Day 1: Victoria to Cancun - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2022 - CycleBlaze

December 31, 2022

Day 1: Victoria to Cancun

With a one hour drive to the airport ad the necessary three hour lead time once there, it was a 4:30 a.m. start for us. The plan was to drive our van over to the house of our friend Marius. Marius would then join us on the drive to the airport, and then return with the van. This is a lot to ask of any but a very good friend, but Marius is such a one!   ****** BOOM ****** Jumping ahead many hours and kms for a moment, I am writing this from our place in Cancun. We are in the middle of a real down to earth neighbourhood, our ground floor door is open, and it's New Year's eve. Someone just did a fire cracker that sounded just like a big bomb. It had a clever glass shattering sound effect to follow the explosion.

Back to Victoria: The drive to Marius' place is along curvy back roads. In the dark and rain these seemed strangely unfamiliar, though I have driven them hundreds of times. Dodie helpfully asked if there was something wrong with the car. I guess the smoothness of operation was not up to standard! I got Marius to drive the rest of the way, but on a night like this, not even Marius was exactly setting any speed or smoothness records!

The three hour lead time turned out to be about right, and we were glad to have arrived just before the main bulk of passengers. They, however, were not so glad to see the Westjet agents struggling to book us in, up at the front of the line.  There was not really any problem about the check in, it's just that they wanted to do things like weigh the little bikes, and debate where on the mess of metal parts they wanted to put their tags and stickers. They also worked on finding us two seats together, and did come up with ones at the very back of the plane. This turned put to be not so great - I'll get to that.

We had fun talking to the other passengers in the line. It seems we are not the only ones with cycling injuries. One man took off his shirt to show off his scar from a smashed shoulder. Dodie's shirt stayed on. He also claimed a metal femur. Fortunately his pants stayed on for that one. But Dodie could have matched him, with the metal knees!

We might need to double check our credit card, but Westjet seemed to not charge us a fee of any kind for the bikes. This is surely not policy, perhaps the lady forgot!

Call us ugly Canadians, but to ward off the possibility that they would have no food in Mexico, we brought along some emergency supplies. This included dried apples and tomatoes from our farm, and what we call "cat food", which is tuna or chicken salad in a kit with crackers.  The cat food did not go down well with security, who decided to call it a "gel". The cans got a lot of scrutiny, and finally passed because it all fit on one of those bags they have for your liquids. We then continued our criminal ways by "forgetting"  the apples and tomatoes  for the Mexican ag authorities!

In case they have no food in Mexico!
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This mess confused Westjet enough that they forgot to charge (we think).
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The bikes still did not fit on the belt for the x-ray, so they got trolleyed through.
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There are the bikes! Careful!
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Getting those two seats at the back of the plane was not a blessing. The washrooms are back there, and consequently each one of the 150 or so passengers got to stand beside us waiting to go in. Some, lots more than once. That way we felt positioned to find out (soon enough) if any single one of them was ill. And one lady really looked very ill.  The plane itself was small and outdated , a 737-700, which makes it about 20 years old. It had no entertainment system, and felt confined and stuffy.

The small plane was no doubt because we were flying from our small town. Westjet is fixing that by not doing the route any more. We were on the very last flight. That's what we get for complaining!

The direct flight on the little plane put us in Cancun in 5 1/2 hours  - an amazing short hop. There we some immediate cues that we had landed in paradise. First off Senor Frogs told us so.

We do find Senor Frog amusing.
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And then Cancun airport is so fancy, specially the tile floors.

Shiny airport.
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A bonus was that the bikes and our bag popped out immediately, and seem to be in good shape.

All present and accounted for.
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When we stepped out of the airport building, we got that wonderful experience you have when you enter a greenhouse. Warm, a little damp, fragrant. And then there is one of my favourites - dozens of white vans (none with broken windows!). This is my queue to start begging for one. Whether in Germany or Mexico, experience shows I can keep this up for weeks.

Mail me one!
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Jorge, the sweetie pie of a BnB owner that had helped us so much last year, was there to collect us. Joni has thought that our praise for Jorge was a little weak last year. Back then Jorge was his same great self, but the place was terribly basic, with non-working fridge and AC.  Jorge has redeveloped a part of his building, and this time put us in with fridge, micro, TV, stove, and great wifi, in a two bedroom apartment at street level.

Jorge has taken great care of us.
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A corner of our large space.
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We brought Jorge some possibly quirky Christmas presents: Fruitcake and dried fruit made by Dodie, an embroidered bicycle towel made by our friend Erika, and some Creme de Marron from France. Jorge was graciously pleased with it all. (Erika, that towel was one of our treasures, which was why we called on it for this special man.)

Merry Christmas, Jorge
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Despite all the improvements, the place where we are remains very basic. But that adds to its charm. It is in a true neighbourhood, where we already know where to find fresh orange juice, grilled chicken on the street, bakery, pharmacy, etc. etc. This evening I went out to find food and was back in under ten minutes with beef sandwiches (torta de rez), cookies, and Pepsi. Later there will be no problem finding fresh fruits and veggies, grilled chicken, and the bakery. It's all here within minutes.

We had thought to set up the bikes tonight, but we seem to be too tired, with our early start. Tomorrow is another day!

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Bill ShaneyfeltHappy New Year!

And Happy New Tour! Eagerly awaiting...
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10 months ago
Sue PriceSo nice to return to a host and neighborhood you know, especially after a long travel day. Too bad WestJet is dropping that flight!
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10 months ago