Our trip to Spain on Tuesday was all going to plan. The new four-lane Pan-American Highway is making our journeys into Managua much quicker and more comfortable. Plus the fact that our flight time was perfect for missing all the morning traffic. So, it was with some smugness that we arrived early at the airport, only to be devastated by the news, from an accommodating check-in clerk, that Tim did not have permission to enter the USA! His ESTA had expired.
This is not the first time we have encountered this problem – it happened to me once, and we were able to go online and just buy a new one. The clerk was less than confident we could do it this time, rules had changed!
We found ourselves a quiet corner, and while Tim filled out the paperwork for immigration, I went online and bought his new ESTA. Payment was duly accepted by the US government and then came the blow. Permission to travel would not be given the same day as an application was made, and it could take up to 72 hours to process!
By this time we were getting to know the desk clerks by name, Jose and Marcos. We couldn’t travel stand-by the next day since we were changing flight companies in Miami. And obviously changing tickets would be costly, so better to cut the cost and send me to Spain alone and Tim follow when he had his ESTA. Jose and Marcos could see the look of horror on my face, so suggested that we kept going back to them every 15 minutes to see if Tim’s travel status had changed.
Well, change it did, just before the final cut-off time when I would have to pass through immigration alone and leave Tim standing at the barrier. I can’t describe the relief I felt.
I think the nervous tension I went through, plus one of those little bottles of red wine on the plane, caused me to sleep the best ever on a flight. Only waking up as breakfast was being served as we were coming into Madrid.
We arrived at our cottage in the mountains at midday, both of us feeling energised and ready to get going again. I lit the wood oven and put in a chicken casserole and jacket potatoes. Meanwhile, Tim started up the little tractor we had bought earlier in the year, and got to work. Having the extra help will make life alot easier. Already she has proved useful in lending her battery to the car whose own battery was as flat as a pancake. Another un-planned for event overcome!