Monday, March 16, 2009
My time in Mexico is complete. For now, at least. I am sad to go as it’s been an amazing trip. Reaching far back to my time in Trinidad, is a stretch for my mind. But I am homebound and back to life in New York. I wonder how I’ve changed on this trip – I’m sure I have and it will be interesting to discover the changes as I settle back into my routine at home.
I’m determined to stay positive, though as my plane flew over the ocean, I had to fight the urge to weep. My ride to the airport was nothing short of an adventure. I left myself plenty of time, but still managed to almost miss my flight. As I write this, I’m not even sure if my bag will make it New York – fingers crossed.
Though my car rental originated in Tulum, I was able to arrange it so that I could return it at the airport in Cancun. The guy at the rental place and I had a conversation – and I use that term lightly – about how to get to the rental agency in Cancun. The conversation consisted of him drawing on a general map of Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun, a line with an arrow and a star to indicate where I had to go. He also gave me the name of what I thought was the street, but I found out later it was the name of the shopping center in which Buster Car Rental was located.
I left Tulum at 8:30am. Cancun is about 90 miles north of Tulum, so with traffic, it could take up to two hours. My flight was at 12:30p and I checked in online, so I was pretty confident that I’d make in time. Unfortunately, the map he provided didn’t offer much help and as I reached the Cancun airport, my search for “Nacional de Abostos” was unsuccessful. I continued driving wondering if perhaps, I had to go further into Cancun. Well, Cancun came and went and as I drove through an area that was clearly not Cancun, I decided it was time to turn around.
Once I turned around, I asked a few taxi drivers if they knew where Buster Car Rental was each time I stopped at a traffic light. Unfortunately, the further out of Cancun you get, the less likely it is to find anyone who speaks English. It was also much hotter here than in Tulum which didn’t help. I was trying to keep my cool, literally and figuratively as I assured myself everything would be okay. Another fake it ‘til you make it moment at its best!
I reached the airport, again and decided to stop into one of the more major car rental places. The people at Budget told me I was close, but they couldn’t quite explain just how close. I knew from them, that I had to turn around and go North (again), pass Budget and then turn around (again) to reach Buster which, apparently I had passed when I pulled into Budget. It was close to 11am and I was hot and worried that I would miss my flight.
Plus, I still wasn’t really sure where the hell this place was. I pulled into another car rental place and in full New York intensity announced to the guy that I was lost and “going to miss my flight.” Thank goodness his English was good. He directed me to Buster which upon finally finding it, I realized just how improbable it would have been for me to find it on my own. Note to self – next time go with the one you know, say, Alamo or Thrifty. I chose Buster because Hertz wasn’t an option and we all know why.
As I pulled into Buster in the obscure location, I continued to tell myself “all will be fine.”
The agent was great as he checked for damages with lightning speed – a rarity in Mexico. We jumped back into the car and we were off to the airport with 45 minutes to spare. Once at the airport, I swallowed my panic at the huge crowds all headed somewhere post-Spring Break and marched right to the Continental counter. There were some college students from Virginia who were really sweet as they let me tell the agent of my plight.
In spite of my panic, I noticed that it sure was nice to communicate with people in English for a change. The agent checked me in and told that my bag might not make it to New York today. That would suck, but ya gotta take your chances, right?
With my boarding pass in hand, I practically ran to security and was grateful that it wasn’t too crowded. Once through security, I was in Duty Free la la land. Wow! Next time, I need to save some money for this Candyland of liquor, makeup and whatever else one might think of.
When I got to the gate, I was told the flight wouldn’t board for another 15 minutes. Relieved, I opted for a beer instead of Duty Free to calm my nerves. At Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co., I had my final beer in Mexico. What a difference it is in Cancun! It felt so American. The people, the stores, the restaurants. I might as well have been in Times Square. Oh how I miss Tulum.
I took a minute to enjoy my beer and take in the scene. To my right was a guy that looked like Hulk Hogan 30 pounds lighter. His wife arrived shortly after I sat down toting a Harley Davidson Store bag. She looked like she didn’t use any sunscreen while in Mexico or quite possibly ever in her life. I focused my eyes ahead of me and watched the final 10 minutes of Forrest Gump thinking it funny that this particular movie would be playing. It was only after the movie finished did I realize why – Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co….hello??
I bid my new friend, Abraham the bartender good-bye and made my way to the bathroom before heading to the gate to board. In the bathroom, I struck up a conversation with a woman from New York. She was supposed to fly home yesterday, but missed her flight. When I asked her why, she simply replied, “Denial.” I liked her instantly.
On line at the gate, she tells me her name is Angel and she’s an artist living in Brooklyn, but is going to return to live in Tulum as soon as she can. I like her even more! I also decided to take this as a sign, an Angel reflecting back to me my deep wish to live in Tulum. The deal was sealed when I settled into my seat on the plane and pulled an angel card – intention.
I hear ya Universe, I hear ya.