New Orleans Leaving the Green Frog shortly before 5 AM on a Sunday in the pitch dark of San Pedro Sula, Honduras for the airport held some surprises. Google Maps was sending me directly through Centro on a different route than I had taken repeatedly over recent days. Crossing the central park next to the Cathedral, I finally got it. The streets were empty now, so I could sail through the city void of crazy driving, bumper to bumper traffic for a change. Maybe there was an advantage in leaving a foreign country on a Sunday?
Not so fast, mi pajeros! There’s this Covid thing still and every country, including the US, and their new airline police have different procedures, none of which make it easy to travel anywhere at any time.
I knew the traffic was terrible in Centro San Pedro Sula, because on the Saturday before leaving, I had to find a lab that could give me a rapid antigen test, now required within 24-hours of departure for the States. Leaving on a 730 AM flight, that meant finding a lab open in the city on a Saturday morning. The only one easily available was right in downtown. The test takes 30-seconds, but they had given me a 10AM appointment which meant 15 minutes there and 30 coming back to the Frog. That’s not all. Rapid in the US or UK means the results come in 15 minutes, maybe with a QR code, and away you go. Rapid in Honduras means come back in two hours, and, no, you can’t get the results via email and print them, the country requires them to be printed in the lab’s own stationery, which they called “special paper.” It took more than an hour round trip to pick up the results and navigate the traffic. Had the ACORN Honduras board meeting really been Saturday, as originally scheduled, rather than Friday, there’s no way I could have had the test at 7AM and been able to get back for the results on a Saturday since the lab closes at 130PM. See what I mean?
I had gotten repeated advice from a close relative to never fly on the weekends. Maybe so, but not so fast on this either. To go to Canada, requires a PCR test within 72-hours before flying, as I’m going to do heading for Montreal at dawn on a Wednesday. There’s no location that I could find on a Sunday open within the 72-hour period that offers a PCR test. The National Guard will give me one, but they don’t guarantee even at 8AM on a Monday morning that I will get the test before Wednesday when I leave, even if it’s likely.
When are the best days for flying, we all might ask? Thursdays to Canada and Tuesdays to Fridays to the USA? Who knows about elsewhere? Flying to Honduras, I had a PCR test just to be on the safe side, but NO test was required, only that you show your original vaccination card proving you had the shots. Only problem there turned out to be that we write the dates differently in the US, than most of the rest of the world does, so there’s drama in sorting that out for sure.
The answer may just not be to fly, but landing in New Orleans on Sunday, the airport was bumping as folks start rolling into the city for the holidays, so it’s grin and bear it and hope for the best. No days are good, but getting where you want to go is still worth the climb.