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Oregon to the Yucatan Peninsula & Back Again 1

Updated on March 15, 2012
El Castillo at Chichen Itza
El Castillo at Chichen Itza | Source

Part 1 of 6: The Journal of a Road Trip Through the Yucatan Peninsula


We left the house without incident. Alas, at the airport the hassles began. We are told there’s some weather in Houston, lightning storms to be precise and we would not be departing PDX for an hour and a half past our scheduled flight time. Yikes! Would we miss our connection? It’d be best to take a change of clothes in our carry-on bags, just in case.

The flight wasn’t bad. J was such a great traveler at 6. We played some games, read, et cetera. Upon arrival in Houston, I asked D to get off the plane as fast as possible to check our connection. Maybe it was held up too and we haven’t missed it. Nope. It left only 15 minutes late. Darn!

They told us there is a coupon for hotels. Oh no! I have to call the Radisson; we have a pre-paid hotel for tonight. I also have to call and reschedule the car pick up time; we were scheduled to pick it up tonight. I decide to call L and have her make an online booking for a hotel since we don’t have a computer or a travel book for Houston and the coupons the airline told us about don’t exist! She found us a cheap room for $60, whew.

We hailed a taxicab but the driver doesn’t know where this hotel is located; it’s a Days Inn. It’s supposed to be only 7 miles from the airport. We passed a whole row of hotels. Ours ends up being more than 15 miles! It costs $30 for the taxi! Jeez. I’m thinking we should go back, this place looks shady. We are so tired. It’s a place to sleep and shower, we’re here.

The night clerk ran my credit card, and then called to say he had to void it because already charged me. I could pick up my receipt in the morning when I checked out.


In the morning, the hotel desk clerk is a big fat jerk. He is so mean! I told him what the night clerk said and he became verbally abusive and yelled at me for being hostile. All I was doing was standing there! He was putting himself into a tantrum for no reason! In retrospect it was really quite amusing.

Contrarily, the taxi driver back to the airport, Michael, is so nice. He told us that the neighborhood we stayed in is rough. Then he said it’s really rough, and then progresses to “I mean you guys must be really tough, it’s one of the roughest neighborhoods in this whole city!” “Ignorance is bliss” I say. We weren’t there very long. What a fiasco! At least our flight is on time this morning.

We arrived in Cancun a day late. Only J’s luggage makes it. Of course! We file a lost baggage report and request that our bags be delivered to the Dolores Alba in Chichen Itza. We find Hertz directly across the street from the airport terminal. Good. My credit card is not working?! So I used my ATM card, how irritating.

Now, we learn how to drive in Mexico. Oh my! It’s similar to driving in any big city. Lots of cars going fast, but there aren’t clear lines or lanes in the streets (calles). The driving rules are more guidelines or suggestions not very stringent, even for the policia.

We somehow managed to find Wal-Mart and procure supplies. There was a lovely bakery! We planned only one meal a day in restaurants, so we need bottled water, breakfast items, lunch fixings, and road snacks for a few days. D’s credit card works here, why isn’t mine?

We survived the roads in Cancun, narrowly escaped an accident, and broke away from this city finding I-80 Eastbound toward Chichen Itza. It’s better late than never. Our planned night in Cancun was going to be sort of a wash, just a place to sleep until we could get supplies and leave for Chichen Itza. So really we were back on schedule. We depart Cancun with a small prayer that our luggage will meet us soon.

We finally arrive at the Dolores Alba at Chichen Itza. Oh, how lovely! Bougainvilleas in purple and red are climb up the front of the building, there are palm trees. It’s painted dark pink. Some of the roofs are done in the palm tree palapa style. There are two pools and an open-air restaurant. J did not waste one moment before suiting up and getting in the pool. D was poolside ordering tequilas. Nice!

I needed to take care of a few more business matters before settling in. I finally figured out why my cell phone isn’t working with D and the clerk’s help. I was using the wrong prefix. I finally called K at work (our business) to check in and found all is okay. We still need more cash, preferable in pesos. We’ll have to look for a banco in Piste tomorrow. For now, we managed with the American dollars we had, used room service for meals, and charged this bill to our card.

The room was perfect. It had tile floors, a fan, a little table and chairs out front and was very close to the parking lot. We started to decompress a little. I was having a harder time than D. Perhaps I should drink tequila. After consideration, it wouldn’t be worth the migraine and J is with us.

I called and found out that our luggage left Cancun about 5 p.m., yay! I then talked to the front desk clerk and told him that we’re expecting luggage. The clerk said we are l-u-c-k-y. It usually takes much longer! We also decided that after all this turmoil, we should stay here an extra night to slow down. He changed our reservation here. He told me there is another Dolores Alba in Merida so we booked a room for two nights there at a discount. The clerk here is so nice! He made it easier for me to relax. I tell D that I feel we have already experienced our “bad” luck and the rest of the trip will be good. We shrouded ourselves in the vacation mood necessary to enjoy the rest of the trip.

Since we arrived a day late, we hoped there would be enough equinox shadowing left on the pyramid El Castillo to see the snake god Kukulcan (or Quetzalcoatl) crawling down the side tomorrow. We planned to drive into Piste to see a bit of town too.


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