SAN DIEGO - Four local nurses are back in San Diego after being stranded in Cabo San Lucas for four days during hurricane Odile.
Kristen Enari, Kristen Mensen, Alexandra Davis and Natalie Bouldin are all registered nurses at UCSD Moores Cancer Center in La Jolla. They traveled to Cabo for Bouldin's birthday.
They described Odile's wrath hitting their resort in a gradual manner. First the waves were higher and crashing harder coupled with the strong winds. That's when the group locked themselves in their room, keeping away from their windows as their building shook.
"In the morning, our room was just full of water [and] debris. The door was swollen shut from the humidity and the moisture," Mensen explained.
When the group escaped their room through an adjacent door, they proceeded to the hotel lobby where chaos ensued. Flights back to the United States were canceled. Debris blocked roadways and the local airport was demolished. The group, plus tens of thousands of other foreign tourists, were stranded until further notice.
Soon, power went out.
"We had no WI-fi, no Internet, no cell service," explained Mensen.
The group, however, felt lucky for their resort still had some running water and worked off a generator which allowed them to cook basic meals for their guests. They had heard of other conditions at nearby hotels with no running water and power.
Four days after Odile hit, the group was bused to the local airport, where miles and miles of other tourists stood, hoping to hop on a commercial flight home.
Once the commercial flights announced they were through for the night and would return in the morning, those left in the line, including the nurses, were told they could take a charter flight back to the U.S., so long as they signed a promissory note stating they would pay the U.S. government $600.00.
"...And if you don't pay the $600 within 30 days, they [would] start charging interest... The Mexican government was flying their people free of charge, and then our government wants us to pay. I didn't really understand how that made sense," Enari said.
"It was like they were giving you an ultimatum. You can either try to survive out there or you can pay our government $600," Mensen said.
"[We decided] we're not sleeping out here in the desert with all these random people and Mexican military driving around with their machine guns," Davis said.
The group decided to sign the promissory note and hopped on a charter flight to Los Angeles after waiting in a line for 8 hours. They have since sent letters to U.S. government officials to voice their frustrations over paying for a flight back to the U.S.