The first thing that literally hit me when I got of the plane was the incredibly humid air here in Cancun, Mexico. The density is around 96% this time of the year and it provides you with a nice constant layer of moisture around your body, which isn’t the greatest feeling ever… But hey, for the first time in my life I am on another continent, so why complain (even about the aggressive mosquitos)?
After we got Lewis through customs and got out of the airport I spotted a smiling Mexican guy with a self-written sign on cardboard saying ‘COUCHSURFING – VALERIE AND TIM’. ‘Wow’ I thought to myself, ‘this is also the first time that I get picked up like a star at the airport.’ We had contacted Alan through Couchsurfing a few days earlier and he had accepted our request to stay with him for a couple of days and guide us a little bit on our first days in Mexico. I must say he did a great job! Moments after we arrived in the centre of the city we found ourselves eating tacos at a very cosy authentic square surrounded by nothing but Mexicans. I really enjoy these un-touristic places, so we were off to a good start.
Alan lives in the suburbs and we had to take a bus or taxi to get to his place, but that was easier said than done. The traffic is crazy in Cancun and there aren’t any regular stops to catch a bus, you just have to wave and hope the driver will stop. In our case there were a few that drove by pointing at Lewis, so we decided to try our luck with some taxi drivers and after a few refusals we finally found one who was willing to take him. ‘Pff, using the public transport in Mexico might be a lot harder than expected’ I said to Val.
We thought we weren’t too much affected by jet lag, but as soon as we arrived to Alan’s house we felt the hammer bearing down on us and quickly went to sleep. The following morning I was wide-awake at 6.30, which for some of you might be normal, for me it isn’t… And it wasn’t the best sleep ever, mainly because of the storm that hit us during the night. Apparently it’s hurricane season now, so that means a lot of rain and storms during this month and not the best time for camping, walking or even hitchhiking for that matter.
It seems that our challenge for this month will be traveling using cheap busses with dog friendly drivers and relying on the Couchsurfing network and local friend recommendations, like we find ourselves in Playa Del Carmen in the home of a friend of a couchsurfer from Cancun today.
It is my first time ever to travel to another continent and really experience a totally different culture; I must say that apart from the crazy traffic it hasn’t been that overwhelming so far. It has been slightly confusing though, because of the American influence, the big cars versus the bad roads and the small houses…
But, I do have a feeling the true Mexico will show itself sooner or later.