Honeymoon from Hell

following is Marta's account of the honeymoon
she and Ned took at Club Med in
Huatulco, Mexico...

HONEYMOON TO HELL AND BACK

It's been a year and eight months since Ned and I went on our honeymoon, and this is the first time I've had the strength to think about it since then. It all began well enough...we had a wonderful wedding, despite my being incredibly sick (partly due to nerves), and our first night in San Francisco was all I could have wanted. But the next day came upon us all too soon, and the nightmare began....

Ned and I got up early the day after the wedding in order to get back to Oakland soon enough to leave for San Rafael again so that we could open some presents and spend some more time with my family. Whew. Well, it didn't turn out to be opening a few presents and then visiting with the family. It was a gift-opening marathon that left us very little time to enjoy the gifts and exhausted us in the process. To add insult to injury, I wasn't able to eat anything because my stomach had started to act up again. I then made the mistake of standing out in the hot sun and helping to load up all the gifts into the cars, which made me feel even worse.

As Ned and I left to go back to Oakland, supposedly to pack up for our trip in time for our 2AM flight, he told me he had one more surprise for me. Turns out the surprise was two tickets to a Harry Connick, Jr. concert. Definitely something I would have enjoyed if I hadn't been so sick and so tired. It got dark very quickly and I got very cold because I was only wearing sandals and a sundress. Harry was great, but it just went on too long for me. I then felt rotten because I wanted to leave early and thought that Ned was pretty pissed off about the whole thing because his surprise turned out to be not such a great thing.

We got home and both collapsed on the bed. We still hadn't packed and our plane to Mexico was supposed to leave around 2 a.m. I tried several times to get up and start packing, but I felt very nauseous and was shaking so badly I could barely stand. At some point Ned got up and I admitted I didn't think I was going to be able to travel. So he spent the next couple of hours on the phone trying to find out if we could go the next day. I was crying (again) and Ned was extremely upset. He had been having a miserable time at work for the last few weeks--hell, for the last few years--and had been "hanging in there" only because he knew we were going to be able to get away for a week after the wedding.

Well, he totally lost it--he was ranting and raving about how it was all his fault, he never should have taken me to the concert, he's a terrible husband because he's supposed to be taking care of me and he just made me more sick. It was a very bad situation, made worse by the fact that I had absolutely no ability to comfort him because I was in such bad shape myself. I was frustrated because on the one hand I hated seeing him like that and I couldn't do much about it. On the other hand I was upset with him because what I really needed was for him to get it together and take care of everything.

The next day I tried to rest so I would be well enough to travel. We had to wait all day to find out whether or not we could get on another flight. Our travel agent finally called and said that we could get another flight, but that we would have to get there around 6 p.m. in order to assure seats for the 2 a.m. flight.

We arrived at the airport around 5:45PM only to find that the ticket counter didn't open until 8:00PM. So we sat and waited. They open the counter (around 8:30) and Ned was at the front of the line. He told the woman that our travel agent booked us another reservation for that night's flight and we just needed to confirm everything. She spent a little time on the computer and than told us that we weren't booked on anything according to what they had in their computer. So she spent the next two hours (I am not exaggerating--2 hours) on the phone trying to get us taken care of, often with a phone on each ear. I was pretty much lying on the floor next the counter with our baggage the entire time.

10:30 p.m.--we were all set so we shuffled off to find something to eat. We rented a little cart so that we didn't have to carry all our junk for the next three hours, and eventually Ned was pushing the cart with me in it as well. I couldn't eat anything so I slept on a couch with a limb flung over each bag so as to avoid any thieving of our goods. Around 1 a.m. Ned pushed me and our junk to the gate and I laid down on the ledge in front of the window until it was time to board. Finally, finally we were on the plane and had our seatbelts fastened and our carry-ons securely stored beneath our seats. Ned and I looked at each other with relief and reassured one another that now, now things were going to be okay. So naive.

Ned and I had to switch flights in Mexico City before we continued to our final destination in Oaxaca. But before we did that, the plane had to make a a brief stop for documentation of everyone's arrival. When we landed, we were all herded into a broken-down terminal and two people went through everyone's passports, visas, etc, etc. Then we got back on the plane. This took about an hour and a half. This was the beginning of something Ned and I had to go through over and over again. There seemed to be this huge pretense of being very official and thorough and business-like everywhere we went in Mexico, when it was in actuality fodder for some kind of pitiful situation-comedy. For example, when we arrived in Mexico City to catch our flight to Oaxaca, we had to go through customs. Here's how customs is done in Mexico:

Everyone crowded around a long counter. At the end of the counter was what looked like a huge stoplight with only two lights and a red button about the size of an outstretched hand. The first person stepped up to the light and pushed the button. The top light--a green light--flashed on with an accompanying bell. He was waved on through. The same thing happened with the second and third person. Ned's turn: he stepped up, pushed the button, and the other light--a red light--came on with a loud buzzer. So Ned had to have his bags checked. A completely arbitrary selection process that would have pissed us off if it hadn't been so laughable in an I-can't-believe-this-is-happening kind of way.

While planning the trip, we had been told that all we had to do was find a taxi once in Oaxaca and, for about twenty dollars or so, it would take us to the resort where we were staying. So we went to the taxi counter and said we needed a taxi to Huatulco. The lady looked at us and said, "Are you sure?" (first sign of serious trouble) "Because that's about 400 miles away." This is not good; in fact, it is very, very bad. We had been given tickets to the wrong freaking airport. We spent the next hour trying to find out what the hell had happened and trying to book another flight to Huatulco. We managed to get one (thank god for American Express) but it wasn't scheduled to leave for another six hours. This airport was about the size of a large McDonalds with about four chairs. So we went outside and laid under a tree for the six hours, reading and trying to sleep.

It was finally time for our flight. We walked out to the runway to one of the smallest planes I've every been on. Once on, we were offered soda and nuts. I drank the soda without ice, for fear of getting sicker than I already was, and tried to eat the peanuts because I was starving (I hadn't been feeling well enough to eat before now). Unfortunately the peanuts were very scary-looking (a bright red sort of seasoning) and neither Ned or I were brave enough to try them. Then one of the flight attendants came down the aisle to offer us candy. These were little hard candies, individually wrapped, that had been thrown on a orange plastic tray. I had one--it was at least five years old. The flight attendant was exceedingly courteous, but the whole situation was uncomfortably comical because of the combination of her obvious check-me-out-I-have-a-glamorous-job attitude combined with the meager surroundings.

When we landed, we went off in search of a taxi. What they really had were mini-vans. Ned and I were last in line and, since they had managed to fit everyone else into one van, we were the only two people left. As a result, none of the taxi drivers wanted to take only two people (not as big a tip, you see). So we got pointed to one van, only to be directed to another. This happened about four times and I was about ready to scream when one of them finally gave in. He must have known I was about to rip some hair out, and it wouldn't have been mine.

 

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