17 March 2015
We have a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and a stroll along the now empty main street for some last minute gifts to take home. Then it is back to the hotel for a final shower and pack. We have to check out by 11.00 but our transfer to the airport is not until 12.30 so we stow our bags and adjourn to the restaurant for an iced coffee (and use our last pesos). It is a good spot because we catch up with everyone (some several times and not those who left super early) and fill in the time chatting.
Ernesto comes to take Gill and I to the airport at Cancun and we make really good time. At the airport we meet Matt who took a local bus quite a long time before we left. We have a very long time to fill in at the airport and intersperse walking around with eating, drinking and reading. I am not looking forward to the return trip as I am back to reality and economy class all the way. I was lucky on the first leg to Los Angeles because I was just in front of the exit rows and the seats didn’t recline so the two people next to me asked to move – which left me with 3 seats to lie down on (pity it wasn’t the longer flight but at least I got a good nap).
I had been dreading the transit in Los Angeles from past experiences that had not been pleasant but the (relatively) new Tom Bradley International Terminal made a huge difference to the experience. There is still some development going on that led to a bit of congestion but all in all it was fairly painless. Once we had made our way through baggage claim, customs, transfer, re-checking the bags, and through immigration and screening again, there was an announcement that if we had boarding passes issued by other airlines we would have to get them re-issued at the Air New Zealand desk. Thankfully we were able to get them re-issued at the Koru Club so we didn’t have to go through half the process all over again. The ‘new’ Koru Club lounge is very classy and a nice place to spend some time between flights.
I didn’t get the hoped for empty seats beside me on the last leg of the journey but I did manage to sleep a little and then had a last chance to practise my Spanish before the end of the trip: I had 2 lovely young Colombian professional women sitting beside me who were coming to NZ to learn English. I helped them to complete their arrival documentation and then they asked me all about Auckland and where their homestay was and how long it would take to get into the university. We talked about my travels and their families back home, and exchanged contact details.
We arrived in Auckland a bit earlier than our expected 8.00am, picked up some duty free, passed through immigration and customs fairly quickly, and caught our respective shuttles back home. Thankfully I have a few days to recover before having to go back to work.
For this and other similar trips see:
Peregrine Adventures Travel Destinations (Comfort and independent tours)
Geckos Adventures Deals for South & Central America (for 18 to 30s)
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