In an effort to save money, we are each taking a carry-on suitcase and backpack, and checking the large suitcase and stroller.
Any day when you have to wake up at 5am is already starting off on the wrong foot but it has progressively gotten worse since then. We managed to make it to the airport on time with everyone dressed and so far I haven't forgotten anything, or rather I don't know about anything yet. We arrived at the airport by 6:15am for a 7:15am flight to Los Angeles where we were supposed to arrive at 9:45am and connect to an Alaska Airlines flight to Mexico City departing at 10:30am for a 4pm arrival. Trouble started when we boarded the plane. The plane seats four across with the aisle down the middle so two and two. The tears began when Erika realized that she would be seated next to a large man. I looked at her while I was trying to get Mia settled into her seat and Erika had big crocodile tears welling up in her eyes. So Erika got the window seat, Mia is seated in the aisle, and I'm seated across the aisle sharing my seat with this gentleman. But the fun was just beginning because our plane had a mechanical issue. First update was that they'd have the
Ready at the Redmond Airport
Jose took our group picture for the day as he left us at the security gates to proceed on our journey alone. This will be the last trip to Mexico without him.
latch fixed promptly and we'd be about 30 minutes late. Second update, we'd be switching to the next plane over. So it's back into the terminal we go. I call Alaska Airlines to find out my options now and she is absolutely no help. Our connecting flight to Mexico City is the only one of the day. The rep tells me to talk to someone at the gate and see if they can get us on a protected flight on Mexicana Air because they have three flights departing this afternoon. Of course the gate people are already frazzled trying to handle this situation. So we get back on the new plane this time and it's freezing cold because Central Oregon woke up to snow this morning.
The plane finally took off at 8:30am, only an hour and 15 minutes behind schedule. At this point, I'm pretty sure that we're not going to make our 10:30am flight out of Los Angeles because we only had a 45 minute layover to change planes. I was feeling very frustrated at this point because the rep said they only had one flight out a day to Mexico City and I had zero desire
Erika and Mia chillling
We ended up with a three hour layout at LAX and the girls made the best of it. Thankfully I packed lots of stuff in their backpacks to occupy them.
to spend the night in LA and waste a day of my vacation. We touched down on the ground at 10:28am and I am not a miracle worker. We deplaned and I tried to keep a positive attitude but it's difficult when you are wondering where in the heck your luggage is going to go. I headed straight for the service center counter. Alaska Airlines had already booked me on the first Mexicana Air flight leaving out at 1:35pm so I wouldn't be sleeping there, yes!
And then the fun really started! I had to go claim my luggage in baggage claim, walk to another building for international departures, check in at the ticket counter to receive my new ones, check in my luggage again (a 49.6 lb suitcase and Mia's stroller), cleared security again (this time extremely difficult), and find our new gate. Security was far harder this second time around because the girls' juices had gotten moved around on the last flight so I didn't have my two little bottles in one quart size Ziploc bag and ready for inspection. This time they ran all of my suitcases and then pulled three of my six for inspection.
Our arrival at LAX
Here is where we landed and I took a picture from the window of the gate where we had to walk to.
They pulled every single piece of electronics out of my suitcases and we are talking a ton!! Three mini laptops, two digital pictures frames, two unlocked cell phones, and digital cameras. At least it wasn't customs because I didn't declare any of my gifts, lol.
We arrived at our gate with two hours to wait, my favorite part of traveling with small children. I bought a turkey sandwich and bottle of apple juice for $14, highway robbery at its best. I pulled out the laptop and tried to connect to the internet but it wouldn't for some reason. Then I tried the tmobile wifi connection because I was under the impression that all employees enjoyed this benefit as a part of our package. I called Customer Service and they transferred me to the HotSpot department. I get HotSpot connection on my cell phone but not on my laptop. The rep was awesome enough to give a DayPass to try out the services so that was cool. Normally it's a feature I can just add on to my account for $9.99/mo so I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm traveling.
When it came time for boarding, they
Mia fell asleep right after we boarded the Mexicana flight, yay!
let me gate check my red carry-on suitcase which saved me the weight and expense of dealing with that. We were seated in the first seat in the coach section which means we had the wall in front of us, no carry-on space in front to put our backpacks, and hard dividers between the seats so the girls couldn't rest their heads on my lap when they napped. Mia fell asleep almost right away which made for a peaceful flight. We actually got served a meal and we didn't have to pay for it either. It wasn't too bad either, cheese pasta with a roll, two cookies, and drink. I had all three meals sitting in front of me while the girls slept. We landed in Mexico City at 7:05pm local time (2 hours later than Pacific). Getting off the plane was fine, it was getting through the maze of people, immigration where you turn in your form for an FMT (tourist visa that is good for up to 180 days), find our luggage (argue with the ticket checking guy because they switched our tags for the new flight and I still had the old ones), get in a long
It was actually pretty good, cheese pasta, roll, and two cookies. Best part, I didn't have to pay a penny for our meals!
line at customs (where we pulled out of the back of it, passed up to the front ahead of a couple hundred people), passports stamped, and make our way out the door to the terminal. And here we waited for over an hour for Victor to find us. I have flown into Mexico three times and the first one was the only easy one. The second time I flew into Terminal 2 and Maria and Victor went to Terminal 1 to pick me up. This time, the versus happened, I flew into Terminal 1 and Victor went to Terminal 2 to pick me up. I guess it depends which airlines you are flying in on determines which terminal and they haven't figured that part out yet.
The airport is a good distance from the colonia where they live to, anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half depending on traffic. As we got closer to their home, I asked Victor to stop if any of the street vendors sold elote and he turned right around because we had just passed one. We got three delicious ears of elote for 36 pesos, and they were worth every penny
First stop in Mexico was picking up some elote from a street vendor, corn on the cob smothered in mayo and ground cheese. You'll never hear the end of this, I promise!
of it! Although the ones we bought in Tlaxcala last year were a little better because they were Indian corn with all the different colors. When we got to their home, it was time to go through the bags and pass out all the gifts. The Nintendo DS was a definite hit! Even their father Victor was fighting the boys to play with it. Maria switched her movistar chip over into the Nokia 1661 that I bought her from Walmart as the one she's using is five years old. We didn't end up getting to bed until well past midnight. It was a long day and I'm exhausted. The plan for tomorrow is to find an internet cafe to post this blog and some photos, check my email, and check the bus schedule so we can head for Acuamanala tomorrow and stay with Isabel and her family.
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