Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Day 1

I’ve gotten some constructive feedback from supportive friends, gently letting me know that my first blog post was waaaay too long. So I will make my postings shorter by breaking up my musings into multiple entries. I’m already backlogged with write-ups of two recent trips: a visit to Sedona, Arizona in October, and last week’s vacation in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Since I am still floating on warm memories of Mexico, I will share that one first, dividing it into what I hope are more manageable bites. Sedona will just have to wait.

Thursday Dec. 8, 2011

When the alarm buzzed at 5 AM, I found myself thinking, “I can’t believe I agreed to another early morning flight. I hate getting up when it’s still dark!” It’s kind of like childbirth. You forget how unpleasant it is until you’re in the midst of it once again. But off we went at the crack of dawn, arriving at the airport comfortably early for an 8:20 AM flight. I became concerned, however, when I noticed there was still no plane at the gate by the 7:45 boarding time. I asked the gate agent if it had been delayed coming in from another airport and was told that the plane had arrived the previous night but, “they are trying to locate it.” That did not inspire confidence. How do you misplace a large jet plane? It finally turned up and we took off…an hour and a half late. We initially thought the 3 hour layover in Mexico City for our connection to Zihuatanejo was going to be excessive, but in this case we were fortunate to have the extra time. Even so, there was a huge line at immigration when we arrived in Mexico City. Between that and having to clear customs with our luggage, recheck the bags, head over to a different terminal and then go through security again, our connection ended up being pretty tight.

Note to self, when flying internationally and making connections, try to arrange it so that one clears customs at the final destination, when time is not of the essence. In fact, that was how it was supposed to play out. Our original itinerary had us changing planes in Houston for a flight to Zihuatanejo where we would have gone through immigration and customs. But that flight was canceled a few weeks before departure and they routed us through Mexico City instead. I will definitely keep this in mind the next time we arrange any international flights, and will request different rerouting should this happen again. Do I have the right to ask the airline to reroute us differently when they make a change of this sort? I’m guessing for a price, they’ll put me on any flight I wish. Ugh!

Despite the tight timing in Mexico City, we (and our luggage) made our connection, arriving in Zihuatanejo on schedule. My first impression when disembarking onto the tarmac at the Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo airport was that it reminded me of south Florida (heat, humidity, palm trees) except with mountains. So already we’ve got two of my favorites in one place…beach and mountains. I did find it a bit disconcerting to see 2 soldiers in uniform with big guns and a big dog on the tarmac watching us as we deplaned. I suppose I should have taken comfort in being protected by Los Federales, but the fact that they needed to be there still made me uncomfortable. The airport was so small that we were able to watch from inside the baggage claim area as the luggage was loaded onto the belt on the other side of the window. Now I know what the dogs were there for. They were sniffing all the baggage being loaded onto the belt, looking for drugs. A fellow passenger suggested that the dogs might be looking for explosives too. I think they need to sniff for that BEFORE the luggage is loaded on to the plane, not after the plane has landed! Perhaps this is going on behind the scenes in the bigger airports I usually travel in and out of, but is never within view of the public.

As soon as we exited the baggage claim area, taxi drivers swarmed around us, offering their services. This was just a taste of the week to come: vendors and service providers clamoring for our attention at every possible opportunity. Welcome to Mexico! We were grateful to see the representative from Club Intrawest waiting for us as arranged, who rescued us and placed us in a taxi headed to the resort.

It had been a long and tiring journey from New Jersey to Zihuatanejo, but as soon as we arrived at Club Intrawest, all the fatigue and aggravation melted away. We were warmly greeted at reception, and each of us was handed a bottle of chilled water and a cool, refreshing washcloth dampened with tangerine scented water. What a delightful touch! After starting our day before dawn, we arrived in Zihua just in time to enjoy a relaxing sunset dinner on the terrace of Restaurant Zi on the premises of the resort. All is forgiven. I think I might even agree to an early morning flight on our next trip if this is the reward!

Just arrived in our room. Welcome to our balcony!


Sunset from the terrace of Restaurant Zi.

~ by unspecificfocus on December 20, 2011.

One Response to “Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Day 1”

  1. Sounded like a tiring first day, but looked like it was all well worth it.

    Looking forward to reading about the rest of the week.


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