Yep, this is going to be a long story…
I am supposed to be sitting on the beach in Cancun right now, but instead, I’m back at my computer in Virginia Beach. All is not lost though, I’m booked to fly back into Mexico tomorrow. But anyway, here’s the story:
I won a trip for a guest and myself to vacation in Cancun for a week. My guest, an old girlfriend who is a permanent US resident from Bolivia (been here longer than there), was traveling on a Bolivian passport. Before even putting her name on the list we checked to see what was needed for a Bolivian to enter Mexico, and the response we got was “nothing other than a US citizen – just the passport.” I was told that by US Airways, and so was the travel agency the trip was booked through. No worries – let’s roll! The night before leaving she realized her Green Card was sitting on her desk back at her house in Washington DC. We knew she’d need that to get back into the States, so we got one of her roommates to FedEx it down to the hotel in Cancun. We stuck to the itinerary and left Norfolk, VA for Philadelphia, PA (layover). Once in Philly we were asked to show our passports 3 times (they’re a mess there) and we also had to show it in Norfolk – every time asking the US Airways staff if the Bolivian Passport was okay. Also while in Philly, we wanted to make absolutely sure, one last time, that she would be okay to enter Mexico, so we went to US Airways Special Services and were told again “she only needs her passport.” Feeling pretty confident, we got on the plane for Cancun.
After waiting through the Mexican immigration lines that make traffic on 95, in DC, look fast we ended up with Senor Napolean Complex; who just so happened to be the supervising officer on duty. It was like he had been waiting all day for someone he could be a prick to and found us to be those someones. He detained us in a back office and decided to berate us about how America sends Mexicans home all the time and that seemed to be the basis for his reasoning. His subordinates were begging him to let us enter, but he was dead-set in his decision. I offered to pay any fees and even have us detained to the hotel until something could be figured out. He would not allow us to make any calls and refused to call the US Embassy or Consulate stating “you American’s do this to us all the time.” In the end he said a Green Card from the United States would grant her access to Mexico.
So, to make matters even crazier, Senor Napolean Complex made a plane, that was getting ready to take off, taxi back to a gate and escorted us onto the plane. Needless to say, we were not welcomed too well on the plane until people heard the story.
When we arrived in Charlotte, NC we were put in holding so US Customs could verify identification. They were super friendly, and even waived all fees in sympathy to the situation (there was supposed to be a $500+ fine for not having a Green Card). They also said a Green Card was not needed to enter Mexico, after they checked entry-necessities for foreign countries in the worldwide travel database. US Customs said Senor Napolean Complex had a “stick up his ass” and was out of line.
Due to the lateness of the whole ordeal, we were put in a hotel over night and on a flight back to Norfolk at 9:30 AM the next morning. US Airways was seriously apologetic, but couldn’t offer any financial recourse because customer service is closed on the weekends. Our travel agency has already filed a complaint and I’m about to launch my pitt bull side at them first thing Monday morning. US Airways was also fined $10,000 for allowing us to leave the United States without “proper documentation.”
As for now, we’re working on arrangements to get the Green Card from FedEx (already under a “stop shipment”) and another flight back to Cancun tomorrow. We’re hitting the road up to DC in a little while….where we will also be flying back to Cancun from.
Needless to say, we’re on a Mission from God.
Hopefully my next posting will be from Cancun…