Traveling with kids is an interesting experience. Traveling with anyone who has a different personality than your own can be a
challenge. Everyone has different ideas of where you need to be and when and what makes for comfortable travel. I’m an over-packer. Romeo has to be through security before he can relax. We discovered that Goose is a nervous traveler.
The day began early. Everyone was excited to get started with the big trip. A couple of our best friends met us at the house to have coffee and bagels before they drove us to the airport.
But we forgot the Adaptil for the dog and Romeo had to run out to grab it from the
vet. (Side note: It’s a collar that releases a relaxing pheromone to keep her calm) I packed the last minute items and we Tetris-ed the trunk of the van with our luggage. Romeo was concerned that the mass of luggage was not going to fit in the rental car. But I played a version of musical chairs with our belongings until we had everything separated into 50 lbs per bag. Romeo made everyone eggs so we would be full of protein before heading out.
We planned to leave the house at 9:30am for the 11:50am flight. My
other 2 besties were meeting us at the airport for hugs and crying. Unfortunately, we were still at the house at 10:00am. Planning to be all the way through security at 10:45 wasn’t looking promising. Finally, we got out the door and on the way. A van that seats 8 was a godsend for the trip to the airport. We were flustered at arrival but managed to get all of the bags and kids dragged up to check in. The airport was full of the promised hugs and tears and Romeo pushing us all up to the security line.
We arrived at our gate and the littles were full of wonder. They pressed their faces up against the large glass window and waited for our airplane to arrive.
At boarding time when there was still no plane, I began to wonder if we were in the right place. A little checking around told us that we had a gate change and they were calling final boarding. The last thing the flight attendant said before we took off: “This is flight 4279 to Miami. We are ready for departure. Now is your final chance to deplane if these are not your plans.” Seriously? Did she just tell us to deplane if we changed our minds? It meant so much more to me than “get off the plane.” Staying in my seat was a serious commitment to our plans.
The plane began its taxi and the safety speech started. Chichi got
out her pamphlet from the seat back to follow along. I opened her window and she stared straight into her pamphlet, unable to look despite my prodding. She stayed like that through take off and then finally began to relax because her curiosity won over.
The flight was fairly short and pleasant and we landed in Miami without a hitch. Everyone was hungry, but we wanted to find our gate first. We took the sky train and made our way down to the right place. The airport food screamed “Miami” as we passed the busy empanada vendor. We found the gate and ventured out for
food, ending up at a Cuban bakery.
The four-hour layover included walking the airport in search of a good coffee, riding the sky train back and forth for fun, drawing, dancing, computer time, playing and knitting.
We were planning to board in the final boarding call and Goose had to use the restroom. She ran nervously all the way there and back
even though we told her there was plenty of time. We were still sitting in our chairs outside the runway, not even packed up when she came back. Our family ended up in the last row of the plane, directly in front of the flight attendants. It ended up being a great spot because Chichi had to use the restroom several times.
This flight was not as pleasant for me. I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until we were descending. Then I couldn’t get my ear to pop and it was pretty painful. It finally cleared once we landed.
We piled out of the plane, made our way to baggage and needed two carts to carry all the luggage through customs. Romeo handed over our papers, spoke Spanish to the customs agent and then pressed a red button when directed. It turned a light on the floor green and we all passed through…Only to be stopped by a security woman. She asked for the papers for the dog, which we handed over. She sent us back and spoke to the agent that let us pass. Then she passed us to another man who took us into an office. Everyone was speaking so fast in Spanish and all we could tell is that we were being detained because of the dog. The little ones were stir crazy and wanting to run and play tag. I tried to keep them somewhat contained while Romeo spoke Spanish to the new customs agent. After about 25 minutes of delay, we were given the thumbs up to leave. Apparently, they connected Koda to my passport so that we can come and go with her without being stopped again.
Onward…next stop, the rental car. We took the shuttle to the rental
car place and waited at least an hour as the one person behind the desk who went over all the paperwork (in Spanish). Finally it was our turn and we got the car. Now to try to fit all the luggage in there. With some careful placement and not so careful shoving, it all ended up in the trunk or by our feet.
Next stop…the hotel. Romeo booked the hotel and got a great deal. But in our circle he’s known for his cheapy-ways. He LOVES a deal more than anything else. And he got a 3.5 star hotel room $27USD. I was a bit skeptical about staying in a dump, but he assured me that he chose the place based on reviews. My phone had 2% battery life as it navigated us to the hotel. We turned off the more touristy road and onto what looked to
me more like an alley than a road. It was dark. There were people in the streets hanging out or walking. There were several stray dogs. We began to see more trash and boxes piled up around the graffiti-scribbled walls. I grew uneasy as we closed in on the hotel. But I didn’t want to scare the kids. We arrived and I swallowed hard right as Romeo turned to look at me. It was all over my face. He smiled and said, “I’ll go check us in!” and we waited in the car.
He was back really quickly and I was hoping it was to tell us he decided to take us somewhere else. Instead, he reported there was a better place to park and “don’t worry, the inside is nice.”
It was nearly 10pm. It had been a REALLY long day. And we just
needed a place to lay our heads. So we circled the building and entered the parking lot and made our way up to the room. It was not so bad. It was decent and clean. The actual hotel was fine. It was only the neighborhood that was scary. But the parking was surrounded by the building on all sides and they had 24 hour security and surveillance. We spotted the pool and restaurant as we made our way up to the third floor room. Everyone was melty and cranky. We had missed dinner and the Sprite from the flight attendant wasn’t holding anyone over. We considered putting the little ones to bed, but the food won and we all went down to the restaurant.
The cold cerveza made my day. The kids made it through dinner because we were the only ones in the whole place and they could get up and move around while they waited. We finally tucked in at about 11pm. But the reality hadn’t really set it yet.
We live in Mexico.