I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." -Robert Louis Stevenson
My wife and I recently went on vacation to Cancun, Mexico, and, let me tell you, it was a wonderful experience. It was my first trip out of the country - I know, right? Gotta do that more! - and I thought I would take this opportunity to share some observations.
- If you haven't seen 9News' Kyle Clark interview with a Frontier airlines public relations guy, it is a must see. And, having flown Frontier to Cancun, I must say it couldn't have happened to a nicer airline.
- Pasty white kids (c'est moi) who spend their entire lives a mile high take some time to adjust to the Tropics. Really not used to breaking into a sweat walking 200 yards along the beach ... at 11 o'clock at night.
- If you've never gone to an all-inclusive resort, I highly recommend them! We stayed about halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, and it was awesome. They said it was "just" a four-diamond resort, and one of their smaller properties, but it was really something special. Someday we'll go back and see what a five-diamond resort is like!
- Conversing, and then converting, in Pesos was surprisingly challenging, especially since the conversion isn't always consistent from one place to the next, or from one form of payment to the next. Add on top of that the idea that merchants are all too happy to haggle, it makes for an interesting process for us Gringos.
- If there's any truth to the stories about tainted alcohol being served in Mexico, we saw (er, tasted) no evidence of it. We did, however, see plenty of evidence of people being stupid about drinking at the pool in the heat of the afternoon, which, one would assume, might lead to difficulties.
- Japanese hibachi prepared Mexican-style ... just don't.
- I can now say that I have golfed in a foreign country. I can also report that my game is no better south of the border.
- Without fail, the people we ran in to were friendly, conversational, and good-humored - they were even quite tolerant, even indulgent, of my attempts to speak their language! Now, I realize that the people working at and around a resort in a third world country are probably situated quite differently from the people who, say, live in a sweltering city of about 21 million people in a third world country, but my experience was really great. Or, as the locals say, Excellente!
- Speaking of which, one of the people we talked to said the average person working around that region lives on the equivalent of $12 a day. Twelve. Even if you factor in the difference in cost of living, that is a painfully low total. At some point, I think our immigration debate should at least take into account those economics - it's not a stretch to say that immigrants from that situation are much closer to being economic refugees than they are simple migrants.
- Travel is good for the soul. New sights, new sounds, new smells, it all has a way of resetting the brain and allowing one to see the old with new eyes. And one does not have to go thousands of miles to achieve that: walks in the pine forests of Rocky Mountain National Park or on the grasslands of the eastern plains of Colorado have the same effect. My one great lesson from our trip? Go. Go somewhere, anywhere. Because when the world around you is different, you tend to get a better view of who you are and what matters most.
La Vida el Amor!
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His novels are available at MichaelJAlcorn.com