On June 3rd. we flew from Bogota to Mexico City. We’ll be spending our last month of Field Trip X here in Mexico City (a.k.a. CDMX). We can’t believe that it is almost over. These eleven months have flown by so quickly. We’ve definitely been having fun!
The flight from Bogota to Mexico City is a short one, just under five hours, so it should have been an easy trip. It ended up being an expensive overnight adventure…
Our flight was scheduled to depart at 5:30 PM, so we got to the airport in Bogota at about 3:00 PM. We made our way to the Interjet check in desks and found them completely unstaffed. There were no passengers lined up to check in, just empty desks and an empty waiting area. Not good. We looked around and saw a sign for an Interjet office. We walked over to the office and asked about checking in for the 5:30 flight to Mexico City. The woman behind the desk looked very confused and asked, “Which flight?” Uh-oh. I pulled out my phone and started searching my email for the confirmation with the flight number and time. I found it almost immediately and realized that the flight time was 15:30 NOT 5:30!!
In a year of travelling, we had just missed our first flight. Estupido! For days we had been planning our departure and talking about what time to check our of our apartment, what time to get to the airport. We had misread the time and never double checked it. We had planned and executed everything flawlessly – at the wrong time!
We asked the nice lady behind the desk what our options were. She looked at us blankly and essentially said, “You missed the flight.” I opened Google Translate on my phone and typed in a sentence asking if we could use our tickets on another flight. “Nope.” I typed another sentence asking about a credit or a partial credit. “Nope.”
OK. so, $657 down the drain. Poor reading comprehension can be very expensive.
We enquired as to our options on other flights and we could fly out on the 15:30 flight the next day for $657 or the 0:45 (12:45 AM) flight that night for $800. Ugh. Poor reading comprehension can be very, very expensive. I asked her if she had room for all three of us at her house and if she would sponsor us for a visa, since it looked like we would be staying in Colombia. She smiled and laughed, but said, “No.”
We retreated to the airport lobby to talk about what to do. First we checked online for other ticket options. Interjet was still the cheapest. Ugh. Our apartment in Mexico City was already booked and paid for, so changing destinations didn’t make sense. We were at the airport, so an Uber or a taxi back into town to find a hotel for one night, a couple of meals, and then a taxi back to the airport the next day didn’t make much sense either. It would be cheaper than the midnight-forty-five flight, but not by much. So, we spent nine hours at the airport, caught the red-eye, and landed in Mexico City at about 5:30 the next morning.
The flight attendants on our flight didn’t give us the entry forms required by Mexico, so when we disembarked and entered the Immigration area we were empty handed. At the entrance to the Immigration area there were big tables and pens for filling out the forms, but there were no forms. Bienvenidos a Mexico!
From Immigration, we headed to baggage claim. We had our suitcase, our duffel bag, and a cardboard box. The box was sealed with packing tape and completely wrapped in plastic. Emphasis on was. The box had been cut open and not resealed. All of our stuff in the duffel was packed neatly in zippered packing cubes. Again, emphasis on was. The packing cubes had been opened and all our belongings dumped out, rifled through, then crammed loose back into the duffel bag. Bienvenidos a Mexico!
I think the Mexico City airport is the only airport in the world that doesn’t allow the use of luggage carts. Actually that’s not true, they do have luggage carts at the baggage claim and you can put you bags on them and wheel them to the Customs area 30 meters away. But that’s all. When you exit Customs you must leave the carts there. In the airport terminal there are NO CARTS ALLOWED! You must carry your luggage the 12 km through the terminal to the airport exit! We figured it was a rule designed to create business for the luggage porters. But there were NO luggage porters. Not a single one. Bienvenidos a Mexico!
On our way out of the terminal I bought a local SIM card for my phone, so that we could have phone and internet service. I won’t describe the hilariously challenging activation process other than to say that activating the connection required that I already have a connection. Bienvenidos a Mexico!
Not exactly the smoothest leg of our journey, but this stuff can’t cramp our style! 😉
We caught an Uber from the airport to the apartment we rented in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City.
Then we headed out to explore the neighborhood and find some breakfast. Roma Norte is a trendy neighborhood full of cafes, boutiques, parks, markets and leafy, tree-lined streets. We found breakfast just a block or so away at a cafe called Buna 42.
We spent the afternoon and the following couple days exploring the neighborhoods of Roma Norte, Roma Sur, Polanco, and beyond. The food has been great (I think I’ve gained ten pounds!), the people friendly, the weather fantastic, and the city fun to explore.
Here are some snapshots to give you a peek at our first few days in CDMX:
There are lots of pretty parks and many of them have exercise equipment that is very well used. People here seem to be fitness crazy. Jette loves working out on the equipment in the parks.
We settled in quickly and after just a couple of days we were starting to feel like locals. Good thing, because on Tuesday Jette’s grandma flew down to visit us for a week!
Since her arrival we’ve been having fun…but that’s the next blog post!