Hitting the Ground From 30,000 Feet

Mark TwainGenerally, when we hit a new city, we really try to hit it running. At least that is what we believe we are going to do, but governmental regulations, culture differences, language barriers, and oft times exhaustion just hold us back.

Our flight from Montreal to Mexico City was direct on AeroMexico. Thank you Delta miles for an almost free flight. For the two of us, the tickets were $146.46 total and this was for taxes. What we did not realize at the time was it would include a roller coaster ride.

For the most part, I am not a white-knuckle passenger; however, this flight hit turbulence with a vengeance. Listening to the weather reports while still in Montreal, I had premonitions about this being a difficult flight. There were storms all through the Midwest US, our flight path. This could not be a good thing.

For well over an hour or maybe two, he turbulence was wicked. It came in segments of 20 minutes or so, giving us a false sense of security. Each time we thought it would be safe to wonder the aisle, the fasten seat belt sign still restricted our movements with glaring red lights. Having just finished our Last Will and Testaments before we left Budapest, I was a little superstitious about this trip. The turbulence renewed my Thanksgiving thoughts once more just in case I had to kiss everything good-bye as we fall to earth. When the seat belt signs went off, the line for the bathrooms started at the back of the plane and continued to first class. There was not one empty seat on this flight and with only two bathrooms, it created a desperate situation. After all the rock and rolling, people needed to clean their pants.

After five hours and twenty-five minutes, we arrived in Mexico City. Our internal organs remained in the cloud sphere to be returned at a later date.

Immigration was nothing like going into Canada where it was zippy fast for US citizens. We waited in a line that started in another city. After an hour of waiting, we finally made it through; they surprised us by actually stamping our passports. In Canada, they just passed us through. It seems the North American Free Trade Agreement does not promote easier trading of willing tourists. After Immigration, there was Customs, which was not as difficult.

Once in the airport, we hunted down the information office. All the things the young man provided was in Spanish only. Fortunately, we could manage for the most part. He also explained about the legal taxis, a great tip to know. As it turned out, where others and we were directed to wait was the wrong place. The correct place was hiding behind a large cement support barrier. As it happened, I noticed others heading that way, so checked it out. Within seconds, we were in a taxi.

Even with GPS, it took forever for the taxi to find our home exchange. We were in the car for close to an hour. The place is lovely, but FAR from the maddening crowd. Kenneth Peterson, the CEO of Peterson Schools here in Mexico, greeted us upon arrival. We were instructed that the best way to get around from here is by using UBER. There are no public buses near, but even if there were, we should never take them. The metros are not within walking distance.

This is going to be a problem. When we are in the apartment, I can use UBER on my phone with the Wi-Fi, but once we are out and about, it will be hit and miss. I had downloaded the UBER app when in Budapest so a guest could get the 2,500-referral credit, which I also received, but never used. Now it would be a learning curve to figure it out for real.

Kenneth was great, since we were basically brain-dead once we arrive; he sent someone to the grocery store to pick up some simple things to get us through the evening and next morning.

Welcome to Mexico City! Mexico is our 67th country if we do not include the US.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.