Mexico..the long.long version

As promised, the long version of the events in Mexico

We got there (Cancun) on a Monday. The weather was great, the hotel
was really nice, expect for the sea in front of the hotel being a little
over-seaweeded, but really nothing to grumble about. The food was good, varied
and did not induce explosive bowel disease, which is always a plus.

We spent the next two days relaxing, getting sunburnt and
enjoying the beach bar at unlawful hours. I mean, it’s an all-in resort and
they start serving corona’s and mai-tai’s at eleven in the morning, what’s a
girl to do? We got some briefing from the neckerman guy, trying to sell us a
bunch of jungletrips and the like. ‘See the lovely Mayan buildings with a bunch
of Germans’- kind of things. We decided, since we would have two weeks there
anyway, we’d get our own information and decide at our own leisure. On
Wednesday, there was some talk about a hurricane. We had had an sms from my
mother in law earlier saying ‘err, there’s a hurricane heading your way’ . So
we decidedt o check it out. Armed with wavy blonde hair and my bestest Spanish,
I pried around for some information. ‘Nothing serious’ I was told ‘we’ll
probably get some rain on Friday, but that’s it’. With that information, we
headed towards an internet café, to check out the weather report and to mail
and blog home. The weather report was also lenient, some rain and wind, nothing
serious. Back at the hotel, I made reservations for the a la carte restaurant
for Thursday evening. At the hotel’s snackbar a Dutch couple approached me, did
I know about the coming storm? I told them what I knew. They’d heard we would
possibly be evacuated. I doubted it, and went to get a caipirinha.

Later that night the group of Dutchmen from the neckerman
group got closer together, swapping new information, sharing concerns. I
usually despise meeting fellow countrymen during my holiday, but this actually
wasn’t that bad. At nine, we phoned the trip-selling Neckerman guy, who gave
the final answer, we would be evacuated the next day, around three.o’ clock. In
the middle of the night we were awoken by a phone call. ‘You will be evacuated
at nine tomorrow morning, bring everything’. I remember thinking ‘darn, now
we’re missing our reservation at the restaurant’. Yes, I know I’m obsessed with
food, but I was really curious to see what an a la carte Italian restaurant in Cancun
would serve.

 

The next morning we got on a bus for a 90 minute bus drive
to Tulum, to a hotel called the Bahia Principe resort. My mother in law and ace
in the hole informed us through sms that the Bahia Principe was a five star
luxury resort. Visions of hot baths and lobster dinners flashed before our eyes
wile driving through the Mexican landscape, watching people running around with
sheets of wood to board up their properties. Everything was going to be fine.

The rooms at Bahia Principe were, as I mentioned earlier,
spacious and sported a kingsize bed, tv, coffeemaker, minibar, bath, lots of
towels and bathgoodies, bottles of drinking water and a cable connection which
enabled us to watch Cinemax, HBO and, most importantly CNN. After a lovely
lunch and dinner (no lobster though) we got our final information. Get in the
room at 22:00, close the
stormshutters, and don’t get out until 17:00
the next day. Lunch packs will be provided. We brought some food from the
buffet just in case. Good thing we did, ‘cause no matter what we did or who we
asked, no lunch packs. We bolted the metal stormshutters, stored the food and
turned on CNN. In between reports on the Birdflu scare and the earthquake in Pakistan,
weather charts of Mexico
where shown, sporting a big red blob called Wilma moving slowly, very slowly
but very surely, towards us. It was already raining in Cuba,
which provided us with images of people trying frantically to cover the tobacco
harvest to keep it dry. Right at the point where Wilma hit Cozumel
is land, right off the coast of Tulum, the power went
out and we were left in the dark, literally and figuratively. It was now just a
matter of waiting. We brought out the flashlight which, as I had assured Casper
when packing, ‘we would not be needing this vacation’. (Just like the raincoats
I was absolutely sure we didn’t need, and thus didn’t bring). All there was
left to do was sleeping or reading, so that’s what we did. I finished reading
the Da Vinci code that night. Pretty good book actually, when you get over the
American ‘I know just about everything’-attitude the writer seems to have.

We breakfasted with some cold pasta I had brought from the
dinner buffet the night before. The rest of our meals consisted of cold
potatoes, drumsticks and soggy bread. But we were fine, we even had some beers
left in the minibar. I had taken to reading in the bathtub to save the
flashlight batteries. The bathroom still had some light coming through a thick
glass tile in the wall. The bathtub was actually the driest place in the
bathroom since the bathroom light was leaking water like crazy. Also leaking
was an air vent above the topmost shelf of the closet, where we had wisely
stored our important stuff that should not under any circumstance get wet. Oh
well..

The day passed with no information about the storm but the
tugging at the door and the rattling of the shutters. The noise came to sort of
a highpoint on Friday night, stuff occasionally banging on the shutters and
some more water coming from under the door. We really had nothing else to do
but cuddle up together and sleep some more.

The next morning Casper
opened the door to see if Wilma had taken her business elsewhere. There was
still lots of rain and wind, but not in hurricane-like intensity. A little bus
was driving around providing little bags of food with chewy cornflakes, fruit,
soggy sandwiches and pasteurized milk (with added vegetable fats..ieuw). We
were told to stay in until 17:00, so
we did. After that Casper visited a
befriended couple from the neckerman group (Rob and Caroline), they had been in
the dark all this time, without candles or flashlights. Caroline was pretty
shaken up, no wonder, since this was one of her very few trips away from home,
and all previous trips had been equally disastrous.  We went to play cards at their apartment,
bringing our flashlight. We actually had fun that evening. Afterwards, when we
went back to our apartment, I felt guilty for taking the light. The next day
passed similarly uneventful. We went for a walk around the premises in a short
dry spell, to inspect the damages. The pictures we took can be viewed in my
album titled ‘Mexico’.
The damage actually wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be. I had expected
trees flying around and such. Most trees were still standing and most of the
glass panels the hotel buildings had for walls were still intact. Walking
around there still had a titanicy kind of feeling with all the water and the
broken glass. On our walk back we intercepted a food truck, again my Spanish
saved the day and got us four bags of warm (!) food en bottles of water. Back
at Rob and Caroline’s room the food turned out to be hamburgers!! Yay! Warm
hamburgers with packets of ketchup and mayo, what a treat!

After dinner we were ‘informed’ by a particularly loud and
annoying man from the neckermann-group, to whom we had started referring as
‘the hat’ that we should ‘lock our doors and get ready’ because apparently,
according to his ‘official information’ the hurricane was ‘coming back’. We
thought the better of it, but nevertheless locked the storm shutters before
going to bed.

Of course, the hurricane never came back. The next day,
there was already breakfast in the main restaurant. There was only one dining
room  available, so there were huge
queues. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, sausages and French fries,
wheehee. Lunch and dinner went much smoother, no queues, food in abundance,
shrimps no less. That night we were informed that we should pack our things and
be at the lobby at 5:15 the next
morning. The Dutch government had ordered immediate evacuation out of the area.
We were bummed. The weather had been fine that day, we had gone for a swim in
the sea. The hotel was practically up and running again, we could still have a
great vacation. Nope, nothing of the sort, we were mercilessly ordered home.
Everyone else was happy and relieved to go home, at one point I felt like
slapping them 

 

At 5:15 that
morning we were ready to go, the restaurant had not yet opened for breakfast.
The busses should be there at 5:30.
At  7:00
there was no bus and no breakfast. At 8:00
the busses would be there in an hour and we could get some breakfast, but we
absolutely had to be back by 9:00. At 9:00, no bus. As the day went on (again gorgeous
weather) stories kept changing. First, the trip to Merida
would take 6 hours, and there would be no planes leaving after dark. Then, Merida
was8 hours away, but there might be a flight that evening after all. Long
frustrating story short, at 13:00 the
busses finally arrived and we were on our way. Getting to Merida
all of a sudden would take a mere 4 hours, but there would be no stops. Of
course there were stops. And also a part of the road so flooded that the water
reached the baggage space of the bus to get all the luggage inside all wet. Merida
airport was extremely crowded. There were camera crews, and busload after
busload of Brits, Frenchmen and Germans At one point a touroperator had to get
on one of the check-in counters to stop a large group of particularly annoying
Germans to stop shoving, get in line like decent people and play nice. Oh well,
they’re Germans, they can’t help themselves. When our plane was finally ready
to be boarded, the stewards and stewardesses had to take over the check-in
counters get things moving fast enough. In a matter of minutes we were through
check-in and on the plane. The flight took eight and the half hours, which is
record speed. This was probably due to a strong jet stream caused by Wilma,
heading towards Florida by that
time.

 

Back home, the plane had trouble landing due to poor
visibility caused by, ah great, another storm. Safely on the ground, more
camera crews and lots of concerned family members. Casper’s
mom and dad came to pick us up, which was good, since our coats and sweaters
were soaking wet. They brought us home, with a small detour to get a bottle of
pernod, some cigarettes and a pizza. We haven’t left our house since..

 

So this was the grueling tale of our adventure. Last year
the tsunami, this year the strongest hurricane in recorded history. Next year
we’re planning to be at the site of a massive earthquake and the year after
we’ll probably be vacationing on the slopes of an erupting volcano. After that
we’ll start taking normal holidays for a change.. 

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2 Responses to Mexico..the long.long version

  1. Unknown says:

    wow! Quite an adventure!Glad you\’re home save and I hope next trip will be less eventfull

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