Friday, March 3, 2023

Flying Back (Part One)

My good luck with airline travel continued on Wednesday when I flew back to Ohio from Mexico City.

Alejandro drove me to the airport around 7:00 A.M.  In the morning light we could see the vague outlines of the volcanoes Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl through the haze, but by the time I boarded my plane they had disappeared into the smog.  Usually, we have breakfast together at one of the airport restaurants before I head through security and go to my gate.  However, Alejandro had to take his father to a doctor's appointment, so we said our farewells after I had checked in.  I had plenty of time, so after I went through security, I went into the United Club lounge and had a decent breakfast there for free.  My flight boarded and pulled away from the gate on time.  We didn't have to wait as long as usual on the runway for our turn to take off.  There were only three planes ahead of us.

From the tarmac, you can see behind the airport terminal the hill which is known as the "Peñón de los Baños" (Rock of the Baths).  I just did a bit of research on that craggy hill which I see every time that I arrive or leave from Mexico City International Airport.  The hill was once a small island in the lake that once covered most of the valley.  It is the site of thermal springs that were visited by Aztec nobility including the Emperor Moctezuma (Montezuma).   The mineral waters, considered to be of therapeutic value continued to attract notable visitors, such as Emperor Maximilian and his wife Carlota, through the 19th century.  A bathhouse drawing water from the springs still exists there, although the neighborhood is not a very desirable area today.  

We took off into the hazy skies above the vast metropolis.

Can you spot below us the ruins of the ancient city of Teotihuacan situated about 30 miles north of Mexico City?

Zooming in with the camera, you can see running diagonally from the left the so-called Avenue of the Dead, the main street of the city.  Halfway along the avenue is the Pyramid of the Sun (one of the largest in the world) and at its end the Pyramid of the Moon.

Before long we were flying past the coast of Mexico and out over the Gulf.  This time I was not going by way of Houston or Chicago, but through Washington, D.C.  Thus, our flight path took a more easterly route, and we were over the Gulf of Mexico for a longer period of time.

When we came over land once again, judging by the flatness of the terrain, and the many lakes and canals, and from the flight path shown in the airline magazine, I suspect that we were over Florida. 

Soon the clouds completely obscured the view below us.  It was not until we had begun our descent to Dulles International Airport that the clouds broke.  We flew over the Virginia suburbs of Washington.  The airport was visible in the distance.

We circled around the airport, and flew over a river (which, thanks to Google Maps, I later verified as the Potomac).  I suppose that if I had been on the other side of the plane, I might have been able to see Washington, D.C.

Rounding back, we approached Dulles Airport from the east.

We arrived at the gate about twenty minutes ahead of schedule.  I had a layover of more than two hours before the final leg of my journey back to Ohio.

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