When I woke up the next day, I was still in complete shock from my #NoRegrets Day adventure in the open waters.
Did I really just face my fear and concur it?
Was yesterday just a dream?
How did I get to be someone so lucky to live out a day like yesterday?
I can remember laying in bed for a good solid 30 minutes reflecting back and thanking the Lord for not only the experience and chance of a lifetime, but for helping me concur something that has held me back in the past.
I knew the morning would go fast, I still had to pack and the rest of the crew was setting out early on an expedition to visit and learn about Gaby and Miguel’s restoration program (the one that Contiki is in collaborations with): Acropora Palmata Restoration Program (National Park Reefs of Xcalak).
Gaby and Miguel are the directors of this program initiated by Oceanus, A.C that began in late 2011. They currently have over 300 new coral colonies planted throughout Xcalak including Elkhorn coral a.k.a. Acropora palmata, which is the main species that dominate the reef crest and is one of the most important coral reef builders. The basis for the installment of this project was due to a massive disease suffrage that resulted in major mortality of this species. From the information provided to me by Gaby, I learned that this project is one of the first of its kind in Mexico.
While at breakfast, Gaby and Miguel educated myself and the others about the current state of their project. Most of the communication occurred between Gaby and Celine and in Spanish, which made it hard to follow, but I did learn quite a bit about the sensitivity of coral and the damage too much rainfall can cause. They explained to us that last year, one specific region, had so much rainfall that it actually whipped out an entire year’s worth of growth. I knew coral was being damaged but I really didn’t understand to what extent. I am grateful for Gaby and Miguel’s love and passion towards this project and towards our ocean and all their hard work.
After breakfast, it was time for our last goodbyes and it was difficulty to hold back tears. I know I just met these people but everything they’ve done for me during my time in Cancun, made me feel like I’ve known them for years. I didn’t want to part ways with Claire, Celine or Capkin, Gaby or Miguel, or Matteo or Luis, but I knew my Mexican Adventure was only just beginning.
I didn’t give myself much time to pack between saying goodbye and my shuttle pick up, which isn’t like me at all, but in Mexico, time seems to escape me. When I arrived at the airport, Journey Mexico had one of their employees, Alex, waiting to assist me through the airport to ensure I was set and ready to jet off to Mexico City. What I wasn’t expecting after I checked in, was the fact that I was in Premier seating (a.k.a. FIRST CLASS). That’s right, I sat in first-class on the two-hour AeroMexico flight from Cancun to Mexico City and this included free beer! Can you say spoiled brat 🙂
The flight and journey to the hotel were pretty uneventful, well except for the part where my driver drove me to Best Buy and then another camera store to purchase a new camera body. I might have left out this bit of information in my last post because I wanted that post to be about happy memories and not depressing ones. Unfortunately, I made a grave mistake and took my DSLR camera on the boat with me and the sea decided to punish me but getting it wet. I am usually very cautious with my baby and it was heartbreaking to lose something I’ve cherished for nearly three years. Thankfully, my driver was exceptionally understanding and could see my joy in holding a new DSLR camera. I never thought I’d be so attached to an electronic item before and thought I could get by, but it was barely 12 hours and I wanted to crawl into a corner and cry without one.
I arrived at the hotel with an hour to spare. The journey between the airport, the camera stores and the hotel took FOREVER because landing at 4:30 PM on a Friday in the largest city in the world meant rush hour traffic or in Mexico City’s terminology, daily traffic since nearly 22-24 MILLION people live or commute into the city daily. I can no longer complain about the horridness of traffic here in Seattle when comparing it to Mexico City. Good thing I wasn’t driving!
By 7 o’clock, I was up at the rooftop bar meeting, greeting and hanging out with my newest Contiki family (some missing) including our tour guide, Ish. Ish is the only Contiki Mexico tour guide and has been doing these tours for about a year and a half. Impressive huh?! We were missing a few at this meet-up but it didn’t matter to us. We were all so excited to be starting our Contiki tour.
I learned that although I was only doing the 9-day Mexican Fiesta tour, others were continuing on to the Yucatan portion, which is the 13-day Mexican Grande tour. It didn’t take long before we were off to dinner, asking the typical “introductory” questions. Who are you? Where are you from? How old are you? Where have you traveled? What’s the purpose of your trip? Etc. etc. etc. This has to be my favorite part of traveling: learning about other people and their journeys in life. Traveling links you to one another. It’s a bond that you can easily share and Contiki tours are a great way to travel solo and meet people!
By the time dinner ended, I was exhausted and decided to call it an early night, but I was still alone in my room. I was a bit surprised because it was nearly 9PM before my roommate arrived at my room because there was a mix up at the front desk. For the night, I roomed with Aimee, a 27-year-old from New South Wales, Australia! She had not arrived at the hotel prior to us heading to dinner and after learning a bit more about each other, we headed off to sleep as the next morning was an early one. Even though today was full of travel, it was still jammed pack with excitement. Until next adventure…