Ok, here's the story of how a mad dash across Mexico City actually did produce a miracle.
Tuesday, 13th April. Sammy is now exactly 10 months old. Today's the day we get to leave Mexico for the last time in our adoption process(es).
Schedule for today:
9am: pick up passport - scan and send to Francesca immediately and cross fingers for a miracle
11am: pick up laundry from laundromat
12pm: check out of hotel
1pm: last-minute gift shopping
3pm: taxi to airport
Phone call at 8am reveals that passport won't be ready until 12pm, so the weekend plans are thoroughly out the window. I skype with Ahmed and he alerts the translator. After picking up laundry and quickly packing (and Sammy unpacking, and me repacking, and Sammy unpacking, and me repacking, etc etc) and checking out, which took forrrrrreeeeeevvvvveeeeerrrrr, we finally got to the passport office at 12.30pm.
As we walked into the building, I checked my phone and had a text message from Ahmed saying: Francesca is in office for next half hour, if she doesn't get it tonight, it'll be another 24 hours, as she's really busy. In a panic, I raced upstairs, grabbed the passport off 'legalization man' and flew down the street to the internet cafe across the road to get scanned copy before 10pm in UAE. After 15 agonizing minutes of trying, the cafe owner declared his scanner to be broken, so he directed me to the next cafe. I flew again, with Sammy enjoying (or not) the bumpiest pushchair ride of his life. No scanner at internet cafe. This part of town is completely unfamiliar to me. I'd checked that there was an internet cafe with scanner the day before, and had relaxed. Ha, not knowing their dumb machine was broken. It was now 9.55pm in Abu Dhabi, and I had no hope of making it. I couldn't risk running around this crazy suburb with no idea of whether there were any more internet cafes.
Called Ahmed in a panic as I sprinted down the street to grab a taxi, saying I was going to make it and please call Francesca and beg her to wait. Miraculously, a taxi appeared, and I urged him to run all the orange lights, which he very nicely did, all the way to Zona Rosa - a 10 minute drive in good traffic - where we leapt out as we struck a traffic jam, threw Sammy's pushchair together, flew across the street, and into the internet cafe that I knew had a working scanner. At 10.05pm (UAE time), scanned copy of passport was sent. Nothing more I could do now except wait.
Bought some gifts, went to airport, flew to Madrid, we were picked up by my lovely friend's equally lovely mother and taken away to be looked after for the next five days as we waited for Sammy's visit visa to be ready, so we could go home!
Or so we thought.
In the fifteen hours since I'd scanned and sent that passport, it had been translated into English, translated into Arabic, sent to Abu Dhabi, Ahmed had sent all documents to his PRO, texted him, and finally, gone to see him, to discover he was sick. Only to be told he could go to immigration himself. Went to immigration, applied for visa and was told there was an urgent 1-hour service for an extra 100 dirhams. What!!!??? So he walked out of immigration with the visit visa in his hand, went to Turkish airlines and rebooked our flights home for the following day, and then went back to his afternoon class, and then let me know that we were not waiting for three or five days as we'd thought, but would be on the very next flight. Then drove the visa to the airport.
24 hours after arriving, we went back to Madrid airport to discover all northern European flights had been cancelled, but lovely, wonderful southern European Spain was not affected, neither was Turkey, and so we flew home. Just like that.