Every time Rhiannon and I go on a trip that involves leaving early in the morning. We always have great plans about how were going to pack before the night before. And it never happens. This trip was no exception.
Around 6 hours before we needed to leave the house, we were still going over how many pairs of shoes someone should bring and if someone else had all the electronic equipment that they wanted. (Um… I’ll leave you to figure who is who in that description.)
Another issue that came up during packing was taking our cell phones to a foreign country and the fact that maybe the cell phone company might like us to do that so they can charge a gallon of gas and 2% of your firstborn’s soul to make a phone call. Rhiannon had planned on catching up on some phone calls while laying on the beach, really to make people jealous more than anything, so she did her best to get all the calling as we were boarding the plane to leave the country.
When we got to Mexico, we had to declare what we were bringing into the country and clear customs. They do random bag checks as you go through. When you walk up to the customs agent, you push a little button and “random” light blinks green or red. If it’s red, put your bags on the table and open them up, thank you very much. I was taking pictures of everything as we went through – I guess you’re not really suppose to try and document a trip through security and I was told to put the camera away or lose it. That combined with the fact the four people in front of us got green lights and I wasn’t really surprised when we lit up red.
We got through without any further incident and found our shuttle driver outside the airport. We didn’t stay in Cancun itself, but rather Playa del Carmen around 40 miles to the south. Sometimes, compared to North Dakota, I think the traffic in Denver is bad, but at least I am fairly confident that people will follow the lane markings. In Mexico, it seems like it’s more of a suggestion really. Drive fast, slow, on mopeds and military jeeps, just kind of wherever you think you need to be. Our driver was a little on the slow and cautious side of things, and for that, we tipped well.
We stayed at an all-inclusive resort, which basically means after you check in, it could be a free stay if you don’t leave. Drinks, food, mini-bar, everything is paid for. This is both good and bad – it feels cheap, but could leave to over-consumption. When a beer or glass of wine costs the same as a glass of water…
And of course, there was no shortage of opportunity to pay extra. The resort had people selling jewelry and carvings for sale to the tourists that support the place. In the picture above, you can note Tyler and I perhaps taking advantage of the fact that beer costs the same as water and Rhiannon and Amanda shopping the background. The other common event was people who want to take pictures of you and sell you the pictures later. Take a picture with a lizard, with a monkey, with a parrot, have your picture on a tequila bottle, in a frame, of you in raft… We bought one, but after the tenth or twentieth time it got old. Until we realized that it’s possible to take a picture of a picture. Ethical? Questionable at best, but then, we didn’t ask to have the picture taken in the first place.
We did take one tour out to a natural water park where fresh and salt water mix. We tubed, snorkeled, and passed on the opportunity to swim with dolphins for only $140 each. (We also passed on the tour guide’s offer to swim with the bus driver for only $5 each, but that is a different story.)
In the afternoon, we visited Mayan ruins in Tulum along the coast. Rhiannon teaches a unit on the Mayan, so we’re still trying to figure out a way to deduct the whole trip as a business expense for tax purposes next year (and if the IRS is reading, I’m joking). (Probably).
Mostly, the trip was a chance to get away and stop thinking about real life for a little while. We relaxed on the beach, saw the sights, and visited town.
Will we go back? Maybe. We have some other places we’d like to visit first and we’ll wait and see what happens with travel prices and our personal lives in the next few years. Still, it’s pretty hard to find things not to like when you can watch the sun come up over the Gulf. Assuming of course, you managed to lay off the free beer the night before.