Friday, September 01, 2006

Cabo Pulmo photoset

I've created a photoset on Flickr for our pictures from our Cabo Pulmo trip. Enjoy!

Cabo Pulmo trip, part five

On Sunday morning it was raining a bit. We had wanted to go back to Mermaid Beach, all of us this time, but unfortunately, we only had time to clean, pack, and go to the airport in San Jose del Cabo. On highway 1, we noticed that the road signs to S. J. del C. sometimes showed contradictory distances. Apparently, sometimes the signs that supposedly showed the distance to S. J. del C. actually showed the distance to Cabo San Lucas, which is farther. Fortunately, the shorter distance was the real one so we turned in our rental car on time. At the airport there was a long line. In our recent travels, we've been pretty lucky with lines. However, this time we had to wait a while. Most of the travelers were large, boisterous, middle-aged men with southern accents. Private security staff with uniforms similar to those of the U.S. TSA screened our luggage.

A young woman had stood in line only to find out that since she had no checked baggage, her wait was unnecessary.

"Shut the fuck up!" she exclaimed to the baggage screener, not as a demand but in a tone that someone else might use to say, "You're kidding me." He just stood there, looking sheepish. Then she cut in front of us in line. We were moving slowly because we had a baby and many bags.

The flight from San Jose del Cabo to Phoenix was crowded. We didn't get an extra seat for JH. Because there were so many large gringos on the plane, they had to unload 16 before the plane could take off. Once several people had volunteered, they changed their minds and decided to unload some fuel instead. All this indecision caused us to be about twenty minutes late taking off. It was hot and uncomfortable.

Supposedly, we had a direct flight to Oakland with a "stop" in Phoenix. Apparently to US Airways/America West, a "direct flight" means, get off the plane in Phoenix, go through U.S. Customs, pick up your baggage, go to the ticket counter to find out the status of your flight, go through security again, and then get on a new plane to fly to your destination. Because the plane was late getting into Phoenix, the people at the ticket counter told us that we had missed our flight and that we'd have to take another one, three hours later. We were furious. Despite the fact that we had been told we wouldn't be able to get back on "our" flight, we decided to go to the gate to see if the plane was still there. We hoped maybe we could complain to the people at the gate and maybe get some vouchers for future travel.

I'm reminded of the saying that US Air stands for, "Unfortunately, still Allegheny in reality." Of course they're US Airways now but I think the saying holds true. They're still a regional carrier at heart, and not in a good way: they're still experiencing growing pains becoming an international airline.

When we got to the gate, we told them our names and they said they were holding the plane for us! Apparently in the time it took for us to get from the ticket counter to the gate, they changed their minds and decided we could fly on our original flight. The new plane was much nicer and newer -- a new Airbus A320 rather than an aging Boeing 737. Also, the flight attendants on the new plane were much more competent and helpful than those on the S. J. del C. to Phoenix leg. Nobody was sitting in middle seats between the aisle and the window. We arranged for JH to get and extra seat and sit in his car seat -- I took a seat in another part of the plane. After I settled in, I noticed JH's Cheerios in my backpack. I gave them to a flight attendant who handed them to Sara.

About halfway through the flight, a flight attendant asked the person sitting next to Sara to move to another aisle seat so I could go sit with my family. That was really nice and made the end of our journey quite pleasant. After Emily picked us up at Oakland airport, we went home and ordered out for pizza.