When we landed in Cancun we were in for another adventure.
We were both greeted by wheelchair escorts and we were so glad that we did because the Baggage Claim was approximately a mile from our plane and Rich would not have been able to walk it for sure.
We got our three heavy bags at Baggage Claim, along with our two carry-ons (a computer and my guitar), my purse, filled to capacity and Binky in his cat carrier. One escort pushed me and the other pushed Rich and dragged the luggage cart behind him!! I’m sure it probably looked like we were moving away forever and bringing everything we owned!! We then got through Customs and Immigration without a hitch.
Then it got crazy!! The man who pushed me spoke some English and we explained that we had two dogs and a cat also coming into Customs and we needed to find where they were. The man spoke in Spanish to someone who told him where to go. First, we went out of the Airport, down the street, around the corner, and up a little hill to an outside building which I assumed was where the pets came in. Since all the conversations were in Spanish, we had no idea what was going on. We sat there for about 20 minutes and then the escorts took us back down the street, down the hill and back into the main airport. We went to visit someone who I assumed was the head of Animal Customs. The escorts explained our predicament and he could not tell us where the pets were. We supplied him with all the paperwork that we had on the pets and he had me open up Binky’s carrier, took a quick look at him and sent us to another office. We then went on a long ride to the United Airlines office where there was a man who did speak some English. He was in touch with someone on the radio and told us that the pets did land with us and then told the escorts to take us to another place. Guess where we went? Out of the Airport, down the street, around the corner, and up a little hill to the place where we had been earlier!!
Now, I know it sounds really ridiculous, but just consider this…..the whole time we were on this crazy airport adventure, I was being pushed in the wheelchair and the poor guy that was pushing Rich was also dragging probably at least 120 lbs. of luggage too!! I felt so sorry for those guys, they really earned their money that day!!
I was not sure why we were going back to the building outside again. Every office that we had been to, we explained to them that we were told by United that we had to have a Mexican Customs Broker for the pets and that we had contracted with Red Aduanera. This time we were told that someone from Red Aduanera would be coming to get us at the airport. We were then taken down the street, around the corner and down a little hill back into the main airport again! We were placed in a quiet corner of the airport and we waited and waited and waited. We lost one of our escorts as he had to go to do something else, but the other stayed close by. Finally, we ended up going out of the Cancun Airport, down the street, around the corner, and up a little hill to the place where we had been twice before!! Supposedly there was a mix-up and Red Aduanera thought that we were coming to their office while we were thinking that they were picking us up. Eventually, a man from Red Aduanera came by to get us. We could hardly fit all our luggage into his car, but we got it all in there somehow!! Before we left, we gave our wheelchair escorts a huge tip for all that they had been through with us. Without them, we would still probably be in the Cancun Airport looking for our pets!! We tipped them very nicely (later figuring out that we had paid them about two months Mexican salary), but again they were priceless and we were blessed to have them.
Red Aduanera was only about 10 minutes from the Airport. We got there and were told that they did have Bailey, Elphie, and Cappy in custody. We asked if we could get them and they said they were unsure if we would be able to get them that day, which was a Friday or if they would need to spend the weekend in Customs. Ugh!! So again, we had been screwed by United Airlines and would now need to find a hotel in Cancun in the case that the pets might not be released for a few days. I found a B & B which was called the Jungle House (Casa La Selva). It was reasonably priced and we could have the pets, so we took it. While we were at Red Aduanera we told them we had to get a rental car and would walk up the street to a place we saw along the way to get one while we waited to hear if our pets would be released or not.
The car rental place was a little bit up the street and we asked if we could rent one of their cars and return it in Merida. They advised that they did not have returns in Merida. We asked if they could call us a cab so we could travel back to the airport to get a rental car there. The man was so nice and he said he was going to the airport in a few minutes and if we could wait, we could go with him. Wow!! By this time in our really crazy day, we were so thankful that he would offer to help us this way. Even though we had gone through so much, we just kept meeting person after person who really went above and beyond to help us and we were very humbled by it. No “bad hombres” in this bunch either!!
We eventually got our rental car and went back to Red Aduanera to wait. We again were told that they were not sure if our pets would be released on Friday or Monday, so we sat and waited. I think we must have waited at least four or five hours and by 5pm I was ready to go and just pick them up on Monday. We had been up since 4:30am and had been through a heck of a day and I was just about done. That’s when Paulina came and told us the pets were released!! Yay!! She asked where we were staying and she called the owner of the Jungle House to get directions but had difficulty understanding them. Since the pets carriers would not fit in our rental car, Red Aduanera offered to take the pets in their carriers to our B & B (with the driver of the truck getting directions from the owner in real time) and we followed behind. Once we got to the B & B, we finally got to see our furbabies and we were all so happy to be reunited again after 26 hours!! We also promised them that we would never put them through that again!!