Mexico City/Los Angeles USA – 30th June 2021
At last it’s the day I’ve been waiting for… am flying to Los Angeles this evening and will pick up Clíodhna tomorrow.. yippee!!
But first things first… what did I do today? Well not a lot to be perfectly honest. I got up early thinking I would get an Uber to the centre to visit the Palacio Nacionale and surrounds; the heart of the tourist zone. However, it is honking it down with rain and I’m actually not that interested. Now some people might be shocked at that, but I am really very happy with what I have done and seen. I have loved Coyoacán and San Ángel; the architecture, wide tree lined boulevards, quirky shops and restaurants; the whole vibe basically.
I need to visit a chemist to get some cream and gentle soap for my tattoo. I also need a weighing scales to make sure my blooming bags are not overweight again. AM suggests a visit to a Ferrateria, (Ironmongers), they usually have everything. I check out google maps and there is one near me, almost on the way to Starbucks.. well what do you know!
Yet again I really enjoy the walk, this district is so interesting… a few more finds on my journey
At the Ferrateria I manage to use my iTranslate app to ask for the weighing scales… easy peesy. I decide I’m not that far from the Starbucks in the centre of Coyoacán so make my way there. I enjoy a relaxing couple of hours blogging and keeping out of the heavy rain. By the time I want to leave the rain has almost stopped so, as it’s now lunch time, I walk back to the restaurant.
Once there, I order the same as last time.. flattened chicken breast.. I took a picture this time though:
So you can see what I mean about the size of it… delicious.
After this it’s now getting on for 3pm so I really need to get myself back to the room and get my luggage weighed.
The big duffle is very heavy again and I find it difficult to judge whether it is over limit or not. The scale only goes up to 24kg and my allowance is 25 so I decide to take a couple of items out and put them in the other bag, just to be sure. I order an Uber to take me to the airport, Terminal 1. I say my goodbyes to Laura, despite the fact that the room wasn’t very nice, she has been lovely and since she has sold her house she won’t be renting it on AirBnB any more so I don’t see the point of leaving negative feedback, therefore I am just not going to say anything.
The Uber comes and we make a swift journey to the airport. As we get there the turn off for Terminal 1 is absolutely rammed and the driver is telling me something, but of course I don’t understand him… I gather he is saying something about Terminal 2, but I keep saying “Non Comprende, Inglese…” we seem to be going round in circles somewhat. Anyway the traffic does start moving so we head towards Terminal 1.
Now, I’m telling you, you just could not make this stuff up if you tried… There is now what appears to be a road block, and the driver starts saying something.. again I try and explain that I don’t understand him. He stops the car and gets out, he brings a guy in a uniform over to the car who then motions for me to wait while he is tapping into his phone. I guess he is translating something… he is.. it says, you must get out and go on the transport to the terminal. Oh ok, well I’m not about to argue, he has a uniform so for all I know he is the police. They both get my bags out and another uniformed guy comes over to help. They then load me and the bags and several other people onto the back of a pick up truck, it has two bench seats down the middle so obviously this is used as airport transport.
They drive us towards the Terminal. We come to a stop and I can see many people milling around and some have what look to be TV cameras.. I wonder what is going on. They unload us from the truck and point me towards a pathway, it is only then that I see there is a group of protestors blocking the road*… ahhhh so this is why we are being shuttled in.
I have a real struggle to wheel my bags up the pathway, it is very uneven, and I have the duffle, the roller, my helmet bag, 2 jackets and a backpack; talk about donkey. Of course the altitude doesn’t help so I am ridiculously out of breath, but I persevere.
At the top of the pathway is the main route into the Airport, it seems quite long so I have to drop my bags and take a breather. There are people going past me in both directions when suddenly a young man, who is leaving the airport, offers to help with my bags.. Oh yes please, I am so grateful. He grabs the 2 big bags and starts haring off, I have to walk really quickly to keep up with him.
We enter the terminal building, this is the domestic side, I think he asks me where I am going so I say, Volaris to Los Angeles… he says ‘International?’ ‘Si’, he then approaches a man who looks to be airport staff and the next thing I know my bags have been put on a trolley and the man is taking over. I give the young man all the Pesos I have left, 200, and thank him for his help.
The older man doesn’t speak so I just follow him.
I suddenly think, I am going to have to pay him, but what with?? Then I remember I do have a few US dollars so hopefully that will be ok. He then asks me where I am going, “Los Angeles”, “OK”. We then get to the bag drop and he tells me to show my boarding pass, which I do, and the young woman lets me through. I am expecting to take over my bags, but the man just picks them up and takes them to the shortest queue and drops them there for me. I give him some dollars and he seems ok with it so that is a relief.
There are only 2 people in front of me, marvellous. Soon I am at the desk, dreading how much this duffle is going to weigh, but whew only 22.4kg… result! The roller is 18.8kg, no problem there. The woman tells me to go to Gate 26, it isn’t my gate, but I am early so best to wait there and keep an eye out for my actual gate, which should be announced about an hour before I am due to board.
All done so now I need to pass through security and enter the departure lounge. This is also relatively smooth, I do have to fill in the electronic health questionnaire, but other than that it is plain sailing all the way… I must say it is a much better experience than in Cancún. Once through security I am in the usual Duty Free area where you are forced to walk through all the perfumes etc. and out into the lounge, except there isn’t one, there’s nothing.. no shops, restaurants, toilets.. nothing just a long grey corridor. I just have to find gate number 26 and hope there is something there I guess. Once I start passing gates there are a few outlets, I see at least one cafe and as I get nearer to gate 26 there are increasingly more shops etc. I see a place to eat, they have free wifi and plugs for the laptop, so I go in there, this is at gate 24 not too far away.
I get a drink and something to eat, I have an hour before I must start watching for my gate so I just carry on updating my blog. After about an hour I make my way to the loo, it is at gate 26, which I then find is the main open area full of shops etc. including a Starbucks of course… yes I do. I then see the departures board and my gate is up; number 21, I’d better make my way back there. One thing I have forgotten to do is get some Dollars, I now only have about 8 left so I really need to get some. Unfortunately there isn’t anywhere to buy them on the way and when I get to number 21 people are already queueing to board the flight. I’ll just have to use my card if necessary and get some money when I land.
It doesn’t take long to board and I am in row 2, however, lots of people have got on before me so the overhead lockers are already full! I do manage to squeeze my helmet bag and jackets in, but I’ll have to put the backpack under the seat in front of me.. oh well nevermind. My row is empty for a while, but then I am joined by a woman in the aisle seat. There seems to be lots of people getting on and now I can see people who are not travelling together are being seated next to one another… yep just after this a young man comes and sits in the middle seat… so much for social distancing, I mean it is plastered everywhere in the airport, there are spots on the floor for people to be able to distance, but it seems the Mexican version of EasyJet is more interested in making money that keeping people safe.
I move myself over towards the window as much as I can, but of course he has to have his elbows overhanging the arm rests, so I make a point of putting my arm down by my side which makes him move, but I am really pissed off that money has come before peoples lives. All of the automated announcements are in Spanish and English, but when there are live broadcasts these are only in Spanish. I understand this is a Mexican airline, but they are flying to Los Angeles FFS! Anyway, one of the automated announcements is to say that the air in the cabin is filtered and fully exchanged every 3 minutes.. clearly this is their way of justifying ramming us in like sardines.
In the end it is an uneventful flight.. I try to take a few photos of LA as we land.
Once we are off the plane we have to walk quite a distance to immigration, this is the bit I’m least looking forward to as I know they can be difficult. Eventually I am called forward, the immigration officer doesn’t speak, just holds out his hand so I give him my passport and paper work. He scrutinises everything and then waves his hand to indicate I am to face the camera, still not said anything. I then watch him re-examining my paperwork, tapping a few keys on his computer then suddenly he says, “what is the purpose of your visit?” “Vacation”, “How long are you staying?” “Two months”, “Where are you staying?” “I’m on a motorcycle tour so I will stop somewhere on route each day”, “Where are you heading on this route?” “New York”.. he then stares intently at his computer screen, reopens my passport and looks at the information page, then flicks through the pages, looks back at his screen, opens the passport again then stamps it. He then looks intently at his computer again, checks my passport again… now I’m getting worried, isn’t he going to let me in. Suddenly he hands me my passport and dismisses me with a wave of his hand. Very relieved I can tell you.
Down to baggage reclaim where we are waiting for at least half an hour, but nothing is happening. I am starting to worry as I am due to be working at 1.30am, (9.30 UK time), and I still need to get to the hotel and get my equipment set up. Then there is an announcement to move to a different belt which has our luggage already stacked up next to it. I locate my bags and make my way out through customs. Once outside I’m not sure how I can get to the hotel… it seems very manic and I could always get an Uber, but the hotel does offer a shuttle service, I just don’t know how to access it. I decide to give them a call.. yes the shuttle will arrive, go to level 2 and you will see a red sign, wait there and the shuttle will come… it’s a white bus, just look for Sonetsa/Sheraton.
After a time the shuttle turns up, there are already a number of people on it but I get my roller on first then turn to get my duffle, when I turn back a large man has blocked access to the bus and is holding his arms out to prevent me from getting past. He has about 7 children and is ushering them on to the bus, what a bloody cheek, I already have one bag on the bus so he should have waited for me to finish, very rude.
It is midnight by the time the shuttle drops me at the hotel, which means 2am Mexico City time… I’m shattered and now I have to work.. blooming hell Pogs! At the reception desk I am required to leave a $400 damage deposit, for just 2 nights! They won’t take cash so I have to put it on my credit card and it will be refunded in 5 to 7 working days… I hope this is not going to be the norm now otherwise I will max out my credit card within a week.
- I later find out that the protest was by parents of children with Cancer; I’m not sure what that has to do with the Airport.