I am finally getting to use my passport, as we embark on our journey to Rosarito, Mexico. This vacation has been seven months in the making, and that’s not a stress-free seven months.
It all started when our dear friend Bernie decided to move to Rosarito. I have never been out of the country before, and decided to use this chance to finally make that leap. Bernie was excited to hear we wanted to visit, so we started making preparations.
First we talked about the trip with various friends. As different people would tell me about the dangers of drug cartels all around Mexico, I started to get nervous about the whole idea. Still I proceeded with the process of obtaining a passport. The employee that processed my passport application wasn’t any help, when he started telling me how dangerous Mexico was, and how he’d hate to give me a passport and see me on the news. Thanks a lot man.
Our original plan was to visit for our anniversary in May. As I heard the various scary stories about Mexico, I started to worry. When I determined May wasn’t going to work, I was happy to postpone til July, mostly out of fear. In the meantime, I discussed my fear and anxiety with my therapist. She gave me little assignments to move toward taking this trip.
When I finally received my passport, I was so excited that my fear began to diminish. The final assigment my therapist gave me…securing plane tickets before my next monthly visit with her. That very day I got an email from Expedia with a sale. Skeptical about their sales, I decided to check it out. I was thrilled when I discovered the prices were just right, and so I purchased our tickets. Preparations were under way, with two months until our trip. With plane tickets purchased, there was no backing out now.
Fast forward to July. With the July 4th holiday, I was preoccupied and didn’t think too much about our trip, but once the holiday was over, it was all I could think about. Our flight was scheduled for the 14th. I planned to take off the 13th to get everything in order, including getting pesos for the trip. Curious about pesos, I started reading on the internet about how and where to get them. I’m glad I did. It turned out that getting them from my bank was the best way, but they had to be ordered. Good to know in advance! So I ordered our pesos.
By July 11th, I started asking myself why I was at work. I decided to work part of the week since we didn’t fly out until the 14th. It was a wasted couple days at work. All I could think about was our impending trip. On July 12th, I made the mistake of reading some horrific news stories online about Mexico. Fear started creeping back in. I couldn’t sleep that night.
On the 13th, my first vacation day (at home), my friend called me at 5:00 am to take us to the airport. She was a day early. It was so funny, all I could laugh. I spent the day making final preparations. That night I couldn’t sleep. By the time my alarm went off at 4:30 am, I had gotten a total of three hours of sleep…and not all at once. But my adrenaline had me going.
We got to the airport and boarded our first flight, a SMALL plane. I don’t like flying, and the size of this plane made it worse. I was relieved when we finally landed in Chicago to change planes. Of course, the joy of making it that far ended when I realized (yes, for the first time) that we had a three hour layover. Uuuggghhh. I also discovered my smart phone was not only dying, but it doesn’t like switching between normal mode and airplane mode. I was frustrated trying to call and text updates to my family and friends.
After we killed our three hours, we had the thrill of having our flight delayed another half hour for “a maintenance issue in first class”. The issue…someone could trip on the carpet. We waited 30 minutes for some guy to duct tape a plastic strip to the floor. Seriously? It was a relief when we were finally in the air. Again, I didn’t pay very much attention to our tickets when I bought them, because I had no idea this second flight took four hours, and it was crowded. Fun! I was so very happy when we finally landed in San Diego.
When we got off the plane, my cell phone was dead. Chris’s phone was dying, and acting up. We did manage to get a message from Bernie that he was running late and had left his cell phone at home. We had no way to get in contact with our friend. So we hung out in the airport McDonalds, exhausted and hungry, we had to settle for over-priced fast food for dinner. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long, when we heard our names paged overhead. Bernie had made it.
Things picked up as we rode the bus through San Diego, then hopped on a trolley to take us to the border. Walking through the border was easy, like walking out of an amusement park exit. The Mexican authorities didn’t care that we entered their country. I was bummed that no one stamped my new passport. Then we took an interesting taxi ride to Bernie’s condo. As my husband said, it felt like being a contestant on the amazing race. 16 hours after our journey began, we finally made it to our destination. So far it seems friendly and quiet here.
Bernie’s condo sits right on the pacific ocean. It’s very beautiful, and surprisingly cold. We left 100 degrees and it is only 66 degrees here. I packed for summer. I’m going to freeze, but hey, if this was the worst we would experience, then so be it.