The last travel day….
Up at 4:30am. Yeah. That’s 4:30 AM. Got ready while fumbling around half awake. The shuttle was scheduled to pick us up at 5:10am. We were goofing off until I noticed the clock said 4:55. Panic. Threw it all together and realized the hotel clock was ten minutes fast.
Geri got her overstuffed backpack on an prompted me to sing. “Geri the camel has, one hump… ” Which gradually evolved into a mashup of children’s songs and Black Eyed Peas, “My Humps” and other random foolishness.
Downstairs. Checkout went smooth. Shuttle driver was on time. He played tour guide and showed us one hotel that was actually a soccer player’s weekend home.
Got through security with several bottles of hot sauce, rum and other random things that probably should have been confiscated. Their ticket scanner was junk. Took forever to scan our passes and everyone else’s.
We got here so early that our flight hasn’t even been assigned a gate. Cancun’s airport is not very big. Everyone looked like zombies. I guess we are all exhausted and ready to be home.
Got a wicked greasy breakfast at Famous Famiglia. Painfully disappointing after more than a week of good food. Under-cooked, cold centers and gummy crust. Not impressed. Geri went to Starbucks for the first time in probably four years. Caffeine became a crutch for us all over again. Pesos seemed to go flying out everywhere.
(That look you get when she is not impressed…)
Made the flight. Pretty uneventful. Miami’s airport is a pain. Geri got pulled for separate screening. No big deal. No bag search. Miami makes you go back through security checkpoints when you come in on international flights, which takes forever. I have been learning which airports to avoid, because of stuff like that. Still better than Los Angeles.
Came into Miami with a four hour layover. Ran all over the airport, trying to get a standby flight. Had 16 folks ahead of us at the first one. They changed gates on our connecting flight, after we waited at the gate for half an hour. Gave up. Rode the train around and found lunch… and beer. We also found a currency exchange and unloaded $145 worth of pesos and Belizean cash.
Found a nearly empty gate and slept on the floor for an hour. Went to the gate, they said our seats assignments were wrong. Geri looked worried until they pulled new tickets and moved us to an exit row. Sweet. I assume it had something to do with joining the frequent flyer programs for every airline I ever use. That, and as a big guy, it actually happens to me regularly.
The plane was packed with kids and another large family seated beside and behind us. Had to get the kids to stop kicking the seat. Everyone was getting a little stir crazy since the plane was loaded before the pilots arrived.
Apparently there is a strike going on and the airlines are swapping pilots. They pulled pilots from a Dallas flight that hadn’t even landed when we began boarding. Bumpy flight, storms, no drink service, no pretzels. Landed late. Still had to sit on the runway about 15 minutes, waiting for an open gate to unload.
At least we knew what to expect. When we planned this adventure, we understood that travel days like this suck. It’s just the way it is. Sometimes they don’t, but we prefer to be surprised by those, rather than expect them.
Had our friend Beth waiting for us at the airport in Orlando. Glad to see a familiar face after so many days. Two hours and another fast food meal later, we were back with the family.
All in all it has been a great trip. Something I would do again, but maybe a little differently. The Airbnb rooms can be hit and miss. I think I will verify some critical specifics before the next one. Like hot water, good beds, and walking distance to food and sights. Still, no real complains with any of it.
We set out for an adventure and had one. We went to explore a country we have wanted to see and experience for a while. Some of it met our expectations, some was completely different. Some was planned, some just happened.
We played in the rivers around Dangriga.
We had the side trip to see Carina’s beautiful little resort for sale in San Ignacio.
We met the future Olympic cycling champions of the Belize Youth Club.
We survived Hurricane Earl in Orange Walk.
We got to spend two days with Stephan and Simone of Pancho’s Way and heard the amazing stories from a couple who sold everything to travel the world.
We survived about 20 hours on various buses across Belize and Mexico. We made friends in almost every town we visited and got to actually experience all those things we have read about for the last year.
We obliterated our travel budget and will probably spend the next two months recovering financially, but it was worth it.
So, back to work now. Back to the daily writing and editing for ProSoundWeb. Getting ready to re-release the Becoming a Better Man book this month and about to rebuild this site into something a little more user-friendly. Also have several more articles in the works that get back to the focus on marriage and family.
We are already looking forward to our next adventure. Let’s see where we end up.
M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at ErikMatlock.com, ProSoundWeb.com and through his books, which are available at Amazon.