With all of the recent talk on immigration issues, mainly involving Mexico and the US, I decided to indulge in something I consider to be a real benefit of the two countries being so close to each other – a quick getaway vacation to one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
My husband and I had been working too hard lately, living and laboring around our home in South Florida. The job, the kids, community meetings, planning for the impending hurricane season… it was all too much. Then my cell phone rang. Until I answered that call, the only thing that made me want to dance was the funky ring tone that jived and vibrated in my hand before I was given information that would undoubtedly serve to further occupy my time.
“Yes dear. I know dear. I will as soon as I get home dear.�? That was what you heard if you stood next to me as I responded to the usual Honey- Do requests. You know, “Honey do this…�? and “Honey do that…�?
But wait! What did he just say? Does he mean it? Yes! We’re taking a vacation. It seems my husband had been dreaming of beaches and mixed drinks by the pool just as much as I had.
We cleared our work schedules for a couple of days and decided to take a four day trip to Cancun Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. Travelocity had a great deal that included air fare and a hotel stay with a direct flight from the Ft. Lauderdale airport so; we delivered the news to our kids, readied our passports and prepared to board our dog at the kennel.
I had some concerns about the documents necessary to leave the country since the kids only had their birth certificates. I had read recently that the TSA was going to make passports mandatory for every human being that traveled abroad. After placing calls to both Travelocity and the airline, I could rest knowing that the new regulations would not be taking place officially until December 31st, 2006. We had everything we needed.
The flight was one hour and forty minutes direct to Cancun and the only line we had to wait in was that of Customs in Mexico. After which, it was off to the hotel in a taxi.
We stayed at the Gran Melia Cancun and I have to say it was one of the nicest hotels located on the main strip which was still busy with construction projects and renovation work being done in a rushed attempt to restore the town to its pre-Hurricane Wilma state before the next one hit.
My family thoroughly enjoyed the beach, which had been completely rejuvenated with fresh sand, and frolicked by the pool being served drinks and snacks all day long by the kind staff; thanks to our purchase of the all-inclusive plan upon check in.
The highlight of our four day long getaway weekend was the Friday excursion to Xcaret. Through the hotel’s concierge, we purchased a packaged day trip to the nearby Mayan village and ruins which have basically been transformed into a Mexican theme park. It was superb.
Like many tropical water parks, there is a coral reef aquarium and a manatee lagoon. Sea turtles abound among other wildlife such as jaguars, pumas, monkeys and deer. But the natural occurring attraction of the Underground River is unrivaled in the region. It snakes beneath the park through caves and occasional sunlit caverns and fossil rock formations. The crystalline water sparkles from the beams of light that shoot in from the openings above you and there are stopping points along the way where you can get out of the water, relax and reflect on the magical adventure that Disney had no part in.
The end of our evening was crowned by a show production that portrayed an historical evolution of the Mexican people, beginning with the simple, yet intelligent, Mayan Indian way of life and concluding with a beautiful proud and festive modern day Mexican musical finale.
We spent our last day there resting by the ocean in lounge chairs under a Balinese hut. As the waves rushed the beach, I reflected on the heritage of the Mexican people and thought of the recent American viewpoint in the media. “These Mexican immigrants are in our country doing the jobs Americans don’t want to do.�?
It is a shame if lettuce picking in the U.S. is a better living than one they could have in their own exotic, lush country. Tours of the region will show you how the Mayans of the Yucatan were a creative, clever people that developed an advanced timekeeping system that some say rivaled the Egyptians. The indigenous Mexican people built great stone temples and towers that still stand today for us to appreciate and enjoy. Once overtaken by the Conquistadores, they had no choice but to be converted to a new religion and way of life, blending in with the new rulers of their land…and what a beautiful land it is.
My family and I returned to the U.S. with some unforgettable memories and a new hope that the country of Mexico will someday be economically sound and prosperous for all of its people. When that day comes, the poor will not have to risk their lives by fleeing to a life of subservience in a nearby nation in pursuit of prosperity. The glorious land of Mexico should be as inviting and pleasurable for its own inhabitants as it was for this tourist from South Florida.