Published: January 26th 2013January 16th 2013
Heather has asked me to write a blog as she thinks her Grandma will enjoy it, however I pointed out that it could be seen as simply gloating at the time we’re having whilst others have to work. Not that I don’t wear the trousers but....Here I am sat here in 30 degree heat typing it up.
After a lot of planning and mainly saving, Hev and I are ready to set off on our adventure through Central America and over to Oz. As sensible little travellers that we are we have failed to learn hardly any Spanish, but I’m confident we will be fine as Heather lived in Brazil for 6 months, now I know what you’re thinking...... they speak Portuguese. I’m going on the fact that they are similar. Anyway we’d had our brilliant friends and family send us off with some great leaving do’s and were all set. My dad and partner picked us up and took us to Gatwick, we were pretty excited by now, not least by the imminent sunshine which awaited us in Cancun, Mexico. On the way to the airport at around 5 in the morning at Fleet services
we witnessed a light dusting of snow, which has since by all accounts turned into a lot of snow. I’m sure back home the news was full of the impact the snow is having on the economy – screw that, go sledging – you can’t do anything about it now.
So we took off from in our Boeing ??? at 10:00 and landed in Cancun at 15:00 local time. This flight had all the classic components of every flight Hev and I take. I slept fine when I wanted to..... Hev couldn’t; I enjoyed the food..... Hev couldn’t as she felt sick; I got there slightly tired but able to continue due to excitement....... Hev was very excited but too tired to continue. She did however take great comfort by declaring to me she’d been good this time as she didn’t have a Migraine induced from getting too excited, I know – baby steps! So that evening we relaxed in our 4 star hotel with everything on suite...... Right I’ll stop right there; I know what you’re thinking - you thought this would be traveller blog. It will be I promise just bare with me. We had some Hotel
loyalty points which needed to be used so we figured we’d use them for a bit of luxury along the way. Besides there’s 2 main areas in Cancun the Zona Hotelia and the Downtown area, and we chose downtown. The name says it all so we should get kudos for this. Downtown Cancun is actually a really nice area nonetheless, it just doesn’t have a massively spectacular beach put on it. It’s where all the hostels are, and markets, etc.
We slept well that night and woke up ready for action on the morning of day 2, well not quite. Our body clocks where out and we woke feeling a little s****y (word hidden, remember I said Grandma will be reading) at 04:00, that is too early to be getting up, especially when I think I was up later that after our leaving parties. So we conceded to having a relaxed day. We headed off to the beach which is located in the Zona Hotelia, this area is famous for American Spring Break parties. We got the free transport from our hotel there and entered the beach at the Northern edge next too a beach bar/club called Cabana Beach Club. Hev collapsed on the sand and descended immediately into a sunbathing trance of idleness once she had neatly arranged her sarong to lie on. I on the other hand struggle to sit still generally let alone when there’s a sea which is so turquoise it looks like some kind soda drink. I was in there. I strolled down to the furthest point where there’s a sea wall which resulted in the sea being really calm forming a pool which had comparatively less waves. I went and got Hev as I thought she may be tempted to play in the sea as well if it was calmer, but no go. Bless her she was just too tired still. I waded out until I got the point where the level was up to my shoulders and turned around to give Hev a wave. At this point I realised I was surrounded by the stunningly turquoise sea, a great feeling having spent the last year of life living in a cloud.
After spending what felt like an eternity in the sea (later materialised to be 5 mins) I got out and Hev and I were both feeling a little overwhelmed by the heat. To combat the heat we sought refuge in the shelter of local flea market nearby – Hev needed a hat anyway. It may have been sheltered from the sun but the stall owners don’t mess about, they want to make money off you and as much as possible at that. Classic lines were used such as I need my first customer of the day to by something as it’s good luck, I wanted to reply with....... it’s not bad luck just bad merchandise. One guy tried to sell Hev a hat she didn’t want, initially starting with a price of “250 pesos” in a confident Mexican accent, we started to walk away; “150 pesos”, we continued walking away........... “100 pesos” we heard in desperate almost saddening meek voice as we walked around the corner. Maybe it was bad luck for him, I’m going to stick with it would have been bad luck for Heather to have bought the hat. As we strolled around the market every shop owner and even people I think who were also shopping would try to assist us to realising that the Cancun, Mexico hat they were selling was so much more hilariously witty than the shop next doors, despite them being identical. There were however some really nice souvenirs available but I would advise having a moment to mentally prepare yourself for the sales pitches before entering, this is just their way. We also got offered to buy some Cocaine a few times, so if that’s you’re thing head on over. It’s not our thing, instead we went old school crazy with rehydration by the means of chilled water – gotta love it. We spent the remainder of the day sat by the pool of the hotel after catching our first local bus back.
Really feeling as though we were failing to embrace the culture of Mexico and Cancun we headed into downtown for some dinner, all in all a very exciting prospect based on our love of Old El Passo fajitas. We got lured in by another hard selling Mexican shop owner to eat in his restaurant, there’s a pattern forming here. We sat outside in the street at our little table and awaited our authentic Taco’s with great expectation, sipping a coke and a beer. We didn’t eat much of the complimentary starter a simple plate of tortillas with hot guacamole and even hotter salsa, to avoid ruining the main (and our ability to taste). This was fairly easy to achieve as there was no pleasure in eating the sweat and tear inducing condiments for us. Then the moment arrived, my tacos and Heather’s fajita’s where placed on the table. Now to say disappointed would be unfair, let’s stick with it was unexpected. Not the food arriving, we ordered it, but more what was put in front of us. It wasn’t Old El Passo that’s for sure. It was dry, so very dry; and small, really small. Anyone who knows me will tell you I like food and generally lots of it, so I was immediately concerned about suffering from starvation in this country. I mean I know the Maya people are small but this would have been a small portion for them. The options on how to eat the tacos were bland with just the chicken and refried beans in the taco wrap which was boring and rather tasteless or, to add some of the make you sob sources I mentioned earlier. I opted at the dismay of the restaurant owner to add garlic dressing, I did end up enjoying the meal even if the owner was clearly concerned that I was doing it wrong. Even more unexpected than the tragedy that befell me was that Heather’s Fajitas were in a similar state, we didn’t understand we thought they would be saturated with flavour not dry unless tongue melting.
We headed back to the hotel to sleep, slightly unsure of our own understanding of Mexican cuisine but not hungry which is the main thing. Oh, one other thing which happened on this evening which made me laugh was Hev and I discussed whilst waiting for our dinner how we should try to make an effort to speak Spanish. Our food arrives and Heather responds without realising “Merci”, I’m giggling a little, the restaurant owner replies “you speak French?” as you would. Hev looks at him with a straight face and replies innocently “No” I’ve nearly wet myself at this point. She had no idea what she’d said, such a simpleton when she’s tired!!
The next morning we woke at 6, nice to see the body clock situation is improving. We spent the morning walking around downtown and bought Heather a hat, a much needed accessory which she actually lacked. It fitted the stringent requirements exactly which were in Heather’s words “it needs to be foldable and I need to like it”, I had so much fun trying to help with finding this! We booked our trip to Chichen Itza, which we were told also included visiting a cenote and a colonial town called Vallodolid, lunch and drinks were to be included and that no money needed to be taken. We were all booked in for the next day, just needed to be at the pick up point at 06:45 in the morning. Had a weird lunch, we weren’t sure what it was called and I’m not convinced the girl who served us could speak let alone in English. She just maintained an emotionless expression throughout the entire process, the ordering, the cooking, the paying, the receiving; very strange. Maybe she was shell shocked that someone had actually ordered one of these. It was essentially stringy chicken and cheese in a fried tortilla style wrap which resembled the shape of a pasty when finished. The girl added a lot of cream on top, with some lettuce and white crumbly cheese (not feta) sprinkled on top. It was surprisingly good, it was never going to be the winning dish on Masterchef but it was good for a basic snack.
We spent the afternoon next to the pool at the hotel and planned the up and coming days in terms of budget and what we expected/would like to get up to. As we lay there enjoying the glorious sunshine joking about “what’s snow?” and “do you remember that sensation we used to refer to as being cold”, I started to feel hungry (who’d have thought it) so we got showered and headed out for dinner. We ended up in a little restaurant one street over from where we ate the previous night, it was presented well and we thought after feeling a little let down last night we’d treat ourselves and throw caution to the wind in terms of our budget. We both ordered chicken based dishes with vegetables. Credit where credit is due, they were both fairly tasty bits of grub however there just wasn’t enough. The vegetables were the let down, I expected a great selection of veggies, and instead we were faced with 2 bits of broccoli and 5 little bits of carrot. Alarm bells were ringing. I actually might not make it. Both places we’d sat to eat had been consistent in that they both ensured we understood that tips were not included, well to be frank neither was the service. Feeling slightly ripped off we headed back to relax by the pool before bed. Oh yeah, it was still only 16:30; we were well adjusted to the local time!