This post will be longer than average.
So much has happened since I last wrote and this is exactly how history goes untold. Too many days pass, too much catch-up to play and stuff gets lost. I’m not gonna let that happen. So without going into too much detail, just know, there are a myriad of emotions involved in getting rid of all of your stuff except for what fits in your car (fortunately I own a Kia Soul). Not to mention the logistical part of what absolutely needs to happen, on your timeline (which no one cares about except you) and eventually accepting that it’s not going to go as “planned”. Not even with a million post-it notes, a detailed list and a drop dead date. Just keep that in mind should you find yourself in this position.
So, I got as many things completed as would allow me to leave with peace of mind and “kept it moving”. Bonus: I ended up forming a friendship of sorts with the manager of the storage location housing my car so that was an auspicious omen as far as I’m concerned.
I spent my last night exhausted in a hotel near the Denver Airport. That second piece of luggage I bought ended up costing me $75 in baggage fees for being seven pounds overweight. I didn’t feel like trying to bring the weight down (by rearranging and piling items on my person). And I didn’t mind paying considering how much free luggage Southwest has transported for me over the years. Did I tell you that my one-way ticket to Cancun was $69 + $32 (fees) for a grand total of $101.00?
My very full flight was uneventful except for the fact that it was the first time I’ve had to consistently wear a mask for a period longer than a supermarket shopping trip.
My BFF agreed with my wise decision to wear combat boots on the plane. Anyway, I didn’t need any more weight in my bag so that turned out to be a good decision in more ways than one. I’m sure I looked weird heading to the Caribbean wearing a light, pink bubble coat and combat boots but when we got off the plane and outside of the Terminal, there was a mini-monsoon happening. Who looks weird now?! LOL
I had pre-arranged a ride in a private shuttle for $26 (US). I’d also completed visa forms and others online so I breezed thru Customs but for the astute drug dog sniffing out my remaining half burrito. I swear I wasn’t trying to sneak a burrito into Mexico. They actually fed the dog some of it (lucky dog).
My shuttle driver was great and let me pick up some water at a convenience store while offering to go wherever else I needed before heading to my boutique hotel.
He also filled me in about mask requirements for locals and tourists—failure to wear punishable by fine for Mexicans.
My first night in Centro Cancun (downtown, away from the beach and exorbitant prices), I walked around my hotel (Oh! Cancun The Urban Oasis) to get a feel for it. I looked at the pool, jacuzzi, gym and menus. Then I asked the desk clerk to recommend some restaurants within walking distance.
You will of course be steered to places they likely have agreements with but if you press, by asking where that person eats, you’ll get something better. I ended up at a walkable Taqueria and had 5 tacos and a beer for $6 (US). I’m paying in pesos because I exchanged a small amount of money at the airport, but only a small amount, because the airport doesn’t offer the best rate.
First morning I enjoyed the breakfast buffet and took my coffee poolside while deciding what to do with my day.
I knew I needed to exchange my remaining cash and I wanted to get a sim card for my phone. I had previously researched and learned that my new monthly phone bill could be anywhere from $12-20 (US) per month with Telcel (unlimited calls/text to U.S. and Canada). I’d found I kiosk to do it the night before but when I woke, I noticed there was an official store across from my hotel. This turned out to be very important.
I decided to work on the phone issue first. Exchange a sim card, simple, right? We’re bumbling thru with my limited Spanish and her limited English and working it out. She told me about the plans (which I knew), I chose and paid. She never asked if my phone was unlocked (it wasn’t). The Cashier called in the wrong plan and had to get someone in another city to correct her error, during lunch hour, in Mexico. Good luck.
She tried for a good 15 minutes and finally decided to pay, out of her own pocket, for me to have an additional 3GB for the month, to make up for her mistake (and to quell her boss’ visible frustration). We then sat down and realized my phone was not unlocked. I had to be connected to the store internet (no wi-fi for general use) in order to contact my provider and find out why my phone was locked (I’d been unable to unlock it on my own). Long story short (after almost two hours), I got my sim card and Mexican phone number with blazing speed I have to use over the next 30 days. I was chuckling the entire time like a crazy person. Win for me.
After I exchanged my remaining cash, I decided to go to the Hotel Zone where most of you have probably been and stayed. I asked the front desk guy, how much for a taxi and how much for the bus. The bus wins at 24 pesos round trip (a bit more than a dollar). Depending on your idea of a good time, I’m sure that area is great but it looked deflated due to Covid and warm but overcast weather. The water though was a spectacular aquamarine color and a bad day at the beach is still a day at the beach.
I got off the bus at a public beach (where locals go) and walked down towards the more populated areas (more tourists).
I decided on a beach hotel bar that was loud and populated. I bought one beer and had a plate of tourist ceviche (not the best).
The rest of my drinks were offered up and/or paid for by Hamid. Handsome Hamid is 28 years old, originally from Afghanistan, living in New York, meeting up in Cancun with his girlfriend who flew in from Italy and found himself in a bit of a pickle alone at the bar after fighting with said girlfriend.
All the noise from the bar was from a group of 10-15 mostly gay guys and they had taken an aggressive shine to Hamid. After I went up the bar, Hamid started speaking to me and somehow convinced them that I was the girlfriend he’d been waiting for. It’s super easy to appear confused and not answer questions when boisterous drunk people are speaking rapid fire Spanish. Hamid got me drinks while I beard(ed) for him and the guys just wanted me to take shots from their bottle. The drinks were weak (the all-inclusive armband ones) and I only accepted one shot of tequila from the fellas. But again, win for me.
After three hours of merriment I walked Hamid to his hotel and caught the bus back to mine. He thanked me profusely. We hugged. Good day.