I was already packed and ready since Sunday. Mostly, I had a few plugs here and there to stash into my thinktank international, but I was pretty much ready to go. Eliza first contacted me in early September about hers and john’s wedding in Isla Mujeres. Me being the travel fiend that I am, instantly said yes. They got me at first contact. haha! They are in Iowa and we have not met yet, I kind of wished that they lived near NJ because after so many emails it only grew more apparent that they were a really fun couple!
After deciding to go into a photography business, I have felt much more comfortable in my own skin and more confident in myself. I am glad that I decided to change careers from a personality psychologist to photographer. It’s up for much debate, but I am starting to think that I wouldn’t have been happy. Photographing weddings and lifestyles has helped me ease out of my introversion and just live.
Anyway, when I got Eliza’s next email, after many other emails about the wedding, life, chatting it up, it hit me like a bus- I was being flown to a foreign location and being paid for it! Sweet!
I woke up at 5 in the morning to make some lunch for the flight since US Airways does not provide in-flight meals. As soon as I was finished I grabbed my passport, documents and said bye to my dog, Grace.
Everything packed and loaded into the car, drove off to Philadelphia International Airport for my 9:40 am flight with US Airways. My reading material for this flight was “Mediterranean Summer.” With my iPad and the book, I was pretty much able to remain occupied for the flight.
I was worried that I would have to be groped or nuked at security, but it was a breeze! 15 minute check in, how sweet was that? But the good news didn’t last very long…
We had to recheck in because of the change in the airline, which sounded a little shady. When I got to the counter, they checked my passport and thought that it was a fraud because it was a little mangled. What the fuck? I TRAVEL! A LOT! My passport isn’t freaking SPANKING NEW! IT HAS BEEN EVERYWHERE! I was pissed. They let me through anyway, but boy was I pissed. Are you telling me that the government issued US Passport from the FREAKING US EMBASSY OF PHILADELPHIA gave me a freaking FRAUDULENT PASSPORT THAT I HAD SINCE 2006?!
Not a good start. I thought I was having good karma with a easy breezy check in. But wait till you read what happens next.
If you fly with US Airways, read this part.
Don’t. Fly. With. Them.
When we finally boarded the plane, I found my aisle seat. But since the plane was fairly loaded and there was space I was moved two rows ahead to have more space. Great! I learned from my travels and from the Amazing Race, that the closer you are to the exit and aisle the faster you can get out. I think growing up I always wanted to sit by the window. But as I grew up, that seat favoritism moved to the aisle. I love flying, but being cramped and waiting while being taxied was a major pain.
For the next two hours we would be sitting on the tarmac. WHAT THE FUCK!? We would sporadically hear details about some kind of computer glitch, but that they were trying to get in contact with airbus to fix.
I am totally going to miss the down town shoot with Eliza and John. I was beginning to panic.
New Lesson: when doing a destination wedding give a day before any planned shoot.
The plane has been on the freaking land since 6:47 am and now they find out there is a computer error? At bloody 11 am?!
I emailed and emailed John and Eliza, hoping that they would read the email about the plane issue. At that point they let us off the airplane, leading us to think that they were getting mechanics to try to fix the problem. Later I would find out, it was because if they kept us on the plane for 4 hours or more without leaving they would have to pay us.
I called the resort to let them know that I would be coming really late. I left voice mails on John’s cellphone letting him know about the situation as well. Then they told us that we could reenter the plane as it was “fixed!” Hooray?
We were back on the plane and we did move, only to the plane corral where we would sit for another two hours. First it was weight ratio problems, and then back to the computer reading issue. So I and the rest of the passengers on flight 805 to cancun were screwed. I called John again and he picked up! I told him the situation and he told me that it was alright and that when I get there I will get there.
During that epically long wait, we only had two updates which were the same message. How nice.
Once again we were unloaded, only this time at gate 19. Everyone was miffed. Once they let us all out, I checked out an area for a plug outlet to charge my droid so I can make some calls. As I was I was surfing kayak’s droid app for any flight that would make it to Cancun today. None. All of them would land tomorrow which I couldn’t do. So it was suggested to me to I try to talk to a customer rep. After one of the reps here finished talking, which was a load of BS, I ran down to the customer rep to see if I can get onto any earliest flight. Well I wasn’t the only one, Rod and his girlfriend also tried but there was no rep. So we had to go back to our gate to wait to hear what we can do.
The person who was the rep told us that they found us another plane and that once they clean it and prep it, we will leave immediately! Hold the applause.
For the next hour and a half we had to wait for the two clerks, who volunteered, to print us new tickets. argh! I met Jeff and his wife, whom we shared jokes about the ipad and the debacle on the plane as we waited to get our new tickets. I called Eric and then home to tell them what has been going on. It was a very trying moment for me given that I will be missing both my down town and rehearsal dinner shoots. So it was damned if I do and damned if I don’t with this situation. The new deal was that there was a plane flying in from Athens, and as I mentioned earlier, they will do a quick turnaround the the attendants and pilots will be there for a quick departure.
On the way to my new gate, I gave John a call. To my surprise Eliza picked up and I told her what was going on and what should happen in the next hour if things do go as planned. We were both a pretty nervous!
You see at 5:00 pm, we now find out the flight is now delayed because the first mate wasn’t there.
What was this about everyone would be there and ready to go again? Can you repeat that for me? We were waiting another hour for this schmuck to show up. While we were waiting some of the passengers were playing musical chairs because after the flight change the seats were randomized and couples were no longer sitting next to each other. Jeff and Amy maneuvered finally to sit next to each other (behind me) and another wedding photographer moved to the seat next to me as her husband was two rows back. Pretty interesting. Of course, our neighbors thought we would have a lot to talk about, but we didn’t. I am not the greatest conversationalist and I rather just focus on writing or plotting what I was going to do. So when it was about time to get off the ground I would be in my own world. We traded business cards and I gave one to Jeff and Amy as well if they wanted to remain in touch.
Then. The pilot tells us the electricity cuts out when the engine gets ready to lift off. Nice. At least he was communicating!
After the delays, after the problems, after all the stress- we were finally in the air!
For our troubles we got a complimentary movie for the flight to cancun. Wah-freaking-hoo! And to make it worse, or better ha ha!, we were given Unstoppable to watch. A pretty boring movie.
In any case, for most of the flight I was working on the iPad jotting down notes to what I was going to blog for Eliza’s and John’s wedding and writing in the journal. I went through my portfolio to give myself some ideas on what I wanted to try and do better for their wedding. Melissa, the other photographer, finished reading rangefinder and started to take a peek at my work. It was nice to hear comments. But I don’t like people looking over my shoulders.
Just when I was about to finish my drafts…
WE LANDED IN CANCUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And as we were about to unload, we all got ready to bolt off the plane with one passenger being snarky asking why are we all standing up. Uhm… hello we have been in freaking PHL for 9 hours! Some of us are not here on vacation and have to get straight to our job site!
When I ran to customs I shot John a text and call letting him know that I finally made it to customs. Since our connection was pretty spotty and my battery was nearly dead, I shot him a text instead saying that I was at Customs and will text again once I get onto the ferry. Grabbed my gear and going through another set of customs, I found my shuttle ride (thanks, Eliza, for setting this up so that I would have a shuttle from the airport to the ferry) Please let me get to the ferry on time! Please let there be ferries late at night! I was scared that the ferries ended their runs at 9 pm which was roughly the time I landed on cancun. But luckily I was able to catch the 10:30 pm ferry to Isla Mujeres!
Pacing back and forth on the ferry, at night, it took a good twenty to thirty minutes to make it to the island.
I WAS FINALLY ON ISLA MUJERES!!!!! Already texting that I would be in green, I hopped off the ferry, gear in tow, to look for John and Eliza. I saw them and thought, hey that guy’s John? I thought John was taller…. I gave Eliza a warm hug and met her brother Erick. John was back at the bar with some of the other guests. Eliza and Erick gave me their beer for me to drink as we headed back to the pub. Thinking we ought to catch a taxi, none stopped for us. Even after flashing my legs, none of them stopped for us. So we hiked it back while laughing at my flight problems. Oh thank goodness they were a joking bunch. It would have been pretty rough if they weren’t.
When we got to the bar/pub, I met John. What a character. Eliza went off to order me some vegetable tacos and some drinks. Which turned out to be several pomegranate margaritas! I devoured and guzzled the food and drinks down without caring that I was dripping some of the margarita on my shirt. Having met Eliza’s other brother, Eliu, I was really thinking this is gonna be a good wedding.
I am sure they could have gone on longer with the drinks, but I needed a shower and bed. Actually that was the only thing that was running through my head. How much I needed to shower and that I want to hit the bed, as I have been up since 5 am EST time with hardly any sleep on the plane (while it was flying.. haha!)
Walking back to our hotel, we saw a fixed light in the night sky leading some of us to think that it was a UFO. Ehh.. I wanted to go to bed, so I tried not to pay any attention to it. Since the hotel knew that I was coming in really late, the guard had the key to my room. Grabbed my key I was brought to my room where I would shower and then…