Going home

He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. Job 26:7

I woke up early. About 5 o’clock. I’m in a very comfortable king-size bed in an airport hotel in Cancun. I just lay there, thinking about the last couple of months. It’s been a very good winter. The only thing wrong is that it’s STILL WINTER!

At eight o’clock I went down to the restaurant. Dave and MaryLou were already seated at a table, drinking orange juice and coffee. I ordered breakfast. And just like that, the Driedgers were off — catching the 9 o’clock shuttle to the airport. We said goodbye and I went up to my room.

I had 3 or 4 hours to kill. I went for a little walk. I read the news on my computer. A second 737 Boeing has crashed. Nope, I’m scheduled to fly home on an Airbus. I got a text from Dave: all was good. They’d cruised through check-in and customs and were about to board their flight — on time. Bon Voyage!

I still wasn’t so sure that my flight would be on time, and I really didn’t relish the idea of standing in a long line at the check-in dragging my overloaded heavy golf bag around. I caught the one o’clock shuttle — and road to the airport with the same Avianca airline crew. When I got there I was surprised that there really was no line-up at the check-in. I WAS surprised when the agent told me that without that little customs paper I had filled out on the flight in. I didn’t recall getting it back when I arrived here on January 1. What now? The agent directed me to the ‘immigration’ booth where they would make me a new paper. For a fee. In Mexican pesos only. Oh oh. Here I thought I was so smart, getting rid of all my pesos, and only $30 US dollars in my wallet. I argued my case for a while, but that only stood to make me late for my flight. I left by big bag leaning against the wall and hurried off to find an ATM. I ended up getting $30 US worth of pesos from a porter who was only too happy to make the deal. Back to immigration. The girl at the desk is in no hurry to help me now. She takes her time leafing through a pile of papers, counting to herself. Finally I get my important paper, fill in all the proper blanks, get the girl to stamp it, and I head back to the check-in counter.

I was a bit worried that my golf bag would be over the weight limit, but the agent just tagged it and sent me to the oversized bag drop. Then through customs and into the boarding lounge.

I didn’t have to wait very long. I watched the Transat jet pull up to the terminal. The bags came off, then our bags went on. Then I joined a bunch of Winnipegers, and even a few Steinbachers, in the queue to get on the plane. I don’t really ‘get’ why people board a non-stop flight from paradise to the frozen north wearing shorts and flip-flops — I sure hope whoever is there to greet them at the other end is duly impressed and has proper clothing and footwear for them for the ride home.

Our flight left early. And it landed early. Cool! I waited patiently for my golf bag to appear at the over-sized baggage door. When it finally showed up it had clearly been opened. It was all twisted and lopsided and didn’t roll properly. Oh well, what could I do about it now. (I’m quite sure it was a customs inspection — my neatly folded golf shirts were now bunched up and the golf bag zippers were all open, but I don’t think anything was missing.)

max-with-welcome-signI was pulling my bag through the door and looking down at my phone, texting Alex that I was through customs and she should drive the car up to the… and when I looked up, there were Tim and Alex and Max, waiting to meet me! Max was holding a huge pink sign: Welcome Home, Opa! — little balloons taped all over it and a drawing of Opa and a golf club and ball. Max was almost as excited to see me as I was him! Marvellous!

We made a pit-stop at the drive-thru at McDonald’s on the way home — I hadn’t eaten since breakfast (my lunch money went instead for that little Mexican customs paper!). And then I was home! On the counter was some coffee, bread, cheese, sandwich meat, and cookies, courtesy of Alex. And several neatly stacked piles of mail and flyers.

So that’s it for another online trip journal! It’s usually fun to do this, but I’m also happy to be able to NOT do this for a while. So, unless the snow and cold last longer than I can, I’ll leave you to read something more interesting for a while. And maybe I’ll see you on the golf course real soon. Here’s hoping!