Couldn’t get an internet connection and time yesterday to write, but Michelle and the kids made it in safely to Oaxaca. Phew. Not that I was worried since there were so many people praying; it’s just that little voice that likes to get you worked up over the condition of your loved ones when they aren’t with you. Anyone with a family will agree, I suspect.
But they got in ok with not too many problems. Customs wasn’t an issue at all for Michelle travelling with the kids but not the father. We were a little worried about that but the official didn’t even question it. Good thing we didn’t take the time to get a notarized letter from me saying I was ok with them coming in. I had wanted to put on that letter something like “I am ok with Michelle travelling with the kids. If you have any questions I’ll be the tall, white guy standing behind the wall waiting for them.” But again, Michelle spoke with wisdom and told me to stop being an idiot.
One thing Michelle did confirm is that the Mexico City airport is the exact opposite of organized and efficient. I believe chaotic is a good term to run with here. And this is for someone with decent Spanish skills. From what Michelle told me last night (she was awfully tired so we’ll have to assume that the whole story is here) once she got off the plane she tried to confirm what gate the connecting flight was on. No one could tell her. But it wasn’t like they didn’t understand her attempts to communicate; they actually just didn’t know. Not a good sign.
If I understood correctly (again remember that Michelle is quite tired telling the story and I am just giddy with excitement that she was actually there. And yes, I like being a whipped little puppy dog of a husband) she finally got pointed in some semblance of a direction which got her towards customs. She got up to the area and saw the following signs indicating which line to go in. Her thoughts follow.
Foreigners (United Kingdom, France, Germany, etc) – Well, that one should have been right, but it appears that Canadians are not foreign.
Domestic Travelers – Perhaps they mean the destination? That seems odd, but I am just taking a domestic flight to Oaxaca City.
For those of you who don’t know Michelle as well as I do, she is a person who does not make any decisions quickly or rashly. She thinks it out. This may appear to some as avoiding a decision; it’s not. She just likes to make one correct decision every time. Basically, the opposite of 99% of all men. We just like to pick the first option, or the shiniest or loudest and go with it.
But back to Michelle’s choice. She stood and looked at the signs for a while. In my mind it was probably 20 minutes, in reality it was most likely 20 seconds. Then she did an incredibly smart (another hallmark of my wife, I love her so much) thing and stopped looking at the signs. She looked at the lineups below the signs. Actually, it was a single lineup. Both “corrals” fed people into a single line to a single customs officer. Decision made, it didn’t matter which line she took.
After customs the search for the next gate started again. And again no agent seemed to be able to help. Finally she got directed by someone to go to gate 15 (aka the Mexicana holding pen) and wait for them to announce the flight and gate about 45 minutes prior to bording. Well, it’s not efficient (it may actually be for the Mexico airport though) but at least it was clarity. So she grabbed some lunch and then sat down to wait for the couple of hours. She was joined by some new friends (Mike and Daysi) from Ontario who are also attending the MTS here in Tlaxiaco and they waited for the flight to be called.
About 45 minutes prior to flight time Michelle and Daysi realized that no announcement had been made. So Michelle went and asked at the counter. She was told that it would probably be Gate 9 but not to go there yet. Just wait for the announcement. Then Michelle, Daysi and Mike started talking again (and Katria entertained the masses in the terminal) and they lost track of time. About 20 minutes prior to the flight they all realized that no announcement had been made. They all just decided to go to the gate and see what was going on. When they got there, it was quickly realized by them and the flight crew that they were about to miss the flight. The plane doors were about to close but thankfully the attendent caught the crew in time. No announcements, no last calls, no urgent “You’d better get here quick or we’re leaving with out you” over the PA system. Mexico City airport efficiency again.
But they made it. And I am so glad they are here now. The next post will describe our first day as a family together in Tlaxiaco. This one just got too long.