It was the summer of 2008 and while my family was running around eagerly awaiting the day of our departure, I was sitting in my room watching TV. I had been to Cancun before; nothing exciting there. I wasn’t enthusiastic about the vacation we were going to take because I figured I’d seen it all before. And while my brothers and sisters could do nothing but talk about this trip, I was content in not babbling on about somewhere I’d already been. Cancun was nice, don’t get me wrong, but I’m a hard person to please and so, I awaited patiently the beginning of our holiday, convinced I wouldn’t experience anything I hadn’t last time.
The drive to San Francisco International was dull to say the least. My family chattered away about the beach, and the animals, and the exotic plants. I didn’t hear any of this though because I was content with listening to my iPod rather than have to join the conversation. Once at the airport, with two hours to spare, I chose to take a break from listening to music and listen to my relatives chatter. It was at this point that I learned something no one had told me before; we were staying at 2 different hotels in 2 different places. One in Cancun and one in Xcaret. I had fond memories of Xcaret and I’d be lying if I said that this tidbit of information didn’t excite me just a little. I continued listening and found myself growing more and more enthused by the conversation. By the time our flight arrived, I was down right hyper to arrive at our destination!
If you’ve ever been to Cancun, you know that the walk off of the plane is one of the biggest sensory shocks ever. You go from being in a nice cool plane, to being slapped in the face by a wave of hot, humid, air, thick with the promise of sweat, mosquitoes, and sun burn. My enthusiasm wasn’t deterred by this however. The change in weather excited me! And while we went to retrieve our luggage, I couldn’t stop talking about what I was going to do when I got to the hotel!
The hotel was a magical place to be sure. It was called the Gran Occidental Xcaret, and because it was in the middle of an eco-park, it was full of greenery and animals! That same morning, I awoke with the familiar dragging feeling of jet lag but even my messed up sleep schedule wasn’t enough to prevent me from changing into my bathing suit and swimming all day long!
The food at the restaurants was fantastic! Familiar when it came to the cheeseburgers and French fries, but bursting with an after taste of unfamiliar, all natural ingredients! The shows provided by the hotel were even more exciting! And the day that we were finally able to enter the Xcaret park, I marveled at all the animals, the night show that left me touched and weeping, and the feeling of utter happiness that I hadn’t enjoyed in quite a while. The next hotel, Dreams Cancun, was beautiful in its own way, with incredibly hospitable workers, food even more delicious than at Xcaret, and a beach with a small reef where one could snorkel and watch fish!
This trip taught me that you never really know with vacations. Here I was, a 16 year old girl who thought she’d seen everything Cancun had to offer. I was dead wrong. And I’m going back again this year! I won’t make the mistake of assuming there’s nothing else that could surprise me.
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