As today drew to a close, I felt like I had an unexpected amount of time left on my hands before I realized that I hadn’t written a blog entry.
I find myself in Cancún with Marnie, intentionally sans bicycle. Last fall a friend offered me his airline miles that were about to expire on an airline he no longer had ready access to, and had to be used by the end of the year. Some scrambling left me intending a free surprise flight to the Caribbean in December. After the last cycling trip around the Irish Sea, I wanted somewhere warm, and the airline didn’t offer a lot of international options anyway. Along the way my friend realized that we only had to book by the end of the year. That extra time meant Marnie could join me.
I’ve gotten quite cavalier about packing, and sooner or later that will catch up with me (again), but not this time. Quickly running through my cycling checklist, I would have been packed in less than an hour except for purchasing a few things for water filtration. Things go a lot smoother when there’s no bicycle included in my plans.
That said, I’m really used to having a bicycle. We’re going to be moving around the Yucatan every couple of days, and it took a while for me to wrap my head around planning for how to get from Point A to Point B. I confirmed that buses ran between the end points. I also made hostel reservations at each destination taking into account the distance outside of city center (I also erred on the side of caution, and high ratings).
We both managed to get to bed at leat a bit earlier than usual, in order to catch the 4:30 am taxi for our flight.
While a non-cycling vacation to Cancún is a lot more conventional than my usual holiday, we’re still budget traveling. There’s some irony that a considerable part of the expenses for this trip are the taxi to and from the airport, and kenneling Zloty. We’re spending more on his accommodations than we are on our own!
Our flight was delayed by a teen they couldn’t get to stop screaming hysterically, but I’d built time into our schedule. We arrived in Cancún otherwise uneventfully. That left us with two problems – money and transport. I spent a few moments confused, because the peso in Mexico also uses the “$” symbol. I balked at the ATM warning of $32 in cash advance fees before validating with the information booth that was in pesos.
About the worse place to pull cash is the airport ATM (although still marginally better than the ruinous rates of an airport currency exchange), but I’ve got to bootstrap my way into existence somehow. I can request currency in advance from my bank, but they’ve got a $10 fee regardless. I usually pull a couple hundred dollars to start off, and then use my VISA wherever possible to extend that time.
Outside we found the city bus, and bought tickets to take us into the center of town. Due to the extreme tourist nature of Cancún, I could have purchased the bus ticket in USD (and indeed almost everywhere else). A 30-minute bus ride later, we found ourselves at the central Cancún bus station. I’d earlier marked the hostel location on the GPS, and a short walk later we found ourselves at the spectacularly unspectacular Moloch Hostel.
I’d had a cold earlier in the week. I’ve mostly recovered, but Marnie is still a day or two behind me. I left to explore the immediate area while she took a nap. She’s at the peak of the cold, but bearing up well. I checked back in with her couple of hours later, and after a nap and a shower she was felling much better. It’s not always at the forefront of my mind that she’s toured with me before. In this case she’s travelling light, and had already washed her clothes when I returned, before beginning another nap.
My second foray into Cancún brought me closer to the tourist center. I wanted to get to the beach (surprisingly hard), and found myself walking out a series of abandoned roads to get to an old boardwalk on the coast.
A long walk back to the hostel (with my feet starting to scream), I found Marnie feeling much better after a nap and a shower. We walked out to explore a bit and grab dinner before retiring for the evening.
Tomorrow we take a bus to Vallidolid, and begin our exploration of Chichén Itzá. On foot.