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Monday, June 7, 2010

Exposed Breasts, The Feds, and Unmarked Vans: Our Travel to Mexico



Zach and I love to travel but only can afford to do it if we go as cheap as possible. That means a lot of timeshare presentations and crappy flights! This trip we used our credit card Thank You points to fly for free which was awesome but I learned that sometimes somethings are worth paying for.

We drove to Mom's two Wednesdays ago to drop Kye off and spent the night with her then we left Thursday morning to head to Orlando. On our way we stopped to eat breakfast at Bagel World and it was a great way to start our trip!!! We actually ended up getting to Orlando SUPER early and it was nice to just take our time. On the shuttle, after dropping off the car at a park and fly type thing, the shuttle driver asked us what airline we were flying. We told him "Mexicana" and he hadn't heard of it! NOT a good sign. No one on the shuttle had heard of it either! I think that was a warning of what was to come...

Cheddar Cheese Bagel...the best!
As we waited for our flight we realized that Mexicana is truly a Mexican airline. Everyone who worked with them and everyone who was flying with them were all Mexicans! It was so fun to watch all the children running around with Disney stuff though...totally makes me want to go to Disney again asap.

worst airline EVER!
Our first flight was from Orlando to Mexico City. It was a three hour flight then we had a three hour layover in Mexico City and another 2 1/2 hour flight to Cancun. We met people on the trip who were from Chicago and they flew directly to Cancun in 3 hours. Does that make any sense? The actual flight wasn't too bad. The food they served us was pretty awesome actually. Once we got off the plane in Mexico City, things took a bad turn.

Waiting and Waiting...
The airline didn't give us ANY instructions and we were just kinda dumped off in a foreign country. We had no clue what terminal we needed to go to and NO ONE spoke English. We went to one counter and were told to go to another counter. We were told to go to a holding area but when we got there they said we needed our passports stamped. They told us where to go but when we got there those people told us to go back to the gate we came from. Then they told us to go to another gate. And on and on and on until we finally figured out that we had to go through immigration and get our passports stamped before going to our terminal. It was crazy and SO frustrating to feel lost without anyone to help! Once we got to our plane we ran into a TON of people from America who went through the SAME issue. The airline should have let us know directions on where to go and what needed to be done before catching our connection.
Even with being lost we still got to our destination way before our flight was scheduled to board so they had a "holding area" for us. While waiting, I enjoyed watching a two year old Mexican boy running around. He was so cute and, of course, reminded me of Kye. He started being naughty so his mom grabbed him and pulled down her shirt. Her boob was just chillin for the world to see. And let me say...it did NOT look like it was full of milk. She was sitting practically directly across from me and it was hard not to watch. Not to criticize or anything but she also didn't latch him on very well. The kid was literally SMILING at me while nursing! I'm a former nursing mother myself, and even I was pretty grossed out by the whole thing!

Once on the plane it was nice to see so many other people traveling like us and hearing that they ALL had been having bad experiences with the airline. We were fortunate to get exit row seating which is pretty much a must if my almost 6'6" husband has a chance at being comfortable on a plane! The flight again was pretty good, and they fed us again too so I couldn't complain about that. Anytime we've ever sat in an exit row the airline will go over exit row instructions with us but no one did. We were actually told later that with that airline anyone sitting in an exit row is supposed to be able to speak Spanish!

Nearing the end of the flight the pilot never announced to turn off electronics or to sit up seats etc. He just announced that we were getting ready to land and the flight attendants started coming around making sure people were buckled in. One flight attendant stopped at our seat and said that my bag wasn't allowed to be under my seat (has anyone heard that rule before?!?). Zach told her, "good luck finding a place to put it." Then she and another man started opening up all the overhead bins which were filled to the brim. Zach put the bag in the aisle, assuming she would put it up for him since we were in the process of landing and he shouldn't get out of his seat. She told him he needed to put the bag up so he unbuckled his seat belt and stood up when the lady sitting next to me said, "we're landing! we're landing!" He quickly sat back down and we landed with both those attendants standing in the aisle with my bag in the aisle and many overhead bins open. The male flight attendant even said, "whew! good thing it was a smooth landing!"

Well the lady wasn't happy AT ALL. She told Zach he needed to remain seated as she was getting the pilot to explain the rules to him. We decided to just get our stuff and head up with everyone else and then stop and ask the pilot on the way out if he needed to see him. Well, we didn't get a chance. Once everyone started getting up and getting their bags the pilot came over the system and said that everyone needed to sit down as the authorities had been contacted. I started semi-freaking out. Sure enough a Mexican federal agent got on the flight. The flight attendant lady came over and pointed to Zach and the officer told Zach that he needed to go with him off the airplane. I got up to go with him and snuck my cell phone in my pocket! EVERYONE around us all freaked out and came to our defense. Even a spanish speaking man was going on and on to the officer. It was SO nice of everyone to speak up for us and I seriously think it helped the situation.

"The Bag"
We got off the plane with the officer and he asked for our passports. I was pretty nervous as I've heard they will throw you in jail for ANYTHING over there. I kept whispering to Zach while were walking for him to be SUPER nice and to keep a constant eye on our passports while I was mentally thinking about how I only had $100 in cash and I didn't know if that would be enough for bail. We walked through the airport and he took us to another officer who started laughing as soon as the guy started telling him everything. As soon as that man laughed, my heart started beating again! Thankfully they found the situation funny and I think the flight attendant girl was just mega embarrassed that she broke so many rules and could have gotten in BIG trouble (if a bag had fallen...law suit! if Zach had stood up during landing and he'd fallen...law suit!).

A good thing about it is that we were the first ones off the plane! It was funny having everyone get off the plane and come over to us to get the scoop. Isn't it hilarious that Zach, who doesn't do anything wrong, about ended up in Mexican jail?!?! It's a good one to tell the grandkids someday for sure!

re-enactment
Our interesting travel doesn't end there. We didn't get into Cancun until after midnight and were eager to get to the resort. I had VERY specific instructions from our travel company regarding transportation. If you've ever flown into Mexico then you know that as soon as you get out of customs you're practically attacked with people trying to sell you stuff and give you rides. Our instructions told us to not talk to ANYONE until we exited the airport then to look for a guy in a specific outfit with the company name on it. After we left customs we ignored all the people trying to approach us then saw a guy inside the airport holding a clipboard with our resort's logo on it. He wasn't wearing any official type clothing but he said "Parker? Emily? Parker?" I was mega nervous! He showed us the "official" paper work but what does that really mean? For all we knew he could have killed our transportation guy and stolen his clipboard! We told him we didn't believe him and he escorted us outside. We were the only people with him and we met up with some guy that did have the official outfit on. I felt a little bit better but still didn't really understand why he didn't meet us inside instead of the creeper who did. We talked with him while the shady guy went to get the bus.

By this time it was closing in on one am and there weren't many people hanging out at the airport. When the "bus" pulled around I got even more worried as it was a unmarked van!!!  Very similar to the picture below. Um CREEPY!!!! Zach was mega nervous too so he sat up front with the driver (the shady guy who picked us up in the airport). The drive was about 45 min to our resort so Zach and I kept the guy talking the WHOLE way. We asked a ton of personal questions (which was difficult as his English wasn't very good) and tried to make him like us (since they won't kill you if they like you right?). Zach sat leaning over the guy ready to pounce if he tried anything shady. I sat with my hand under my sunhat and on top of my cellphone in case I needed to make an emergency call (to who exactly? I'm not sure!). Thankfully the guy was actually legit and he dropped us off at the resort!
It had been a CRAZY travel experience and probably one of the worst ones we've yet to go through. We did learn that we will NEVER be flying Mexicana again and when traveling to Cancun we will NEVER have a layover in Mexico City again either! And of course we also learned how to avoid Mexico Jail...

made it to the room alive!
2 am and ready for some SLEEP
I know this post is all about our trip TO the resort, but I didn't take any pictures on our way home and I thought I'd mention here that that too was a BAD experience. Thankfully we had a lay over in Miami instead of Mexico City but the day just started off so bad that it was hard to recover from. Our flight was at 7 AM so we had to get up at 3 AM. When the alarm went off we realized we were drenched in sweat and that none of the lights worked. The POWER WAS OUT! That meant that it was burning up, we couldn't see, and none of the outlets worked. We had to have a security guy come help us pack because we couldn't see a thing! I have always heard the saying "you look like you got ready in the dark" and I actually experienced it. I couldn't fix my hair and I couldn't see to put on any eye makeup. Once we got to the airport I saw myself and omg...that's why there are no pictures :) When we got home and unpacked we realized that things were missing. A pair of nice Sony noise cancellation headphones and my slippers. Not just any slippers, my LLBean slippers from 13 years ago that I wear around the house EVERY day. Of course I contacted the resort and "nothing like that has been sent to lost and found." SHOCKER. Even though we had a rough time coming and going I do promise we had a good trip!!!

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