I felt like a rookie traveler yesterday, standing outside the Cancun Airport for over two hours, raising my calves to see over the gauntlet of taxi and shuttle drivers waving their signs, shouting out hotel names.
My friend was supposed to arrive fifteen minutes after me, however we failed to realize we were flying into two different terminals, and unfortunately for me our driver showed up at his instead of mine. Not knowing any of this at the time and with no way to communicate (my cell doesn’t work down here), I had no choice but to exercise patience and wait – sort of like we used to have to do as kids, before we had cell phones and instant access to the Internet.
I was hardly alone however – a cab driver saw me waiting and watched me like a hawk, eventually coming over and initiating a conversation. When I explained to him the situation, he helped me pass the time, knowing I would eventually reward him with my business. An hour later, he had won.
Fifteen minutes and $50 later I arrived at the hotel (yikes), saying goodbye to my cabbie as I would a good friend. He shared his story with me, that he had twelve brothers and sisters, that he worked from six in the morning till ten at night six days a week, that he had a family to provide for and that he loved his wife. We are at two completely different stages of life, yet I could sense his uncertainty about the future as easily as I can feel my own.
It was nice talking it out, though – sometimes conversations with strangers spark great realizations inside of me – and, with the travel day behind me, I was ready to soak up some rays in the sunshine, shake the dust off my Spanish.
That was until I went to the front desk and was told I was at the wrong hotel – that the rest of my party was already checked into the other Barcelo property, Tucancun. A deep breath and another $17 later I finally checked into the hotel, opening the door and walking into my room – my favorite part of traveling. I don’t care how many times I’ve been to Mexico and the Caribbean – the color of the water here does something to me I can’t describe at the moment (photos to come).
I had to laugh as I unpacked. I had such a deep, intimate conversation with my first taxi driver, but all the man did on the ride from Costa Cancun to Tucancun was dig into a pile of papers on his dashboard and throw me a brochure for prostitutes.
Sweet Jesus – bienvenido a Mexico.
This morning was a little better, a little less insane (hotel photos to come):