The Final Day 


No matter how good or bad the weather has been on any trip, the day of departure is always the best. Four days of rain, you’ll be taking off in perfect sunshine. Four days of perfect sunshine, this will be even sunnier. We were fortunate in that we only had one day of rain, worst part, it was the day before departure. That’s the day when you have one last chance to get a tan. The last chance to snorkel, or jet ski or lie around and do nothing just baking away on the beach. When it rains that day, it’s a tease. It’s a day to watch people who are normally drunk on the beach get even more drunk while stumbling around the hotel with ice cream stains on their shirts. It’s gluttonous eating and drinking times ten. 
The day of departure is a different story. For me it’s yet another night of no sleep, due to the fear of the alarm not going off and thus missing a 1:00pm flight coupled with the three pounds of butter that was now quickly making its way through my system. At 6:00am upon opening the curtain, I knew exactly what to expect, perfect sunshine. After the first of many checks of the room, as usual I had an hour to spare. It would have been at least two, but they make you leave 4 hours before your flight because a. the shuttle is once again a local, and b. customs outside the US can sometimes be a very long affair. With just an hour I made my way to the beach for one last stroll. Now, at that time of the morning it’s the lifeguards running and getting into even better shape, the workers putting towels on beach chairs for the family of 15 who gave him $100.00 for the week to set them up everyday and me in long pants and a long shirt already dressed for my journey home. It’s always at this time I think about just living there and questioning why I’m going back to the cold. This is immediately interrupted by a text asking where the hell I went because they are ready to move the bags. 
When it comes to the bags and packing. I always strive to pack the night before. Ok I’m kinda militant that way. Why, I don’t know, but I assume it’s because I hate the thought of leaving something behind in the rush the next day, sort of like “home alone” syndrome except I’m never worried about leaving one of the kids, it’s more a computer or watch or iPhone chargers, which, no matter how much you try, are inevitably left. I trace this insanity of mine back to the 70s when we once found a raft under the bed at a hotel. We hit a goldmine. It wasn’t the days when you had the Internet for people to find their lost items, especially it a $2.99 raft. I mean I know in today’s dollars that’s about $5000.00, but still. So now, the fear of leaving a $25.00 watch which may be worth something like $20,000.00, forty years from now, drives me to pack and check and check and then do one more check which includes unmaking the entire bed one more time. Who knows. I may find another raft.  
Of course this search includes the in-room vault. The high tech piece of equipment bolted into the closet which is only accessed by a four digit code of your choosing. For the trip we put in the passports, especially so no one can confirm that everyone is above 18, wallets, jewelry, cash, iPads, iPhones (who are we kidding no one went anywhere without their phone) and anything else someone deemed of value. It’s amazing, a space no bigger than a shoebox and it too gets checked four times. 

The last breakfast buffet is a massive feast culminating in more boxes of Zucharitas, being taken out in the carry on bag. The complaining about the Chichen Itza bus trip got us a shuttle back to the airport with only three stops. This gave us one last chance to compare hotels and decide if we chose the right or wrong place by being the van welcoming committee and asking the young hungover couples what they thought of their resort. Most just grunted while drinking their last free alcohol of the trip. Even with the stops we got to the airport three hours early and the expected long wait turned out to be a breeze. The bags, which now carried two bottles of tequila, a cross and Christmas ornament, were all below weight. As it was off season, the normally long customs lines were now empty, free of the massive complaints of just a week before. Ten minutes later we were deposited in the biggest duty free store I have ever encountered complete with workers with bags ready to schlep all you desired to the waiting cashiers who gave us a look when we left without buying anything. From the duty free store right to the food court. Bubba Gump, Johnny Rockets, Burger King all the trappings of home. Three cheers for US exports. Now, because we had eaten breakfast 2 hours before, and given the flight might last all of three hours, it was time for lunch. The cereal would have to wait. The flight back, was happily uneventful, empty and an hour early. We were greeted back to the US with efficiency, three flights arriving at the same time needing to clear customs with only two agents ready to check passports. A two hour excruciating phone free wait where we had the pleasure of standing behind a single father, ignoring the cell phone ban, and more importantly ignoring his two brats who were crying, pushing people and most likely were terrorists end the adventure. All in all, a marvelous magical trip to our neighbors to the South.  

#mexico #50goingon14 #travel #departure #insangucafe

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