NYE in Cancun

We arrived in Cancun on the 31st of December around 3:40 pm. We didn’t check into our hotel (The Sweet Suite) until 9:40 pm. Nader Hotel & Suites.

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Immediately we were thrust into our little adventure by not knowing the times and procedures for catching the local ADO bus to downtown where our place was located. It was an urban adventure to say the least. After catching our bus (two hours after landing) and backpacking through the city with no WiFi signals, no gps; just a map and a little Spanish to help us find our way to our place. We were oblivious to the adventure that lay before us and oblivious to God’s Grace that surrounded our little escapade. It didn’t matter what the circumstance, whichever way you read it, we were blessed and ignorantly bliss.

New Years Eve and we are out walking along a frenzied market district, dodging congested and erratic traffic as we cross Cancún’s broad streets and darkened alleys until we found our destination at 9:30 pm that evening. While walking we settled on our New Years celebration location. We met an older gentleman  from Detroit (Joe) while we were waiting for our bus. Well we met him and another cool young adventurer making her way throughout Mexico.  Joe invited us over to Isla Mujeres, a small island situated off the coast of Cancún to bring in the New Year. We’d have to catch the ferry from Puerto Juarez to make it to the island. Fireworks at the beach, how could you go wrong? Upon arrival into our room  we got settled, dropped everything and decided we needed some food.

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Sanborns: fetching something to eat from a little mom-n-pop joint. We sat down at the counter and waited at least 10min before remembering that service may be a little different in a different country. We were hungry, it was time to flag someone down. Apryl ordered 3 taquitos while we munched on chips. Those taquitos came with the best guacamole we’ve ever tasted!

Alright, time to get ready.We poured ourselves into preparing to go out for the New Year.

Showers. Grooming. Selfies…

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Before long we looked up and it was 11 O’clock! We raced outside, flagged down a cab -bridged our communication gap through our cabbies dispatcher who could speak a little English….we were finally headed to Puerto Juarez.

We arrived to the port at 11:20 it appeared that we were going to make it in time for the fireworks, our midnight kiss, and a little celebrating. I was excited to see all of the boats swaying on the sea. We were poised to take our position aboard one and propel through the sea in the thick of this night…but that is not what happened. As we approached the aged attendant he muffled in a language something that I couldn’t understand through my ears but felt in my heart. I continued our conversation with something that he too didn’t understand with his ears but felt in his heart. We both comprehended the full meaning of our discourse. He was happy to be off of the clock. I was pissed to leave a loser.

We raced back up the doc. We spotted our cabby and climbed in. He was ours now whether he knew it nor not. He mustered a drawled “closed”? I replied “Si hombre, Hotel Zone Senior Frogs por favor”. The Hotel Zone was recommended by someone at the airport but 20 minutes into the drive I could have sworn we were on Rodeo! There was a complete shift in the scenery and the atmosphere. Not to knock the Hotel Zone but we didn’t come to Mexico for a resort style experience nor to party with tourists. Luckily, we were both in unison and asked the cabby to take us back downtown. He saw our disappointment and asked if we liked the “disco”. We could not have grinned wider 🙂 It was 11:45pm and we were happy.

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He led us to a local strip with restaurants, bars and discotecas within walking distance from our digs. He gave his very welcomed opinion, dropped us off, and waved goodbye. Happy New Year man. 

Walking along the strip, the clock struck 12 and we took a pause for the cause. New Years together, year 2, and we are content.

We spotted a joint and went in. Upstairs, open space, plenty of seating, music playing, empty dance floor. Not long after, the dance floor filled up with us in tow.

We enjoyed the rest of the very early morning listening to a one man mariachi performance that flowed into a comedy bit.

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Mariachi! Is what he repeated with a robust bravado. One arm bent at the elbow with his finger pointing to God and the other in a half embrace. Mariachi! He would shout between performances and drinking from his (and others) tequila bottles and the crowd always responded with a congratulatory roar. We may not have understood completely what was being said or when to laugh but it was cast as a instantaneous classic memory for us. We were not caught up in the spirit we emanated a thankful, God is gracious, this moment in time is precious/live/unique moment in time Spirit. We left our marks all over the dance floor and vibed with the people of Cancun, MX -all evening long.

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Yea, that last one is blurry but probably the best of the batch.

Cancun’s Native Perspective

On our vacations thanks to Airbnb, we have been able to reside in the epicenters of cities we visit. For us that is ultra important.We are definitely caught up in the beauty of places. The beauty in the people the beauty in the culture the distinctive ways that we differ from one another. The humanistic ways that we relate to one another. You find this consuming beauty everywhere but it is always beneath the surface. The naked eye is often a lie. She she sees the shadow of what could be and mistakes it for a present reality. But beneath the surface you find the pulse of a generation. You find the motivations of a people. This is the it that we search for when we travel.

The tower of Bable’s dismount broke us up but it created pockets of gorgeous communities throughout the world. I want to see it. I want to see the beautiful. I want to experience the unwrapping of the present.  What happens when beauty is disassembled? -You end up with a lot of beautiful places with the grotesque in-between. What do I mean…and he made it gorgeous Cultural influences, what are the I don’t like feeling like a tourist.  Sincere relations is what gets me going. Raising a family that is based on relation not blood…anyway.  We  also don’t want to pay the tourist prices or go to touristy places. I want…we want to get the best feel for wherever we are visiting through the people. That said of course you can only get a partial . She and I wanted to get a better understanding of our southern neighbors so we decided to take a Mexican vacation and go as deep into to the country as we could safely go. We decided to visit the Yucatan Peninsula and stay in locations that would allow us to interact with ThePeople.

To begin our adventure we flew into Cancún. We opted to reside among the people in Cancún. We, she and I that is, rented an apartment (from a native) in downtown Cancún instead of  staying in The Hotel   Zone.
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This was one of our better decisions. The apartment was lush and perfect and it put us among the people of Cancún which was exactly what we wanted.

Our first Mexican experience was an authentic Mexican resteraunt called
Sanborns.

It was a familia restaurante chain. Being African-Americans with dreadlocs and braids did not alow us the ambiguity that I desired but I believe that not being white Americans and somewhat speaking the language earned us a pass…I think the mexican culture is not overtly passive. If you do not make yourself known you will not be served. We sat ourselves at the counter for a good while before I interrupted one of the quite busy patrons to take our order. I’m being nice it was ghetto. I mean, it was clean and it was apparent that someone took great pride in the establishment but there was that clutter and clang of in activity. The sound of people appearing busy so I studied the postures and conversations that were going on around me…they were all familia! -and then the bull dog came out of the kitchen dressed in his cooking gear (mask over his beard, gloves on his hands) and discretely but aggressively had conversations with two different groups and then actual work started to be done…until he went back to the kitchen. I couldn’t help but think of home. I was reminded of the family owned Popeye’s chicken that closed it’s doors after a year  and countless other family ventures that fizzle because of family familiarity…#Ghetto   
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Isla Mujeres

Half speaking the language half gesturing we waved down a combi (a shuttle van filling the gap in public transportation). 13 deep we rolled-out to our final destination. We hustled got some direction written on a Burger King napkin, backtracked about 3 times but we finally got the right bus…

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While walking home last night, after our awesome New Years evening the city was washing out 2013. The streets were flooded. Evidently while we were two-stepping and salsa’ing the night away the weather was doing its own one two on the city (glad we were not on an island ;-).

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The major cleansing had already happened. My future and I walked through Cancun’s flooded streets beneath a lite drizzle. At times we had to detour by entire city blocks to cross the street, while trying to stay our course in what we hoped was the right direction of home was #Quality.

Another NY, another country, another great night. It feels like memory lane is being decorated and we are just a part of the decor. That walk home may have been the best part. A little rain, semi-lost, with gentle hands and kisses between flooded city blocks in a foreign land. It was nice. Our conversation was just as soft as our gestures nothing too heavy just a nice flow. We decided that we would find Port Juarez to see the island that we didn’t get to see tonight. We wanted to travel like everyone else did who lived in the city, not by cab…But first we would hit Walmart to stock up on food and supplies for our stay in the Yucatan.

It was all so real, it was surreal. We found our way home easily (for the most part), mostly because earlier that evening we explored the general area looking for our place…that’s another story. We made it home after stopping for some junk food and refreshments. We were heading up to our sweet suite for the night when the night attendant interrupts us and hands us a voucher for a discounted breakfast in the adjoining restaurant Cafe Nader. Camera 360

Over breakfast on new years day we made our agenda. A hike to Walmart, lunch and then find our way to Port Juarez to catch a ferry over to Isla Mujers.

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Finding Port Juaraz was not easy with the language barrier and Us being oblivious to the public transportation system.

 

 

Our Time on Isla Mujers

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Riding along the gulf of Mexico. Pitch of night. High tides. Live music playing with my arm around my Love. The skies ceiling is painted with what seems like a million luminary creatures singing their song to me. To me, because this moment is frozen in time. The hard swaying of the ship, the performer singing in a soft song in a foreign tongue, with my woman fast asleep in my arms for most of our seafaring journey. She worked hard today. We don’t vacation as tourists we go-hard on anthropological adventures. We absorb the culture as much as we can by hanging with the locals as much as we can.  Coasting back to Cancún to prepare for departure in the morning. The urban portion of our adventure is coming to an end. At least some portion of the population spoke English here. We are headed deeper into the country tomorrow. Heading into Merida where we are not expecting to run into too many folks who communicate in our native tongue.

On our way back to our suite we grab some KFC and some ice cream as we are walking we run it to a family-type of festival going on. Kids racing mini-cars, food vendors everywhere, games, and more singing. Mexico loves to sing. This is a nice end to our stay in Cancun.

-Today was a good day.