To get to Tulum, you fly into the Cancun Airport (CUN) and then take
a 90 min. shuttle to Tulum. If you’re a nervous traveler, this story
should make you feel better that there are way more nervous and
crazy travelers out there. They are all probably wearing designer
clothes and matching Louis Vuitton suitcases. This is my story.
We just landed in Cancun, Mexico and I’m so excited about our
vacation. My husband’s best friend is celebrating his birthday and a
group of us are getting together to celebrate. Things are stressful as
a stay-at-home mom and I really just need to relax on the beaches
with gorgeous white sand.
We follow the signs to pick up our luggage. I’m relaxed from the
airplane vodka. I drink it to settle my nerves while flying, it always
does the trick. Why are there dogs at the customs? I hope they don’t
sniff my homeopathic Chinese medicine that I got from my
acupuncturist for stress. I’m pretty sure it’s legal in America, but I
didn’t check the drug laws in Mexico. Is ginseng or plum flower
illegal? I’m no longer relaxed. The pills made of crushed up flowers
and plants that are supposed to reduce my stress are now increasing
it. Would this be considered international drug trafficking? I watched
the TV show Orange Is The New Black while the kids were napping, I
would never make it in prison. I’m too pretty.
The dog is looking at me. I’m scared of dogs and I start sweating. Oh
no, I feel a panic attack coming on. Where is the stewardess, I want
to order another vodka! I see my stewardess, she is also picking up
her luggage. I look up and there’s no call button. We’re in the middle
of a large white sterile room, not on the plane. Did you know that a
nervous drug mule exhibits the same shaking, sweating and eye
darts as someone having a panic attack? I think of the tiny black balls
of Chinese medicine in my backpack. Taking a “pill” in the customs area, no matter how innocent, is probably not the best idea. I decide to wait it out.
I grab my suitcase and walk up to the desk. I can’t talk, my mouth
goes dry. I wonder if my small children will write me when I’m in jail. I
knew I shouldn’t have left our kids at home with Grandma. They are
probably eating a non-organic apple as we speak. Grandma never
follows my rules. I would look so much more innocent if they were
with me. My husband grabs my passport and hands it to the customs
agent. He opens it up, stamps it and hands it back with a mundane
sigh. I look into his eyes and can sense his indifference. We’re just
another boring middle-class couple going on vacation. He’s not
Leaving customs and walking through the terminal, people start
screaming at us. I can’t understand what they are saying, it’s in
Spanish. I’m pretty sure it’s just a matter of time before I’m either
kidnapped or thrown into a Mexican jail. The last time I was in Mexico
was in college. I only remember parts of that night. I do remember
you could buy a bucket of beer for $5 US. Trying to recall vocabulary
words from my college Spanish class, I think they are asking us to
exchange dollars for Pesos. I try to look up the exchange rate on my
phone, I don’t have cell service. How am I supposed to call an
attorney if anything happens? I walk a little closer to my husband.
Luckily, there is an official exchange rate booth with people behind
very thick glass. The exchange rate is posted for most major
My husband stops in the middle of the terminal, hands me his
suitcase and says, “wait here.” I’m standing in the exact middle of this
long breezeway. There’s a gust of air as a rush of people behind me
walking out of customs towards the glass doors going outside.
Another plane must have arrived. As I’m bumped and pushed, people
start swearing at me in multiple languages for blocking their way. Like
the video game frogger, I slowly edge towards the wall where the
booths of independent money exchangers are located. The
independent money exchangers swarm towards me, yelling. I shake
my head side to side, the universal symbol of “No.” Tears well up in
my eyes. I look around for the stewardess, the drink cart or my
husband. I’m all alone. When they realize that I’m not going to exchange any money, they go back to yelling at the confident tourists walking briskly to their homes or vacation or vacation homes.
“Pull yourself together,” I say to myself. My husband reappears at my
side, takes his suitcase and says “We’ll get a better rate in the city.
I take a deep breath of hot and humid air, now that we have made it
outside of the airport terminal. There is a bar. I contemplate getting a
drink and decide against it. We meetup with our friends and see a
man holding a sign. It has my husband’s name and his friend’s name
on it. They lead us to the parking lot, to an unmarked white van.
I hear the little voice in the back of my head telling my kids to never
get into an unmarked van with strangers. Do I take my own advice?
We’re in a foreign country. All of these people except for my husband
and his friends are strangers. Standing outside of the van, the van
owner is holding a basket of white hand towels. He hands me a cold
wet towel. I’m convinced it’s filled with chlorophyll. I remember that
chlorophyll is the stuff that makes trees green. I just taught that to my
kids last week. Chloroform, I mean chloroform. I didn’t teach my kids
about chloroform. Mentally, I put that on my list.
I don’t want to take the cold wet towel, but this stranger is handing it
to me and I’m too polite to refuse. Damn you, etiquette. It’s always
the nice ones that are the easiest targets. I immediately hand the
towel to my husband and prepare my escape. He looks at me
quizzingly, takes the towel, looks around and then wipes his hand
and his face. He does not pass out from the chloroform.
I look around and see all the passengers in our scary white van using
the towel to rub their face and wipe their hands. “Ahhh, that feels
nice” emits one person. Another lets out a loud relaxing sigh after the
towel drops down from their forehead.
The van driver looks at his basket. There is one towel left. He
searches around for the one passenger that doesn’t have one. He
sees me with empty hands. He offers the towel to me. I refuse. I’m
done being nice. This is Mexico and I’m not getting roofied then
kidnapped the first 10 minutes that we’re here. I push past him and quickly climb into the unmarked white van with a bunch of strangers, where I’ll be safe.
We made it safely through the Cancun airport and our Mexico trip was quite
enjoyable. We weren’t kidnapped and didn’t end up in jail. In fact, I returned so
relaxed that I didn’t scream at my kid for a whole three days after I
returned. Overall, I recommend the Cancun airport and the sandy
beaches of Tulum, Mexico.
About The Author
My name is Sharon. I’m a stay at home, private school mom. I’m
great at organizing fundraisers, but not so great at travelling. Here is
my experience when my husband and I took a trip down to the
beautiful sandy beaches of Tulum, Mexico. If you want to know more about me or my fabulous life as a private school mom, check out http://www.thepsmom.com