Home! It was a long road home but I made it safe and sound in spite of the bastards at American Airlines.
Let’s start there, shall we?
My flight from Portland to Dallas was okay and on time in spite of the pre-takeoff announcement that a bag had to be removed from the plane because a passenger changed his mind and decided that he didn’t want to fly after all. Huh?
There were numerous groans in the cabin suggesting that I wasn’t the only one who was pegging a solid 10 on his bullshit meter.
Our Dallas to Guadalajara flight was delayed at the last minute due to ‘mechanical problems’. This went on for two hours before they pushed the 6:45 pm flight to 12:15 am, meaning it was for all purposes cancelled unless one wanted to wait in the airport all night on the slim chance that another flight might materialize.
I was sent to another gate where I waited in a long line to receive a hotel voucher. Then spent another hour waiting to get picked up by the hotel shuttle. It was interesting the next morning at breakfast when I compared notes with 3 other hapless stranded passengers in which the true nature of the villainy became more transparent as we discovered we were all on separate AA flights with totally different originations (as well as totally different destinations) but were all victims of said same mechanical problems.
It is my conclusion that the airlines don’t think we as passengers are necessarily stupid but rather it is their corporate indifference coupled with their monopolistic control that completely severs any care or responsibility these carriers should have towards their customers.
But I am back. And my checked bag somehow made it through the mess although I found it curious that of the three different AA employees I talked to concerning same, they all gave slightly different answers. The most interesting of which is that a bag cannot travel internationally unless it is accompanied by the passenger it is tagged to.
That proved to be a) totally untrue and/or b) demonstrated a breakdown in the security process because my bag had arrived in Guadalajara before me on a different flight.
I know because I stood for 45 minutes watching the luggage carousel go round and round without my bag. To where finally a kind young man directed me to the appropriate lost bag counter to which the attendant took only the most cursory look at my baggage claim ticket before asking me, You have a black duffel bag, right? No wheels?’ Almost speechless I replied, ‘Yes.’ And he replied, ‘I’ve got your bag. Give me a minute and I’ll go get it for you.’
Keep in mind this is Mexico. Not just Mexico but the second largest city in Mexico. And not just do they have my bag but the attendant representative knew my bag. More so it was locked in the unclaimed bag room. Unmolested and totally intact although unlocked. (Note: I don’t lock my bags. If someone wants into a bag bad enough they can do it. They only need a copy of TSA’s magic, universal one size fits all key.)
I absolutely love Mexico. And I think it shows on my face because I have received nothing but the most courteous service from every service provider imaginable, including customs and immigration.
I expected some hassle from customs over the box of cigars I was bringing back – my friend, Hendrik got hit up with a bogus $100 import duty charge some four years ago on a single box of cigars he was bringing along for me – but the customs agent took a brief look at the contents of one of my bags, even momentarily lifting out the box of cigars, but smiled, zipped up my bag and told me to have a great day. (BTW – that bogus $100 import duty got paid by me. I couldn’t let my friend, Hendrik take that hit although it somewhat irked me that my $250 box of cigars – a decent value – all of a sudden became a $350 box of cigars.)
I had a great run this morning. It was a bit muddy in a few spots but the sun had finally emerged after three days and it felt joyous to finally be able to get a bit of exercise.
I had lunch at one of my favorite little luncheon spots, a place recently started up by my old friend Maria and her most attractive daughter, Anna. Anna is about 35, single, and is the mother of three kids. It makes me smile when I catch her sneaking off to the toilet to check herself in the mirror which is a sure sign she likes me.
I am tempted but thankfully old enough not to let the little head make those kind of decisions anymore.
I stopped by to say hello to a doctor friend of mine who is also my neighbor. I promised him a cigar which I’ll take to him tomorrow.
I then paid a visit with my neighbor, Max and his friend, Marco was there as well. We had a great chat and James, a mutual gringo friend, came up in the course of the conversation – a guy we haven’t seen in 4 years – so Marco Skyped him, where we caught him lounging at his beach shack in Ecuador. Too much fun.
It’s great to be home.