The agent on the phone said we had two choices: try again in 24 hours, or get ourselves to San Francisco, 125 miles away, requiring a cab ride that was more costly than the airfare itself.
At SFO the taxi driver said we could pay with a credit card – a great relief until I discovered that after taking out my wallet to phone the airline I had left it on the desk at home. No credit card; moreover, no driver's license.
We used Amy's card to pay the driver, but I felt some trepidation taking a flight to Mexico with a passport but no driver's license. I feared the Avis folks in Cabo San Lucas might have a problem with that.
My office in California emailed a fuzzy black-and-white photo of an old Xerox of my license that expired 10 years ago. Would that suffice? Si. But the clerk said he wasn't sure Mexican cops would agree.
By the way, did you know that Cabo has a speedy new highway from the airport to the beach area? And did you know that this road is so poorly marked that you can easily overshoot your destination by 25 kilometers?
I considered asking a cop for directions. Then, remembering what the Avis guy said, decided to inquire at a small food store where my lack of Spanish was equaled by the clerk's lack of English.
I finally lurched our rental car into the hotel parking lot in time for dinner, which included a bowl of oddly crunchy guacamole. It turns out that Mexicans like their guac with chopped grasshoppers.
Speaking of strange dining experiences, let me say this about our meal the following night at a Japanese restaurant called Nick San. We were presented with a tray of small white puff balls which Amy said, as she reached to eat one, were tofu.
Then the waiter poured boiling water on the little balls and they grew in size. If you are served these puffs on your vacation be advised they are hand towels.
Also, if you're not familiar with the peso, you'll want to know that it is written with a dollar sign very much like ours. A dinner tab of, say, $1,750 is probably pesos, and you'll feel foolish scolding the waiter before dividing by about 18 to get dollars.
During our weeklong stay I managed to miss our hotel's driveway after each of our trips off the property, requiring two-mile detours up the highway to safely turn around.
We suggested to the hotel staff that perhaps a sign would help. The explanation: Government permission is required for such signs and while the hotel people have applied, they have yet to win approval from The Department of the More You Pay the Sooner You'll Get Your Sign.
Returning to the Cabo airport for our trip home, Amy pulled out her immigration form and reminded me that I'd need mine. Mine, obtained on arrival, was nowhere to be found.
This took me to the airport's Department of Guess What We Charge for Replacement Forms. Answer: $30 (not pesos, dollars).
The flight home was mercifully uneventful, allowing me to reflect on what I learned.
(a) You can lose a room key three times in one week and most hotels will just keep giving you a new one. (b) Mid-flight home, the missing immigration form turned up between pages of a book in my bag. (c) Anyone who takes a summer vacation in June will probably need another before Labor Day. (d) As it turned out, I really didn't notice the TSA lines.
(c) Peter Funt. Distributed by Cagle syndicate.