Do you know the way from San Jose? This morning I boarded a Mexicana flight from San Jose, California, to Oaxaca, via Guadalajara and then Mexico City. The great thing about the Guadalajara airport is the FREE wireless Internet connection, so I’m content sitting in the restaurant with the glass walls, finishing off some very tasty Flautas con Pollo topped with crema, queso fresco, and sipping a limonada. This is sort of a roundabout way to get to Oaxaca from the west coast, but it was the least expensive routing I could find. Everything I’ve read about travel in the wake of high fuel costs is true–jam packed planes, not an extra seat in sight. Mexicana airlines still offers in-flight hot meals, special meals ordered in advanced (I had a delicious fresh fruit plate that was piled high with the sweetest pineapple, strawberries, and honeydew melon I had tasted in a long time), and I noticed the abundant leg room. Imagine the window seat passenger being able to climb over me (one the aisle) without stepping on my feet or landing in my lap. There is still generosity in the skies.
The young woman (thirty-something) next to me was traveling with her son (nine or ten). He slept. She read a book. I was enthralled by her fingernails, definitely acrylic, that were painted a pale pearlized white, topped with a line of rhinestones in multicolors. They twinkled as she turned the pages. I had never seen this before. I am living a sheltered life in North Carolina. I thought to myself, this woman does not wash dishes, she does not do weaving, someone is taking good care of her. Her sunglasses had a huge rhinestone-studded “C” at the side of the frame. She sparkled in her ears, around her neck and wrists, too. Across the aisle was her sister, with nails even more spectacular — rows of rhinestones in multicolors of black, gold and lavender dotted those acrylic nails, and she, too, donned sunglasses sparkling with faux gems.
It was definitely a cultural awakening for me. Another world of glamour that I do not normally encounter in my part of the world.
Travel tip: To get to Oaxaca from San Jose, California, one must fly either to L.A. first, then to Mexico City, then to Oaxaca, or from San Jose to Guadalajara to Mexico City to Oaxaca. The daylong journey for me began at 6:30 a.m. in Santa Cruz and ended at 11:30 p.m. in Teotitlan del Valle.