San Francisco International Airport is desolate at 7am. I never thought I’d say this, considering the traffic, security lines, and fellow travel companions I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing every Monday for the last 16 months while flying to Los Angeles from SFO. But…on a random Tuesday, in United domestic, even though I’m flying internationally…it’s me alone at the security line.
An hour later, I’m sitting in business class because I’m the first on line for an upgrade. I’ve never been upgraded before. I was nothing short of beside myself. What a perfect way to start vacation! And flying to Cancun on miles accumulated on my weekly trips to Disney Interactive for work. “Yes, I WILL take another sparkling wine.”
Arriving at my hotel in Play del Carmen, Mexico, one I had booked with my eyes closed 36 hours prior – well, that was the beginning of the adventure. I’m embarrassed to say how long it took for me to turn on the lights, and I had to return to the front desk and mime my idiocy. (Put your key card into the light switch – as if that was obvious, duh, you stupid gringa). Then, a rough 15 minutes on the phone with Verizon to receive international data so that I could tell my ‘rents (who were stubbornly not really interested in speaking to me for choosing Central and South America for a solo vacation) that I had indeed landed, albeit in American Horror Story: Hotel Play del Carmen .
After I accepted that I would be murdered in my hotel room at some point in the evening, I went out on the town, got fabulously lost for 30 minutes, and found my desired location was 2 blocks from my starting point. I toured the main drag, a crazy touristy avenue complete with your usual flashing lights and flashy people – and had some of the best fish tacos I’ve ever had. The service was impeccable, and the kindness of the locals amazing when they knew I was on my own and had just arrived. Men are very forward but in a hilarious way:
“Would you like information on the…”
‘Can I have information on you..?”
With the next day full of thunderstorms, I had no idea what to plan. I didn’t sleep a wink that night. I’m a nutty sleeper – hard for me to sleep anywhere but my own bed, drenched in lavender spray. So needless to say Murder Hotel was not conducive to shut-eye. I thought all night, and decided to not spend another two nights there. But I have to say, the entire chiroporactic practice would go out of business with only the introduction of cheap Mexican mattresses. Vertebrae I didn’t know I had cracked and sighed as I stretched all night. My back never felt better.
But – I wanted relaxation, sleep, my book, and a beach – so I made a move. Last minute to the Westin Cancun, and within 40 minutes, I was in the lap of luxury. Got there, laid down in their signature “heavenly bed” and slept for 4 hours. I decide to forgo the mayan ruins, and instead, upon waking, took a tour of the grounds and saw this:
I googled the Mayans, read about their history and impactand totally appreciate them. I also appreciated the frozen mango margarita I had in my right hand while I read.
With only 48 hours at this beautiful resort, I luxuriated in being horizontal.
Reading a great book, enjoying the incredible staff and their kindness, being invited to dinner when about to eat by myself – Jose, Javier, and Daniel wouldn’t hear of it. Treated like royalty, I found a solo vacation very much inhabited by new friends.
That night, warmed from the sun and my heavenly bed, I slept 12 hours that night – and put my feet into the Caribbean for the first time the next day:
On my final day, flying out to Argentina in the evening on a red-eye, I laid by the water after a nice chat with a couple form Morristown, NJ. (You can take the girl out of NY…) – and was treated to my first and only shot of tequila, a must if you go to Mexico. It would’ve been like going to Ireland and not having a Guinness.
Two full days horizontally under the shade of three palm trees, and I was back on a plane, headed to Mexico City for a layover. I’ve never seen so much Disney paraphernalia upon my arrival. Everyone was drenched in Minnie ears, Frozen backpacks, and Cars t-shirts, on the way back from family trips to Walt Disney World. Just give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it, while you’re at it.
But I bucked up, and looked at a 6 year old wearing a Frozen t-shirt. “Elsa or Anna?” I asked. “Elsa! Elsa!” Disney – the universal language.
Next stop, Buenos Aires!