Mexican vacation – Day 1 “The Arrival”

I FINALLY got Travis to finish the first post about our trip to Mexico. A little late but that’s ok. Here is the post about our first day. More to come!

Allison and I felt that since we have this blog thing we would tell everyone all about our vacation via the adventures of the Michelena family. This also happens to be my first “guest” blog.

To begin, the flight from Norfolk was at 0550. Which means that we have the 45 minute drive plus the hour and a half pre-flight mandatory show up time or don’t get through security time…so we’re talking a 0300 wakeup and a 0330 on road time. In a brilliant move on our part, we decided to simply stay up all night and then sleep on the several flights we had during the day. We made it to 0200. I believe that waking up after an hour of sleep in the middle of the night is exponentially worse than downing redbull and pushing through the night. Probably not safe for driving, but I would probably have felt better mentally.Allison is not a morning person. In fact, she may wake up by 1000, but is not in a sociable mood until at least noon, and IF she has eaten something. 0300 wakeups are not her thing (or mine either, for what it’s worth), so a 0550 flight is right up there on her list of “things to hate Travis for later.” As a note though, she was in a fantastic mood and did very well.

Flight number one is from Norfolk to LaGuardia in New York. Not a long flight, but on the ever uncomfortable tiny plane that is more a toilet paper roll with seats made of paper clips.Let me pause for a moment here, and tell you about LaGuardia. It Sucks. Most logical airports have connecting terminals where you can get off one plane and walk to your connecting flight without the hassle of going through the ever-wonderful security over and over again. HOWEVER, New York, which I assumed would have been the pinnacle of airport efficiency, forces you to actually leave the terminal as in, go outside. Us, in our naivety, only allowed an hour or so to get to the next flight. Let me butt in and mention that throughout the following paragraph, Allison is a little airsick and altogether unhappy and just wants to sit down. We are looking for non-existent signs pointing to anything helpful, such as an exit, or a map, or a clean bathroom. We do find a gruff presumed worker wandering around the food court, and she is the bearer of the bad news that we have to leave the building. So down through the baggage claim and on to the street. Keep in mind, there are no helpful signs or unhelpful signs or even graffiti pointing the way. You simply clamor around, staring at bus stops and the digital signs on buses, hoping not get on a bus headed to 456th street in downtown Queens. The other terminal was about a half mile away. We didn’t have time to wait for a ghost bus, so we ran. Yes, like in the movies or the people you laugh at. Allison, (who ignored my sage advice to wear comfortable running shoes) had on flip flops and we’ve got a shoulder bag and a carry-on. Thank goodness it was nice out and the sun was up (it’s about 0730 by now). It would have been fun to add a mugging to this story, but there was no one available to be mugged (I’ve always wanted to mug a New Yorker…bucket list, I guess). We make it to the proper terminal and stand in line for security, idly shifting from one foot to another in frustration and to give the aching muscles in our legs a break. Throughout this trip, we had the WORST luck in choosing lines, and this was the first example. We had poor foreign visitors in front of us that didn’t understand that their two laptops had to be all by themselves in the bin to go through the x-ray machine. It didn’t help that the TSA agent was frustrated and rude and they didn’t speak much English. Allison ended up helping the poor girl and we made it through and to our gate with time to spare. Allison still feels crappy, but we manage to get her some Dramamine, which is VERY expensive purchase at the airport.Our next leg is to Dallas/Fort Worth, on a thankfully bigger toilet paper roll (paper towel roll, maybe). We both try to sleep, and I think Allison actually slept better than I did, which is rare. Probably the drugs.

LaGuardia and D/FW are night and day when it comes to airports, and I would recommend D/FW to anyone flying anywhere. The people are friendly and helpful, there is a fantastic USO for the military, and the skylink tram from terminal to terminal is easy, quick, and WELL-SIGNED (if that makes any sense). You can zip around in minutes with no running. It sounds like a good time, and it was. Until we got on the plane. We’re sitting there, reading the ever-incredible skymall magazine, debating the usefulness of a doggy snuggie or gnome tv remote, when, out of the blue, the gate announcer guy (wearing a bow tie, I might mention) comes tearing down the aisle (we are way in the back) and stops at, you guessed it, us. Everyone’s looking at us now, and he asks for our passports and boarding passes. Now feeling like potential terrorists, we show peewee herman our stuff, and he chatters into his phone that we are in fact on the plane and legitimate people. Relieved, he leaves. And then comes back. And asks for our passports again. And then turns around and proceeds to walk down the aisle to leave the plane. My mind goes to immediate overdrive. One, we’re on a plane to another country, two, peewee is leaving with our main proof of citizenship, and three, a gnome remote control is cool only if it stands up. I do believe my exact words were “oh, hell no!” The seatbelt came off and I tore off after him, catching him at the entrance to the plane. He was on the phone again, telling someone on the other end our names and that we were indeed on the plane. I surmised that he was telling the baggage handlers that we were on the plane, so keep the luggage on the plane. Got it, security and all, but it just would have been nice to have an explanation as to why we kept having to prove that we were in fact sitting on the plane. Minutes later, the gate ticket lady came on and asked to see our boarding passes once again, asking quietly if it was her that scanned our tickets. We told her it was, and I could see the smoke as she thought she had screwed up the outrageously easy job of scanning an airline ticket and nearly sending a couple of passengers to GITMO. Plus, I think the other passengers almost yelled “let’s go!” and tackled us and landed the plane in the Hudson. But we do fly eventually.

Baja California is a desert. As in cactus and dirt and tumbleweeds. But the weather is constant and the water is beautiful. I don’t think I knew that it wouldn’t be tropical. A little shock out the window when landing. Twice in the airport we get hit up for a timeshare presentation. We turn both down and get on a shuttle to our resort, which is about 45 minutes away, and it is next to the last in line along the coast. We go past all these beautiful resorts and then through town, starting to worry if we’ll ever get there, and if it will be a busted motel on the edge of the desert. We go through a nice gate and perk up a little, but start to head up a mountain. Not a hill, but a freaking mountain. Around this mountain bend and down the other side and then up another mountain. All as the driveway to the Pueblo Bonito Resort at Sunset Beach. We finally pull in, are warmly greeted and check in, nearly asked about a timeshare presentation again, but they find out we’re under 30 years of age, and don’t bother us with a pitch. I couldn’t have been happier.

This resort is on the side of a mountain and HUGE. The paths wind back and forth, and they provide golf carts to ferry you around 24/7. We are up near the top of the mountain, which provides nice views, but a heck of a walk. You really can’t imagine how steep this place is. The cart path has hairpin turns, almost back on itself. A golf cart takes us to our room and we promptly proceed to party. Hard. Seriously, downing bottles of liquor, having pillow fights, stopping up the shower to make a pool, fighting tigers, etc. Or we laid down and took a nap until about eight. You decide.

On the balcony of our room
So happy we are here!
The view from our room. So pretty!
Later that evening, we decided to try out the only open restaurant at the resort at that time of night, “The Bistro.” We shared an oven-baked pizza and some AWESOME carrot cake. The frosting was this butter cream icing made in heaven. I like me some butter, and this tasted incredible. Allison sort of liked it, but I thought it was awesome. That pretty much called it for the day.

At dinner

As a note, there is some kind of monopoly on the TV provider in Mexico, or at least Baja California, because there were like six channels and they all sucked. Not that you should watch a lot of TV while on a beautiful beach resort, but when it’s night and cold…..bleh.

Later folks.

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  • Jemsmom
    May 23, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Travis…you should write for a paper. You have a gift with words! We went through some customs crap in Brazil like that. Very Very Very FRUSTRATING!!! So glad you made it and so glad you had a good time. Your pictures are just fabulous!