Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Things have to look up - don't they?

Well, I'm reporting from sunny Florida and just keeping my fingers crossed that my vacation will go better than the last few days.

After our beautiful dog passed away we had to make plans to go to LaCeiba to renew our residency cards. We decided to go on a Monday thus giving us part of the day Tuesday to take care of any other unfinished business.

We arrived in LaCeiba and rushed over to the Immigration office in order to "get the ball rolling." Fate was to decide otherwise. It seems that the government of Honduras, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the holiday that was to have been celebrated on April 14th would be changed to April 20th. I don't know who was notified but a lot of "gringo's" were at the Immigration office on Monday hoping to renew their cards or extend their visas. All of us were met with a locked office. Prior to leaving for LaCeiba, I checked with the Honduras Living Yahoo Group to find out the new address and operation times. I received the address and was informed that they were open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closing for lunch of course).

I thought that was odd that a government office would be open so early so on Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. I tried calling their office. Of course no one answered and the phone went to the FAX machine. My husband I decided to go to Dunkin' Donuts and have breakfast and then head on over after a stop at Sosa's office to check on the time of my departing flight that day to San Pedro Sula.

We were informed that the flight was to depart at 2:30 p.m. and I was to be at the airport at 1:30 p.m. This would work out well as my husband had to have minor surgery at 11:30 a.m. and if we could get the residency card application out of the way, he could make it to the doctor and then go on to the airport.

Of course, nothing ever seems to work smoothly here and, naturally, when we arrived at the Immigration office (8:45 a.m.), the doors were still locked. I took the time to call the DIP shipping office to inform them that the package they were holding for us to pick up on Monday should be sent by boat to the island as their office, too, was closed on Monday! With that taken care of, we waited for the staff to show up at Immigration.

9:10 a.m. and they opened the doors. 9:15 a.m. the residency clerk showed up, promptly left and returned at 9:25 a.m. We waited our turn and finally at 10:15 a.m. filled out her forms. I then left my husband in the office and ran to the bank to pay the fees required. Got back to Immigration at 11:15 a.m. and asked the girl if we could possibly return in June for the photos as my husband was scheduled for surgery and we had to leave. Evidently she had already taken his photo but it was too dark and said she wanted to retake it so could we please wait a few minutes more? We waited and at 11:30 a.m. my husband had his picture taken and ran out to catch a cab. I remained behind to finish with my procedure. At 11:55 a.m. I took a cab to the hotel, checked out and went to Medi Centro to see how my husband was progressing.

When I arrived, the doctor was just getting ready to remove a lump on his shoulder. Having done this and arranging to contact him the next week for the results, we got a cab at 1:15 p.m. and went along to the airport.

Unfortunately when we arrived at 1:40 p.m. I went to check in at the Sosa counter and was informed that my flight had left at 1:30 p.m. Unbelievable! How could the girl in the downtown Sosa office have made such a mistake? The girl at the counter at the airport said that they have two flights to San Pedro; 7:00 am. and 1:30 p.m. and it had been that way for a while! They suggested I go to the Taca counter as they had a flight leaving. I was lucky and there was seating available so I bought a ticket. Now I am stuck with a LaCeiba - San Pedro Sula ticket to use. I have been down this road before and when you eventually go to use the ticket, you run into all kinds of problems. But, nothing can be done until that time.

Anyway, we went to pay our departure tax and, as always, I presented our residency cards with the boarding pass for a discount on the departure tax. The woman didn't seem to know how to run the scanner and the process took an inordinate amount of time. She finally handed back my husband's pass and card and then proceeded to process mine. Finally she finished and gave me my card and boarding pass.

We waited in the lounge and my flight was the first to depart; my husband was to leave for Guanaja at 3:30 p.m. The flight to San Pedro went well and I took a taxi to my hotel. Upon signing in they request that you put your passport number on the sign-in form. I usually put my Residency number there so I pulled out my card and there he was - my husband - his face smiling back at me from the card. The woman had mixed up the cards and given me his and him mine! I rolled my eyes, sighed and simply asked the girl to make note of a 4:00 a.m. wake up call and to have a taxi at the hotel to take me to the airport at 4:30 a.m. Now, when he goes to buy a ticket to meet me in San Pedro on June 1st, he will be unable to get a discount because he won't have his card!

The next morning I awoke at 4:05 a.m. and wondered why I had not received my call. I called the front desk and he advised me that he had not been informed of a wake up call for my room! I asked him to please call me a taxi to leave at 4:30 a.m.

The taxi took me to the airport, I checked in and waited for my flight. We departed on time and arrived in Miami on time but I now faced a 3 hour wait for my flight to Tampa.

The plane finally boarded and everyone was settled and we waited. And, we waited, and we waited. Thirty minutes later we were advised that there might be trouble with the cowling on one of the engines and they had sent for a mechanic. Thirty minutes after that, a man in the back stood up and announced he was a Christian and we should all believe and should not take God's name in vain and then he ran out of steam and sat down. Fifteen minutes after that the crew decided that we all needed some water and brought it around to the passengers. Five minutes went by, they announced all was well and we would leave when the "Christian" stood up again saying we should recognize Jesus as our Saviour and muttered something else.

About this time I had almost decided that with the way everything had been going, maybe this was a sign that I should get off the plane! But, I knew the crew would not meet my exit cheerfully so I stuck it out! We took off, the "Christian" remained silent and we arrived in Tampa 1 hour 15 minutes late.

With all that had gone on I just hoped my luggage had made it. Hooray! It was there as well as was my daughter, patiently waiting for me in the terminal. What a beautiful sight she was, plus once we got to her car she presented me with a bouquet of flowers!

Things just might get better!


  1. And how pray tell did you get through US immigration without your passport?

  2. Either I wasn't clear or you didn't understand. I was talking about my Residency Card not my passport which never gets out of my control! The Residency card has to be renewed here every year and with it I get discounts on certain services. If I didn't have one, I would have to leave the country every 90 days for 3 days!