Archive for September, 2011
Not even 24 hours in Cancun and I am getting my Caribbean “groove” on.
The mad dash through the Cancun airport was not exactly the most welcoming way to start our island adventure, but it did give me a little glimpse into the free-for-all that must happen here in the REAL tourist season. I am used to being hawked condos, cabs and tours at Mexican airports, but this one was the worst so far. “Señor, what hotel are you going to?” “Señor, can I give you a lift?” I was expecting a bit of craziness, but this was pretty intense. Nowhere were the familiar green and white taxis that you see all over the rest of Mexico.
I’m guessing that there are strict “airport only” cabs and shuttles that get to fix rates where they want them… and keep that competition down to the loud roar that it is.
We finally found a shuttle that would cram us, along with a van-load of other tourists and their baggage, in for the ride to the hotel zone. My ears were a little clogged from the flight, and I thought the guy wanted to charge us $600 pesos (around $58 dollars) per person to take us to the Hyatt. I am glad Diane, though her ears were clogged as well, heard him correctly to say $16 Dollars… or else we might still be standing there.
Through this ordeal, serendipity happens. In the shuttle, I was squeezed in next to a guy named Greg. He works for a government contractor and had to burn his vacation before the end of the fiscal year, so on a plane he was… headed for Mexico. We ended up spending this morning talking to him about all things running from Haitian politics to Buffalo Soldiers and even swung around to dissect Obama’s job policies. Absolutely fantastic! (Turns out he is even a Lotus Notes administrator, so the man is a glutton for punishment.)
The Hyatt Regency has all the amenities of a typical Mexican resort hotel – and the wonderful staff to go along with that. We were checked in by our private host in the Regency Lounge, carved off from the rest of the herd at the regular counter. I felt kind of bad since I said something to Greg right as we were walking in, then turned around and was whisked to the top floor check in. I guess he wondered where I had gone…
Once we had gotten our bearings, Diane and I made our first dip together in the Caribbean. It was magical. The water a turquoise blue that is unbelievable even when you are standing there.
It did not take long to know.. we were home.
I had a last minute, screaming across the country trip to Huntsville, Alabama on Tuesday. Flying out of Tucson is always a challenge – you never know what Marana living, Mexican hating yuppie you are going to sit next to for two hours.
As it turned out, I sat next to the former head of DHS for the southern Arizona region. This immediately made me wince, but upon further discussion, it turned out that he confirmed all of my suspicions about the level of activity in the Tucson sector, the overt politics at play in dolling out resources and… basically everything else I think about life on the border. Finally, here was a man who actually knew what he was talking about, had the position to truly know what the real story is… and he agreed with me.
More than the vindication of my beliefs, it was good to hear that – while things are horrible in the “pretend” world, the real world is not that bad. His recomended solutions were the same as mine… and Diane’s. This points to two things, Diane and I are pretty smart… and it is the reason that he is the FORMER head of DHS in Tucson.
Good to know that there is hope that not EVERY American is a total automoton spewing out knee-jerk, media fed responses.
Last evening, Diane and I made our first attempt at shooting images from somewhere above ground-level and below the clouds. We hoisted a GoPro Hero camera over our friend Jeff’s place in the desert, just to see how viable this method really is. The results were horrible, but the concept was proven sound. We can do this. The next time will be better.
Thinking ahead, this is going to put an entirely new perspective on our photography of the islands. Our rig will consist of a Brooxes mount, with our Canon G-10 lofting into the blue Caribbean sky. Yep, it is going to be wonderful.
These are the things that keep me going while we wait to head south. In the midst of all of the turmoil, I can take my mind out of the chaos and let it float over the waves, dangling from a kite… and relax.