Day 1 Cancun
The flight to Cancun was nothing special. The same kind of boarding you expect from USAir. Just throw in some passport shenanigans for fun-ski. Total travel time is nothing at all. 3 hours for us. Write some notes, read some books, do a crossword puzzle and you’re there. The waiting room for Paradise, though we didn’t know it yet.
We had a layover day in Cancun because the cost of a hotel + a Friday morning flight was significantly less expensive than the Saturday morning version. Ho, Hum, burn another vacation day en Mexico. Que dolor!
Customs was a cinch, much more relaxed than getting back into the States. Negotiating a taxi to the hotel was a supreme pain in the ass but we managed to do it. Next stop, the Mecca of Spring Break – minus the Spring Breakers, of course. A short ride later and we’re at the hotel. It’s nice. The other guests are boorish to put it politely. Drunken mid westerners, Texas bodybuilding lesbians, and all sorts of chatty Mexicans on holiday from the capital of Mexico city. Man this would be a nice place if they all would just shut up and stop acting drunk! Ah well, at least the sun is warm (hey, there’s a snow for the record books back in the U.S. at this point) and we did prove that their drinks do have alcohol in them. The Caribbean sea is an amazing blue – or is that azul? And the sand feels wonderful between my white pasty toes. I’m a million miles away from my job. So what there were no raises this year? I have a job and I’m in Mexico while unemployment is climbing past 10% So far, so good.
It’s time for dinner once the sun sets and we stupidly opt for the buffet. We choose poorly. The buffet sucks. The dinner entertainment is billed as ‘authentic Mexi-Caribbean dance.’ Fuck. If any of these costumes were worn back in the day by real Mayans, then I’m a virginal sacrifice. Can you say ‘exploited indigenous peoples?’ This hotel sure could. While tight, tanned and toned bodies writhe and sway to the syncopated beats echoing from the ‘authentic Mayan synthesizer’ other hotel staff set up a gauntlet of mass-produced (can I say ‘authentic’ again?) tourist souvenir trinkets. Watching a gaggle of 50 and over Ohio-ans stare at the dancer’s hips, I start to get the feeling that everything is for sale here. Did I just sign up for a week of this shit? Still, it’s better than a snowstorm, and I’m lucky to be here.
What I didn’t know at the time was how amazing the next few days were about to become.
We wake up early the next day and catch a taxi back to the airport to meet my brother and his girlfriend. They just took a red eye from Los Angeles to a Mexico City layover to here. And their flight was delayed a few hours. Recounting sitting in a stinking Air Mexico flight on the tarmac in what these world travelers regard as the foulest smelling city in the whole world (yes, that beat out Staten Island by their count), they are in no mood to play. Luckily, Paradise Resorts has arranged for a free, private taxi to take the 4 of us the 90 mins south to Adventura.
Our taxista is a genial older gentleman who lets us practice our Spanish with him. He’s delighted we know so much. Actually, he’s delighted that my brother is damn near fluent in Mexican. Of the 8 or so languages his girlfriend speaks, Spanish in not one of them (so she claims). My fiance and I get along OK with our preschool-level of conversation. For the first time I feel like we are in a different culture, a different country. After getting a refresher course on the language talking about weather, time, and the location of things, the conversation really picks up. For 90 minutes we talk about how life is here, what he does, and where he has lived, and what life is like here.
Driving south away from Cancun and all of it’s Spring Break-iness, the road starts to surprise me. Our iPhone / Google maps show our road in the thickness of an Interstate. The further we get from the smell of late night hook ups, and ‘what happens in Cancun, stays in Cancun’ the more the sites begin to change. There are shops all along the side of the road. Towards the coast you can see some hotels and some, for lack of a better word, I’ll call them villages. On the Western side, you see jungle. Real !@#$ing jungle. And there are people living in it. Crazy.
Once again distance does it’s trick. I’m now a million miles away from ‘authentic Mayan’ dancers and drunk mid westerners (does that mean I’m now 2 million away from work?) and I am loving it. All of our dispositions are greatly enhanced when he tells us we are traveling to paradise in hotel form. By the time we get there it seems all possibilities are open. And indeed, they are, for as we surrender our luggage to the hotel’s foot soldiers, the concierge directs us to check in. We are about to receive the Bracelets of power and all the privileges that come with it. Life is good.