Let the adventure begin.

Subject to (their) Homeland Security of course.

All six of us are now safely in the Holiday Inn, Tampico, Mexico. We are, of course, in a hotel because our vehicles are still at sea. Originally they should have been here on the 2006-01-12. So we naturally booked our flights to get us here a few days early. Then the ship was cancelled! Then un-cancelled. Then delayed till the 13th, now delayed till the 16th or 17th. So we will wait.

We flew here in two groups. Bruce and Lesley arrived first, early, comfortable and without incident. Clive, Ann, Stephen and Judy were not quite so lucky. Our flight here required two changes, first in Atlanta, USA (Yes I know you know Atlanta is in the USA but then Americans always say Paris, France, as if you might not know.), then Mexico City. We had been warned that arriving in Mexico without a return ticket might pose a problem (it didn't). What we had not expected was that Delta Airlines would refuse to fly us to Atlanta without us having an onward ticket from Mexico (remember we already had an onward ticket from Atlanta!)

So before we could board our flight in the UK we had to buy (for $850 USA each) a ticket from Mexico to Peru! Naturally we were assured that this ticket would be easily refundable.

The nine and half hour flight to Atlanta was enlivened only by the announcement that passengers must not assemble in groups of more than two, otherwise the sky marshal would shoot them (or was that the flight attendant would tell them to sit down). Even though we were in transit thru Atlanta under USA regulations we still had to go thru USA immigration, be photographed, finger printed, metal detected, shoe inspected etc. However the one thing they were not interested in was if we had onward flights from Mexico.

When we checked our baggage in the UK we took great care to establish where we would need to collect it. We would have liked it checked all the way to Tampico but this was not possible. As a result our flight connection in Mexico city was tight. After waiting in vain for our baggage we eventually established that it had probably been sent on to Tampico (or it might just be still in Atlanta). By then with only 25 minutes to go we tried to check in for our Tampico flight to be told the last transport to the plane had left the terminal. The next flight was 06:55 the next day. An entertaining two hours was spent trying to extract a new ticket and hotel accommodation from Aeromexico on the grounds that Delta had misinformed us. We got the ticket but not the accommodation.

Stephen and Judy at Mexico City Airport.Because our flight was not due to leave for many hours, we could not enter the departure area and ended up spending the night in a restaurant on the open and very cold outer part of the airport. At 04:15 we started queuing at the Delta check-in area to try and get a refund on our redundant Mexico to Peru tickets. At about 05:00 we were told that refunds were not possible before 10:00 in Mexico City and not at all in Tampico. Eventually a Delta supervisor (Francisco Campusando) agreed to take our tickets and credit card details and arrange a refund in 20 to 40 working days.

The 06:55 flight to Tampico was uneventful and our baggage was waiting for us, as were a relaxed Bruce and Lesley at the Holiday inn.

Total travel time about 32 hours. Sleep about 2 hours.

Stephen Stewart.

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