Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wed 16 Sept - Oaxaca to L.A. a travelling day with some lowlights...

Today was a bit tough for us and made memorable for some "wrong" reasons. 

Getting to our 6.30am plane at Oaxaca meant a 4am wake up and 4.45 taxi collection.  The problem is the 2 hour time difference with L.A. (Making it a 2am wake up L.A. time).  But we were doing ok despite a short amount of sleep.  Taxi arrived on time, no check out issues and the highlight was Lisa getting everything in her bags.  No overweight bag issue either. Well done!

We waited at the airport and when the snack bar opened at 5.45 we grabbed a hot drink each which helped revive us a little before we boarded our AeroMexico plane to Mexico City. A photo,of our plane. We've had no issues with flying AeroMexico, we both think they were good. 

It was a smooth flight and Di took a few photos, and liked the "smoking mountain top" that appeared in the clouds as we approached Mexico City. 

The switch over at Mexico City also went smoothly and we used the last of our Mexcian Pesos to buy a drink and a snack each. And waited again for about an hour.

This was a longer flight - more than 4 hours - as you easily  forget that Mexico is quite a "long country" and Mexico City is quite a distance East. Again the flight went fine and then we arrived in LAX terminal 2....

Well, what can we say about how bad the airport is? It really seems almost deliberate to make Visitors feel unwelcome.

Two planes arrived at once, lots of Visitors and only 2 immigration counters open for about 200 people. Then one guy went to lunch. So we queued for at least 45 minutes and then...Di's passport rejected. Di was taken for a second inspection which, we were told, could take another 1 hour,  mostly waiting as again only 1 guy was actioning these.  

It was very frustrating, but a learning experience. Some thing out of the Border Control TV show. The stories Di heard while waiting. A Mexican girl arriving here for 3 months with no plans and no means of support herself, when asked about savings said "she did not believe in savings". The Border guy said "if we find you've worked here you can never come back".   An older South American lady who seemed to be trying to get her medical treatment in USA with no health insurance cover (same story as the young girl) and then a young guy who had the bad luck to have the same name as someone on a "banned list". And Di.

Sorry no photos allowed. 

Lisa and Di agreed to meet at 2pm latest at the Super Shuttle pick-up and if Di was not yet there Lisa was to continue to our hotel, the Westin Bonaventure without her and Di would catch up (Di was confident she would be passed eventually).  

Now Part 2 of the bad news...
Unfortunately during this time and all the confusion Lisa lost her camera. She put it down, missed picking it up and it's gone.  She tried several options including lost property and begging a customs lady to do some checking but to no avail.  Not service oriented in LAX so sadly a very good camera is gone. 

Di finally sorted out her passport issue, but will probably need to call the Australian Consulate before leaving.  It turns out the Australia Government reported Di's passport lost or stolen and basically "suspended".  Di has NEVER lost or had a passport stolen. Seems to be a bureaucratic bungle by Australian public service. Are we surprised?

We finally met up at about 1.45pm and left LAX on the Super Shuttle 2.5 hours after landing. Yuck.

The good news, the iconic Westin Bonaventure is our hotel for the next 2 nights and still looks amazing. 

We checked in, Di did a quick scout of our location and then on returning we both went for a swim at the pool. Above is the view from the pool. We are in a room on the 20th floor. 

View from Di's pool lounge whilst we waiting for our cocktails to arrive.  Our day was finally getting better. 

Evidence that Lisa also swam, but then she tried to hide...

We soon felt much much, much better... Especially with a margarita for Lisa and Pina Colada for Di. 

Around 6pm we found a local bar for dinner and enjoyed a happy hour deal of a glass of Cabernet and a good meal. After several weeks we got to eat a meal that needs a knife to cut it (in Mexico there are lots of finger foods or soft foods).  Steak and mash for Di, garlic sauce roast chicken for Lisa and a chatty friendly waiter.  Perfect.  

Just what we needed and we would normally have lingered but we hit the wall after such an early start. Don't look at this photo from the bar too closely as we were both really really tired..

By 8.30 we were tucked into our very comfy beds after a very tiring day of sort of doing nothing. 

Good night. 

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