After being gone for almost two months, I am back home in southern California. It's nice to be home to Mischelle and the dogs, but after the drive home from the airport, I am ready to go back to Belize.
The trip home from Belize was a breeze. I left Consejo at around 3:30AM to catch to 6AM bus out of Chetumal. Belize and Mexico have an hour time difference and Mexico is an hour ahead of Belize, so I needed to be at the bus station at 5AM Belize time. The van, from Belize VIP Transfer services, was there on time to pick me up and drive me to the bus station in Chetumal. Once in Chetumal, I caught the bus to Playa del Carmen, where I would pick up another bus to the airport, The cost of the bus from Chetumal to Playa was $210 pesos ($16US) and about a 4 1/2 hour bus ride. The bus from Playa to the airport was $90 pesos ($7US) and about an hour drive.
I spent some of my extra time I had between bus rides, in Playa, sitting at a restaurant on 5th Avenue, watching the tourists go by. Drank my first beer in weeks, that was something other than a Belikin. A nice change of pace. I caught the 2:10 bus from Playa to the airport ( I lost track of time and missed the 1:10 bus ) and arrived at the airport at 3:15, and I had a 4:30 flight. Time was just a little tight so I rushed into the terminal expecting to see lines. Nope. The terminal was only marginally busy and there were no lines to the ticket counters. As I approched the ticket counter, I was stopped and asked for my health certificate. My What? Seems that due to the swine flu, you needed to go to a health screening area, on the OTHER end of the airport, fill out a small health form and have your forehead scanned for fever. That was it. About 3 minutes in line and about 3 minutes for the test. But that would have been a REAL time killer if it was busy. So, with my health form in hand, it was back across the terminal to finally check in. With nobody in line, I sailed through the check-in counter and security check points and was at my boarding gate with 45 minutes to spare.
Mischelle had booked my return flight through Mexico City because the direct flight home was sold out, so the plane I was on was a domestic flight with an international connection. Instead of American tourists that were headed home after a week in paradise, I had a combination of Mexican tourists and business people that were headed to their homes in Mexico City. From Cancun to Mexico City was a full flight and I was hoping that the flight from Mexico City to LA wasn't going to be as crowded. Mexicana didn't assign a gate to the Mexico City to LA flight and I was told to check with the information booth upon arrival in Mexico City about the new gate assignment. The Mexico City airport is famous for switching gates at the last moment and I'm thinking this is going to be one of those times. I had only an hour between flights and 20 minutes after arrival in Mexico City, I still didn't have a gate assignment for the next flight. I had arrived at gate 24 and was just waiting for them to announce that my departing gate will be gate number 1. But much to my surprise, they announced my flight was leaving out of gate 27. I made the short walk over to gate 27, sat down and started recharging my laptop at one of Samsung charging stations. Wi-Fi was available, but at a $10 fee for 24 hours. Of course, no sooner did I get it plugged in, they were ready to start boarding. The surrounding area was full of people, but only about 50 boarded our flight to LA.
On the flight home, I had the 3 seats to myself, so I was able to stretch out, put my noise cancelling headphones on and go to sleep. I woke up about 30 minutes out of LA to the Captain announcing the current conditions in LA were 63 degrees, cloudy, with rain. What a change from Belize.
Once on the ground in LA, I was the first in line at the Immigration counter. My bag was one of the first dozen bags off the plane. I breezed through customs and was out on the street, waiting for Mischelle, in under 20 minutes. This was great. I had called Mischelle from the baggage carousel and she was there to pick me up within 5 minutes. I was headed home, and in record time....until we got on the freeway. Just after we get on the freeway, a highway patrol car is weaving back and forth across all lanes, to slow traffic to a crawl. I'm thinking great, a big accident just happened and we're stuck behind it. Welcome back to LA. I'm ready to go back to Belize. But they were just closing lanes for construction, so in 10 minutes, we were back doing 70 mph down the road. We were home within an hour.
As we pull into the driveway, I can hear the dogs barking from inside the house. I get a joyous greeting at the door...I'm home. After being gone for so long, it is good to be home.
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