Day 1 – My Trip to Mexico City and It’s Surrounding Areas/Departure and Luggage Headaches

There are 7 posts total for my 6 day trip.  If you’ve started here, you can click the link that says “newer” that you’ll find at the end of this post, and it will bring you to Day 2, etc.  You can also go to the sidebar and search in the April 2011 archives.

Ay yi yi (SP?  I tried the Spanish dictionary and know this isn’t the correct way to spell this)!  The best place to start is at the beginning…

My brother and sister-in-law were married here in the states two years ago.  She’s from Mexico.  They had always said that one day they’d get re-married in Mexico, in a church, with her family and friends present (although two of her sisters and a friend were able to attend the wedding in the states).

A few months ago, they asked me if I’d like to go with them and my mom.  At the time, and with certain financial circumstances happening in my family life, I didn’t think it was such a good idea.  So I declined.  They bought their tickets.  Then one night I got a call from my brother saying that they’d really like to have me as their photographer and they’d pay for my trip.  SOLD!  I’m in!  Who can resist free travel and free lodging – I only had to pay for food.  So my husband was able to book me on the same flights that they had.

Everyone with an opinion starts to pop out of the woodwork when they find out your traveling to Mexico.  A few positive, but most negative.  I heard things like, “My family is there and I wouldn’t go.” “They kidnap, rape and murder Americans.”  “We go there every year on vacation, but are thinking twice about it this year.”   An elderly volunteer where I work asked me to please stop by when I return so that she knows I’m back safe.  I’m kind of taking a little detour here, but when I got back, I stopped by to tell her about our fabulous trip and she says, “Two Americans were murdered that were in Mexico City and were in line driving back across the border.”  I told her that’s right, they weren’t murdered in Mexico City, they were murdered at the border! We flew – she still didn’t get it.  I’m here to tell you that we had a fabulous time and I would go back in a heartbeat!  Of course you need to be aware of your surroundings.  That’s how it is anywhere you go.  My God, when I’m at home I hear on the news every night about drive by shootings, murders – even kidnappings and rapes – all over our country.  Just be smart and you’ll have a wonderful time.

OK, I’m back to our story – We arrive at the airport two hours early as required for our 9:45am flight.  We check in, only to find out our mom had her old passport with her (if you have an old passport, you’d know – the one with the big punched hole in it).  It would be $50/each to re-book our flights.  My sister-in-law and I decided to fly ahead and meet them there.  My mom and brother took off for her home which was about a 45 min. drive from the airport.  They needed to first stop at my sister’s where my mom had her house keys.  Then they decide to go to breakfast since they had to wait for the 2:30p flight.

My sister-in-law had a lot of goodies she was bringing her family, so we each had a bag to check-in.  We checked our two bags in and left the other two, along with my brother’s passport and boarding pass, with the lady at check-in.  We went to the first check-in area which was just to make sure that our carry-on’s were small enough.  Hers wasn’t.  I waited while she ran downstairs to trade bags.  We get to the x-ray part.  She had large bottles of shampoo, etc. in her bag.  She had to run these down to the other bags that my brother and mom were to check-in.
We then get to the gate and try to use my laptop.  Due to my parental controls with my Internet security, I was unable to access the airports Wi-Fi.  The company tried to help me out when I called them from Tampa AND Miami, to no avail.  Bummer.  There was no quick fix.  I wouldn’t be using the internet this trip.

Our flight got delayed.  Severe weather in the area.  I start to question whether it’s a sign from God that I shouldn’t take that flight.  You know, you’ve heard the stories before where people decide not to take the flight and then something bad happens to the flight they should have been on.  Then we board and we’re on the plane at the gate for 2-3 hours.  There was enough severe weather that my son texts me while I’m on the plane at the gate, saying that their school is locked down due to tornado warnings.  A local small airport actually had a plane blow off the runway into a lake!  A tornado even touched down very close to our house.  My sister-in-law keeps saying that maybe my brother and mom could still make our flight with all the delays.  I think it’s doubtful – especially because my husband and I watch a nightly TV show that’s on called “Airline”.  It’s basically a reality show about Southwest Airlines and the mishaps that passengers encounter.  They would never let anyone board a flight, even if they were still sitting at the gate.

All of a sudden the flight attendant announces that two passengers decided to get off the plane.  Amazing!  I run up there and tell her our situation with our fellow travelers.  I ask if they’d be able to get on.  She said if they hurry they could.  I call my brother to find out that they’re actually in the airport, and had just paid for another flight.  I explain the situation and they get to the gate in time to fly out with us.  The flight from Miami to Mexico had to be re-booked when we got to Miami because we flew in late due to the storm.

Here are some shots from the air:


Mexico City is the 3rd largest city, population wise, in the world:

I was showing these to our hostess and she pointed out that their building can been seen in a couple of them.  What a coincidence!

We arrive in Mexico.  None of our four suitcases that we checked in are there.  We sat there for about an hour with my sister-in-law talking back and forth with customer service in the baggage area.  It’s decided they’ll call her when the baggage arrives.  It should be on the next flight.

We went to the car rental and rented our car and started out for my sister-in-law’s sister’s apartment.   Her and her boyfriend were to be our hostess and host for our stay.

Here’s a picture of a boy washing car windows for money at a traffic light:


Long story short (believe it or not this part could be a lot longer), it took much longer than it should have to find their place.  Their building didn’t have an address on it and when we thought we found the right place, the door buzzers didn’t work as you’d expect them to.  Our host had actually even emailed my sister-in-law a picture of their apartment so that we’d know it when we saw it.  She didn’t print it out and I’m not sure if she even looked at it – ooops!  And to explain their buzzer situation, the buzzers aren’t really hooked up to the apartments.  It’s hooked up to alert a security guard.  This guard opens the parking garage door for you and opens the outer door to the building for you.  There’s no other way to get in.  As my brother says, “What if he’s going to the bathroom?  I’d be pretty mad if I couldn’t get into my own building!”

Luckily our hostess was standing on the sidewalk our next time around the block and we saw her.  By this time it was about 8 or 9pm.  We were famished!  We had a very small breakfast and nothing for lunch.  She prepared a wonderful, light meal for us.  She made Tortilla Española (it’s like a Quiche).  She also made a great salad and had some fresh bread for us.  This was just the beginning of our introduction to the fabulous food that Mexico has to offer:


And the pastries!


Besides the day of the wedding, the rest of our trip goes quite smoothly.  This day could have been one of the episodes on the Southwest Airline show (although we flew American Airlines)!   Don’t worry, the rest of the posts from our trip won’t be as wordy – to be continued….


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