Our flight wasn’t due to leave Cancun until 3:15pm on July 25, 2006. In some ways that was good. It gave us all morning to leisurely finish up the few last minute things left on the list. But it was horrible also. We just wanted to get going! The time passed and it was finally time to walk out of the totally boarded up house, board the door shut behind us and make our way up the hill to hail a taxi to take us downtown to the ferry.
I’m sure our neighbors thought that we were either nuts, or knew something that they didn’t. In the days proceeding our departure, I was on the second floor, putting the plywood boards on the windows up there, when I looked over to my left at our neighbors. The guy who lives there was sitting on his front porch watching me with great interest. I went to get the board for the second window and when I got back, there were nine people either standing or sitting there with him watching me! People usually only board up windows just before a hurricane strikes. He had no way of knowing that we were doing it only as a precaution and security measure since we were going to be gone for two weeks in the peak of hurricane season. The poor people must have thought that we were in for another storm for sure!
Up the hill we trudged. Even though it was only going on 11:30am, it was already 87 degrees and sticky humid. And we were fully dressed in blue jeans, socks and shoes. We had to take three different kinds of shoes with us. Flip flops for just walking about and riding on the bus, some kind of open, water proof shoe (B took his Chacos, of which I do not own a pair because I think they are ugly and the stupid things never wear out! He has had one pair for over seven years for Pete’s sake! I would rather cut off my feet than go seven years with the same pair of shoes!) for doing water adventure stuff, and one pair of closed shoes, like trainers or tennis shoes, for walking in the jungle. Fer-de-lances have very tiny teeth and can’t break through a closed shoe. Or at least I was assured of that by the many articles on the internet I had read! Plus there are any number of insects and other creatures that one might encounter in a jungle. Best to have one’s toes covered!
As I was wondering how I was going to make it for two weeks with all this weight on my back, making me look and walk as if I had a blue Widow’s hump, we heard somebody hailing us. It was our friend, J, waving from his balcony where he is staying. He is currently living here, without his wife, while their house is being built just two doors from us. I’m sure he could write a whole story himself about that experience, but I will leave that up to him. At any rate, he called for us to stop so he could take a picture of the two adventurers starting out on their trek. We dutifully posed for not one, but two pictures in the blazing hot sun. Our brief but enjoyable modeling careers over, we continued on up the hill to stand on the corner and try to hail a cab.
Most of the cabs that passed took one look at our huge backpacks and daypacks piled on the sidewalk and drove right on by. Making a no-no motion with their hand as they left us standing there panting like dogs in the hot sun. Finally one kind soul took pity on us and pulled over. Up went his trunk and in went our bags. The first of many taxi trunks that we were to load them into. Down to the dock we went with the cabbie happily chatting away to us about where we live, where we were going, how old we were, how long we have lived here, where we are from, do we like Mexico and all sorts of questions that were totally none of his business. But such is life down here.
On to the ferry we went. Walking very carefully across the gangplank in case it were to come dislodged and drop us into the sea. Don’t laugh. B saw this happen not too very long ago. They had gotten really sloppy about tying up the boat over a period of time. One fine day, they did their usual haphazard job and put the gangplank out for people to disembark. After everybody was safely off, the captain of the boat was standing in the middle of it, chatting away on his cell phone. Next thing you know, he had disappeared. The boat had floated out past the length of the gangplank and it fell into the sea, taking him and his cell phone with it. A great comedy ensued as he treaded water, cell phone held high above his head, and the rest of the crew tried to pull him out. The youngest, least senior member of the crew, was ordered to change into shorts and this poor soul had to keep diving down to tie a rope around the gangplank so they could eventually pull it back up. B said the whole thing was terribly funny but can you imagine? What if this had happened as you were walking across it carrying your suitcase? Of if a pregnant woman, or worse, somebody carrying a baby was crossing it! Since then, the boat has been tied up tighter than a S&M freak and no further instances have occurred. But beware, hold onto that handrail!
So we pulled out from the dock and headed to Cancun. The first leg of our adventure was truly underway!