The Trip Home – Another Adventure

On Tuesday, September 14, our alarms were set for 2:00 AM for a 3:00 AM pickup to the airport. We weighed our luggage carefully and were under weight.  How could that be?? I couldn’t help but think of the shopping I missed out on! Truthfully. we got all that we wanted and really didn’t miss a thing.

Just as we were going to our ride, I checked my email, and surprise our Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt was canceled, routing us instead to Chicago Ohare directly from Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. The next flight would be to Houston, then on to Guadalajara.

As I mentioned before, on the United flight going to Turkey from Houston, we had three seats each to stretch out and get some sleep. We had great seats on our return flight on Lufthansa because we picked our seats. With this cancelation, we were at the mercy of the airline and they were merciless!

For 10.5 hours, we sat in middle seats, Jim with two big, brawny guys shoulder to shoulder and me with a Turkish woman on the aisle that absolutely wanted to sleep and didn’t get up to go to the bathroom until about two hours from Chicago. And, she was grumpy, too. If we had enough points, we would have upgraded but neither of us has sufficient points to do this.

I was hoping that the meals on the Turkish flight would be better than the ones on United. Sad to say, no such luck (another reason to upgrade when the opportunity presents itself). Despite the lack of comfort and the inconvenience, it didn’t diminish how much fun we had and our memories of this wonderful trip.

So, to continue our saga of returning home, when we landed in Houston, we only had 45 minutes to retrieve our bags, re-check them, and get on the flight to Guadalajara. Of course, the departing gate was miles from the arriving gate, leaving us one option… Just leave our bags on the carousel when they arrive and hope to get them eventually once home.

Jim sprinted and I followed to the gate, where we managed to board the final flight. It was only a little over two hours, making it a quick trip after so many hours of travel. When we got to the Guadalajara airport to see if our bags had made it, we were not surprised to see that they did not. Fortunately, a lovely man at baggage claim helped us and we filed a missing luggage report. He spoke perfect English and was extremely helpful. We grabbed a taxi and finally made it home around 9:00 PM – about 30 hours of travel from pick up to arriving at our house.

The next morning, around 10:00 AM, our bags were delivered by United. Had we known this was a possibility in the past, we would have “accidentally” left our luggage at many carousels and just waited for delivery directly to our house! If this had happened at the start of the trip, we would have really been in a pickle. At the end of a vacation, no problem…

Wednesday, September 15, we had some errands to run and Jim’s cell phone wasn’t working as it should. A quick stop at Telcel and he found out that his phone had been on roaming while he was tracking where we were on Google Maps in Turkey. This revelation cost him $7,500 pesos (about $375 US) in roaming charges. Then, when he was pulling out of a parking lot, he got a ticket for not putting his seat belt on quickly enough. He paid the ticket the next day to get the discounted rate, half price and avoided the full cost of $45 US.

Even with these nuisances, we were glad to be home, snuggle with Lola, who remembered us after two and a half weeks, and was so happy to see us. Travel can be onerous, frustrating, difficult, and maddening.

I remember the days when we dressed up to go on an airplane, the seats were generous, and the meals, even on short flights, were freshly prepared and delicious. Okay, I am officially old! Still, seeing new places, having new experiences, meeting new people is something that cannot be duplicated by staying home, sitting in front of a TV, or being online. Once everyone is able and ready to travel, we would encourage it as a mind-opening escape that only adds to your appreciation of what you have.

And travel doesn’t have to be going to foreign countries. It can be to destinations in Mexico, the US, or Canada, anywhere where you haven’t been. My next job is to get my photos downloaded. This hasn’t been easy but I will let you know when they are available. Thanks for all your encouraging comments. I feel like you have all been with us…

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