Volcanoes are very theoretical for Americans with only a few exceptions. But I have only seen 2 in my lifetime prior to coming to Mexico last year. My children love to draw pictures of them, complete with furious lava flows and billowing smoke. But on a recent Thursday morning in Dallas, a volcano near Mexico City was mightily interfering with my plans.
The great volcano, Popocatepetl, has awakened recently and in the last few weeks has been belching smoke, gas, and most importantly ash, into the skies of Mexico. Wind carries the ash all the way to Mexico City where it is deposited in a thin blanket all around. Volcanic ash gets into plane engines. Engines could potentially find this disagreeable. We do not like machines that travel at 30,000 feet to feel unwell, and thus, flights to Mexico City were being cancelled uniformly.
From the relative safety of the Admiral’s Club at the DFW airport (thank you Lori), we found ourselves and our vacation at the mercy of an honest to goodness, exotic, act of God. And there we sat. From a rather opulent sun filled, alternate universe, decorated with Eames chairs and well stocked with snacks and drinks, we waited to see if “PoPo” would choose for us to travel to Cuernavaca. The three of us vowed that should we not be able to fly, we might not tell anyone and just spend our vacation in the Admiral’s Club. However, an agreeable ticket counter operator recognized our companion, Jan. This happens. Inspired, she worked feats of computer derring-do, securing with the help of one Ruben, who is apparently the Great Telephonic Equivalent of Oz, the last 3 tickets to Puebla, a giant city with a tiny airport to which American Eagle was still flying. It seems one can land at the foot of a belching volcano as long as the breeze is blowing in the right direction.