Early Saturday morning and the taxi was beeping its horn outside my house to take me to the airport and the start of my Mexico trip. I’ve never been to Mexico before and it wasn’t at the top of my list of places to visit however I have always thought it would be interesting to see some of the Aztec pyramids and archaeological sites. When I saw a news story on the BBC website earlier in the year about an organisation named Trek Study (trekstudy.com), which required people to visit either India, Mexico or Guatemala as part of a drug trial, I decided to apply. To be honest I initially thought it was a scam of some kind rather than anything legitimate and I wasn’t alone – performing a search on the internet will reveal a number of people wondering the same thing – and I wasn’t really expecting to hear anything more back. So you can imagine my surprise when, a few weeks later, I received a phone call out of the blue inviting me to take part.
When I arrived at Glasgow airport I checked in and went through to the departure lounge. At the time there wasn’t any indication that there was a problem with the flight except that it was delayed by an hour but I had a five hour stop over at New York (Newark) so an hours delay in Glasgow wasn’t going to be the end of the world! Shortly after 9 am we were permitted to board the Boeing 757 and then we waited… and waited… and waited. After two hours the Captain advised us that the plane wasn’t going anywhere for a while due to the volcanic ash cloud that has been threatening European airspace for the past few weeks. We were therefore allowed to disembark from the plane and stretch our legs in the departure lounge area. Sometime around 2pm we were requested to board the plane again and finally around 3 pm we were heaven bound. Of course as well as the total delay of six hours, the flight to New York was now scheduled to take approx eight and a half hours instead of the average seven hours. Without the use of a time machine I subsequently missed my connecting flight from Newark to Mexico, the last flight to Mexico of the day as it happens! At Newark I waited in line for another ninety minutes until I could reschedule my connection to Mexico and spent the night over at a Holiday Inn at Edison, New Jersey.
Within the hotel is Harold’s New Yorker Deli – apparently one of the premier restaurants in New Jersey! Its a big restaurant with big portions. It was pretty full when I visited – probably because it was a Saturday evening. Now I have to point out here that I’m not a slim chap… I’m not grossly overweight either but I must have looked positively anorexic compared to everyone else in the room and that’s including the kids. As for the food, well Harold’s has apparently won a number of awards… as well as having the world’s largest pickle bar… so it is going to come as no surprise that the enormous bacon cheese burger I ordered was delicious!
Early Sunday morning I was up and ready to catch the hotel bus at 5 am that would return me to the airport and the four and a half hour flight to Mexico City.