And with this entry, I officially end this particular blog...until my next one-week trip to Mexico -- hopefully sometime in the next couple of years, since I really enjoyed practicing my Spanish and visiting so many archaeological sites -- again, a dream of mine since I was a little boy.
So, on this last day (or portion thereof) in Cancun, I work up at 5:30 am and packed all of the items that I had laid out the night before. Though not nearly to the extent of my 2013 Hong Kong and China trip (for those of you who might have read my 300-plus screen blog at www.speakmanylanguages.com), I did indeed wind up overpacking for my Mexican Yucatan trip, and in hindsight could have made do with only 2/3 of the items and clothes that I brought with me. Still, somehow, it was easier to fit everything into my suitcase going home, rendering it at a much lower profile than when I packed it in the first place in NYC prior to my departure for Mexico on the 14th.
After a quick shower and a once-over of my room, I locked up and deposited the keys in Walter's mailbox on the wall outside of the entry gate that you all saw in my previous video of my Cancun accommodations. From here, backpack on and wheeling my small but stuffed carryon behind me at 8:10 am, I negotiated the walk from my room to the ADO downtown Cancun bus station one last time. It was a bittersweet experience. On the one hand, my week in Mexico has been truly amazing and with only one super tiny "regret," if I can even call it that: that, because of time constraints, I did not have time to climb the tall pyramid temple atI en Coba 2 days ago. And this was not really a "regret" in the grand scheme of regrets (or of my life) -- merely a minor disappointment, since I had gotten to climb the temple at Ek Balam on the 16th and film a panorama from that top of that building.
I really savored my walk through the various neighborhoods and regions of the city center (see map in yesterday's posting for a pen trace of my walk from Walter's home near the intersection of Avenidas Kabah/Rodrigo Gomez and Chichen Itza, turning right on Avenida Uxmal to the ADO downtown terminal). Upon my arrival at the shopping center across the street from the bus station, I purchased some Yucatan-style tamales for breakfast ($1.25 USD each and huge and with shredded chicken and spices inside and one of my favorite foods that I will miss from this trip, that I will now need to seek out in NYC). I also purchased my last diet apple soda of the trip (my one "vice" this trip has been to sample as many wonderful Splenda and stevia-sweetened diet sodas as possible in such excellent flavors as apple, cranberry, orange, and aloe, all made with real juices).
Sitting in the bus station, I killed 30 minutes by making a mess of myself, eating my two tamales with my fingers instead of a fork like a civilized person -- and I drank my apple soda. I also drank the OXXO brand cafe Americana coffee, black with a bit of non-dairy creamer "borrowed" from Tacos Rigo the day before. The coffee was good -- Mexican coffee is mellow and really quite lovely compared to some of the other varietals of the beverage. Finally, my bus boarded.
My voice does that thing again in this video that I don't LIKE, where it goes UP at the end of every PHRASE for at least the first MINUTE or so. Shit. Need to STOP that...
I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to check in, check my baggage, make my way through security and passport control, and make my way to the food court area.
Since I didn't post any pics or videos of the airport upon my arrival, due to my frustrations at the time with my non-working cellphone SIM card, I am posting a few impressions now, so my readers will get a feel for Cancun International Airport:
With over an hour to kill, I purchased a super tasty $9 USD BLT sandwich with a decent amount of really tasty bacon and a good portion of romaine lettuce plus a few slivers of red onion thrown in for shits and giggles. I declined to purchase a $5 USD small bottle of water in favor of a $5.50 USD Starbucks medium cafe Americana, black, to which I added the second packet of Coffeemate that I had "borrowed" yesterday from Tacos Rigo. I love when I think ahead...
A wonderful coincidence, or synchronicity, occurred while waiting in line to board my plane. I was in zone 3 of 3 to board, and the couple standing next to me was obviously American. We started talking. It turns out that they live in Brooklyn, right down the street from me in my neighborhood of Park Slope. Further, the coincidence or synchronicity exploded in its wonderfulness when it became apparent that the three of us were actually sitting in the same row, right next to each other, on our flight from Cancun to Atlanta. We were also, by default, sharing the same flight from Atlanta to NYC after our mutual layover!
How cool is that?!?!
Here is a picture of my new friends Marcello and Kristen, with whom I got to hang out during the entire flight from Cancun to Atlanta, as well as during our protracted layover of several hours due to bad weather and a hold on all departures for a small window of time in Atlanta:
The conversation was incredible, and I feel blessed to have made 2 new friends from my own neighborhood in Brooklyn!
Upon arrival in Atlanta, delays were all around, so the three of us took the opportunity to continue our conversation over various foodstuffs in Terminal A's food court. I chose Chick-fil-A, my one fast food vice in the US, which I am literally compelled to eat as if in a drug-induced waking sleep whenever I see one. 8 chicken nuggets and a medium waffle fries later, I felt kind of gross (I rarely eat fried foods anymore), but oddly fulfilled at a soul-deep level. Amazing what a Christian chicken joint can do for one's psyche...
Somehow I was bumped to zone 1 when boarding our flight from Atlanta to NYC, probably because I was sitting in the back of the plane, 2 seats away from a very loud jet engine. All around me on this flight were various members of either a local Atlanta college baseball team, on their way to NYC to play one of New York's college teams at City Field.
Alas, Kristin and Marcello were sitting 10 rows in front of me on this flight, and they did not have any checked bags, so I did not get to speak to them for the rest of the evening. I was later invited to share a cab with them back to Park Slope, but my phone died while I was texting to find out where they were standing. As readers will see in a moment, this was tragic, because by the time I got to the taxi queue, taking a taxi home was no longer an option for me last night. I will explain momentarily...
So, anywho, my flight from Atlanta was uneventful and I was able to label a bunch of photos for yesterday's blog entry during the flight on my laptop. I also listened to some Dream Theater on my Zune and realized how much I need to sing again at this point in my life, in order to heal a very deep wound in my soul that I myself put there 6 or 7 years ago.
After collecting my carryon bag, which I had declared both on the way to Mexico and now on the way back, so that I could take my own large tube of sunscreen among other things, I had high hopes of catching a taxi home. However, when I got to the taxi stand at terminal A, there were literally over 100 people waiting in the longest line that I have ever seen anywhere EVER for a taxi. I think it would have taken me over an hour or more of waiting in line to even get to the point when I would have been close to the front of the queue, so I made the completely well-intentioned but equally stupid decision to take the Airtrain to the NYC subway to my usual 25th Street R stop in South Park Slope, Brooklyn.
What a mistake! I would up taking the Airtrain to the J, to the A, to the F, to the D (which was running local at this point on a Wednesday evening/Thursday morning). I left the airport around 11 pm and did not get to my Brooklyn apartment until 1:30 am. Holy shit, was that grueling. Especially since I was miserably tired by this point, and a bit food allergy-ized from some food I had eaten earlier in the day -- including, most likely, a bit of egg in the batter of the Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets that I'd had for dinner earlier on this evening.
Well, I finally did get home, and after feeding my 3 cats, I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and crashed -- allowing myself the luxury of "sleeping in" until 7:30 am the following morning. Sometimes it is nice to pamper oneself...
And so, to all of my readers of this brief, but hopefully informative blog about my Mayan explorations in Mexico's Yucatan region...THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS BLOG, AND TO CHECK OUT MY PHOTOS AND VIDEOS. I hope that this has been informative for you all, and I welcome any comments or insights...either about my vacation itself, or about my suggestions for learning Spanish -- and, by extension, for learning any language using fun, creative resources widely available on the internet, at used bookstores such as New York City's The Strand in Union Square, and on such popular used books web portals as Amazon.com, etc.
Again, thank you all, very much, for joining me on this special journey. Very best wishes to All!