If you look really hard at my face, you can see traces of the suntan I cultivated on our recent trip to Mexico. I am still pink on my shoulders and in a few spots where I missed coverage with sunblock, but memories of this trip will last far longer than my suntan.
Sheela Nutelli’s friend in Boston is a travel agent and she suggested the El Dorado Seaside Suites on the Riviera Maya, so we booked a trip and we limped into the resort last week, exhausted from this up and down weather and the daily surprises from Washington. We were received with open arms by the warm, helpful staff at the resort, and I quickly turned into the Princess I was always intended to be. It’s amazing how quickly one can adapt to being waited on hand and foot. I loved being stretched out on a chaise on the white beach and reaching out my hand and finding a frosty fruit drink in it. My idea of an ideal vacation is one where I can soak up sun and read one novel after another. This was just that kind of trip, and for the first time in my life I came home rested. Normally I run around every minute of vacation trying to see every sight and explore every corner of the place I am visiting and come home pooped.
The other guests at the hotel were mainly very white-skinned people from northern England and Ireland. There was even one albino woman turning crimson on the beach. These tourists are made of tougher stuff than I am, spending hours on the beach and rotating like chickens on a rotisserie, turning bright red. Another option available on the beach were these Bali Beds, king-sized beds made up with white linens and shaded with a canopy and curtains. One had to wake up before dawn to claim one of these beds, but it would keep the sun away, and I relished the warmth of the sun on my body, but not as much as the Brits seemed to.
Our trip ended way too quickly, and our limo brought us back to the airport in Cancun, an insane place. After our driver checked us in and handed us our boarding passes, we ascended an escalator into one of the layers of hell. There was a general free for all as we shuffled from line to line trying to get though customs. Two groups of people ahead of us got into a fight over the bins they wanted to set their carry-on stuff into, but finally we all made it through customs without bloodshed. We were immediately inside the giant Duty-Free shop with its serpentine walkways. I found myself buying two Mac lipsticks, and I don’t even wear lipstick because this pretty young girl from Orlando told me they were a terrific bargain. I soon realized that the entire waiting area of the Cancun Airport is a huge shop with a few places to sit over a Tequila while you wait for your flight to board. All the gates surround the waiting area and its myriad shops and bars, so there is no escape until you get on your flight.
Two hours later we were in Atlanta where we spent the next four hours waiting for the two TSA agents assigned to process about 500 tired travelers returning to the US. At least it gave me a chance to chitchat with the people waiting near us, including a very nice young couple from Nashville returning from Cancun to pick up their two-year-old from Grandmas’s in Decatur before their return drive.
Here are some of the important things I learned: 1. All the Mexicans we met hate Trump, 2. Many, many Americans have cancelled plans to travel to Mexico since the election (see #1), 3. Most of the time people respond with kindness when they are treated with kindness and respect, and, finally, 4. I am capable of drinking more alcohol than I thought I could. I’m not a Professional like my fun friends in Charleston, but I surprised myself!