The trip has finally started. I’m safely checked into the first of many hostels that I will stay at over the next year – and there wasn’t really any drama involved with getting here (aside from a tussle with the SuperShuttle service – I don’t recommend them if you want to be on time!).
The flight was easy (though middle seats suck) and once I braved the obstacle course of tour salesmen in the Cancun airport, getting the bus to town was easy (see the details post for instructions). I eavesdropped with my high school Spanish and found out everything I needed to know about timing, cost, etc. (It’s surprising how much Spanish I remember – the challenge will be using it. I’m going to have to force myself because I have this huge fear of sounding like a dork. But I practiced a bit last night and the woman understood me so it should be fine with time.)
On the ride into town I talked to an Aussie who has been living in Mexico for the last 8 months. It was rather disconcerting because he looks like Sean and sounds like Cynan, but he gave me some great info and invited me for a drink when I wind up in Merida in a couple weeks.
My hostel was easy to find and after telling all the sales guys at the bus terminal that I already had a place that was paid for it was a quick 3-5 minute walk. I’m staying at the Mayan Hostel and while it’s definitely not for everyone I like it ok (See the Review for details). I arrived around noon and, after showering, spent the next couple hours plotting my plan for the next couple weeks and sending out Couch Surfing requests. (Passing the giant Walmart and Sam’s Club on the way into town convinced me that Cancun is not really the place I want to be so on Sunday I’m heading for Tikal.)
In the afternoon I decided to go for a wander to see what was in my area. I headed down to Parque las Palapas because I’d read that in the evenings there was a market and live music. I arrived at the start of the evening while many vendors were still setting up but wandering around the food and merchandise stalls was interesting. It’s apparently the place to go if you have kids because they have train rides and little cars for the kids to drive around in.
After a while a young guy approached me and asked me if I would talk to him for a while so he could practice his English (guess it’s easy to spot the gringa). I was leery and took precautions since this is a pretty typical distraction technique, but he was a nice kid and nothing happened. We talked for about 45 minutes about his school and his job and what it’s like living in Cancun. He was offered a promotion at work but only if he can improve his English so he spends his free time wandering around looking for tourists to talk to.
After wrapping up what could have turned into an all night conversation I ran a few errands (all in Spanish!) and headed back to meet some people at the Hostel for dinner. Dinner was not fantastic (it’s provided free by the hostel so what can you expect) but it was filling and I was tired anyway. After only getting 2 hours of sleep the night before I was fading and decided to decline invite for a 9 pm-4 am all-you-can-drink party down at the beach and head to bed.