Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Home again

My last post was about my favorite things in Canada. That was a week ago. I am now back in Mexico, arrived on the afternoon of Friday the 13th. My trip involved using points - airlines points for the flight, and hotel points for one night at the Hilton Garden Inn, Buffalo Airport, the night before my flight.

Why did I go to Buffalo the night before? Because...1. Jen could not drive me early the next morning, and the booked transportation costs about $90; 2. I have almost 250,000 points with Hilton and due to non-use, they were going to I thought maybe a reward stay would extend the expiration date on the points, and after checking today, I think it did;, and 3. Jen and I are addicted to Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese and going the night before gave us the opportunity to have dinner together and get our fix.

At the restaurant I ordered the Thursday special - turkey dinner, with sides of carrots and hash browns, and an extra side of macaroni and cheese. Jen ordered chicken and dumplings, which comes with 3 sides - and all her sides were...macaroni and cheese! The waitress was a little taken aback, and Jen's plate looked pretty bland with white chicken and dumplings on one side and three servings of macaroni and cheese on the other. She took a picture with her phone, not sure how it turned out.

As we dug in, our waitress stood beside our table and gossiped loudly with the women at the next table. Although we were not in a hurry to eat, Jen wanted to get back before dark. So since we couldn't really chat without talking over the other table, we just ate in eight. Yup, we ate in eight minutes, how we know that is Jen looked at the picture on her phone when we were done and noticed the time stamp. Guess we were so into that macaroni and cheese!!

I spent a relaxing evening in my hotel room with a big flat-screen tv and HGTV. I watched as long as I could keep my eyes half open, and it was hard getting up at 4 am to head to the airport. But I knew I would sleep on the flights, and how lucky I was that the long flight from Philadelphia to Cancun had 3 empty center seats across from me. I moved over to claim the row and curled up for a relaxing sleep.

There was a very short line in Immigration, and still I was scolded by the surly young officer for not going in the line for Mexicans because of my FM3. I told him that I would love to go in that line but a) I'm not Mexican and b) I've been told I cannot use that line (twice I've been directed there by line traffic controllers, and other times I've been directed to the tourist lines - there's no sure thing, it seems, to do it right). He wasn't interested in my explanation, he spoke very softly so I had to ask him to repeat a couple of times, which made him more annoyed with me, but finally he stamped my book and I was free of him.

The suitcases took just a few minutes but the line for customs was ridiculous - winding all along to the back where the luggage carousels are located. I guess they didn't like that much of a line because suddenly the line started moving and as I got closer I saw that they were not xraying the bags, they were just doing the red light/green light thing, like they used to do. So, I got the green light and was free to go - always a relief. I never take more than I'm allowed to take, and I had receipts, but often when they see a single person with 3 bags they question what I'm bringing in and want to take a look (green light means nothing if they really want to take a peek). For this trip I had a couple of bags full of simple junk I had sitting around my condo - certainly of no real value but I didn't feel like trying to explain anything to anyone, so was glad to just get through and be on my way with the ADO bus.

All was well when I finally arrived home. Back into our normal routine.


Jane said...

I've also run into "behind counter" jerks at Cancun airport ... does it make them feel "bigger" to abuse their authority against women traveling alone?

Life's a Beach! said...

Sue, I wonder if the cable package on Isla will ever carry HGTV as part of their 'junk' American television? I'm so addicted, I have to be home at 12:30 p.m. to watch Househunters International, and they're always reruns! I got the red light last time, but the guy wasn't really interested in my stuff since it was just clothes. I love the turkey dinner at Crackerbarrel, but never order the macaroni and cheese. Bet if feels wonderful to be home again!

jeanie said...

Sue, After your last post I went right out and bought corn and enjoyed every juicy buttery bite. Now I'm wondering where to get mac and cheese. Cracker Barrel's recipe is online, but it's too hot here. We get takeout on Thursday but tomorrow we MUST go to Green Acres for turkey dinner. So much for the diet LOL

Linda said...

Guess I have to try that mac & cheese some day!!!

Isn't it great to be back home? We (I) miss your pet stories, but did see one on Facebook today!!!

Isla Chica

IslaZina said...

My three bags got a thorough search in June even though I didn't touch a light. It was explained this way: If I did the light and it came up red, it would be a pain in the butt long time to inventory every item. That's when I notice things were already missing from TSA opened bags. Ahhhh, only the good stuff! A lined rain jacket, 2 headsets with mics. Grrrr. Mexico was actually the nicer part of the traveling.

Islagringo said...

Jane: they are not just jackasses to women. I get it from them all the time too. And Sue is right, whether you go in the tourist line or Mexican line, they are going to yell at you to go to the other one.

Sue said...

Jane - who knows, power freaks are just a pain in the butt, I'd love to tell them where to go, but of course, they know they've got you and you can't say anything.

Beck - I can only hope!

Jeanie - that recipe online isn't the real's a deep dark secret. Someone said there is a Cracker Barrel in Toronto, but the one in Buffalo is probably closer to you. How was the corn?

Linda - IF you like mac and cheese, you should try it - creamy and smooth. Yum! And the pets - there are lots of stories, I just don't have pictures and sometimes don't have the energy to write, but rest assured the pets here are all up to their usual shenanigans.

Zina - I don't think the red light means a thorough search unless they feel like it. I've had the light several times with loads of stuff (always within limit) and they only sort of went through a couple of my bags and didn't even bother with the others. It's when they see lots of bags and just one person that they think you are bringing in stuff - but I'm ready for that, and other than the time it takes for them to go through the bags (which is really only 5 minutes max), I don't really care. Bummer about someone taking stuff out of your bag!

Wayne - it's the fuzzy rules, you never know whether you're doing it right or wrong, and you know that whatever you do will not be right. So I just take their scolding but it ticks me off. It's like building a car with defective brakes and then getting mad at the driver when they have an accident due to brake failure.

Jane said...

I don't believe the red light is random. The only time I've been stopped in Cancun by the red light was when I was alone, with more baggage than I could easily carry (most of it donations to a church group). After an angry man's severe scolding, he pointed me in the direction of what turned out to be two very nice Mexican women who complemented me on my purchases (good deals, they said--examining all my receipts). They smiled and quickly sent me on my way, without examining any of my baggage. And the next time I saw that crabby man, I got out of his line. Too many nice people in Mexico to risk being bothered by azzhats.