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The immigration line is medium long. As we are waiting I tell Zung I bet our immigration agent does not smile or even make eye contact. I am wrong! I had forgotten to sign somewhere and after I signed it, I said, “Lo Siento” (I’m sorry). He makes eye contact AND he smiles. He asks if I speak Spanish. Un solo poco, estoy apprendiendo/Only a little, I am learning. It’s somewhat ingenious for me to say that. I learned that phrase over four years ago and it’s my best sentence. I have tried Rocket Spanish, but it is just so hard. My daughter is fluent. I should bribe her to teach me. She wants to be a Spanish teacher, after all. But she always makes fun of my efforts, telling me I have such a “white lady accent.” Well, duh! I am a white lady.
Our immigration dude tells me the paper he is putting in our passport is important and don’t lose it. He would probably be less tolerant of my limited Spanish if he knew this was 21st trip here.
We go to Baggage Claim and claim our bags. Next is Customs. They have changed things a little. They used to x-ray the bags and then have you press the button to see if you get the green light (which means, go enjoy your vacation) or the red light (which means, let us take a quick look through your bags so we can say we did). Now the x-ray if after the light. I am so excited and hand the Customs agent my form and go to press the button. She yells at me not to push it yet. Whatever. Some people really let the power go to their head.
We quickly make our way through the gauntlet. That is the crowd of people trying to get your attention so they can sign you up for tours or time share presentations, or maybe make you think they are your ride. The rule is, talk to no one in that place between Customs and the outside. Don’t even make eye contact. Don’t do it if they are nice, or demand to see your papers, or whatever scam delivery system they have thought of. Nobody needs to see your papers after Customs. NOBODY! And they aren’t nice, they are just pretending to be nice. Just go outside and look for your ride.
I look for the dude from Cancun Valet with the sign with my name on it. He is on the outer circle and is the same guy that has been there for the last couple years. He tells me he did a Google search of Cancun Valet and he saw the picture of me and him from my last trip. Actually, there are several of my photos that come up. Go check it out.
Our driver arrives and we are off. We go under the Corona bridge.
Our driver is friendly and chatty and the 25 minute drive goes by quickly. The overpasses have made this drive so much faster.
We drive through the gates, past the convention center, the Lindo, the Maya, the shopping center, the medical building, the golf center, and then we are pulling up to the Grand. Jorge, the bell boy opens the door and greets us. He brings us cool wash cloths and takes us inside and sends us to the bar.
Humberto is there!
There are hugs and kisses. Well, I get hugs and kisses. Zung gets a handshake. We ask for some champagne.
Jorge comes to get us but then says we need to go over to the Lobby counter, he is not sure why. I have a pretty good idea and I am right. They ask for payment. We pay and I take the opportunity to exchange dollars for pesos. I think it’s better to use pesos and I asked a couple of the staff while I was there. They said either one is good. I will continue to use pesos because it’s the national currency. It just seems like the respectful thing to do.
Raul, who used to be the head butler, but is now the PR director, comes out to welcome us and gives us a gift certificate for a half hour couples massage. He asks us to please let him know if there is anything they can do for us.
He is another familiar face that I look forward to seeing. Everyone is always so nice and welcoming. It really does feel like coming home. Except here, I don’t have to cook or do laundry or make my bed. Come to think of it, it’s nothing like home.
It’s better than home.
We are now paid and well supplied with pesos for tips. Our golf cart awaits.
UPDATE: At the beginning of this trip report, I mentioned our 16 year old dog, Sierra. I said she did just fine while we were on this trip. Last night, after returning home from a trip to Washington DC, she wandered into our neighbors driveway and was behind their car when they were backing out. She had moderate injuries to her front leg. However, due to her poor condition of health overall and especially the difficulty she has been having with her back legs, we made the very sad decision not to prolong her discomfort and had her put to sleep. She was very calm during our last minutes with her, which reassured me that she was ready to go.
She was an awesome dog, and we miss her so much.