One last look before we board the shuttle:

We were advised to start for the airport early. As in, “three hours.” This was the considered judgement of a “travel advisory” the airline website suggested I consult. Well, that’s fine by me, but if they say three hours, you know I’m going to say four. The reason was road construction leading to the airport, a modernization effort that I applaud. I should also note that the rotted road we took in March to get to the hotel has been replaced by a smooth ribbon of asphalt, dotted with annoying speed bumps. Hurrah.

After breakfast we waited for the van, and it appeared at the precise time requested: 11:30. The flight was at 4:30. Easy and/or peasy, you think, right? Lots of time. But then we hit the construction.

My friends, it was over in 20 minutes. We were deposited at the airport in 50 minutes. So we had, shall we say, some time to kill in the Cancun airport.

The SunCountry ticket counters weren’t open yet. We tried to sit at Starbucks, but there was a family of six with steamer trunks that were camping in the seating area, and they didn’t even buy anything. There seemed to be some assumption they could sit and stare at their glass rectangles because they wanted to. Why should they buy something? Why should they pay? Foolish merchant puts out chairs, they sit.

Eventually the counters opened, and when we checked our bags we heard the dreaded words:

Flight delayed.

Sara noted that delayed is often prelude to cancelled. At least it was the last time we were here. I had a plan. After we got through security, we got lunch in the dining area.



Sara noted that delayed is often prelude to cancelled. At least it was the last time we were here. I had a plan. After we got through security, we got lunch in the dining area.

Much better than the terminal we were at last time; the equal of any good American terminal and better in many ways save for one, which I’ll get to. I had an amazingly good trio of chicken tacos - in fact, the best Mexican meal we had in Mexico was at the airport. Then I got to work.

So: our flight is the return leg of the daily run. Odd number coming in, even number going out. Call up the flight trackers. Ah. Whew: it’s in the air.

Reason for delay: a snowstorm hit Mpls, everything delayed, icing protocols. On the runway for 1:20 minutes, it looks like. But you fear that the crew will time out. They’ll get here late, it’ll take too long to turn around, the clock ticks, the hands reach the fatal position, and the flight’s cancelled because the crew’s been on the clock too long.

So there’s no assurance. The flight’s coming, we have a departure time, but you never know if we’ll board, and there’ll be a delay, and we have to return to the gate. I called up the airport hotel on my phone and marked the page, sent instructions to the Housesitter, and settled in for the wait.

Sara wanted to watch the World Cup, as she was suddenly a US team fan. The only place we could find was Margaritaville, of course, because Bog forbid you go to Mexico without having to spend money in the Parrothead Embassy. Oh look it’s my lost pitcher of salt. Gah. Of course, the TVs are playing a concert of Buffett, sound off, logo saying “High Tide tour,” ha ha high like stoned right?

In an alternate world there’s a restaurant / bar chain that arose from some other 70s miniculture, like, oh, disco or New Wave. Ian Dury’s Spasticus Pubtown. All the waiters limp.

I tracked the flight as it came in. No gate listed, though. Well, we’d best move along to the big departure board, and see what that said.


Well that’s rather abrupt. The gate was downstairs, which seemed odd, until you realized it was a shuttle-bus gate. So getting everyone to the airplane would take more time. At this point we realized that a stop at the loo might be wise, and here our sorrows began. Because the big beautiful Terminal 4 has, it seems, one bathroom in the entire gate area, and it’s a hike. So now we’ve gone from leisurely waiting for the plane to QUICK FAST GO GO GO

Or least I assumed that mood, to wife’s annoyance. I do get twitchy in these situations.

Eventually we boarded the shuttle and drove to the plane:







Walked up the stairs, which I always like doing. It’s like the old days. Sat. Boarded. Doors closed. The plane moved. A little. Taxi’d to the runway. We’re still not out of the woods. (Or the jungle, I guess.) But then . . . full throttle. Wheels up.


Not the most relaxing flight. Three screaming children. As I tweeted later, two soon fell silent because the screamer two rows ahead of us was obviously a master, a genius, and they fell silent in the presence of true talent, perhaps studying her technique for future tantrums. The parents were . . . not good at consoling. They just let her go for the entire time. I think one apologized that she hadn’t had a nap, but maybe read to her? Let her watch something on the entertainment system? Chloroform? Three HOURS of full-throated wet shrieking that became almost inhuman at the end of it, sounding like someone was disassembling a feral hog with a dull saw.

When we landed we saw the usual winter moonscape, and all thoughts of the world we’d left behind were gone.

Cold. Took a cab, since the Uber was ridiculous, and went home. Birch was astonished that we had returned. I helped the Housesitter get all her stuff into her car, including bushels of laundry she’d done, and then bade her goodbye. She wondered if she could get out of the driveway, what with all the snow - 7 inches had fallen that day - and I said sure, just gun it. She did not gun it sufficiently. She got stuck, and I had to get out a shovel and boots. Nine hours after stepping into the airport and leaving the hot green world behind, I’m pushing a stuck car out of a rut in a snowbank. Welcome home.

But in my head, and for the next few days . . . I'm still in this mood.




Monday: back to normal!




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