed around hot towels and set a cloth tablecloth over the meal tray.Our meals arrived - a nice salad with dressing on the side, a hot brown roll, and an apple cream cheese tart. Craig had some wine with dinner. Then the main course came - steak, veggies, and potatoes. The steak was in a nice sauce. We had real glasses and silverware (except for the plastic knives) and individual salt and pepper shakers on our trays. They were out of Heineken so Craig got a MGD. We rounded off the dinner experience with a nice cup of coffee..

The flight went by really quickly and we were in Atlanta before we knew it. At 8:30, we were the 3rd and 4th people off the plane. We ran to immigration. The lines were long but we managed to get into a fairly fast-moving one. Then we headed to customs and breezed through. We took the high speed train from terminal E to B. We got to our gate at 9:00, just as boarding was about to commence. We ran to the bathroom and then boarded the plane. We were seated on the side of the plane where there were just 2 seats per row. There was a delay as more baggage was loaded onto the plane and we waited in line for the runway. We got out around 50 minutes late. We were served a drink and Delta's new snack service, a choice of SunChips, animal crackers, cheese and crackers, or a granola bar. We chose animal crackers. We followed this up with a granola bar from our own stash. Our flight landed at 12:30, and we were so glad to have made it home. We stopped at the 24 hour McDonald's to get something to eat, and then headed home to get some sleep before heading off to work in the morning.
Luz en Yucatan

Mountains peeking through the clouds approaching Mexico City

First Class to Atlanta

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