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Our vacations have a routine that begins with a hired car. We don’t have a car big enough to fit the five of us and all our luggage, so we have hired limos and SUV’s over the years. One year the limo didn’t show up and that turned out to be a very bad omen. But that will be another post (one titled “Emergency health care in Mexico”).
Our SUV showed up on time, and was followed by an uneventful drive to the airport, check-in at Frontier and pass through security. Zung is a Frontier frequent flier which means we get to line jump at check-in and security. We always get there early enough to have breakfast at Chef Jimmy’s, take some pictures and usually buy some magazines.
Frontier frequent flier status also allows us to board first, even before children and “anyone needing additional time to board.” We boarded and were welcomed by Dave, our very favorite Frontier flight attendant. We have been on many flights with Dave and he spoils us shamelessly and we are always thrilled to see him when we board. Zung got a handshake and I got a hug. We settled into our seats and spent the next several hours reading, sleeping (the kids), drinking and eagerly anticipating our vacation. I practiced for Playa by having a rum and coke. Frontier had DirectTV that is free on international flights and as a recovering fearful flier, I find it a great coping technique to watch HGTV and the realtime map showing how close we are and if we are over land or water.
I am a “follow the rules’ kind of gal, and always sort of pay attention to the safety presentation. I especially pay attention to the part about how to work your seatbelt because once upon a time I read about a flight attendant who got to that part of the safety presentation and said, “It’s a seatbelt. Just like any other seatbelt and if you don’t know how to use it, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unattended.” I always say that out loud (quietly of course) when they are telling you how to use the seatbelt and it makes me laugh every single time.
Our plane landed. During the flight they have you fill out customs and immigration forms. Make sure you fill them out correctly because if you don’t you have to go to the side of the immigration line and finish filling them out correctly. You usually only do that once. Ours were filled out correctly and the immigration line was impossibly short. Essentially, there was no line at all. That still didn’t make the immigration dude smile. Next, IF you didn’t bring carry on you have to wait for your bags on the bag carousel. Of course we had to wait for our bags. My name isn’t shoediva for nothing.
All 6 of our bags arrived (another good omen) and the ridiculously long customs lines had shortened considerably. When you go through customs occasionally you have to have your bags x-rayed and then you always have to press the button to see if you get the green light – which means you proceed through, OR you get the red light which means they go through you bags. People carrying sex toys in your bags – you have been warned!
We have only gotten the red light once in our 13 trips and it was a fairly cursory inspection. No sex toys discovered. We got the green light.
Next you proceed through what is know as the “gauntlet” to get to the outside, where your transportation awaits. The gautlet is a sea of time share and tour salespeople. It is pretty impossible to distinguish them from helpful airline people and they may helpfully ask, “Who is your transportation with?” Or they may shout at you, in a very authoratative tone, “I must see your papers.” Ignore them all, unless you want to attend a timeshare. In which case, WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY? THIS IS YOUR VACATION. AND THEY LIE. THEY ARE HIGH PRESSURE LIARS! KEEP AWAY FROM THE DARK SIDE. Put on your sunglasses, do not make eye contact, do not respond if they talk to you, walk fast and do not slow down until you get outside. They may try and get in your way, just walk around them. Practice at home if you need to. A head’s up about this was the best piece of pre-1st vacation advice I received.
We made our way outside and I looked among the sea of transportation dudes for the guy holding the sign with my name. You can take transportation that is provided with your package (Apple and Funjet and such usually include shuttle service in their packages). In this case you look for the dude wearing the right kind of shirt – Apple dudes wear flowered shirts, Funjet wears teal colored shirts. You can also take a bus, which I know nothing about, because shoediva’s don’t take buses. Shoediva’s hire private transportation because we are impatient to get to our vacation destination and start vacationing. I use Cancun Valet. They are waiting for me with a sign with my name, if I can’t find them someone usually walks up to me and asks who I’m looking for and they direct me to my dude. Then you go to a spot and wait for your private van to drive up. They load your bags and you are one step closer to paradise. If you are overly anxious to ingest adult beverages there is a bar right outside the door called Coconuts. I have never stopped here, so all I can tell you is it is there.
We loaded our luggage and ourselves into our van and we were about 25 minutes from my happy place.