Thursday, November 17, 2011
Time to Come Home
Our ears prick at the sound of a band a couple of blocks away--the sound of yet another impromptu parade--and we hurry over. Sure enough--there are a line of cars with Day of the Dead altars, followed by musicians, dancers in "native" dress (not sure how authentic they were) and a streetful of people with flags. Of course, the batteries in the camera chose this time to die, so Bob was trying to trade them out while trotting to keep up with the parade.
But finally, it was dark--we had been up since 4:00 a.m. and had to get up at 4:00 a.m. the next morning to catch our flight--so we said goodnight to the party on the zocolo and went back to the hotel to pack, and sleep.
Our flight was at 6:15--so we figured we had to be at the airport by 5:15. Allowing a half-hour to get there meant leaving at 4:45. As Mexico is not exactly famous for being prompt, we had ordered a cab for 4:30. At about 4:20 we went to the desk to check out--and saw that the cab was already there, the driving taking a nap. The drive to the airport took only about 20 minutes--and the airport was closed. There was a gate across the road about 300 yards from the terminal. We finally understood from our driver that the gates would open at 5:00--and that he really didn't want to sit there for for the 20 minutes. So we got our bags and huddled at the gates with a few other refuges. After the 20 minutes the gates opened and we hoofed it to the terminal; I was grateful that I had indulged in a wheelie-bag for this trip.
The flight to Mexico City was uneventful--and they even had the boarding gate for our flight to Atlanta posted. An equally uneventful flight to Atlanta, where we were slightly delayed in getting through customs because there were a couple of hundred soldiers still in their desert camoflage filing through. We happily stood aside--although we had a fairly short layover in Atlanta, it was more important for these men and women to get home than it was for us.
Another short flight, and we were back in Jacksonville. It's funny how fast you get acclimated--when we got back to our hotel room, I realized that I was thirsty, and "rats--I forgot to pick up a bottle of water." Then I remembered that we were back where it was OK to drink tap water.
So we're home, safe and sound. We brought some gifts for friends, but not much material goods for ourselves. We we have are a couple of hundred pictures, some amazing memories--and a plan to plant a field of golden marigolds.