Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Wishes - Ho Ho Hola!

This Holiday Season finds me in a more traditional Christmas setting than my home in Loreto – I am visiting family back in Canada with all the trimmings; snow, cold weather, shopping malls aglow with decorations and shoulder to shoulder with shoppers carrying armloads of presents for the “Big Day”.

I left Loreto Bay at 7:30 in the morning, on an untypical overcast day and drove the 5 ½ hours south through La Paz to San Jose del Cabo by way of the east coast Mexico #1 highway, arriving at the International Airport at 1:00 pm.  The parking lot at Terminal 2 is being redesigned, apparently to better accommodate the numbers of busses and tourist vans that all but block the access road at the entrance to the building.  But after circling the lot I found that during this construction the temporary entrance is now through the exit gate, and I was eventually able to park where I had planned.

The check-in for my direct flight back to Calgary went smoothly, including the now routine trip back outside the Terminal and around the building to an inconspicuous rear door where my passport was checked and I was able to re-enter the building into the secure customs area where my FM2 visa was checked and my exit document stamped by an Immigration Officer.  This procedure is not required for the majority of departing passengers who entered on a FMM or Tourist visa, but since I have a resident visa and my trip originated in Mexico, I have become familiar with this somewhat round-about process.

With my documents now stamped I returned to the check-in podium and exchanged half of the form for my boarding pass, the other half I will hold until I arrive on the return trip.  Then I made my way upstairs, through security and into the food and shopping court that surrounds the departure lounge.  After a quick lunch my flight boarded about a half hour late and finally we were off by about 3:30 in the afternoon.

Not surprisingly, considering the windy weather we have been experiencing in the Baja recently, we had a considerable tail wind for the first half of the flight, and made up the half hour delay by the time we arrived at the Calgary Airport about 7:30 that evening – twelve hours after I left Loreto Bay.  A quick pass through Immigration and Customs, and with my bag one of the first off the carousel, I was outside waiting for my ride by 8:00 pm.  In minus 15 degree Celsius, or about 5 degrees Fahrenheit weather with a stiff wind – Welcome Back to Canada!     

Weather aside, it is a fitting time of year to spend time with family and friends and share the traditions of the season, and it helps to do so in the knowledge that I will be back in the gentle climate of my Baja home in a couple of weeks.

Since this is called “Living Loreto” I will not resume my postings until the New Year when I plan to relate my return trip, which will include travelling the last leg from the San Jose Airport back to Loreto by a small regional air service that recently began service from the International Airport.

So as my last posting before the New Year I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, and all my readers, for your continued and growing support, as evidenced by the number of hits I receive on this site.  I confess to having become somewhat obsessed by tracking these numbers from week to week (you too can follow the total number of visitors on the counter that appears at the very bottom of the screen when you page down through the recent posts). 

I am humbled that these hits have increased by about 50% in the past year and now average 100 per day, with over 65,000 visits since I started writing this Blog a little over three years ago.  You, the Readers, have given me this opportunity to record and share with others the experiences and people that have made this such a memorable time for me.  And so, at this time of the year for reflection and giving thanks – let me thank you for your interest and support - and I look forward to continuing to share with you “Living Loreto”!

Season’s Greetings and my Best Wishes for the New Year!