My Mexican Vacation

Longtime readers know that I am prone to vacation blunders, mishaps and occasional disasters. A recent trip to Mexico was no exception.

My wife and I sat in the seats next to the exit on the flight from Boise to Phoenix. Before we took off, a flight attendant woke me from dozing (we’d gotten up at 3:30 a.m.) by blurting out a mostly unintelligible – to us, at least – pronouncement. He finished by looking expectantly at me and saying I needed to answer him in the affirmative. I did.

Neither of us has the hearing of a teenager. After he left, we  looked at each other and confessed that neither of us had understood a word of what he’d said. Across the aisle, our daughter dissolved in laughter.

“What’s so funny?” we asked.

“You don’t know?”

“No. Why are you laughing?”

“When you said yes? He was asking you if you were capable of deploying the emergency exit.”

As we were boarding the plane in Phoenix, she started laughing again.

“Whats funny now?” I asked her.

“I’ll tell you when we get to our seats,” she said, tears streaming down her face.

That took a while, as our seats were near the back of a large, completely full airplane. She  continued to laugh as we bumped and jostled our way back. When we were seated and she’d finally stopped laughing, she told me that I’d been bashing passengers in the head with my shoulder bag for the whole length of the plane.

It used to be that my wife and I were the ones who handled the details, logistics, etc., when we traveled with our kids. Now we’re just along for our entertainment value.

To her credit, the daughter who was accompanying us has acquired a fair amount of tourist Spanish, meaning that it works some of the time.  The first place we went after clearing customs was to stock up on groceries. When she asked a clerk at the store a question, he responded in rapid-fire Spanish, giving her an excuse to try a phrase she’d seen on road signs and had been itching to use:  “Reducidar de velocidad.”

Reduce your speed. Or, “slow down,” right?

The clerk looked at her as if she had three heads. Later, we learned that it doesn’t mean reduce your speed, or, as she intended it, “speak slower.”

It means “speed bump.

The next day, after emerging from the pool and returning to what I thought was our table, I asked what had happened to all the towels we’d brought. No response, so I asked again. I was about to compliment our daughter on her new swimsuit when I realized I was at the wrong table. The woman I was talking to wasn’t my daughter all. She was a complete stranger, who looked as if she was about to call security.

This, however, were minor mishaps. No ATMS ate our debit cards this trip, and I didn’t screw up our plane reservations coming home,  lose my wallet and all my money in the ocean or otherwise court disaster.

More than a few readers have told me that my vacations make theirs look good.

Next year,  we’re thinking about going someplace more exotic. You’re going to love it.

4 thoughts on “My Mexican Vacation

  1. Tim,
    Your story reminds me of a vacation my wife and I took to Italy several years ago. We had driven up to view the Matterhorn on a windy road. Neither one of spoke any language except English so my father-in-law bought us a battery-powered translator about the size of a small calculator. On the way down the windy road we got pulled over by two cars of local police with machine guns and they came to our open window and stuck the machine gun in the side of my head yelling something over and over. I asked my wife to get the translator out of her purse which was at her feet on the floor. Well, that got the police really excited because they must have thought she was going for a weapon. After a short time of screaming in their native tongue they disgustedly waved us on. Later, someone told us that they routinely stop tourists to check for drugs but never did search our rental car. I suppose we will never know for sure what they were doing but we were sure glad they didn’t shoot us!
    Steve Alters


    1. But seeing the Matterhorn made it worth it, right? What a mountain!

      I had a similar experience in Mexico. Our guide for the day took us on a back road controlled by the Sinaloa cartel. Not recommended.


  2. Remember the time you mistakenly got into the wrong car outside of a convenience store in South Carolina? I can still hear that woman’s shriek.


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