Thursday, May 03, 2007

day one: arriving, cancun, valladolid

I´m going to try to make an entry for each day, so as to avoid confusion, and I think I´ll be able to use the computers here at the school instead of the internet cafe. It´s free, after all.

So. On Monday I was up at 4:15 am, wandering around hugging cats and fretting. Sam and her boyfriend came to pick me up at 5, at which point I was almost nauseous with worrying. We decided to calm down a bit with some Tim´s coffee from the 24 hour Tim´s uptown.
No word of a lie, it started snowing while we were at Tim Horton´s. Real flurries, not just a couple of flakes.
Anyway, we headed over to the airport and met up with everyone there; I stupidly forgot that you can´t bring any liquids or gels over 100g on the plane in a carryon, and so I had to forfeit my shampoo and sunscreen. Stupid regulations.
I wrote a lot in my journal about the minutiae of the flights, but it boiled down to a lot of taking off and landing, and not very much food. Every plane gave us a drink and a pack of peanuts or Sunchips, but it was kind of dull. At the Boston airport we got to take an extra bus to the Customs building, and then a tram back to our terminal, which was relatively exciting, I had just enough time to cram a cinnamon bun down my throat before the next flight. Atlanta was quiet, and at that point it was starting to get warm outside... and then we landed in Mexico, and it was hot. It must be terribly awkward flying into Cancun in January, clothes wise.
When we landed and got through customs (much easier than American customs), Anne and I went to go look for the early arrivals, including Will, but didn´t really get very far. You can´t leave the terminal and then reenter, so we couldn´t go outside, and the inside was full of Mexicans yelling at us to come on to their tour, hotel, resort, or taxi. We spent a few minutes chatting with a fellow who was delighted that Anne can speak rather good Spanish, though he was sad that we already had reservations and so couldn´t go to his resort.
When Christiane got through customs, we all went out together, and there was everyone from the early flights - including Will, and also Heather! Heather is from my honours seminar class, but we had no idea she was coming because she only decided to come after our last class (apparently we inspired her to come along with our talk of traveling and food and tequila and beaches).
So, we piled into a big blue air conditioned bus. Christiane runs this field school with the help of a woman named Joanna who runs the university-college; Joanna´s son Carlos is helping out with the trip. He´s actually a UNB graduate with a minor in Classics, so we know a lot of the same people.
Carlos took us to a beautiful beach. It´s in a bare patch between resorts, which take up most of the coast, and we were the only gringos there; apparently it´s a beach that the Mexicans come to on vacation. I was only planning to lay around in the cun, but caved and decided to at least get my feet wet.
The water was so, so warm. I´ve had baths that were colder. The beach had a little drop off so that the water came up to around your hips, but big waves kept rolling in that you can float up and down with... heavenly. I didn´t get out except to drag a few other people in until I was so tired that I wasn´t jumping high enough and started swallowing a lot of salt water.
We laid around drying off on the white sand and watching the sun set; by the time it was gone, Christiane had arrived with the last arrivals and we were ready to continue on.
First, though, we stopped at a convenience store to get a bite to eat. I got chili & lime flavoured chips - they are amazing. I´m definitely bringing some back.
We all slept on the way to Valladolid, our first stop; most of us hadn´t gotten more than two or three hours of sleep the night before our flights.
When we got to Valladolid, I dragged my suitcase up two flights of stairs to the room I shared with Sam, and tried to get a sense of the hotel. Like most Latin American hotels, it doesn´t have much in the way of outward looking windows; there were three floors of rooms in a ring around a central atrium, with a garden and a swimming pool. Beautiful. Unforunately, the pool was closed for the night, but we were all mostly tired of swimming.
I decided to go with a girl I hadn´t met, Kim, to go make phone calls. She had been at the hotel a few hours before us, because she missed a flight and had to make her own way there. Anyway, she took us to a park across the street filled with these strange S-shaped loveseats (I´ll find a picture - EDIT, here you go...) that had payphones, and I dodged bats while waiting for ten minutes to get connected. Eventually I got through to Mom, but I´m afraid I didn´t make much sense. It was the fatigue, I think.
I bought some more shampoo, and then got sucked into walking around the square with a bunch of people for a while; they said they were going to eat, but spent so much time taking pictures of signs in the dark that I went back to the hotel and wrote in my journal until I fell asleep.


Blogger dp said...

Nice to hear your first day of adventures. Glad you survived the bat attack that I was listening to at 1 am when you called. Made me chuckle in memory of the moths last year the size of faceclothes.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Michelle and I are so jealous. I wish I could be on a beach right now. Its snowing here in Lab.

8:24 PM  

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