Oaxaca mural

Oaxaca mural

Monday, July 16, 2018

Up in the Air

Yesterday I took a taxi to Cleveland Airport and arrived at 5:00 A.M. for my 7:00 A.M. flight to Houston.  I had printed off my boarding passes the day before, and this time I was not selected for the easier security line of TSA-Pre.  (Even though I have never applied for TSA-Pre, it seems that at least half of the time my boarding pass grants me access.)  I was quite shocked to find that, at that early hour at our normally tranquil airport, there was a long, long line for security.  I usually don't travel on Sundays. I wonder if it is always like that on the weekends.  The line moved fairly quickly however because the TSA agents were directing some people to the TSA-Pre checkpoint.  I was one of those, so I didn't have to take off my shoes or take out my laptop out of my bag.  My carry-ons passed through the X-ray without raising any concerns... unlike my last trip when my container of fudge and box of chocolate bars aroused the agents suspicions.

My flight left on time and was comfortable.  United Airlines was offering very good deals on flights to Mexico City so I was able to upgrade all segments of my journey and still pay a fairly reasonable price.  (That is why I did not take Interjet Airlines this time.)  We arrived in Houston ahead of schedule.  I had a three hour layover, so I had a leisurely breakfast in the terminal.

Houston airport

I boarded my flight for Mexico City, and we pulled away from the gate exactly on time at 11:55 A.M.  We were on the runway waiting for our turn to take off, when a light came on indicating a mechanical problem.  The pilot announced that he was going to turn off the engine, then turn it back on, and see if the problem had fixed itself.  It didn't.  We had to turn back to a gate, and deplane.  We were told that another plane would be found for us.  It didn't take as long as I thought it would.  By 1:20 P.M. we had a plane, and by 2:00 we had all boarded.  We had to wait quite a while however for all of the luggage to be loaded on our new plane, and then, of course, we had to wait for our turn to take off.  It was after 3:00 before we were in the air.  We arrived at Mexico City Airport at 5:00 P.M., about three hours late.  This is the first time I have ever had a delay due to mechanical problems... and I was glad that they gave us a new plane, rather than wait for who knows how long while the mechanics made the repair.  (And of course then you wonder and worry as to whether they really fixed the problem.)  And fortunately it was on the flight to my final destination, so I did not have to worry about missing a connection.  

The line at immigration in Mexico City airport was long but moved quicker than usual.  There was no inspection at customs, and when I passed through the sliding doors there was a big crowd of people waiting for arriving passengers.  Alejandro was supposed to be there to pick me up, but I didn't see him.  I called him, and asked him if he had made it to the airport yet.  "Yes, I am here.  Where are you?  I don't see you," he answered.  "I am in front off the entrance to the restrooms." I said.  He headed that way, and we finally caught sight of each other.

So I made it to Mexico City, and I am now spending a couple nights at Alejandro's family's house before going to the condo that I rent here.

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