Translation for 140 languages by ALS
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowline.
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail.
Explore. Dream. Discover
---Mark Twain


Missed my flight to Spain

The day started well but didn't end that way. Awoke comfortably early for my flight back to Europe last week. Had time to do little errands like repair my wristwatch band and say good-bye to friends that morning. I even took the bus to the airport instead of a cab. 

The first leg of the flight from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City was delayed, cutting down the three hour layover to two hours. No skin off my nose, I thought. Once in Mexico City I luxuriated in the layover time...browsing magazine stands, writing in my journal and people-watching. After two hours I went to the boarding gate to fly to Spain! Then I'm told I can't board without my Mexican tourist visa; iin fact, that I can't leave the country without it. Where is it? the airline people asked. I answer that I wasn't given one.

"When I rode the bus through Tijuana no one gave me any form to fill out."
"Then you must go get one now from Immigration," they said. "Hurry the plane is ready to leave."

That was as helpful as it got.
The unfortunate thing about being law abiding in foreign countries is that persons hired in gainful employment don't speak English whereas people on the street do
From here the mis-adventure snowballed. I had to run around the terminal(s) with my bags trying to get this fucking paper stamped. One Immigration desk was nearby but she only handed out the forms. I would have to exit and go to another official for the stamp -- and that office was not nearby. After getting permission from federal police to go out I made my way to this nondescript office where I'm requested to fill out another two forms  --and pay something or another. And the girl's English was atrocious. (The unfortunate thing about being law abiding in foreign countries is that persons hired in gainful employment don't speak English whereas people on the street do. You'd understandably mistake those you meet in nice, respective clean jobs for being educated and worldly but it's likely as not that, yes, they went to the rights schools but only because their parents had the right money. Their advancements come via cronyism and marriages -- just like in the old days. How can you be a college graduate and native North American without learning how to speak English, the most important language in the world?!) 

I didn't pay the fee. Couldn't tell if I was paying for a fine or a process fee and, by this point, my chance of getting on the plane was dashed. Fifteen minutes had passed already. The plane was gone. But what about the next one? I still had hope. As far as Aeromexico was concerned I wanted to change my flight and that - change - required I buy a new ticket -- at three times the price. "It's policy, senor." What about a flight for tomorrow or the day after? "It's policy, senor." Policy! Policy! Policy! Airlines are goddamn robber barons. Thus my return ticket was, as we say in German, kaput.
My luggage felt like baggage
For hours I languished in the airport, scheming a new game plan. But the going costs of flying abroad were astronomical. So...I figured I'd regroup at leisure: I'd take the bus back to Vallarta (because being in Mexico City is a ticking time-bomb) and unpack and resume travel in a week or, heck, maybe a month. Always look on the bright side.... It was an overnight bus ride on ETN, the most expensive coach line (see below post), whose comfort  I hoped would calm me down. It didn't and it wasn't comfortable. More, the apartment I'd just left was suddenly no longer available. Another guy who had earlier offered me to cheaply rent his spare room suddenly had to get his father's permission first. "Could I wait until July?" he wondered. Click. My luggage felt like baggage. The morning was hot! I sat on a park bench and filled a garbage bag full of stuff and sat that bag of goodies (plus the now empty suitcase) on the curb for garbage collection.  
I would make do with whatever fitted into my two carry-on's.  In under ten minutes the suitcase was carried off. 

I went to an out-of-the-way hostel near the edge of town which I imagined would have vacancies. They did. I was the sole guest. I told myself I'd take the weekend to exhale and regroup. It wasn't the first time I found myself stranded; but, thankfully, this time I have money. And I'm resourceful.  
Always look on the bright side of your life...especially when it's so fucking hard to do so.    

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