Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mexican Stand-Off

My mother's favourite, if not only pastime is sitting in judgement on other people. So for her weddings have the same thrill as attending a periodic convention of likeminded hobbyists. I can recall nearly all of the scornful, belittling remarks she has made over the years and can pair them up in my mind with someone or other's special day.

Last night Package Holiday Undercover reported on the ill-fated nuptials of an English couple that unwisely picked Cancun as the ideal spot to tie their knot.

Arriving tired (i.e drunk) after the long flight they had a bit of a domestic in the queue for immigration. The bride-not-to-be loudly reproached family members about having to fill in their forms and was duly led away by security to an airless room where she was held for several hours. An official then repeatedly taunted her with the suggestion that she would be placed on the next plane back to northern England.

This was the first of two situations that could have been solved in a matter of minutes with a migaja, literally a crumb, but technically a bribe.

Having decided to get married in a far off country whose language and culture were of purely incidental interest to her, she just sat there and cried until the officials got bored and released her. Their repatriation threat was a transparent bluff, because seeing it through would have cost them mucha lana.

When the big day dawned, a second, even more challenging hurdle presented itself. The paperwork the couple had brought from London was invalidated by a single spelling mistake. Of such minor technicalities is the Mexican venal system made. Yet once again Yucatec palms remained unlubricated, and although the couple went through the ritual of exchanging vows on the white sands, they were to remain unmarried.

Thanks to ITV this hapless, or rather hopeless couple have had the opportunity to denounce First Choice on peak-time TV. Their wedding abroad nightmare was of course all the fault of the 'professionals'. I'd feel sorry for the tour company, but the package holiday industry has the customers it deserves.

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