We planned a quick weekend escape to San Miguel de Allende to celebrate our 10th anniversary. After the Isla Holbox debacle (see prior post), San Miguel would seem to be the perfect opposite – mountains, Spanish colonial architecture, great art, reliable recommendations from people we know, and relatively little danger of monsoon-force winds and rain.
On Monday evening, Allen called our hotel to confirm our reservation. Based on our last trip, it seemed only prudent to do so. Allen chose this hotel because he’d stayed there when The Allen Oldies Band played a friend’s wedding. We made reservations at least a month ago. I cannot recommend this hotel, not only because we never actually reached it, but because their concept of a reservation did not include actually holding a room for us.
No worries -with just one phone call on Tuesday, the delightful folks at Casa Luna hooked us up with a great room, confirming by email. After reading multiple positive reviews, I was eagerly anticipating meeting Fabio, the cock-a-poo, and trying the chocolate chip cornbread.
We packed light, and arrived at Intergalactic with plenty of time to get through all of the lines. You cannot print your boarding pass at home for international flights, so we had to use the kiosk in the terminal. Even though I had entered all of our passport information online the night before, we were still required to scan our passports.
Up popped the screen alerting us that we’d need a Continental Airlines employee to assist us.
He took one look at Allen’s passport and said no way. Mutilated passports are not allowed.
Now, you might be saying to yourself hey, I can read that, and it basically looks like Allen. Plus, it’s not mutilated, it’s just clean. That’s what Allen said, after all, when challenged by the first Continental employee.
He said a few other things, too. I started scanning the room for men with guns and headsets.
We waited for the ruling from the manager on duty. He concurred with the initial ruling, emphatically and without hesitation. He confirmed that he worked for Continental, but assured Allen, who was at this point demanding to speak to someone from actual airport security or (inexplicably to me) the Mexican government, that he spoke on behalf of both governments. I’m not sure that’s true, but he wasn’t backing down.
Allen wanted to take his chances with airport security. I told him, calmly but firmly, that if we flew to Mexico and were denied entry into the country, I’d deny knowing him. And I would have, too, and he knows that, so he decided not to push it.
Helpful to a fault, the gaggle of employees now surrounding us suggested that we simply go downtown to the passport office. Clearly, this was a ruse to get us out of the airport without resorting to plastic handcuffs.
As our flight was overbooked, we were actually doing them a favor by being one passport down. We’ll get to use our tickets as long as we re-book a flight somewhere within a year from the date of purchase (8/22), and we won’t pay a re-booking penalty. Allen intends to fight for a full refund. We’ll see.
No dice at the totally empty passport office, where Allen did not have to wait in line but still got a really hard time for not having an appointment. They gave him some forms to fill out, but as he had only a mutilated passport and not a birth certificate, they wouldn’t expedite anything.
I’m just not the type to get angry. I will get much more enjoyment, frankly, out of telling this story for years to come than I possibly could have gotten from a weekend in a town full of art I couldn’t afford.
We were at the airport for less than an hour, time spent on the parking shuttle included. We had a lovely day in Houston, starting with lunch featuring Belgian frites and beer. We visited the Byzantine Fresco Chapel at the The Menil Collection, a place I’d gone on our wedding day with one of the priests who performed our wedding service. We went to Cactus to see the latest installation of Day of the Dead Rockstars by the fantabulous Carols Hernandez. We ducked into Rockin’ Robin so Allen could noodle on a blue Danelectro Longhorn bass. At our final stop, I bought a necklace – braided silver, just like the one Brandy wore while she served all of those lonely sailors whiskey and wine.
As far as I am concerned, we had a phenomenal 10th anniversary.
We have decided that we will never go to Mexico again. Allen would like our next vacation to take place within the continental U.S., although he does plan to apply for a new passport just as soon as he locates his birth certificate.
Check the dryer vent for the birth certificate.