Day 1 - Mexico City, Cancun, and Villa de Akumal
Location: Cancun 07
We woke up sometime after 4:00 and left house a little after 5:30. Once picked up my mom and dad, we drove straight to the airport. The check-in was much more smooth than expected, well, at least more organized than the last time I flew to Hawaii. The airplane took off on time and we landed Phoenix around noon. Once settled down at the gate where our next plane is supposed to be, we found that our plane was late. Since there was nearly three hours delay at our next stop, we didn’t think much of it. I still wished that I had time to grab some lunch.
The trip we flew to Mexico City was a bit longer than expected. First of all, my little guy became extremely disappointed when we found out the movie that was supposed to be played on the way—Harry Potter and the order of Phoenix—was replaced by Hairspring. When he asked if he could watch his Transformers, I had to let him know the battery for our laptop was running low. He started to play with the maze book for a while, then became a little restless. It took me a long time to convince him to take a nap.
Sometime around 4:00pm, we arrived Mexico City. Stretched from one end of horizon to another end was this vast city that provided homes to millions of people. Before the plane started to descend, we noted a layer of smog draped over the city. Once we got off, we walked around the airport with curiosity of little kids. The place reminded so much of Hong Kong, even the scent, bought back the old memory of Hong Kong. We walked around without knowing where to go next. I knew we need to get our next set of flight tickets to Cancun. We were walking around a maze of terminals and hearing nearly all language spoken here. At one instance, we nearly got out of the terminals. After we asked several people for direction, we finally ended up at this immigration stop that marked for all people from South America. Our only comfort was that nearly all people stood around us were as confused, if not more, than us. The line moved slowly, luckily, steadily. Once it was our turn, I was relieved to see the attendant didn’t point us to a different place. She checked and stamped our passports and took our custom forms, and we were good to go. In confusing arrays of people lining up for various purposes, we finally located our line for tickets. We got our tickets and decided to get something to eat. We walked some short distance without founding a food stand. In a hurry, we purchased two boxes of coconut chewing candies and ran to the terminal we thought our plane was.
There was no one there. We waited at the counter and the two attendants there hardly registered us. We had to ask them several times before one of them casually informed me the terminal “B” is on a different level. We were suppose go down further, turn right and climb up a stairs to terminal “B”.
At this time, the supposed four hours transit time had shrunken to less than 20 minutes. We walked as fast as we could and climbed up the stairs. The place was nothing like I expected. Instead of a terminal with a line of people waiting to be boarded, terminal “B” was like this giant bus station that rows and rows of chairs were filled with people with blank expressions and tired eyes. We walked up to the information desk for Aeromexicana and were told that there was some weather situation this morning and all planes were delayed. At this point, no one knew how much delay it was going to be.
I felt a rush of panic swiped through me. Under the original schedule, we were to arrived Cancun airport about 10 minutes later than my sister and her family. We were suppose to check out our luggage together then met our driver at the exit. Then we were to go shopping a bit of grocery and check in at our condo… My near perfect plan started to melt in front of my eyes. Miraculously, my cell phone worked and I called my sister and informed her the situation.
We waited around for over two hours and finally heard our flight number announced in the speaker. We rushed to the terminal and checked in. Once walked inside we found ourselves sitting in a strange cart that resembles a section of subway station, or a cut off section of airplane that even has strange cone shaped “wing” attach to the top. The “bus” even comes with extensible wheels that can raise it over a couple of stories high. It was another forty some minutes of waiting before we started to move toward our airplane. Sometime a group of German exchange students boarded; they sang and talked out loud like some little kids.
Finally the bus started to move and we were transported directly to our airplane. Once it was near the airplane, it raised up to the level of the airplane and the door connected directly the entrance of the airplane. Our plane, after another forty minutes of refueling, finally took off toward Cancun.
Once we landed, we subjected ourselves to the random inspection station. Of course, with my ill lucks, I was the only one got “selected”. After they checked my luggage we headed toward the exit. Outside the exit area, rows of people with signs were waiving at us. Among many others, I located my sister and her family. We were all overcame with relief and joy.
Our driver, Raymundo and his son Ricardo, introduced themselves to us. Ricardo took us toward our condo.
We drove all the way to Playa de Carmen and stopped to got some water and food at a 7 Eleven type of shop. Then we drove toward Akumal. It took us nearly an hour to get there. Since the road was under construction signs were sparse, we drove back and forth around Akumal looking for our condo. To our despairation, it was passing midnight and nearly all places were closed. The calls to the condo were ringing without reaching anybody. Even the attendants in various hotels were barely in sight. Anxiety built up inside the car as both the drivers and the passengers became tired and exhausted. After stopped near every places, we finally return to the first place we stopped and asked for more directions. This time, a mid age gentleman volunteered himself and jumped into the car with us. With his guidance, we finally arrived our condo and our hosts welcome us at the entrance. With some help, we dragged our luggage into the room and settled down.
It wasn’t until the attendant left us, we looked around. It was a very spacious condo. There were three bed rooms, each comes with a full bathrooms. One faced the ocean front while the other faced the garden. Another one was a suite that came with its own bathroom, kitchen and sitting area. The living room came with wall sized door that overlooked the beach. The dinning area was large enough to seat all eight people, and a kitchen area that came with all the cooking utensils.
Everything was nice except the water from the faucet was non-portable. It even tasted a bit salty if you happen to take shower and let it ran into your mouth. The lodge does supply a couple gallons of bottled water in large containers and they seemed to be refilled in a daily basis.
Overall, the place was clean, tastefully decorated and rather pleasant. We all crushed down on our beds and fell deeply asleep.
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