Let's go!!!! Grab it all and move it
Everyone knows I'm such a planner. So every vacation I do this little "count back" to determine the time we will need to get up and moving before heading to the airport. Our flight left at 9:20am and they start boarding 45 minutes early. Then factor in security lines, lines to check in luggage and get tickets, parking at the lot and shuttling over, driving there, getting breakfast, packing the car, getting ready, waking up. Our airport is never really super crowded it seems like, but you never know and better safe than sorry right?
I told everyone to set their alarms for 5:30am. That should give us plenty enough time. I woke up at 4:30am to use the restroom and laid back down to wait it out. Well wait it out I did!!! I woke back up at 7:10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!! How can this be happening? Why is my hubby still asleep? I rushed out the door and to Sakari's room...she was still sleeping too. I just started frantically go back and forth yelling "get up, get up now, we're late, oh my gosh, come on, we need to leave right now". There was no time for doing hair, makeup, getting a cup of coffee for the hubs, no time for anything at all. The dogs are lucky we even let them out at this point. We were on the road finally and I took a picture of the time so I would be able to document just how late we were running. UGH
The hubby flew at 86mph down the freeway. Thank goodness there was next to no one out because it was a weekend. We discussed airport parking during the ride there and what we needed to do. We usually park at the last lot at the airport because it is the cheapest at $5/day. But like I said, it's the furthest and having to wait on a shuttle then the drive over, I was already nervous to begin with. We thought about maybe using the parking garage instead. That would be our best option since we could walk right out and into the airport. We pulled up and maybe I'm needing glasses now because it looks like that says $20/day?!? Are you serious? The hubby just sat there looking at me for direction. I couldn't think under so much pressure. "You make the call" I told him. He started to back up...wait, where are you going? Just go in, we don't have time for this. I'm not missing my plane!
Inside we checked in at the kiosk, which there was a line to use. Then after that you get into the other line to drop off your luggage and have your passports looked at. To me, this is all just so time consuming. Like either have the kiosk do everything and have a place you walk up and put your luggage on the moving belt and go or have a person at the counter do everything. Why is the "doubleness" needed? It just doesn't make sense to me.
Well, I was glad I'm an A-Lister and we have our own lines because the other lines were a little people heavy.
It was now 7:58am as we were checking in and we got awarded gate A5...which of course is toward the end of the SW terminal.
Once we sat down in our area I could breathe a sigh of relief that we had actually made it...barely awake, looked like we had just crawled out of bed, but we were making this trip! Then I got this text message
Oh em gee! If only I would have known that ahead of time we could have parked at the other lot and paid $55 instead of $220. The lady came on the speaker shortly after that and announced they were waiting for the pilot to arrive from Orlando and our plane had been delayed until 10am. The pilot made it in and then the next announcement came in saying they were now just waiting on one of the stewardess to come in and she's landing at the next gate over.
Meanwhile our entertainment....birds everywhere and this one was not afraid to be around people.
Since we had some time, hubby headed to get coffee and came back with breakfast for me. Thank goodness we'd get something in our bellies after wall. It was 9:20am and we were now boarding the plane...our regular take off time, so I guess it wasn't that bad. I'm just really glad we had a straight flight to Cancun. (Can you believe it?? I'm going to try to look for flights like this all the time! It's amazing).
I looked at Sakari and said "aren't you going to touch the plane on your way in like always?" Is she getting too old for that too? :(
At 9:48am we were taking off and I was back to breathing normal again. We could enjoy this 3 hour and 25 minute straight flight to Cancun!!
I always try to take a picture as we leave Columbus and we try to "spot" where we are and if we can see our house along the way. Out of all the years traveling, we have managed to spot our place just one time only. Can you believe it? And we see Southwest fly over our house daily, so I know we're on the flight path. I managed to spot our freeways that looks like a a kid that threw his spaghetti on the floor and the highway architect dad said YES! That's how we'll design the freeways in Columbus! "Mas, mas, mas!"
We passed the hours away by Sakari drawing on her ipad and watching a movie, hubby playing his game and I watched a movie. We were getting close.
Before landing they started passing out the customs forms to be filled out. I had done this step on my computer before leaving and printed them out so I was keeping my fingers crossed they were accepting these. They most definitely didn't look "official" like the ones they gave us.
After landing we went into the immigration check in where we weren't there very long at all and we presented our passports and customs form, stamped, signed and a portion handed back to us for our return. DO NOT lose this form! It's not for you to put in your scrapbook, it's not a souvenir if you feel like keeping it, don't eat lunch over it or spill your coffee on it. You will need this to leave Mexico....well, unless you don't want to leave... and the thought does cross my mind. (wink wink). I have heard that if you do misplace yours, it will cost you $30 each to get another one...just what I had read others say.
After customs, we came down an escalator and walked a long hallway and made our way to the luggage pick up area.
We sat here for quite some time. More and more people came and it got pretty crowded. Still no luggage. There were 5 planes that came in and were all using the same carousel as our plane.
After finally locating our luggage, it was time to move on. There was a really big open area that had about 6 different customs agents, but they were the only one's in this area. I wasn't really sure what to do at this point. It was a big open area with an aisle to walk down. So we just started walking in this area toward them. The first set of people just looked at us and I kinda paused not knowing if I should stop or what. They kind gave the hand signal to keep going. Then there were 2 others and we stopped and let the dogs sniff us and our belongings and was told to keep going.
Ok, what's next??? Is that it? No red light green light game like in Cozumel? I had asked that question, in the facebook group, if they still used that here and I received every answer from "yes, just used it last week", "no, they no longer have them", "no light now but they will scan your ?ticket? and it will show up red if you need checked" to "nope they just randomly pick you". Well geesh. Sounds like everyone has different experiences but I definitely did not see any lights thank goodness. If anyone has ever watched squid games..."red light green light" it's never good.
So I see exit signs when we head out of this area and that's the way we headed.
After exiting the doors, we started looking around for our "Happy Shuttle" guys. We managed to locate them all in bright green shirts. We prebooked this service which included transfer from the airport to the ferry terminal, our roundtrip ferry tickets, 1 round of soda/juice for us, and our transfers back to the airport. The price for this was $142.00.
Once you arrive and check in with them, they call the driver with your shuttle and they come over. We did not wait long. While we were waiting there are several vendors pushing around carts asking if you'd like to buy snacks or drinks. Now this one looked like a kid. Seriously. But he couldn't have been if he was selling alcohol right? He was very friendly and not pushy. We asked the price of a pop and I think he had said like $4.50. I knew I had already ordered pop with Happy Shuttle so decided not to get one. I asked about the "girly drinks" he laughed and was honest and said "they are too expensive to buy here" and when I asked how much.... $26!!! US not pesos. Wow! But a beer was like $2.00! I just need to give up my pop addiction and start drinking beer.
Our driver came and we headed over to the shuttle.
Then we would discover our driver did not speak ANY English. Gonna be a quiet trip I suppose. He did pull out his google translate, so I pulled out mine. LOL That's how we communicated. I'm sure I jacked up many pronunciations during that conversacion, but I was trying.
We had heard about all the horror stories around the Cancun area having tons of construction which is becoming a nightmare trying to get back to the airport. There were reports of people sitting in lines for hours that some had even got out and walked the rest of the way because lines weren't moving and they were going to be late for their plane. Usually they tell you to be at an airport 3 hours ahead of flight time for International flights. People were saying add an hour to that for just the construction. We were definitely seeing all the construction they were referring to.
You could tell that Cancun was a busy tourist area for sure. Reminded me of Miami in a way.
When I seen this sign, I knew we must be getting close to the ferry terminal.
We pulled up to an area that was the drop off and they had a section with cones that they allowed us in at. We were told this would be the same place we meet back up at for our ride back to the airport and they would be there at 9:30am waiting on us. It was now 2:58pm
We headed into the ferry terminal and of course did our potty breaks, got more pop and then headed down to get in line for the next ferry. It wasn't really crowded at that time.
Here is the ferry schedule. We were going from Puerto Juarez to Isla Mujeres, so every half hour there would be a ferry.
We got in line and it was 3:09pm. The area you wait in is covered and there was a breeze. We watched this black ?duck? I don't know what it was but it was swimming and then it would dive down....like all the way to the bottom and not come back up forever. I could not believe how long it would stay under. I told Sakari it would give her a run for her money since she can hold her breath forever. Sakari said "nope, it was under for 29 seconds" Yep, she was counting every time it went under. LOL
We were on the ferry at 3:24pm and ready for this journey. People with luggage get on in the back and they have a storage area to put them and then you can either go up on top or inside in the a/c.
The ride over is about 18 minutes they said. These ferry's are NICE NICE! Comfortable, perfect temp and they have to be the smoothest "boat" you'll ever ride in. Seriously. I could just sleep on that thing.
Once we arrived to Isla Mujeres, we went out to the street and tried to figure out how to get a taxi to our place. We just kinda stood around like confused tourist. I noticed people heading to the left and noticed taxi's pulling in and out so we headed that way. It ended up being a taxi stand. We got in a taxi at 4:10pm and tried to explain where we needed to go. We gave him the address and he was confused. I found it super odd that he had no type of gps that he used or anything. I ended up pulling it up on my trusty MapsMe and showed him. We told him which direction to go and when to turn. We eventually made it there.
Now we had been told multiple times on the fb group that taxi's are $5 no matter where you go and don't let them fool you. When we arrived at the house, he told me prices had just went up to $10. Hmmm, was he trying to pull a fast one? He said he'd take $7. I really don't know what was going on.
Well at least we had made it. We were greeted by 2 people (mujer y hombre) and neither one of them spoke English. Off to a great start. She also used the google translator. She gave us the keys to the house and the security gate, gave us her WhatsApp number, showed us around and told us if we needed anything to let her know. Then we were on our own.....
I will give a tour of the casa on another page you and will find it HERE ----->
Immediately Sakari is seeking out animals. She found this baby in the house.
It was so incredibly hot inside the house. Now I booked this place knowing that there was no a/c on the 1st floor and a/c in both bedrooms. Of course the a/c was not turned on and all the blinds were up and it was like a sauna! We immediately turned the a/c's on to start cooling things down. Sakari's started cooling down really fast but ours not so much. It said it was 81 degrees in there. We ended up closing all the blinds in our room and out in the space between the rooms and had to shut the bathroom door because there were no blinds in there to stop the sun from beaming in. (The windows are frosted so you can't see in or out but they did open).
Well, we didn't have time to waste. I had reserved a golf cart for our stay and this would be our means of transportation while on Isla. Now just so you know...they DO NOT rent cars here. You either get around by taxi, local bus, golf cart or walk.
I rented from a place that came highly recommended in the fb group. The name is Ciro's. I liked that they had golf carts that looked like jeeps. I thought that was so cool. I did my reservation using facebook and he wrote it out on a paper and took a picture of it for my records before arrival.
So now we had to get a cab there. I messaged our "person" (Vianey) that checked us in (she and her boyfriend lived on the property behind us). We did not get a reply. So I messaged the person I was working with on the airbnb site and she immediately replied and said she had someone that would come get us (Freddy). I ask if he spoke English and she said no. But, he said he would be there in 10 minutes (I had also messaged him and he replied back, in Spanish, after she had already confirmed he was coming. When he arrived, I ask if he spoke English and he said "My name is Freddy, of course I do" LOL
Off to Ciro's we went...and yes it was a $10 charge he also stated prices went up recently.
When we arrived, Ciro's was closed but people were still there. Freddy told him we had a reservation and they said to come in. Thank goodness!!! I didn't realize it was already 5:30pm
We ended up with a bright red Jeep Wrangler. I messaged my friend back home (who owns a couple Jeeps and in the Jeep club) if I now qualified to be a member LOL The cost for our 10 day rental (we returned it the day before we left) was $561. Definitely cheaper than renting a car on any vacation we've been on and it HAS to be funner!
So we rode around for awhile looking for a grocery store to get some things (I always bring some items with me) and stopped at the Super Aki. Some guy started following us around and ask if we needed help. We thought he worked there. We were just trying to decided if we wanted to get frozen hamburguesa patties or get some out of the meat deli area. He kept asking if we wanted pork or carne.
Then we were on the hunt for leche. We had totally forgot that they do not put milk in the refrigerated area and you'd fine it on the shelf. Still this guy is following us around and starting to creep me and Sakari out. He started telling us "I like this kind, it's the best". The hubby told him "we got this" but he kept following. We went and got our pan, and some queso and huevos <---also these are not in the refrigerated area but on shelves.....super weird to me. Like do they not spoil??? Or possibly hatch? lol Meanwhile this guy ask me if I had change for a $20. I told him no. Like why would you need "change" for a $20...go ask the cashier.
Last but not least POP! I'm being forced to get diet Coke here instead of diet Pepsi. I knew this was about to be a challenge...as always. I'm just say it now, there's no such thing as a 12 or 24 pack on this island!
Time to check out and we are up to the register and this guy brings us a case of beer. We replied "no thanks, we don't need beer or drink it". Of course at this point I knew he was trying to get us to buy his beer but I was playing dumb. I'm not falling for his scam after pestering us the entire time we were in the store and wanting change for a $20 bill.
We checked out and I see him at the register trying to buy his own beer and I see the cashier examining his $20 bill and holding it up and....who knows what happened after that. Maybe it was fake? Who knows. I just wanted out of there.
We zoomed home and put our things away.
I made us some mac & cheese because Sakari and I both love it and she said it was some of the best!
It was around 7:30pm and we couldn't wait to try out the big swimming pool in the commons area.
Sakari and I jumped right in...it was very warm...almost like bath water. We played ball as always.
After awhile we decided to head up to our pool, you see we had one on our patio as well at the house. It's just a small dipping pool. But, it was freezing cold. No thank you. LOL
Hammock area right in front of our place.
We went inside to change and our room was STILL HOT! It said 79 degrees. Sakari's was freezing. I don't know what's going on here.
I checked on the dogs because my dog sitter was camping and would not make it there until the following day. So I had asked Kendra to come over several times and hang out with them, let them run the yard, feed them and all the other doggy duties. However, I know how Kendra is and you must always have a back up plan and plan I did. I had also asked Kolin to come over as well. I figured between the 2 of them the dogs would get let out and fed somehow.
Well, as I predicted, Kendra did not come. She was at the ER with Billy because their monkey bit him. They've had Myla since she was a baby and she's now 5 years old. She is over protective of Kendra and doesn't like men for some reason. I think she just tolerates Billy at this point. But, if she's able to get out and not be on her leash, you're just asking for trouble when you try to catch her. And trouble he got. He ended up with several stitches. Thank goodness I had Kolin as a back up and he came several times for me that day.
We decided to head to bed. It had been a long day and I was beat but how the heck was I supposed to sleep in this hot bedroom? We had every fan in the house on. It was just miserable!