Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Journey South

Early yesterday morning I was at Cleveland Airport to catch my flight to Houston.  The flight was uneventful, and we arrived in Houston a few minutes early.  I had a layover of about two and a half hours.  My flight to Mexico was leaving just a few gates away from where I had arrived.  And just a short walk away was a restaurant where I often eat when I am at Houston Airport... Ruby's Diner.  It's one of the few restaurants at that airport where you are still waited on by a human being instead of having to use a computerized menu on the table. (I hate those things.)  So I had lunch there.

After lunch I still had nearly two hours to wait for my next flight.  I walked back to the gate, and I was going to read the book that I had brought along.  However, a few minutes later a grandmotherly type was brought to the gate in a wheel chair and was seated near me.  She looked confused and flustered, and I gave her a look as if to say, "Is there anything I can do?"  She asked me if I spoke Spanish, and when I said "yes", we began a conversation that pleasantly passed much of the waiting time.

The lady was from Mexico, and had been visiting a son who lives in Kentucky.  Her flight from Louisville to Houston had been delayed, and she had missed her connection to Mexico City.  She had been rescheduled to fly on the flight that I was on.  I suspect that this might have been her first experience in international travel.  Even though the information was on her boarding pass, she wanted to know when our plane was leaving and when it would arrive in Mexico City.  Her original itinerary called for her to be arriving soon, and she said that her family would already be at Mexico City airport waiting for her.  I asked her if she had a cell phone to contact them.  She said "yes", but that she didn't know how to use it.   A Mexican fellow, also waiting for the flight, offered to call for her.  He called several of her relatives on her phone but no one answered.  A few minutes later one of those relatives must have seen the missed call, and her phone rang.  She explained her situation, and she felt relieved.

The lady was delightful and quite talkative.  I could picture her as a character actress playing the role of "abuelita" on a Mexican comedy.  She had some interesting commentary on the United States.  She thought that it was a wonderful country, HOWEVER, the food was terrible.  Nothing was fresh; everything was processed food.  And she said that people in the U.S. do nothing but work and spend money.  The time passed quickly, and it was soon time to board the plane.

The boarding process was perhaps the most chaotic that I have ever seen.  People were trying to find overhead space for their carryon luggage, and everyone was not seated until a few minutes after our scheduled departure time.  Because I have a VISA credit card with United Airlines, I am always in boarding group number 2.  Always in the past I have found a space in the overhead bin right by my seat.  This time however, I had to put my bag a couple rows behind me.  Leaving the plane after landing was also quite chaotic, but fortunately my seat was not very far back.

Anyway, I am now in Mexico City once again!

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