Friday, September 10, 2010

My Odyssey

I just came back from vacation. I mean today. And even though there is SO MUCH i'd like to talk about, especially with all the incredible stuff i've done, there is one thing that kinda cover it all up: it's my travelling. And not just my travelling back home. No no, my entire travelling time for that particular trip.

People say i'm funny. Or that i write funny stuff. Well read the following. You'll probably find it hilarious (sense the heavy sarcasm).

I started my trip by booking with Mexicana de Aviacion. As most of you know cuz i mentioned it already, they had the good idea to go bankrupt 4 days before my actual flight, putting me in quite some dilemma. Booking a flight 4 days before D day doesnt give you many options. And even though Interjet still had room, they could only fly me back to Guadalajara. I say, hey, it's better than nothing, it's just 5 hours bus ride, i can take the night one, sleep like a baby and arrive back home as fresh as a blooming rose.

So there was i, in my Interjet plane. I have nothing against the company, they have a great service on board and really cool personal (on board and on land). But there is a bar in their seats that killed my lower back. And i tried 7 different ones and they all have it. So if whomever designing those seats actually read those lines, please, do something about it. YOUR SEATS ARE AWFUL.

Flying doesnt scare me. I've been flying since i'm too young to remember, across France, across Europe, transatlantic, across Mexico, through the States and then some. When we're about to take off, or to land, or when we're in the middle of turbulence, i am not thinking oh shit we're gonna crash, oh shit the plane is gonna set up on fire, oh shit a lightning is gonna hit the plane, no. That doesnt really cross my mind. The only time i've thought about it, i was like, well, the probability of dying in a plane crash is considerably less than dying in a car accident, i drive my car pretty much every day whereas i dont fly every day and let's be honest, if the plane is gonna crash, the only good thing is, you know for sure your death will be quick and most likely painless. I mean what are the odds of coming out alive of a plane crash? But anyway.

All that to say that on Interjet planes, they have a webcam through which you can see what i guess the pilot himself can see: the landing strip, the lines on the floor, the lights on the sides, the rain etc etc. And to be honest, i found that a lot creepier than any comment on "in case of pressure loss in the cabin, oxygen masks will fall automatically in front of you ..." I dont like to be driven and seeing how not straight the pilot is going is not helping me feeling nice and comfy on my seat. I had to close my eyes. But then damn, i know the screen is there so i want to see. You know the way you always want to see what terrifies you or what horrifies you or what makes you want to puke. Well that. Especially since they only put it on take off and landing. I'm not gonna enter into details of the crazy stuff that went through my head while i was watching the screen but i can tell you it involves one recurrent question: what if i see another plane in that little video? (no comment)

I had a connecting flight in Toluca. The hostess at the check in told me: it's only 25 minutes but it's the same plane so no worries. So first thing i asked the air hostess when i sat at my seat was what was gonna happen in Toluca. And she said, oh, no, nobody stays in the plane, you'll have to go to the terminal and check with our land staff.
Oh sweet lord. How do i do that in 25 minutes?
I decided not to think about it until it was actually time to think about it.
And when it was time to think about it, the captain said: people travelling to Cancun please stay in the plane, we'll come pick up your boarding pass once all other passengers have disembarked. I almost went to his cabin to give him a hug.

The arrival in Cancun, the way time share people assault you, the way taxi people assault you, damn, i hate being a tourist for that. My friend was waiting for me, i was worry-free. Finally.

During my stay over in Playa del Carmen, i heard from many people how bad rain has been in PV. One bridge had collapsed just the day before i left and apparently, things werent going any better. More bridges collapsed, rain was so intense there were floods, and mudslides and then the big bad news: HIGHWAY 200 IS CLOSED TO TRAFFIC UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Which means: with NO DATE of when there will be hope to go through.
And guess what road i was planning on taking on my way back to PV. Highway 200 of course. That's the fastest easiest "directest" way to go to PV from Guadalajara. And guess what. Well there is no more road. 3 days before the end of my vacations and i was stressing up. Yeah because i'm like that. This is the worse possible way of ending a vacation: not knowing how the hell you're gonna get back home.

I had my best friend on it for me, checking with the local authorities, with the bus companies, alternative routes and shit and giving me updates via text messages every 4 hours. On Thursday, the day i was going to fly back, she called me and said: highway 200 is opened to buses again.
But the knot in my stomach was still there. I'll believe it when i'm in the bus back home. Until then, i guess i'll stress some more.

My flight was a 8pm. And i had to take the 4pm bus to arrive at the airport at 5pm cuz the next bus was arriving at 7:15pm and i was not taking the risk of being denied check-in. That would have been the final straw and would have meant the end of me. So i arrive at Cancun airport, check the departure list and my flight isnt on it. And i'm like, oh well, it's probably because i'm too early. But i noted there was an earlier flight to Guadalajara so i went ask if i could hop on. And the lady said to me: but there is no 7:15pm flight. Well then miss, check the board, it's on it. And mine is not on it. And i was like, oh shit, she's giving me boarding pass for a flight that doesnt exist at the time she's giving it to me, she's then gonna tell me, there's been a mistake we cant take you today and then i'd die.
So i went to wait where she told me to.
And the flight was still not on the board.
And then there was an announcement.
My flight was cancelled delayed changing boarding gate.
Deep breath.
I'm not dead yet.

Every passenger boarding flight 331 to Guadalajara please have your boarding pass ready and your ID.
I handled both my boarding pass and my passport. It wasnt an air hostess. It was a federal police officer. Who rudely asked: where are your immigration papers?
And that's when i died a little inside.
- I dont have them sir, they're in renewal, and they told me on my way here that i wouldnt need them since i'm not leaving the country.
- Well you need them. I can't let you board this plane.

I'm dead.

There were 2 of them. One somehow nicer than the other, asking me questions of what was i doing in PV, how long did i came to Cancun for, and what for, how long i've been living in Mexico, what is my job (dude you already asked me that), how long did i stay here for (dude, you ALSO already asked me that) and so and so.
And then they called me on the microphone. Miss, i am standing right here. Yes i'm the one stuck with the feds.
So to make one long story short (cuz that little mascarade lasted for about 10 minutes, maybe 15. It felt like an hour), the first fed was being a powertripper, enjoying every second that was passing watching me losing it, about to burst into tears. I had to listen to him repeat what seemed like a million times "you cant board the plane, you need your immigration papers". And when i finally told him: so what am i doing now? stay here in Cancun in front of gate B1 waiting for my immigration papers to arrive? he said in that nasty i-have-the-power-to-make-you-shit-your-pants-and-enjoying-every-second-of-it voice told me:"have a nice flight".

I mean

And as i was exiting the door to get to my plane, i thought, wait a minute, he's a federal officer, not an immigration officer, he has no right to detain me for that, that is so not his "jurisdiction". But then i thought better and i was like, ok dont shout victory just yet, you're not in the plane yet, the man has a gun.
And then i had to RUN to get my plane.
WHO on fucking earth has to RUN to get a plane?

I died again.

I had asked for a window so i could pass out on the flight. And after that adventure with the feds i was so going to get a shot of anything. I badly needed it. But a drunk bitch was on my seat and i was just too exhausted to fight it. Fuck you, fuck the feds and fuck everybody. At that particular point, i hated the entire world. But we took off and i started breathing again.

Oh bloody hell, i forgot about those webcams.
And about the bar in the back.

Guadalajara airport, my suitcase got out first, i rushed to the taxi station, asked for a ticket to the bus station and on my way i was. When the taxi driver asked me which bus station, i was like, oh shit, there are several? Well i dont know which one, the one that can take me back home. He asked me how much i paid, i told him and he said, ok that's the one in Tonala. But the one in Zapopan is the one closer to PV. If i dont get to the right bus station, i am gonna have to shoot someone, probably myself. It was going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I just couldnt have taken it. NO. WAY.

Well, we got to the right bus station after all and when the lady at the counter asked me: where are you travelling to? my heart burst with joy and told her: Puerto Vallarta.
And she said:
- There are no buses to Puerto Vallarta. They closed the road again.


OK, we're going to have to find a solution cuz i'm not planning on sleeping here. I said i'll be home on friday and i will be home on friday. I heard there was a bus going to PV through Manzanillo, book me on that one.
And then believe or not, i actually had to show her HOW her reservation system was working, that the 2 buses that were appearing on her screen were in fact, only one bus, so yeah, i was going to make the connection with my bus arriving in Manzanillo at 5:20am and departing to PV at 5:20am as well cuz it was the same bloody bus.
So she had to cancel the ticket GDL-MZO she sold me so she could charge me the normal GDL-PV fare even though i'll spend twice as much time in the bus as normal.
And that's when she told me (please sit down for this one), to look for Julio (her manager) so he could cancel my ticket.
I mean, WHAAAAT?
Who the fuck is Julio and why the hell I have to go look for him.
Missy, it's your mistake, not mine, your boss, not mine, you go look for him, not me.
I mean this was surreal.

And when i was finally one in the morning, bus departure time, Julio told the 40 people who were hoping to get to PV somehow: we have 2 buses and 2 options:
- option 1: through Manzanillo but it'll take you 10 hours to get there.
- option 2: through highway 200 but we can only take you up to La Peñita (for those not familiar with the area, it's like faaaaar. And then i would have had to take a BOAT for 2 hours back to who knows where, and then another bus to PV and all that at 6 in the morning and i was like, dont even think about it).

Option 1 for me.

I fell asleep the second my head touched the seat. I didnt even realized we stopped in Manzanillo. When i opened my eyes in the morning, the first thing i saw was the Pacific Ocean. That was the most awesome sight and feeling i had in the past 20 hours or so.

I was finally home.

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