Reza, of course, is still asleep. The question is whether she’s still in the hammock. I’mma find out as soon as I’m done here.

A few months back, right at the nadir of my personal relationship with her, I decided that, should she be amenable, we should take a trip together, something that only she and I could experience. I hate to say it was a bonding opportunity, but that’s exactly what it is and was meant to be at the time. But where to go?

Enter Tomb Raider.

We both played the latest Tomb Raider game, and while she finished it before I did, we were both rather captivated and thought, shit, why not there? Mexico is close, it won’t cost a grip of cash, and if she’s even remotely interested in archeological places, then strike while the iron is hot and get her down there right the fuck away. So, voila. Here we are. We landed yesterday.

As I told Ivonne after we landed, Mexican flights are … different. It dawned on me on the way down that this was the first inter-country flight I’d taken outside of the United States. Most other flights have been from the US to somewhere or somewhere back to the US, but never like this and whoa. It’s a trip. Not a bad one, mind you, ’cause opening yourself to new experiences kinda the point of all this but definitely, well, new. No sense of personal space (Reza was sure to comment on this a couple times), none of the passenger protocol we enjoy – holy shit the amount of trash and garbage left on the floor of the plane; everyone immediately making sure their seat backs were not in an upright position; pulling and kicking and tugging and jostling the backs of seats – are employed on a Mexican airline and none of that is derogatory. We are, despite the fact that we spit on each other over the color of our blood, so pampered in the United States. I needed that reminder, and frankly, I think Reza did too.

We crossed the Border Express from Otay Mesa into the Tijuana airport which was pretty fucking rad and convenient, even if you forget to print out your entrance documentation at the counter. Thankfully, we had our passports (Dude. Talk about under the wire for Rez… that shit came with three days to spare. That’s some Indiana Jones biz, right there!) and a quick swipe, a few keystrokes, and boom: Across the bridge, through Customs, through the Volaris bag check line, and kicking it by the gate with a couple hours to spare. It was pretty awesome watching her come back from the bathroom, this almost-adult being goofy and silly and drawing as much attention to herself as she can without getting in trouble for it. She fell asleep on my shoulder a few times during the flight. She held my arm a few times – once on the landing, once just because she could – and I was reminded that these moments, the small ones in-between the monuments, are the heart of the matter.

We waited forever to get our bags here in Cancun and I felt bad that we weren’t driving out to Playa del Carmen today; the kid sitting next to us needed a ride out that way and I totally would have done it, but I was not only waiting for our bag to come off the carousel but I had no idea where the rental car place was. Turns out, thanks to the Payless Rental Car guy who called them for me but then had his kindness repaid by me not taking them up on their offer of a much cheaper option, the Enterprise location is way off airport. I didn’t realize this, but, now I’m educated. The look on their faces though, when the Enterprise shuttle showed up before their did… it never pays to be kind when you’re a salesman.

We made it to our AirBnB relatively quickly. It’s a small space with two rooms and an aforementioned hammock in the master bedroom which, clearly, Reza had to have. The place doesn’t overlook the beach, nor is it going to win any awards for comfort, but it’s quiet, it’s safe, it’s close to most everything, it seems, as evidenced by the fact that we were able to find a taco shop open at midnight in the Hotel Zone about five minutes from here. We were fucking hangry.  Well, almost. Me. I was almost hangry. She was cool. I was … yeah. Anyway.

Food, a quick Oxxo stop with nothing to show for it, and then back to the hotel to settle in and enjoy being three hours ahead of California time once again. I need a Starbucks like whoa… OH! The coffee cups are legit and I’m totally buying all of them. Well, the ones of the places I’ve been, anyway. None of that cheating bullshit.

So now, I’m sitting at this little dining table with the round green placemats, glancing at an overcast sky settling on top of pre-thunderstorm humidity that can’t help but be slightly oppressive, about to wake up Sleeping Beauty back there. It’s time to get on the road: Chichén Itzá awaits.

 

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