One Last Stop with Bill Clinton

August 6, 2008 | By Justin Sullivan | News

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

 

MEXICO CITY – AUGUST 04: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is seen on a video screen as he delivers the keynote address at the 2008 World AIDS conference August 4, 2008 in Mexico City, Mexico. 

 

Mexico City was a complete blur. After checking in and then out of the Hotel Camino Real Aeropuerto Mexico in less than an hour, we headed off to a press/delegation luncheon at the Four Seasons. I was hoping that since we were in Mexico, the lunch would be an assortment of local food (I love Mexican food). I was disappointed when service staff in neatly starched outfits brought out trays of chicken caeser wraps (which they tried to make sound Mexican by calling it a burrito), French fries and turkey sandwiches. The only thing that was remotely close to Mexican fare was guacamole and homemade chips – which were fantastic!

 

 The lunch was quick but it felt good to sit outside on the patio. We were soon gathered up and moved to the motorcade. We were headed to my last stop of the trip, the World AIDS Conference. Bill would be giving the keynote address.

 

The convention hall was enourmous. So big, in fact, that it looked empty. The media mob was insane! There had to have been at least 30 photographers jammed up against the stage in front of the podium. Before Bill came out, the security people made all of the photographers move from that spot into the aisles. This was great, because I have no idea how anyone was going to get a picture that way. It also opened things up a bit for Barb and I to move around.

 

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

 

MEXICO CITY – AUGUST 04: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton delivers the keynote address at the 2008 World AIDS conference August 4, 2008 in Mexico City, Mexico. 

 

Midway through the speech I moved up to the stage. A security guard came up to me and said that I had to move back to the riser. I showed him my Clinton staff credential and he quickly and politely smiled, said thank you and walked away. No less than four minutes later he returned. It was a repeat performance of our last encounter. This happened two more times.

 

For once filing the images was easy. I could actually use the Sprint card instead of the BGAN or painfully slow and erratic hotel wi-fi. My pictures were filed quickly and I was done.

 

The airport was a breeze to get through. The departures board showed that my Mexicana flight to San Francisco was on time. Thank God. The first on time flight in a week! I had plenty of time to visit the duty free and stock up on my beloved tequila. I was dead tired, but happy to be going home.

 

But of course, what would this trip be without one more job? The on-time status of Mexicana 972 had now changed to delayed. Albeit a short 45 minute delay, it was still a delay. All I wanted to do was get on that plane and rest my head against the wall and go to sleep.

 

When I finally boarded the plane and found my row, I noticed that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep that easily. The middle seat was occupied by a toddler who spent the trip crying, bouncing, kicking and being punished by her short tempered father. Needless to say, I am looking forward to my bed and a few days off.


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