Saturday, July 19, 2014

Getting to Mexico City Was A Challenge

After batting around several possibilities for a summer trip we finally decided on Mexico City, Mexico.  It is a place that we kept saying we wanted to go but wasn't sure of the safety.  We did our research and decided it was as safe as anywhere else as long as we followed all the precautions that we normally do when we travel.

We got different reactions from people when they asked where we were going.  They ranged from, "Nice knowing you!" to " You'll love it!"   We reassured them all that we did our research, were not worried, and knew it was going to be great.

On Monday, June 9th, we headed to the airport in plenty of time for our 1:22 PM departure time.  We were thrilled that the flight was only two hours.  All of our other trips to foreign countries have been eight hours or more, so two hours, that was nothing!  

We were flying Aeromexico but had walked up to the Delta counter since Delta handles the check-ins for Aeromexico.  That is when we saw the dreaded word CANCELLED  next to our flight.  There had been a bad stretch of storms that day that were affecting many flights.  It was a chaotic day for the airlines at San Antonio!  One of those storms went through Mexico City and instead of a delay, Aeromexico simply cancelled the flight.  The person at the ticket counter then informed us that there wasn't an actual representative for Aeromexico at the airport and we would have to directly call them ourselves to figure out how we were going to get to our destination. 

Frankie called and the person with the hard to understand strong Spanish accent that he spoke to told him that there would be no problem changing our flight to one tomorrow.

TOMORROW!?!  NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mexico was a mere two hour flight away.....we were soooo close.  Dang it, we even made it to the airport on time this time!!

The mini fit of disappointment passed and we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would just be going to Mexico City tomorrow.  The Aeromexico representative asked us if we wanted to bump our return flight a day since we were leaving a day later, that way we would have the same amount of time in Mexico City. We agreed to that then suddenly, the representative told us that he had kept checking and that he could get us out today after all.  All we would need to do was go to the United Airline counter and get a confirmation number for a flight to Houston.  From Houston we would get back on Aeromexico to Monterrey and finally to Mexico City, but it would all happen today.

Happy dance!

We hustle over to United to find out that the reason Aeromexico couldn't get a confirmation number themselves was because the flight was full.


Instead of calling Aeromexico back and struggling to understand the representative we went over to the Delta counter.  The person we talked to eventually went and talk to someone else in a back room.  She came back and told us that someone was working on the situation.  In the meantime we just hung around the counter listening to other customers affected by the cancellation.  One poor lady from Mexico was stuck with no place to go but the airport and was not very happy about it.  I couldn't imagine being stuck in a foreign country with a flight cancelled, at least she could speak English.  My luck, we would be stuck in some country where they use symbols and I wouldn't even be able to sound out the words much less understand them!

After a long wait a person came out of the mysterious back room and told us that they were able to book us on a flight through American Airlines.  We would have to go to Dallas first and then from Dallas we would have a nonstop to Mexico City.  The best part, we would be leaving TODAY!

Happy dance two!

With eyes wide and repeatedly saying, "Today?  We are leaving today?", we grabbed the tickets and boogie walked to security.  

Safely on the "other side", if you have flown you know what I am talking about, we went to the gate to learn that now we would have a delay getting to Dallas because all the bad weather we had that morning in San Antonio had now moved up there.   That's ok, we were getting a plane TODAY to go to Mexico City.

That delay became a later delay and then a later delay with one more delay.

At 8:15 PM we got a plane heading north to Dallas.  Mexico (which is south) here we come we are just taking the scenic route!  I have proof that we were actually ON a plane.

Jennifer on plane after 7 hour delay

We were a little worried that we might miss our flight from Dallas to Mexico City because there was a small window of time to get from one gate to the other.  Once we arrived in Dallas we discovered that the plane to Mexico City was delayed.

Even further from Mexico than when we started that morning, we just grinned and said, "Well, at least we won't miss it!"

Things started to get blurry after that.  I know that I took two pictures from the time we got on the plane actually heading to Mexico City and the time we arrived in our hotel.

Picture 1:  If there is an emergency you will be pooped out of the back of the plane.

How Exit Back of Plane to Mexico City

Picture 2:  The customs in Mexico are going to open your luggage and look at your undergarments.

Customs at Airport Mexico City

I told you things were blurry...

I know that we FINALLY got to the hotel at about 3 AM Tuesday morning and I don't remember much else until noon on Tuesday.

There is so much to see and do in Mexico City.  There are over one hundred museums in the city along with many other sights and attractions.  We stayed about a week and only hit the highlights!  We could go back several times and never have to go to the same place twice!  

If we ever do go back, I will need to brush up more on my Spanish.  I thought I knew some Spanish, maybe enough to get across what I might need while visiting, but boy was I wrong!  I could ask a question in halting Spanish but the problem came when they would answer.  Those words would fly at me and just sit there as a jumble of letters and sounds with absolutely no meaning.  I learned how to say, "Please repeat slowly." and that helped some until it came to numbers.  A vendor or taxi cab driver would tell us the price and we would just look at them blankly.  After many repeats and/or it got written down we eventually would get it figured out.  Most of the people were so friendly and helpful, one lady even got up to find a pen to write the price down on her hand for us.

I will give more details in future posts about what we saw, where we went, and what we ate while in Mexico City.

So until then!