We have had a wonderful time in San Cristobal with our new best friends from MadreTierra. Julio and Helena are fabulous, and we love working with them to develop a new stove program. We have met twice with the San Cristobal Rotarians, and we feel there may be room for collaboration with them as well.
This morning, Gerry, Elly, Bob, Susie and I were up at 5am for a 5:30am shuttle to the airport before blockades, and enjoy breakfast before our flight.
We arrived at AeroMexico to check in, and found everyone other than Bob was assigned a seat. He had a confirmed ticket, but no assigned a seat. We knew there was a problem with his reservation, and had tried for days to contact AeroMexico by using the website and/or the toll-free number, but neither worked. Bob is 75, does not speak Spanish, and was connecting to United in Mexico City to return home to Pleasant Hill. It was important that he be assigned a seat.
As the airport breakfast area was closed on Sundays, we tried to grab coffee and snacks at a fast-food counter, but the minute the food arrived, our flight was called.
Upon arriving at the gate, there were more angry people who had also purchased tickets and had not been assigned seats. I gave up my seat to Bob, and Elly gave up her seat to a desperate woman who had a connecting flight to Colombia, and Elly and I remained behind assuming we could catch the next flight to Guatemala.
That is when the fun began in earnest!
We went back to AeroMexico, but the person in charge of authorizing a change in flights was unavailable. Then the man at the counter left for breakfast, and nobody else could touch our reservation. After three hours dealing with various gate agents, AeroMexico was willing to book us on a later flight to Mexico City (missing our connection to Guatemala), and give us vouchers for free round-trip tickets. At that point they suggested arranging to take our two free vouchers and change them for ONE free ticket to Guatemala. It took an hour or more, before they advised us we would have to pay $485.00 for the second ticket, and the only flight they could book us on would arrive in Guatemala City at midnight after a nine-hour layover in Mexico City!
Our original Interjet flight from Mexico City to Guatemala had been missed, so our only option was to wait to fly the following day and pay their $200 change fee.
In total exhaustion, and with very little choice, we decided to pay the change fee and call my favorite hotel in Mexico City where we knew we could rest made the most sense.
Victor will meet us at the airport and take us to the hotel, so now all we have to do is cancel our hotel in Guatemala for tonight and let them know not to meet us in Guatemala City today, but at 3pm tomorrow. We are NOW finally, at The Red Treehouse having been greeted at the airport and welcomed by the wonderful staff.
Wish us luck tomorrow :-)