Thursday, January 1, 2015

In Which We Go to Mexico With Mel and Pepi but Can't Tell Pepi, and Eugene Levy is our US Border Control Officer.

Some time ago my well-organized friend Mel and I discussed going to Mexico after Christmas. We’ve travelled together before and always have a great time so I was eager to get organized too.

Several months passed during which time Mel and Pepi calmly found flights, booked accommodation and generally encouraged us to do the same. I tried to be as efficient as Mel but could instead be found at all hours of the night, 28 different windows open on my computer, Kayak this, Trip Advisor that, 16 different email alerts flashing, scribbles of prices and times and deals on scraps of paper all falling off the table beside me. We finally had to admit defeat and told Mel and Pepi, sadly, that we couldn’t join them this year.

However, after spending an amount of time in which I could probably have sequenced the human genome instead, I did finally find flights that required a night in Seattle on either side of the trip. After a similar amount of time finding accommodation, we were set. On a whim, we decided not to tell Mel and Pepi, and planned to surprise them on the beach at Sayulita. Unfortunately we didn’t tell Jacob this and he inadvertently blurted it out to Mel. She was good for the secret though and deserves praise for not cracking under the pressure. More on this later!

It was finally time to  set out and we arrived at Victoria airport with time to spare. Now, I am not sure if this happens to everyone else but it seems that I cannot be in an airport or on public transport without having to provide some sort of assistance or first-aid. This trip proved no different with a little old lady falling flat on her face and twisting her knee right in front of me. Joyce hit the ground face-first and lay there completely still for such a while that I thought she was out cold. She soon came around though and we were able to get her up and talking. The only problem was that she was wearing a wig and it had gone a bit askew on account of the fall. She was more concerned about missing her flight but I was more concerned about her crooked wig. What to do? It didn’t help that one of her travelling companions was a woman who had the most outrageous puff-n-fluff bouffant head of hair ever- so much so that people in the airport were staring first at the Joyce on the ground, and then at her friend’s hair. I was tempted to call for the emergency stylist that I am sure the airport has at the ready but we were in danger of missing our own flight so I let it be. Reluctantly.

Isn’t it nice of the airport authority to provide a face-washing station in the terminal?


We spent a great night in Seattle at the Hotel Andra and had a really amazing dinner at Lola. But the real highlight of our time in Seattle was our Border Control officer. I usually dread my time at their little airport booth as they really can be so unpleasant. But not this time. This time we had Officer Parker Michelin. Seriously that was his name. And he looked like Eugene Levy.

Me: Damn our passports expire in March. Fuck, Here we go. They are going to make us stay here in the airport until then or something like that.

Officer Michelin: Well what happened?

Me: Our passports expire in March.

Michelin: Where’s your form?

Me: We don’t have a form as our passports expire so we didn’t get one but he has one (pointing at Kent)

Michelin: Hand it over. Hmmm. (peering at Kent’s kiosk-issued slip with a huge black X on it) I didn’t get the memo on this one.

Michelin (rifling through his drawers, pulling out a large tupperware container of dried nuts and fruit, and one of what looks like popcorn): You should see my house.

Me: uhh

Michelin (gets up and goes over to several other officers in their kiosks to get a date stamper after not finding his in the drawer): Anyone get the memo on this one with the big X?? No?

Me, to Jacob: Is that Funky Town playing on his iPhone speaker?

Jacob: Yep

Michelin (comes back and performs a series of elaborate flourishes with our passports and his stamper): I can give you until March 29. I guess I have done what I am supposed to do here. Enjoy your day and sorry for the delay.

Me (dumbfounded): Thanks we will.

We grabbed our passports and took ourselves off downstairs to go through customs where a second officer asked us for out ‘blue form’.

Me: We didn’t get it back from the officer upstairs.

Michelin (suddenly appearing from behind a large post): Just let ‘em in.

Customs officer (smiling and shaking his head): I need the blue form. Please step aside and wait over here.

Me: Should I go find it?I think it is upstairs with the other officer…

Michelin (suddenly appearing back on the mezzanine above our heads and leaning over the railing flapping the form): Impossible!

Me, to Zoe: He’s probably going to fold it into a paper airplane and send it down.

Michelin (folding the form into an airplane): I think you left it on the floor behind you…

Me (fumbling all around trying to catch the damn thing as it floats all over the place): Thanks!

Jacob: Did that just happen?

Kent: Was that Eugene Levy? Are we being filmed?

Me: I don’t know but lets get out of here before they change their minds.

The rest of our time in Seattle wasn’t nearly as hilarious, but it is a great city and I recommend Lola and the Hotel Andra if you are in town.

We left early the next morning, but not early enough. Apparently I can’t add and decided that getting up at 6:15am would leave us enough time to get to the airport for our 8:50am flight. I know I know. As it happened, we got to the gate just as we were supposed to board so it all worked out, even if we were all a bit out of breath.


Flying right over Mt. Hood made up for all the rushing though, as did this description:


Anyone for a cream cheese smear? And what is a bagel slender anyway?

Several hours later we arrived at out place in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, and it was all worth it:


And then I took this picture of the moon while laying on my back on the deck of our amazing top-floor condo.


This little Panasonic Lumix camera of mine is seriously amazing.

Alright. See you back here tomorrow for the story of how we surprised the hell out of Pepi on the beach at Sayulita.

Thanks for reading,



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