Mayan Circle Part 1
Day1 – Cancun
When I arrived at the airport and checked the bulletin boards for my flight time and check-in counter. It was said “ delayed” on the screen by my flight number. I was worried what “delayed” meant. Would it be 1 hour, 12 hours, or a full day? Lately in the press, a lot of flights were being cancelled and passengers were left to fend for themselves at the airport, so naturally, I worried how long I would be delayed. I breezed past the lineups thanks to doing Online check-in last night, and went to drop off my checked luggage at the baggage drop off. When I placed my rucksack on the scale it weighed in at a shockingly low 10kg, which made me hope I didn’t forget anything important.
“Is it just one bag?“ the check-in staff asked me.
“Yes just one. I noticed the flight is delayed. Do you know if it will be a very long delay?“, I asked.
She then explained to me that because the weather conditions to the south were good today, if they left at the original scheduled time, they would have arrived to early in Cancun, so it was necessary to delay the departure time. Sounds confusing, I know. I’ve never had a flight delayed for that reason.
I double checked my carryon bags for any sharp items, liquids or potential terrorist weapons before I walked through security y and headed towards the nearest Tim Hortons to grab a bagel and coffee before my flight.
Looked like I wasn’t the only smart traveler with the same idea. The lineup was long as usual, and procrastinating last minute passengers were getting impatient because their flight was starting to board .I’d hate to work at a Tim Hortons at an airport, the amount of last minute passengers you‘d get in one day would be busier than your average location. I saw one diva demanded her food instantly or else she would be late for her flight and it would be one of the staff members fault. The manager handed her a bagel immediately and sent her off. It’s not about if the customer’s right or wrong, but the longer you have to deal with an unpleasant customer, the longer your day feels like crap I’ve learned. This should be every company’s customer service policy.
Usually if I’m taking a flight to Europe, I don’t bother buying a meal or drink prior to boarding, but because the flight from Toronto to Cancun is a short one, only 3.5 hrs, no complimentary meals are served.
Who wants to spend $6.95 for a bagel? Or how about $6.95 for a cheese platter?
There’s a few things I like about Westjet flights. The staff are always a happy bunch There are washrooms located at the front and back of the plane. The satellite televisions at the back of the seats make it an amusing trip.
My seat was located near the front in the aisle. Which means I’m the last one to board the plane, but I’m the first one to get off the plane and also be served my complimentary beverage. Just the way I like it.
When I left Toronto, the temperature was 1 degree, and by the time I arrived in Cancun it was a nice 18 degrees. As soon as the plane docked, I took my carry on from the upper compartment and speed-walked to the Mexican passport and security control. Newbie travelers don’t believe in rushing to get off the plane, but veteran travelers know, those first 10mins can make or break your waiting time for entry into a new country.
The longer you wait, the more people arrive in the line for entry, and then you are also competing with other planes that have arrived. It can mean the difference between a 10min wait or 1 hour wait.
Soon it was my turn to go to the Mexico border entry counter. They looked at my passport, stamped it, nodded me the ‘ok’ and then proceeded to the carosel to grab my checked luggage. It’s always a game each time. You wonder if you’re the unlucky traveler to lose their luggage or have it delayed this time. After I spot my black rucksack, I grab it off the rack and head towards the Mexican security agent who then asked me to push a button. The button lit up green light, which I was good to pass through security without having my bags checked. In Mexico, the baggage is check is randomized by this button, if you happen to get a red light, you’re going to be searched.
My first step outside of the Cancun airport and I felt like a movie star. With my sunglasses on, and the sun shining, I felt my star power. But instead of being asked for my autograph by the Mexican ‘fans‘ that were chasing me down, I was asked if I needed a lift to Cancun for $20. I politely declined with a “no, gracias“. Thanks to some research prior to my trip, I discovered the most economical way would be to catch an ADO(name of a Mexican bus company) bus for 45pesos($4.10). After asking around to some of the more legitimate travel staff who weren’t trying to make a buck off me, I was directly the ADO booth, and purchased my ticket. The next bus would leave in 30mins, so I sat down and just enjoyed the warmth and people watched.
I’ve never been to Mexico before, and was getting ready for the adventure that awaited for me. 3 weeks of traveling to Mayan ruins, cheap foods, happy hour cervezas(the Mexican word for beer). I couldn’t wait.
The bus ride was 30mins from the airport to downtown Cancun bus terminal, and then a 40peso cab ride to my hotel. I checked in to my hotel, stored my belongings and changed out of my sweaty clothes and into something more airy and explore downtown Cancun.
I had some time before the 6pm meeting, and went for a stroll to explore the stores and restaurants. If you’re walking along any of the main streets downtown, you’ll get hassled by people trying to sell you their stuff or asking you to try their restaurant. I was saying “no gracias” every 10 seconds.
I had a few things on my to do list. Purchase postcards, mail postcards, take photos, buy some souvenirs, and find some food. I bought a few postcards, took photos, and found a nice little bakery inside a supermarket. It had better variety than what I saw back in Canada. You could get butterflies, croissants, fresh baked buns, donuts, strudel etc.
I had a nap, and looked over my itinerary before the meeting. At the meeting our tour leader went over the details of the tour and collected our passport and insurance information, went over the no drugs-no prostitute policy, explained about the unpotable drinking water, and the crappy plumbing system in Central America, as well as tomorrow’s itinerary which is typical tour protocol.
The plan for tomorrow, visit the ruins of Chichen Itza and arrival in the colonial city of Merida. I was excited about the fun filled day of sight seeing tomorrow . I had happy hour margaritas with my new tour mates before heading to the main plaza for some street eats. I had some empanadas or taco like things dinner and marquesitas, which resemble crepes rolled with chocolate Nutella, for dessert. It was some of the cheapest yet tasty food I’ve had. The tacos were 20pesos($2.00) total and the marquesitas were 10 pesos($1.00)
The main plaza was busier that night than usual because it was winter holiday break. There were many local Mexicans spending a night out at the plaza and having dinner. There were live performances going on, people selling toys and trinkets for the Mexican children, vendors with long lineups. It was nice to experience local Mexican modern traditions. Most of the people on my tour disliked Cancun because it‘s not as culturally interesting or clean as other more tourist favorites, but I think it’s as interesting and Mexican as any other part of Mexico.
I hoped that my stomach would be okay with the street eats, and called it an early night after dessert. Tomorrow would be a long travel day. Can’t wait!