Traveling is about seeing new things, but it’s also about feeling them, smelling then, hearing them. It’s a global experience. That’s what struck me as soon as we stepped out of the airport in Cancun.
The smell first. The ocean nearby mixed with humidity and the scent of cleaning products—don’t laugh, fragrances vary depending on the country! The feeling of the sun on my skin, the light breeze that makes it bearable. The sounds, broken English and rapid Spanish.
Our day started early, another departure before sunset. We always seem to get the first flight of the morning in Ottawa. I don’t think I have ever seen the airport in daylight.
Usually, either Feng or I is picked on by customs and immigration. This time, it was Feng: he didn’t show up in the system when we did the self-checking and he was searched at the security check while I breezed through with no less than two lighters in my bag.
We did the U.S. security check in Ottawa which saved us a lot of time in Washington, our stopover. We didn’t even have to recheck our bags, they were sent straight to Cancun.
The plane from Ottawa to Washington was a “chicken plane” as we joked (more on chicken buses in the articles to come): it was tiny and very narrow with two seats on one side and one seat on the other. We walked from the tarmac to the terminal in Dulles—I hadn’t done that in ages in North America with all the safety measures!
We landed in Cancun at 3 p.m. and immediately headed to the hotel. For the first three nights, time to adapt, we booked a hotel on Expedia. It’s away from the touristic zone in Cancun but it’s somewhat fancy for us—understand clean with hot water and a private bathroom.
We spent the evening walking around in Cancun’s centro and we were shocked to not see a lot of tourists. Where are the people? In their resorts?
I can’t say I remember Cancun very well. Last time we were there was eight years ago. And at the time, I didn’t really know Canada or the U.S. so I hadn’t realized how “Americanised” the city is. It struck me tonight—I recognized tons of franchises we have up North, from fast food joints to big-box stores like Sears. Globalization I guess…
Still, Cancun is a good place for a first stop. Our flight there was cheap and convenient and I need to get my Spanish back. Bueno… voy a dormir!