no13_tr pictureDay 1 -- Wednesday -- Hartford to Cancun

This is a travel day. Steve and I flew from Hartford to Cancún where we will spend the night. We take a late plane and arrive in Cancún at dusk. We have rented a VW microbus. For years, in the 60s and 70s, even the early 80s, we drove one of these vehicles, loaded with our kids, all over the country. In 1979 we took a 12,000 car mile trip with our younger son, across the southern United States, beginning in Tucson, up the east coast into Canada, then across Canada from Nova Scotia to Manitoba before reentering the US in Montana and driving down the Rockies. It was on that trip that I worked out, at least in principle, how I wished to photograph the landscape. When we left Tucson in 1983, we said goodbye to our last microbus, basically because the exchange rates had made the price out of reach, and the Chrysler bailout had made Dodge vans quite cheap. Now we had to readjust to sitting atop the front wheels and being propelled down the road perched at the very front of the car.

We obtained the car at the airport and got instructions on finding the road to the hotels that were strung along the beach. As we began the drive, a torrential downpour started. It was difficult to make out the road signs and there was no possibility of pulling over to wait it out. We just kept going forward, hoping that we had made the correct choices at intersections until we saw the first hotel appear. Then they began to appear with greater frequency until we were in the middle of a strip of restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels that had been constructed solely to capture the money of the tourists. The drainage of the road here was non-existant. The traffic was crawling as people tried to make their way through deep new lakes in the roadway. Pedestrians were running, sometimes barefoot, across the road, between the cars, with newspapers and plastic shopping bags over their heads. We slowly made our way to the farthest end of this strip, where our hotel was located, around busses and cars with stalled engines, and turned the car over to the valet service.

After checking into the hotel, we were escorted through a maze of openair passageways between buildings, past pools, both fresh water and salt, to the one in which our room was located. We rose in the elevator and were escorted to our room overlooking the beach and the Golfo de Mexico. The breeze was very strong but felt wonderful. After a few minutes of relaxing on the lanai, we felt that we ought to get something to eat before the restaurants closed so we returned to ground level and made our way back through the maze to seek out the restaurants. We decided against the standard tourist Mexican fare and the Chinese restaurant and walked across the garden area, past the pool to the seafood restaurant. They were preparing to close they had only one table occupied at the moment and it was getting late, but they agreed to prepare dinner for us. The dining room was open to the outside and was filled with aquaria stocked with colorful tropical fish. The shrimp deep-fried in a shredded coconut were delicious. The atmosphere was relaxing after the flight and the drive. We took a slow walk around the hotel passageways and then returned to our room for some rest.

While I was reading a bit in bed, before sleeping, the temporary cap that had just been placed on one of my molars decided that this was an excellent time to abandon ship! Now what did I have to do? I didn't know whether I needed to find a dentist first thing in the morning or could just forget about it and let it feel strange? Steve decided to test the telephone system and call information in Amherst to get the phone number for my dentist. This actually worked quite well and the call was put through. As it turned out, I could find a dentist in the morning if it felt too peculiar, but that would not necessary. We could just have breakfast and then proceed on as we had planned. So, feeling a bit, well, incomplete, but somewhat relieved, we decided to sleep on the question and make a final decision in the morning.

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© 1995 - Karen M. Strom