Monday, April 4, 2011

New Mexico, Day 5: Delayed Flight, Going Home Blues

The last day of a vacation is bittersweet. You try to enjoy it to the end, but it’s not fun packing up, going to the airport, and thinking about resuming your everyday life.

On our last morning in New Mexico, we took a hike on one of the peaceful trails outside of our hotel. It was a beautiful sunny morning, just like we had every day. We paused at the banks of the Rio Grande to take in the Sandia Mountains for the last time. The thought of leaving gorgeous New Mexico behind and going back to our cloudy, cold home was not a happy one.

We wanted to have one more New Mexican meal so we made our way over to a restaurant most politely described as an authentic place that the locals love. When we saw that the waiter we had a couple nights earlier from another restaurant came in here to eat, we knew that the food had to be good.

My wife and I had Huevos Rancheros, which my wife had never had it before. It was something she had to have before we left, and we picked a good spot to try it. It was spicy and full of flavor. Kai had a rolled taco, another first for us.

After breakfast, we went to the airport, returned our rental car, and went to check in. We to got to the terminal more than 90 minutes before our scheduled flight time only to discover that our flight was delayed by two hours. Uh, oh, this will be bad.

A boy who hates waiting, a delayed flight: A recipe for disaster.

I got out Kai’s favorite storybook of the moment and read it as slowly as I could while also drawing out my most silly persona. Kai laughed and laughed and was in a good mood. But, when I finished, only 20 minutes had elapsed. Still many more to go.

And then, we heard that the wait would be even longer. The plane that was supposed to take us home was broken. They would have to get another one. It would be a four-hour delay.

It was time to turn to newer technology. I turned on my laptop and accessed the internet through the free wifi the airport offered. Through the miracle of YouTube, I found a way to keep my son entertained. Of all things, Kai wanted to see pictures of pool balls, because of the numbers, of course. And that led to finding YouTube videos of pool trick shots.

Kai was engrossed. But, for how long?

I was thankful that I had upgraded to a new laptop just before our trip. My old, outdated one would never have had the battery life to last for the duration of our wait.

From the pool shot videos, we somehow transitioned over to videos of Wii games that people recorded. Who puts this stuff on YouTube? Who watches it? And yet, with Kai enjoying every one of them, I was thankful that they were there.

The boy who had constantly whined about the time it took to drive to Taos just a few days earlier did not complain one bit about the four-hour delay at the airport.

Eventually, we made it onto the plane and flew home. We arrived at our house well after Kai’s usual bedtime, but he still was full of energy. He wanted to play the Wii games we had watched on YouTube. My wife and I, on the other hand, were exhausted and couldn’t wait to go to bed.

Now we are home. The cold and grey weather is like a slap in our faces after all the sunshine we had in New Mexico. Post-vacation blues is setting in.

I open up my digital photo album and take a look at the pictures of our trip. In my most optimistic moments, I couldn’t have dreamed that we would see so many interesting places and that it would all go so well overall. We had a truly wonderful time. And, with that, my mood brightens.

Tomorrow: Final thoughts

To read about our trip from the beginning, go to the first post.

Photos of our trip can be found on our Facebook page.

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