Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Epic Return Home

As most of you know already, I was returning back to my homeland of France after 11 years living in Mexico and a grand total of 13 years abroad. Quite a move! And to add a little bit of saucy extraordinaire, I was going to travel back with my 3 beloved cats. My mom jumped to the roof when I told her that. And I quietly explained her that it wasn't a question, it was a fact: I was taking my cats with me. I rescued these cats it's not to abandon them again. It's not like a pair of shoes you can leave behind.

Don't go believing that travelling from Mexico to France with 3 cats is an easy task. I'd be lying if I said it was complicated but let's settle it by saying it's tedious. Fortunately, I had the inmense fortune of having a friend who did just that a few years prior and his help had been priceless.

To sum it all up, there are more paperwork to be done than what I imagine you need when you want to transport a transplantable liver to the other end of the country.

So I did it all. I chipped my 3 cats, I had my vet issue a medical certificate for each one of them, had the zoosanitary services of the airport inspect them all to check their health, got a cage for each, bought special travel nappies and paid for their flight to Paris …

After thinking about it long and straight, I finally decided to have them sedated just before I went to the airport. My vet told me the sedative would last between 6 and 8 hours which meant that with my 7 hours waiting time in Mexico City, they'd be up, alive and kicking by the time they'd be boarding our plane to France. Well at least they'd have some drugged up time to kill some of the super long waiting time in D.F.

I couldn't believe how heart-breaking it was for me to see them stuck in their tiny cages knowing they'd be stuck in there for a good 28 hours. I was more worried for their well being then my own and I naturally cried my eyes out at the moment I gave them away at the checking counter. I was glad for my friend's support and thought that it would have been quite another story had I been alone at the airport on my last day in Mexico.

I had been informed that I had to go through the zoosanitary services in Mexico City as well since they were the ones who would deliver me the other St Graal I was needing: the “importation” papers for the French customs. My cats were registered, just like my lugages, all the way to Paris but I had to get them back to present them to the airport vet. And trust me, getting lugages back at your stopover when they're registered all the way to your final destination is quite something. I was actually glad for the 7 hours transit time I had between my 2 flights since it took me a good 2.5 hours to do it all.

And I had to check them in … AGAIN. The guy at the counter asked me if, considering the huge time left before my flight, I wanted to keep them with me for a few hours and I decided against. As I said earlier, seeing them in there was heartbreaking, and if they'd awaken while I had them it would have been worse to hear them cry. So I took them back as soon as the paperwork was done.

I don't know how I managed to sleep at all in the plane considering my latent anxiety about my cat's well-being and my neighbor snoring like you've never heard before but I did. CDG's airport is worse than I remembered, I arrived at terminal E, had to travel to terminal D than back to E to get my suitcases (don't ask, I still don't get it) and the only thing I was worried about was my cats. I didn't care if my suitcases hadn't make it but I wanted to see my cats so bad.

I heard them arriving on the bulky lugages delivery mat since they were all meowing on top of their lungs. They stopped the second they saw me. I couldn't do it the mexican way with 3 suitcases and 3 cages (meaning all piled up on top of one kart) so one of the airport's officials helped me out. Is there someone to help you? He asked. I said yes.

Nobody from Customs asked for my papers even though I passed right in front of 5 of them chitchatting. My friend was right … There was no need to worry.
All was good.
All is good.

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