If our wedding was full of stressful surprises, our honeymoon was the perfect sequel.
*Disclaimer: This post is really long. Sorry!*
During our engagement, we watched the movie El Dorado and fell in love with the Aztec and Mayan civilizations so we decided to go to Cancun, Mexico, where we could see Chichen Itza.
We were married on June 8. The plan was to drive to Salt Lake City the next day and fly to Dallas and then on to Cancun. Here was the catch. We were flying standby. Because of my father's aviation career, we had flight benefits. Really, really discounted fares...but only space available.
On our drive, we took a quick detour through a car wash to wash off all the whipped cream and chocolate syrup that magically appeared on the ol' Chevy Celebrity the night before. We very quickly discovered that the window on the passenger side of the car - my side - did not have a seal. I got drenched!
Traveling brings out your true colors. This was my first time flying standby without my dad. It was only the second time Justin had ever flown. And the uncertainty of whether or not we would get on a flight was just a lot of stress for Justin particularly, but for both of us. I was used to traveling this way, but it is not an easy way to travel. So there was some tension.
But we got on our flight and made it to Dallas. But there was no way we were getting to Cancun. We had a change of plans. Dallas to Los Angeles and then from L.A. to Mexico City. And we should easily get to Cancun from there.
That plan started out well. We got to L.A. And we even got first class on our flight to Mexico City (hey, we take whatever seats are available!). But we could not get out of Mexico City. Let me tell you something about the Mexico City airport. It is like a giant cinderblock. Cement walls, cement floors and little else. Chairs were few and far between. And keep in mind that Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world. There were a lot of people there. Lots of weird people. We were stuck there for over nine hours. We spent the first night of our honeymoon sleeping on the floor of the Mexico City airport. We draped our bodies across our suitcases, hoping not to get robbed in our sleep.
Airplane after airplane left without us on it, and we got pretty frustrated. It felt like something fishy was going on. It seemed like we'd be spending the second night of honeymoon there too. We had brought all the cash that had been given to us and thought we might have to use it to buy tickets to Cancun. At that point, Justin decided it was time to play hardball. He walked up to the ticket counter and left me alone sitting next to a bald woman wearing a burlap sack who was talking to herself and gesturing wildly in the air. She also smelled oddly herbal - perhaps from some drug I am not familiar with.
Justin came back and within minutes we were on the next flight. I wondered what magical curse words he used or if he paid the guy off. Nope...he just used his magical counseling skills. :)
We got to Cancun and settled into our resort. Our room walked right out onto the beach. It was awesome.
Justin was slightly paranoid about sharks. We kayaked and we parasailed. We experimented with food - including octopus served in its own ink. Not a horrible taste, but the suction cups on the tentacles sticking to the inside of my mouth cut that experience short. :) We were super careful about not drinking water or eating raw foods that didn't have a rind. I even dumped my green salad on the used plates at another table. :) Yet, in our naivete, we drank virgin pina coladas like there was no tomorrow, never considering all the ice in them. :)
Once during dinner, Justin got got hit with a little Montezuma's revenge. We were eating at the resort, so he dashed to our room and realized he didn't have a key card. Then he ran to the front desk for another card. And he ran back to the room and the new key card didn't work. And I was just sitting at dinner forever wondering when he was going to come back. I finished my dinner and went back to the room to find him in the shower. Let's just say the bushes got a little extra fertilization. Gotta love Mexico.
We decided it was time to check out Chichen Itza. After talking to the information desk at the resort, we decided we could skip the $200 tour group and just hit the bus station for a few pesos and do it on our own. We left the comfortable, touristy area of Cancun and ventured to the bus station. All the buses to Cancun had left for the day.
We tried again the next day. We missed the first class bus - the one with the bucket seats and air conditioning that drove straight to Chichen Itza. Instead we caught the third class bus - the one that was like a school bus but without air conditioning that drove down washboard jungle roads for hours and stopped every thirty feet to let on a woman and her chickens, children selling pistachios, and armed gunmen who kicked off said pistachio sellers. We saw Mexico that day. No one on the bus spoke English. We had told the bus driver we were going to Chichen Itza and he nodded, seemingly understanding. After a few hours, the bus finally came to a stop. The bus driver looked right at us and said something in Spanish. I understood two words that he said, "Chichen Itza." He was telling us this was our stop.
We got off the bus and started exploring this remote Mexican town, garnering a few uncomfortable stares as we went. After wandering around a bit, we saw a road sign saying that Chichen Itza was still about 50 kilometers away. Oh man. It was already late afternoon. Chichen would be closing in a couple hours. There was no way for us to get there in time.
We trudged back to the bus stop. Bought some lunch/dinner from the vending machine and waited for another bus to go back to Cancun. We never made it to Chichen Itza. We only had one more day of our honeymoon left and we didn't want to waste it. We did find some very small ruins right there in Cancun that we visited. We enjoyed our unique experience deep in the heart of the Mexican jungle. Our Chichen Itza mishap was disheartening, though and it makes for a great, albeit pathetic, honeymoon story.