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Stranded in Mexico

Edith Garcia, Staff Writer

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Every spring break, students visit and explore different states and countries for reasons ranging from mission trips to family visits, and at the end of the week, come back with no issues. However, junior Tony Yerena’s trip to Mexico did not end in an easy trip home.

“I went to Mexico to visit my family members I haven’t seen in ten years, such as my tias, tios, godparents, grand aunts and cousins,” Yerena said. “My dad also lives in Mexico, so it was sort of a meetup.”

Yerena’s trip to Mexico was his first time traveling alone. After his trip came to an end, Yerena was under the impression that he would simply jump on this returning flight and return to the U.S. with no problems.
“When I was returning back, I got in Mexico City at 8 a.m.,” Yerena said. “Believing I was leaving the same day, I spent all my [leftover] pesos around the stores for small souvenirs.”

To Yerena’s surprise, his original plan to simply board his flight and return home was extended an extra 25 hours because of one 3” by 5” piece of paper.
“Because of me going for the first time to Mexico, I really didn’t know you had to keep [the immigration pass], which we filled on the plane and then stamped,” Yerena said.  “When we were boarding, they ask[ed] for that slip again, and if you’ve lost it, you need to go all the way back before security check and to the immigration office. They made a whole commotion for 500 pesos, which I didn’t have.”

After Yerena found somewhere to exchange his money and had another wait ahead of him since other passengers had also lost the pass.

Graphic by Connor Matthews


“Whenever I got back, I got a stamped slip again, [I had to] go through security check and run all across the airport to get back to my terminal on time,” Yerena said. “Unfortunately, they said the flight had already left whenever they had ‘Final Call’ on the flight board. My thoughts were exactly what everyone else would have, ‘I’m not returning back,’ and ‘My parents are going to kill me twice.’ My phone had no service in Mexico, I had to use a payphone just to call my mom to say I’ve missed it, and had to confirm for another flight that was leaving at nine.”

While Yerena went to retrieve his suitcase, he met a Nicaraguan woman who had also lost her immigration pass. Yerena informed her of the money his mother had to pay for him losing the ticket.

“She started crying when I told her about the ticket,” Yerena said. “She said that is basically all the money in her household. No one told us we needed to keep the slip, and it wasn’t really directed on the sheet [either]. [We were under the impression that] we only needed to fill it out and sign it.”

After an extended 25-hour ordeal over a small piece of paper, Yerena was finally able to end his Mexico adventure.

“My advice for anyone who is traveling alone out of the country is to have some spare money to convert it,” Yerena said. “Your card doesn’t work with any banks, and it’s simply best to have it in hand just in case.”

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