Thursday, October 14, 2010

Memories: Micro, Gestalt, and Tortugas

(click the pix to see the baby Tortugas)

Of course we'll remember Cancun 2010: the trip we'd been planning for 10 months, bought our airline tickets with points on Mexicana and a month before the flight we got the ubiquitous call: "there has been a change in your itinerary, please call us." Significant, indeed, it was. Mexicana had gone out of business and felt no compunction or responsibility to refund our money or rebook us on an airline that was still flying.

We'll remember always how much Kirk, especially, was looking to a change in scenery, venue, and the roil of surf right outside our patio door.

We'll remember always taking a cab, plane, cab, ferry, and golf cart to get to our villa on Isla Mujeres, reminiscent of the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

We'll remember always our first meal on Isla of Ceviche at Picus.

We'll remember always notification by the Resort Staff to attend a meeting of all guests at 11:00 a.m. to learn how they would be evacuating us from Isla Mujeres to Cancun in anticipation of a direct hit by Hurricane Paula.

We'll remember always spending the rest of the day following the evacuation plan, arriving in our new accommodations in a lovely room at Avalon Grand, except to reach it you had to climb 62 steps and traverse two steep ramps, outside, in the rain, with no elevator option.

We'll remember always watching workers board up the windows and shops closing their doors to wait out the storm which ultimately turned east and hit Cuba instead of Cancun/Isla Mujeres.

We'll remember always Alejandro, the 26 y.o. front desk clerk at Isla who excelled in his customer service at Isla and who shared a big piece of his poignant story with us as we waited at the Ferry Dock waiting to be evacuated. Kirk is hopeful he can arrange for Alejandro to participate in Spanish Town in 2011 as a Guide.

We’ll remember always Kirk’s billfold continuing to ride on the Old Cancun bus without him.

We'll remember always releasing 2 of the 125 day-old baby sea turtles into the sea praying the birds of prey wouldn't snatch them before they reached safety. Wonder where safety is for those little guys?

But there are other memories that are likely to recede from the conscious realm only to be reawakened upon return to experience Mexico anew:

__The recognizable smell of Cancun as soon as exiting the plane and before stepping onto the the jetway

__Paper napkins that virtually dissolve when wet

__Absence of pedestrian walk lights so peds, scooters, buses, cabs, and cars all jockey for crossing rights

__Steps everywhere that are unregulated in height, even in the same flight

__Sidewalks that are actually humorous, if you're able bodied, as they are anything but flat, chunky cement, curb irregularities galore, and full of mid-block steps into houses and shops. If you're mobility challenged, well, even a wheelchair pusher would not be up to the task. "Kneeling buses", unheard of.

__Light switches in the villa that require key card insertion. That requires a lot of key cards unless you like leaving one room in the dark, groping to the next to insert your key card once again.

__Street signs painted on the sides of the buildings at a height of 20 feet in binoculars-required hand printed fonts, and there is no consistency on what corner (N,E,S, W) the signage will appear. Oneway signs are hand painted pieces of wood nailed to whatever, if ever.

__Garage parking meters are emptied by two, unarmed women removing the canister and dumping the coins into a bag, spilling coins all over the ground. That's the job of the second woman: pick up the spilled coins. No armored vehicles here!

__Bus fare is collected by the driver, change is made, and fares stored in open box.

__Construction workers jackhammering in flip flops.

__Peanut butter is unheard of.

__Seeming absence of locals over the age of 55. Where are they? Are they?

__Beaten down weariness of the visage, shoulders, and step of the locals riding the bus from the Hotel Zone to "real Cancun" where over 450,000 live out their lives.

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