The Murphy’s Law of Travel

My alarm goes off at 4 o’clock, and really having slept since 7 the night before, I am completely awake.

Outside, we can hear the rain still pounding down. Dammit, I think, this is going to suck.

I guess we didn’t need all those lempiras after all, I say to Cynthia as we pack up our things. Last night, she had taken out an extra 1000 lempiras for each of us for dinner and drinks… and we had been too lazy to do either.

We go out to find the entire front walkway covered in half a foot of muddy rain water. We can do nothing but lift our suitcases to shoulder level and walk through the puddles in our flip flops.

Did you pay last night, I ask her.

Yea, she says. I paid when we got in and I gave them our passports.

Shit, I say. Then I paid twice. Let’s see if we can get our money back.

The front gate is locked, a standard night practice, and Cynthia begins to yell “Hello!” into the air.

Use the chain, I say, and bang it against the door.

There is a chain on the lock that doubles into a door bell. The Dutchman had showed me.

Cyn bangs on the gate shouting, Helllo, hellllllo, into the air, until the young boy appears.

The taxi, I say.

Ah yes, he explains in Spanish, and to the best of my comprehension, he says, sorry, we couldn’t order a taxi.

What do you mean, you couldn’t order a taxi? I say. We need to get to the airport.

He boy unlocks the gate and says he will flag one down. Meanwhile, his young wife has come up to the reception desk and we try in vain to explain that we have paid twice. She has a confused look on her face and I cannot figure out for the life of me how to explain this in Spanish. At this point, I don’t even care. It’s a bloody $12 and the longer I stand at the reception desk, the longer I get pelted with rain.

As luck would have it, a group of people traveling from Guatemala are leaving at the same time, trying to load their things into a jeep that they’ve pulled into the grounds for the night. And even more luckily still, one of the guys turns out to be a professor of language.

Within minutes of their help, we have the issue resolved, and the young girl gives me back my 250 lempiras, which then goes directly into the taxi service to the airport. Well, at least we got a taxi, I think.

We arrive relatively on schedule, at 5 a.m., an hour before our flight is to take off. But when we check into the Taca counter, they have bad news.

Sorry, my friend says. Flight has been cancelled for the weather.

Dammit! Are you serious?!!? We decided to fly because our Taca agent had told us buses were going to be unreliable.

We glance at the time: 5:30. We’ve missed the Hedman Alas bus anyway.

We go outside to find a taxi to San Pedro Sula, the only solution now, our Taca agent tells us. Seeing an opportunity, we are approached by a cabbie.

Where do you need to go? He asks.

San Pedro Sula.

San Pedro Sula, okay, $150 US.

No way, I said. That’s ridiculous. $100

No, no, I can’t do it for $100. $150.

You’re insane, I say

Fine, call your friend, the cabbie says curtly, and turns away.

We’ve got about an hour to kill and I don’t want the cabbie to smell the desperation on me. I take my time, go inside for a latte and mocha, and when I come back, Cynthia’s found a cabbie to take us for $135. Not a great deal, but not a bad one.

It takes us two and a half hours to make it to San Pedro Sula, and unlike the Taca agent’s description, the roads are fairly smooth, fast and clear.

We should have stuck the original plan of taking the Hedman Alas, I say to Cynthia, and we pay our driver $135, tipping him $10. Why do we even bother trying to bargain.

San Pedro’s airport is much larger by Central American standards. We check in, past a large tourist group waiting for Central America Airways, and settle in at Wendy’s for some breakfast. When we find out they’re serving lunch, we roll with a jr. Hamburger and Spicy Chicken Sandwich instead. It is only 8 a.m.

By 9:00, we head up past security to the waiting area, where I am disappointed that there are no duty free shops. We spend the rest of our lempiras on food and cigarettes. It’s not a worthy amount to even exchange, I say to Cynthia. We look for more postcards for Vera but cannot find anything interesting.

trying to find a gift for Vera
trying to find a gift for Vera

We settle into playing Mario on Cynthia’s DS.

DS excites me
DS excites me

The time starts to pass, and we realize that something is not right. We’re waiting.. And waiting.. And waiting.

As luck or fate might have it, we run into the Weathersby family again.. Now on their way back to the states to Atlanta.

You won’t believe this, Reid says to us. They had some sort of error. They’re routing us through Roatan.

Man, that island is like the black hole. It doesn’t want you to leave! I think.

We all wait until 12:30, when the woman who had been at the Maya Airways ticket counter comes upstairs. The flight will be landing here in 15 minutes, she says.

Oh good, we think, gathering our things a bit. But an hour and a half later, there is still no flight and no agent. I am scared we have missed it and begin asking around to the others who have been sitting in the waiting area for seemingly forever to see if they’re on the same flight.

It is 1:30 when the woman and a different man come back walking to different groups of people clustered in 2s or 3s. They shake their heads solemnly and when they are done speaking, I see the people’s faces fall.

Shit, I say to Cynthia. Stay here. I guarantee you this flight just got cancelled.

And approaching the agent, I know. It has been cancelled for the weather.

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