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Archive for March 7, 2014

Friday 7 March 2014 – LAX to Tecozautla

An adventurous arrival.

My flight arrived about 15 minutes early. Customs & immigration were a doddle. Went to the luggage collection carousel and my bag was amongst the first to come off. I turned around and found a row of car rental kiosks. Mexico City Airport has two terminals, with the run ways in between. I arrived at T1 and Ian and Cliff, direct from London, at T2. We had information that suggested that Hertz car rental had kiosks at both terminals that would take customers to the central car pick up point. The information was wrong! After dragging my bags (no courtesy trolleys) to the kiosk, I was greeted by a rep who brought out a motorised 6 seater ‘golf trolley’ to take me to ‘central’ – but still at Terminal 1. I looked for an arrival board, but could not see any T2, i.e. the London flight arrival information – they were due to arrive 30 minutes after me.

At the ‘Central Hertz kiosk at T1’ there was some confusion, as the prepaid car had already been checked out – by Mr Thompson & Mr Woolnough! OK, I’ll wait then.

I expected them to find me at Terminal 1. That was indeed their attention, but they made A GRAND TOUR OF Mexico City instead, similar to getting lost in the traffic! Meanwhile I was dragging my luggage around the various exit / pick up doors, returning to my friends at Hertz for updates. Finally the news that my English friends had returned from their involuntary sightseeing trip. Fwew! They had been parked in the T2 carpark and were told not to move. My friends at Hertz#1 had organised a junior colleague to take me to #2. He was an excellent racing driver, but spoke no English and once at T2 asked me in Spanish where I wanted to go. ‘The Car Park’, I said, unaware that there were two, one up (Departures), and one down (Arrivals). I opted for up. There I was dumped. I asked a policeman where I could find the Hertz desk. I followed a few left then right instructions, then asked again, eventually arriving at the desk where they were expecting me. Another new Hertz friends brought out his golfing trolley and would take me to Cliff & Ian. The Hertz friend also had to make a small delivery at the same time – four very large white boxes, looking like a delivery of cocaine. Eventually I met up with Cliff & Ian, whose flight, due 30 minutes after mine, had arrived 90 minutes ahead of schedule. They felt very chuffed at having completed all the admin and to greet me with the car ready to leave. When we did meet, we had lost some 3 hours!

This brought us in the middle of rush-hour, although the rush hour concept seems to extend to 24/7.

With great foresight, I had packed my SatNav at the top of my rucksack, so we were quickly off. Our car, reg starting TXS, so christened Texas, had its own SatNav system built in. Hertz had wanted to charge for this, but Ian pointed out that we did not want one as we had brought our own. As they could not remove or disable it, it was thrown in as a freeby. It was actually branded as ‘Hertz Never Lost’ ……. which soon proved to be a misnomer. Although, to be fair, unless all SatNavs in a car have identical settings (fastest time / shortest distance / include or exclude toll roads or U-turns etc.) they are likely to come up with similar routes, but are not guaranteed to do so. Add ‘navigator’s common sense’ to the mix, unaware of roadblocks 100 km farther along etc and things become interesting. Fingers crossed that tempers do not get frayed.

Considering the size of Mexico City and the volume of traffic, it was a miracle how fast we got out of town. The experience was similar to getting out of downtown Santiago or downtown Buenos Aires, Lima, Peru, or me as a foreigner driving around LA.

We made a couple of leg stretch stops and were immediately impressed with the number of ticks we could add to our ‘first time seen in habitat’ list. Our hotel, in Tecozautla does have wifi, but the signal is not strong enough from our room, so we are downstairs on the lawn in front of the breakfast kitchen, with a steady supply of beers.

S3038 – El Jague to Calpulalpan, Hidalgo: Agave salmiana, Opuntia sp., Tillandsia recurvata

S3039 – Along the San Juan del Rio to Huichapan stretch of the MEX45: Coryphantha sp, Cylindropuntia sp, Echinocereus enneacanthus, Ferocactus latispinus, Lichen, Mammillaria sp, Myrtillocactus geometricans, Opuntia sp. Stenocactus obvallatus, Thelocactus leucacanthus, Tillandsia recurvata.

Just a word about names in field lists: As you can see, they are the best effort by the originator (here me) to get it right, so unless I’m sure, I prefer to put ‘sp.’ rather than to cause more confusion than is already around. Where we visit somebody else’s location, with named plants, we’re likely to use their names unless we are 100% sure that the name was not found here. Later I may come back and correct a name, but in reality that is unlikely once a list has been put out – there’s simply no time until the next trip and talks in between. Perhaps in years to come once my travelling days are over. Never believe a field list blindly, no matter who has produced it. It is not unusual for different lists to visit the same location and mention different names for the same plant found. I have images for all names suggested – too many to publish all, but ask if you want to query a particular name.