Our reality is very different to that of most people and we are aware of our good fortune in having the ability to lead the life we have chosen. This doesn't make it any easier when a trip comes to an end. We've had the winter of a lifetime, what with a week in Barcelona, Transatlantic Cruise, a month in Florida, three weeks in Puerto Vallarta and a three week trip across Mexico. However the van needs to be collected from store in Spain and all good things come to an end. A punctuation mark has been created during our journey and enables us to think about where we're off to next.
Our last day in Mexico was spent mooching about our part of the city and packing. Taking it easy was the order of the day as I had booked us a potential nightmare from hell with 4 connecting flights. Mexico City, Panama, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Frankfurt and London Heathrow. But it cost a third of the price, and we had the time. A German air hostess made fun of Mike's shiny hiking boots, calling him Mr. Boots and all went to plan, no lost luggage or delays. The journey was in excess of 32 hours, and I was so tired, the first night I went to bed on our return I slept right through and avoided jet lag.
If anyone told you to fly to Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, via Chicago and Houston from Florida, you'd think they were bonkers. United Airlines are declared bonkers by me. Chicago is a hub for United Airlines, 1000 miles in the wrong direction but that is the route I was presented with at the time of booking. The flight time and departure airport in Florida suited us best but we also had to endure a 7 hour wait overnight at Chicago, which we spent on the concourse. Prior to our journey I was tormented with a vision of a sequel to Planes, Trains and Automobiles involving the Kingstons trying to get to Mexico in time for New Years Eve. Who chooses to fly via Chicago in winter? Then there was the other issue of the change at Houston. An airport so vast it had 5 terminals connected by a mono rail system and according to the flight times we only had 30 minutes to spare, without the taxiing time factored in. Feeling compelled to run for our connection, we arrived at the gate 20 minutes late, which was, of course, the furthest terminal from the one we had arrived at, but they had waited. The in flight entertainment was provided by the air hostess, as she picked up the seatbelt for the safety demonstration her opening line was,
" You won't know how to use one of these if you've not been in a car since 1958".
Anyway, all had gone according to plan and just as I allowed myself to breathe out a huge sigh of relief that I hadn't after all, made the biggest journey plan bungle of the year, when we discovered that Mike's backpack wasn't on the baggage carousel. I made light of it along with the baggage handler manager, Carlos. We didn't know the full address of our destination, just the house name and I made a feeble joke about the bag having potentially gone astray at any point between Fort Myers and Casa Magnolias. However, he was confident and said we should ring after the next, and last flight arrived and he would put it in a taxi. I remained positive and flippant about the issue until I remembered that half my gear was in there along with all of Mike's.
It seems the plane waited for us passengers in Houston but not long enough for Mike's bag. It arrived at the house in time for us to get ready to go out for New Years' Eve. Fortified by a nap and copious amounts of strong coffee we proceeded to attend 4 parties and had a restaurant meal out. There is a sizeable gay community in PV and at one point I proved the opposite to the 'Only Gay in the Village' as the 'Only Straight Female in the Bistro'. At midnight we watched simultaneous firework displays around the bay from a penthouse balcony in town that provided a panoramic view. We finally flopped into bed at 4am, our latest night in years. Great fun, lovely to see Mark and Ivan again and meet some of their friends.
I love travel, any type. There is always a buzz in finding & exploring a place for the first time, meeting and making new friends and if you return things are never quite the same.
Going away? Travel essentials from across Amazon
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