Two days in airports and aeroplanes - The eleventh step ... Mexico City to Cancun via Guatemala & Belize - CycleBlaze

August 28, 2021 to August 29, 2021

Two days in airports and aeroplanes

Saturday 28th September 2021

Sixteen months ago I had no idea that it would take this long to once again be able to see out bicycles checked in and be waiting to board a flight to another country.  Our flights are from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg, then Frankfurt and finally Mexico City  and I am grateful for every boring second we will spend in airports over the next two days.  

Because international travel is so fluid during the pandemic, I didn't start my journal until the bicycles had passed through check-in and we had gone through security and passport control at OR Tambo International.  I am finally starting to believe this trip will actually happen.

We are mostly going to be heading southwards from Mexico City (after a short detour north-eastwards to the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon) through Oaxaca and down to Guatemala.  Then we will most likely head through Belize to the Yucatan and fly back to South Africa from CanCun on New Year's Eve.

Mexico, Guatemala and Belize hold a treasure trove of ancient history for us to enjoy and our route will try and take in as many of the pre-Hispanic sites and the more recent historical points of interest as possible.  The region has a magnificent bird list so along the way we also hope to get some birding done.  We have been boning up on our Spanish using DuoLingo so hopefully we won't be at a complete communication loss.

Getting a Mexican visa was one of the most pleasant interactions we have ever had with consular staff.
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Sunday 29th September 2021

Ten hours from Johannesburg to Frankfurt.  Last time we were here was on our honeymoon back 1998.  On that occasion we were on our way to Portugal but took sometime off to enjoy the city of Frankfurt itself.  This time we were stuck with an eight hour layover at the airport.  We both managed to sleep quite well on the 'plane.  Cattle class is less physically restrictive for smaller people like us and the 'plane wasn't completely full.  There's nothing exciting about Frankfurt airport so we passed the day on our mobile phones, the only bit of pleasure was finding some onigiri at one of the food shops in the terminal - something to remind us of our Japanese cycle tours.

Half eaten onigiri
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Frankfurt Airport
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The leg to Mexico City was even longer than that from Jo'burg to Frankfurt.  I managed to get even more sleep so all in all I have probably had the equivalent of a good night's sleep.

It took ages to pass through passport control and likewise at baggage collection.  We had a little scare when our bicycle boxes didn't arrive but while I was standing in the queue at the lost baggage counter they suddenly appeared in the baggage area.  Whew !

First impressions are that Mexicans are super friendly and so willing to help.

We're checked into a hotel right next to the airport, the Camino Real, for the next two nights.  Not our usual choice of accommodation but we knew we would be knackered when we got here.  Too tired for supper so just a celebratory beer, a hot shower and then bed.

The bicycle boxes and a couple of beers in our room at the Camino Real.
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