The next day we checked in easily, boarded the plane, prepared for take-off, and I started reading the flight magazine containing lots of advertisements
. Engines revved (or whatever they do nowadays), plane started up runway, there was the usual sudden acceleration and the pressure forced me backwards in the seat as the plane shot forward. Then I spotted an ad for a self operating back massager. Fascinated, I read on. It is a strange contraption like numerous elaborate curved hangers which fits over the shoulders with handles at the front. I was trying to judge the viability of the massager when I noticed we were moving slowly. I said to Jim, “funny, I could have sworn we had taken off” and he grunted “mmm” (he was struggling with a sudoku). The captain then announced, in a slightly tense voice, “Sorry folks, we had to abort the take-off as a warning light came on. We will now be towed back to the gate. But don't worry there are 2 other planes available so it will only take a few minutes to transfer the luggage and we will be off again”
He lied! After returning to the departure lounge, there was an announcement that the flight was cancelled and all passengers would be reassigned. A telephone number was given out which we had to call. I did and a helpful lady said we had already been given seats out of LAX on the midnight flight (this was 10.30am) to JFK and then on to Cancun. My brain furiously tried to process this – I had always thought JFK airport was in New York
. Yes, she assured me, it is. Hmmm. Didn't we just fly past there yesterday? So we flew half way back to England and then 4 hours south to Cancun. We were only one day late.
However, despite not being able to offer any more rational route I have to say they did everything else to help. They provided lunch and dinner vouchers and when I asked if there was somewhere quiet to rest for 13 hours, the Customer Services operative arranged for us to check in to the Holiday Inn. And the more miraculous outcome was that we never saw the luggage after checking it in at LAX, until we found it waiting for us in Cancun. That was a real surprise.
So here we are in Mexico, recovering from 5 days of airports/planes and looking forward to visiting the ruins of Tulum tomorrow. In the short time we have been here it seems people are very friendly, it's wonderfully hot and the food is fantastic.
Monday 1st November dawned and off to Heathrow. All went very smoothly, the transfer from hotel at Gatwick to Heathrow by National Express, the Air New Zealand flight which arrived an hour early in Los Angeles, and shuttle to the Custom Hotel a short distance from the airport. This (“boutique”) hotel claims to be a trendy, ultra modern design which probably explains the family of 3 sheep in reception. However, when I picked up the telephone to answer the early morning call I was TOTALLY deafened by the loudest cockerel imaginable crowing down the phone! Not a calming way to start the day. Despite the rude awakening we were beginning to think this travel lark was a picnic. It was as well we did not know what was coming next.