Posted in: Travel

It’s 11

It’s 11:15 (2:15am New York time) and I’m listening to U2’s Still haven’t Found What I’m Looking For playing over the airport speakers as I wait for Julia and Daniel to pick me up. The song seems strangly appropriate. The airport is largely deserted, aside from the 4 cars that just pulled up waiting for arrivals. I guess another plane is due to land soon.

Julia and Daniel left early to pick me up at the airport as soon as I deplaned at 9:56, however due to, what can only be called my bad (travel) luck – they were waiting for me at LAX, not Burbank. While annoying, I find these moments of being alone odly comforting. I’ve used this time to read the book I brought for this trip On Mexico Time on an airport bench, talked to a security guard, and texted my LA friends to hang out.

Hopefully they get here soon as I am getting very sleepy and don’t want to fall asleep, on a concrete bench, in a deserted airport.

Travel Day 1 – New York to Los Angeles

Whenever I travel, the first day is filled with thoughts of despair – I hate traveling. Or more to the point, I am not a good traveler when I’m alone. I can rationalize all I want, but this little voice chimes in and says “Are you sure you have the right passport?” or “You flying out of La Guardia or JFK airport?” It is seriously exhausting.

I’m not sure if I have something wrong with me, or this is just regular old travel panic, but man it is unnerving to doubt yourself so thoroughly. I wish I could be one of those people who can throw a few things into a bag and travel for a month in Tunisia, but I’m more from the having a sherpa school of travel. I guess it is the English heritage of pale white people in pith helmets demanding locals make them a cup of tea as they admire the sunset from the back of an elephant.

It is not a proud history.

Today I made my way from my apartment in Astoria to JFK by train. Despite having a slight issue with the height of strap on my roley-bag which required me to hunch over the whole way, the trip was really easy. My maps app on my iPhone suggested I transfer to the LIRR, but I decided to walk a little to transfer to the E train instead as I have an aversion to the Long Island Rail Road. Not because of the service, but because I am far more familiar with the subway system and feel more confident on it. The transfer to the AirTran at Sutphin Blvd, likewise, was a breeze. Although the AirTran is only an elevated train that travels a loop, it brings back memories of rides at Disneyland. It lacked a robotic shark, but did get me to JetBlue Terminal 5 in a few minutes like in the world of the future.

I’m not sure what I was thinking as I went through security. Most times I go through, I have a system – I take off my shoes, my belt, and empty my pockets and stroll on trough those beepy things like a boss. This time I walked through with change, a watch, my shoes, and my iPhone in my pocket. The 4th time the Transit Security Officer asked me to go through the beepy things, the people behind me had stopped smiling at my charming shrugs.

Everything after security was smooth sailing until I took my seat on the plane and found a Jewish orthodox family sitting across from me with 2 babies. Awwwww Man! When the father and the youngest daughter moved across the isle next to me, I almost turned to them and said “Really? Really? You want to sit right next to me?” but instead I smiled and hoped the kid was narcoleptic. Turns out, the kid was adorable and fell instantly in love with me. Although she thought her buckling and unbuckling the seatbelt the most charming thing ever, we got along pretty well discussing the finer points of her bottle. It wasn’t until she pooped in her sleep next to me, at hour 5, that I thought perhaps our relationship had run it’s course.

She pooped guys!

Overall, first day of vacation is going well, but smells… like poop.

Mexico City Hotel – Galeria Plaza Reforma

I’m not the best when it comes to booking plane flights and hotels. I get all sorts of nervous that I will book the wrong days, or the wrong place, or the wrong country. While some might say this is irrational, also let it be known in the past I have gone to JFK airport, instead of La Guardia and inadvertently booked 1 less day for an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. Both stories turned out ok, but it has instilled in me a terror of pushing the submit buttons on travel websites.

This brings me to today where I had to book a hotel for the 2 days Julia and I are spending in Mexico City. Julia, being the wonderful girlfriend she is, called me up and literally just listened to me nervously check credit card information and travel days. True to form the travel website on 2 occasions listed our stay for 1 day, rather than 2. But the good news is the hotel, Galeria Plaza Reforma, is booked and all the plane tickets are sorted… wait, it’s not 2013 right? crap.

In any case, I hope it is a good hotel and we do not contract any ‘Chinche’ (bedbugs). Los crossed fingers.

Update

After spending 3 days at the Galeria Plaza Reforma, I can honestly say this is a great hotel. The service was outstanding, the staff were very helpful in directing us to locations around Mexico City, and the location is great for food, bars, and sights. The area is not touristy and very walkable. Added bonus there are lots of little stores nearby to buy water, beer, bandaids, etc. The pool on the roof has seen better days, but is perfectly fine for a quick swim in the morning.

My only complaint were the beds which are very firm, but that was definitely doable. I would heartily recommend this hotel to anyone wanting good value.

Hamburgo 195 Col Juarez, Mexico City, DF, 06600 Mexico 1-866-599-6674

Links

expedia

Off to LA and Mexico

In a week and a half, I am taking two weeks and exploring LA and Mexico with Julia. I’m pretty excited as I haven’t been on a real vacation in over 2 years (the last time I visited Mexico). My only problem is the feeling that everything at work will melt down and my life will be a hell of returning phone calls while drinking margaritas, but I could imagine worst things to do with my time.

I will be visting Mexico City for the first time and San Miguel del Allende for a second time. I can’t wait to get away, even if for a few weeks.

The last time I was in San Miguel – December 2009.