Friday, October 9, 2009

Wingin' It With Mexicana

The phone rang at 4am. Once we woke up and realized we were in a hotel room in Panama City and homeward bound for Mérida, we hustled down to the taxista waiting for us in the lobby. And so began October 2,2009. Three tolls, thirty minutes, and twenty dollars later we were the first customers at Mexicana Air. We were originally scheduled to fly out a week later, but we changed the program. I usually try to avoid changing the program since air travel is so complicated these days. In order to change the return reservation we spent most of the day before riding for hours in bumper to bumper traffic, to and from the airport on local buses.


At check-in, no less than eight agents tried for an hour to get our boarding passes to print out. NOTE: Mexicana is a normally a good airline. They were in the active process of changing their system and routes. The result could mean cheaper and better options for domestic travel in Mexico. With that in mind, we maintained our patience and just kept smiling.


The three and a half hour flight from Panama City was uneventful. Immigration, terminal changes in Mexico City, gate changes, the usual stuff, no problem. By 1pm we were on our way to:


GUADALAJARA!


At least it as during the day and we could look at the clouds and sky scenery. When I booked the ticket, the Guadalajara stop was unavoidable. We waited two frazzling, sizzling hours in the stuffy new terminal. Finally, at 5pm, we were on board a small sleek jet

bound for: OAXACA!
My fault for not seeing the small light-gray print on the electronic ticket. Ok, so on this flight we opted for a dinner of beer and peanuts. We got to see the ruins of Monté Albán outside of Oaxaca from the air as we landed. I learned about another feature of my camera and had fun photographing clouds and scenery.



Looking down at Monté Albán on top of the green hill in the forefront and the city of Oaxaca behind it.
The flight to Oaxaca lasted just over an hour. Then we had a "technical stopover". We didn't have to leave our seats. Passengers disembarked, the cleaning crew came in, quickly swept up around us, and new passengers boarded. Within half an hour we were off, heading directly to:
TUXTLA GUTIERREZ!
Surprise! We were not done traveling yet, we had one more technical stopover. It was stormy as we traversed the Sierra Madres over Oaxaca and Chiapas. We drank another beer and ate cookies for dessert as we watched distants clouds clash in lightnight streaks.
Finally, at 9:45pm, we arrived in Mérida. The Customs Agents took one look at us and saw we'd been through some kind of hell and let us pass through without inspection. Big deal, I smuggled in one bag of yellow split peas.
It was the perfectly bizarre ending to a perfectly bizarre adventure. Two days earlier, we cruised the northern coast of Panama on the Atlantic Ocean, crossed over the entire country, got a look at the Panama Canal, and then found ourselves staring at the Pacific Ocean. So why not see ALL OF CENTRAL AMERICA AND MOST OF MEXICO in one single day? Life is an Amazing Race and sometimes you just have to WING IT!

6 comments:

Theresa in Mèrida said...

wow! Now that you are home, I can't wait to hear about your adventures.
regards,
Theresa

Islagringo said...

At least you got to fly over some interesting topography. I would love to see Oaxaca and Chiapas from the air. I sure hope we are going to get treated to your Panamanian adventures now!

Welcome back!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see your other pictures from Panama!
-Daniela

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS FOR THE TRIP, I would like to know more about his adventures.

PUBLIC MORE PHOTOS


Karen

Tom and Debi said...

What caused you to cut short your travels? Everything OK over there?
Debi

Linda Dorton said...

Debi,
I am working on some stories about the trip to post. All is fine here.