Friday, May 27, 2016

The trip begins...delays and a chance meeting!

Sometimes things happen for a reason and while our trip to San Miguel de Allende was challenging, there was a serendipitous ending that made the trip all the more special. More on that later in  the story, so read on!

Unfortunately, our flight from Oregon was delayed, and we actually went out on the runway for take-off twice before we finally departed, This resulted in us arriving in San Francisco hopelessly late for our next leg to Los Angeles. Already midnight, we resigned ourselves to spending the night at the airport to catch a flight to Houston for our rerouted trip to Mexico in the morning.

While the twenty year-old adventure traveler that still lurks inside my mind did not have a problem with this, my significantly older grumpy old man body was not particularly pleased! It has been many years since I spent the night curled up on a bench in the waiting area of an airport, and I must say I do prefer a good night in a hotel.

It was a long night, and we didn't get much sleep through the constant blaring of PA announcements to a deserted airport, combined with the maintenance workers polishing the floors with a machine just slightly smaller than a Canadian Hockey League Zamboni! Eventually, morning came and after choking down a hideously overpriced airport breakfast, we were on our way and arrived in Houston mid-afternoon.

The next leg of our journey was on to Leon, Mexico where we would catch a shuttle for San Miguel de Allende. We arrived at the gate a bit early and were the first in line to catch our plane. As we waited I see a rather tall, regal, and very handsome man approach the agent. I recognized him immediately and gave him a big smile. "El Presidente Vicente Fox!" I told Kate. Seconds later, the agent gave us early boarding (no doubt sympathetic to my hunched and crippled body from the previous night) and we left to board the plane. Now when you think of former Presidents flying, you don't really imagine a man flying by himself on a small puddle-jumper. This however was this humble man's method of travel, no bodyguards, no special treatment, and no pretenses. As you may know, Presidente Fox was recently in the news for having given Donald Trump the middle finger and a resounding "f-you" for his views on the Mexican people, and his absurd vision for a wall. While we did not get a chance to speak to the man as it was difficult in the small plane, the Mexican woman who sat behind us stopped to greet him on the way in and sat down just bubbling with excitement which we shared in both broken English and Spanish. I respect him highly for expressing his unabashed views, and it was an honor and a privilege to be flying with him.

We soon arrived in Leon, and were met by our smiling shuttle driver who quickly had us on the road and our final leg into San Miguel.  More than 24 hours since we hit the road, and 36 hours since our head last hit a pillow, we arrived at the Villa Alta Dos, our home for the next two weeks. As the cobble stoned street was much too narrow for the shuttle, our driver led us down a dark and narrow alley to the Villa where we were greeted warmly by our host Veronica. Tired beyond belief, but thrilled with the accommodations which were everything we were promised and more, we were greeted by a spectacular display of fireworks over the city, the sound of church bells ringing, and the occasional burst of thunder and lightning. If our arrival had been choreographed by Disney, it could not have been more perfect!

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