It was a long day of travel…it all started on May 16th at 830pm San Diego time and ended in Oaxaca, Mexico at 630pm local time, May 17th. I’ve been to Oaxaca 8 or 9 times in the last 4 years, photographing for Adventures in Life Ministry.
The first time I came I had my Shapeshifter and Airport International, along with a smaller roller with clothes that I would checkin. I’ve learned over the past few years what works for me, and in the end that’s what matters. I have also learned that the airlines in Mexico don’t care what’s in your roller. If they want to be sticklers for the rules, they won’t let you bring your rolling case on board. Especially if it weighs 24kg and the limit is 15kg! Oops!!
I love my Shapeshifter pack, it holds what I want and with some coaxing, I can fit it with the gear in the photo in the overhead bin of an AeroMexico Embrear Jet.
So this is my Think Tank Photo Shapeshifter…I love it! I love Oaxaca and can’t wait to see more of the beautiful city. I will be posting as much as possible, but come Tuesday, I will be up in the mountains above Oaxaca for a few days shooting in Tlaxiaco…not sure if I will have wifi. We will see….
Wednesday was a full day. Getting all my gear in order and trying to realx before traveling off to Oaxaca. Went to class. We all got blessed by hearing Cyndy share a little bit about how she became a follower of Christ and what God was doing in her life. How she is excited that she can now use her love for photography and her love for short term missions as the same time, to serve Christ with her gifts.
After sharing some of our photos in class…it was time to head south, so I thought.
Cyndy and Danie took me to the Greyhound station so I could catch the shuttle to the Tijuana airport. When we got to the Broadway location somebody moved the station and didn’t tell me. I should have known this wasn’t gonna be an “easy” trip to Oaxaca.
When we got to the new Greyhound location, 1313 National Ave in the East Village area, Cyndy and Danie got all geeked up and had to go and take photos of the address, since the class homework for this week was to take photos of “13.”
I said my “good-byes” and went to get my ticket to the Tijuana airport. Time comes and I get on the wrong bus, the bus to L.A. After sitting on the bus for a few minutes, something just didn’t feel right. So I ask and they tell me I’m on the bus to L.A. I get off, go to the bathroom, and when I get out…my bus to the Tijuana airport is leaving without me! Ugh. The next shuttle didn’t leave till 1130pm, which would have gotten me in to the airport at 1215am, cutting it close.
Me sitting on the wrong bus…not realizing this fact yet!
That’s when I meet Johnny and Raul. They both work for Greyhound and had just gotten off work. They live in Tijuana and asked if I wanted a ride to the border to catch my bus. I paused to think for what seemed like an hour…praying and working out worst case scenarios in my head. What if they kill me, kidnap me or kick me out the car with all my stuff in Tijuana…I said “sure.”
We jump in the car, start flying down the freeway and along the way we pass the bus. I ask if they are gonna drop me off at the bus terminal in San Ysidro, they said they would drop me off on the other side of the border where the busses cross. At this point I have no choice but to go along for the ride.
The whole drive south I’m praying and looking start to share that I’m a child of the Most High King, on a mission from God to go to Oaxaca. Which opened me up to the question of what will I be doing in Oaxaca? Again, I start to think…do I tell them I’m a photographer and open myself up to be a target?
Why am I thinking these things? Johnny and Raul seem like nice guys, despite the fact that Johnny has an Oakland Raiders helmet hanging from his mirror! That’s when I just had to laugh and go along for the ride!
I believe God provided a way for me to go to Oaxaca so I could photograph the work He is doing through Adventure in Life in Mexico. I belive the enemy is at work trying to discourage, distract, and destroy the plans of God as followers of Christ step out in faith to minister for His sake.
Needless to say I was able to catch my bus and make my way to the Tijuana airport. I wish that was the end of this stories adventures…nope!
After getting to the airport and getting my visa, I go through the first of many checkpoints in the airport. They stop me because I have 3 laptop computers with me. “Why do you have the laptops?”
Dan and Jack, part of the Jesus Geeks Team, working at the Chick-Fil-A office in Mira Mesa
I explain that they were donated, thanks to Jack Costner and the Jesus Geeks, for missionaries in Oaxaca. I’m told you are allowed to bring 1 computer with you, and if I want to bring the extra computers I have to pay taxes, even if they are being donated. They didn’t care who was gonna get them. So I paid the taxes.
Almost on the plane…I’m sitting at the gate waiting for the plane to board, when the Volaris agents started walking around checking carry-on bags and asking folks to check them at the gate. Of course that is not gonna happen! It doesn’t matter that my carry-on roller and backpack weigh twice as much as my checked bag. The gal says something to me in Spanish, I don’t know a lot of Spanish but I gathered that she wanted me to go and check my bag. Nope. So for the next 20 minutes as they’re walking around taking bags I’m trying to lay low and hide my roller. I wish I had it on video, kinda funny. Thankfully I made it on the plane with both my bags.
My trusty Think Tank Airport International roller
On a side note, if your a photographer…Think Tank Photo have the best gear for your gear! I’m “rolling” with the Airport International ver. 1 and Shapeshifter backpack.
Now it’s 10pm in Oaxaca and I’m ready! Praise God!