Spoiler Alert: Jason and I didn’t kill each other.
We had a fabulous time. Needless to say, I didn’t have enough money or the patience to blog from internet cafes. Plus those keyboards are weird. Anyway, here are a few paragraphs I would have written.
First of all, we took red-eye flights to get there with the thought that it would save money and give us more play time. I wasn’t too worried about it because, God knows, I can fall asleep anywhere. The problem was that I had a two-hour layover in Texas. After I got some food and found my gate at Bush International Airport, I decided to try to get a little more rest by using my backpack as a pillow. My backpack did not have one soft thing in it, so I didn’t really think I’d fall asleep. The next thing I remember was hearing my name over the loud speaker, followed by a message that went something like, “If you do not get on the plane right now, we will leave without you and will feel no remorse.” I got up, ran to the gate, was chastised by at least four Continental Airlines employees, had to do the walk of shame back to the 24th row, and then promptly fell asleep in my seat.
When we got to Cancun, we picked up our rental car. It was a Fiat Palio stick-shift with A/C. Unfortunately Jason wasn’t a particularly good stick driver. Anyway, it became apparent almost immediately that there are ZERO rules when it comes to driving in Mexico. Speeding is expected. Want to pass on the right? No problem. Even if there’s no lane or shoulder there – just go ahead and drive on the grass. Wanna put 10 people in the back of your truck? Go ahead. Don’t have the right-of-way? Who the fuck cares. The only thing anyone seems to care about are “Topes” – speed bumps. And they are militant. The speed bumps are even smaller than they are here, but no Mexican person will go faster than 5 mph over one. They have them on small highways when you go through towns as well, which is moderately annoying. We had lots of adventures in the car, including Jason accidentally asking for the gas station attendant to fill us up with the most expensive gas because he got the words for expensive and cheap confused, the car getting searched at border patrol between states, Jason stalling in front of an armed guard at the state line and then accidentally honking… But by far the best was when I got pulled over by a motorcycle cop. It’s hard to explain without pad and paper, but basically I went into a parking lot at an “Exit Only” spot that wasn’t marked. Apparently all Mexicans just know when they can exit and when they can enter. The policeman told me at least 20 times what I did wrong, asked to see my driver’s license, studied it for 5 solid minutes, told me to be more careful in the future, and then let me go. Mind you, this entire time I was apologizing profusely and Jason was mentally adding up how much cash we had on us to bribe him.
Top two coolest things we saw:
1. Ruins. We went to Chichen Itza, and although it is one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World, I still didn’t like it as much as the ruins at Calakmul. At Chichen Itza, you can’t really climb on anything and there are tourists EVERYWHERE. Plus there are these really annoying street vendors who won’t leave you alone. At Calakmul, you could climb every pyramid and there was hardly anyone there. Plus, the ruins were right in the middle of a Biosphere reserve.
2. Cenotes. Pronounced Say-No-Tays. Small but deep freshwater lakes that are sometimes underground in caves. Think Goonies in Mexico. We saw two, but my favorite was an underground cave with a hole in the ceiling where the sun shone through on the water. There was also a tree growing near the hole and the roots went all the way from the ceiling into the water. All of our pictures turned out blurry and hard to see, but suffice to say it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
Some other fun things worth noting:
– One of the cities we visited, Campeche, is known as a “Pirate City” because it was attacked and looted by pirates so many times that the citizens of the city built a wall around it for protection. We went a little crazy with the pirate thing (see photos).
– We purchased 2 Reggaeton CD’s while in Mexico – one at a Supermarket and one at a street market. (They were each about $3.00 and were well worth it). We hadn’t heard of any of the artists on either CD except the #2 song on the one from the street market was “Umbrella” by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z. Apparently if you’re from Barbados, any music you make is considered Reggaeton.
– The free hotel room the last night in Cancun was incredible. Unfortunately we couldn’t afford to eat at the hotel (we were really desperate at one point and ordered nachos by the pool – they were almost $15.00). So for dinner we picked up a six pack of Sol and a Domino’s Pizza and enjoyed the beautiful view from our free room.