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feb 25th
Elwood's Travel Experiences Thus Far
So we're here at the Sunset Dorado Pacifico resort, and it's awesome and gorgeous and warm and full of alcohol-fueled fun.

However... It's taken me a while to relax after some pre-travel hell.

First there was the story I've told on the air about needing to get a Mexican Work Visa in order for us to broadcast. Of course the only place one can aquire a Mexican Work Visa is at a Mexican Consulate. And the nearest Mexican Consulate is in Chicago. And it's only open in the morning. It's something we've had to do every year that the International Incident was in Mexico, so I was prepared for it. I double checked all the paperwork from Fox World Travel, I got photos taken for the Visa, I double checked all the paperwork I needed from our company's Business Manager, and I double checked the equipment list documents I needed from our Engineering department. I drove late one night after work through some rough weather to crash at my parents' house in Illinois, fully prepared to drive into the Mexican Consulate in Chicago early the next morning. Until I realized that the ONE thing that I was totally responsible for  - my passport - was still sitting in my apartment in Wisconsin. Dammit.

So after another week I tried again. TRIPLE-checked all paperwork and checked every five minutes to make sure I had my passport with me. Drove to Illinois. Crashed at parents' house. Drove to the Mexican Consulate in Chicago. Bypassed the massive waiting lines directly into the appropriate office... where I was told, "You don't need a Mexican Work Visa. They changed the rules last year." Double dammit.

Oh well. A few hundred extra miles on my car and a chance to see my folks. No big deal.

All ready to go this past Friday. Equipment, luggage, passport, paperwork, all packed and ready. 40 minutes until our bus to Chicago was set to leave, I got off the air with John and checked my voice mail. One message from my bank's fraud protection services. I assumed it was because I had taken a decent sum of cash out of some ATM's to bring on the trip. No such luck. Someone had gotten hold of my debit card info and proceeded to empty my account with online purchases from India, Turkey, Italy, France, and a slew of other International locations. This is not what we mean when we call this trip the Internaitional Incident!

Despite this seeming like the worst possible timing just as I was leaving for a week in Mexico, it actually turned out to be a blessing (not the credit fraud - just the timing). Had I received the call even one hour later, I would have been on the bus to Chicago, unable to race to my bank's branch and fill out the paperwork to start the dispute process. Thankfully I got that handled, got to the bus, and am now sitting beach-side in Ixtapa with money in my accounts back home.

Huge thanks to Liz with Fox World Travel for making sure the bus out of Appleton didn't leave without me, and thanks to the crew of listeners on that bus who immediately poured me a gargantuan White Russian to help calm my nerves. Although they are partly to blame for the massive hangover I had on the flight to Mexico the following morning... but that's a different story.