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Navigating Rough Waters

I just returned from a trip to San Jose, California to visit my mom. She is fighter and her recovery after a broken hip, shock to her weak heart and pneumonia s pretty amazing as she closes in on age 95. Well part of the expat adventure is learning what not to do, and the path I chose to get to San Jose was a rough one. We have been finding that departing from Mexico City and going through customs at Houston Hobby, before flying to a final destination in the U.S. has been smooth sailing. But do to the late timing of this trip, my normal fare on SouthWest Airlines was doubled. I should have just bitten the bullet, but looked for a cheaper way.

Volaris, a Mexican version of SouthWest, has served us well, when departing from Mexico City, onward to San Diego or San Francisco. those options were not available, leaving what I thought would work: Volaris from Mexico Citty via Guadalajara to San Jose. Mexican Residents must obtain a stamp from Mexican Immigration authorities on exit and return to Mexico. This is easy when flying directly to the U.S. because the immigration desk is right after security screening. Unfortunately this immigration function is performed outside the security perimeter, near passenger check-in at the airlines at the outermost part of the terminal. I did not find-out this information in a timely fashion and was about to be denied boarding my flight.

The good news that goes along with a funky system is that two Airline and Airport workers saved my bacon. The supervisor at the boarding gate convinced me to take a wild wheelchair ride, weaving through crowds to the Immigration office that would have taken me way to long to find, myself. She asked those in line. in front of me, to step aside so I could make my flight, which they were happy to do. We then bypassed the line at security and made it back to the gate just in time for final call. I tipped my wheel-chair pusher and the airline supervisor, generously by Mexican standards, and made my flight. So, I was happy to see how helpful folks, in a position to make a difference could be.

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