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19th Dec 2011 - Arrival in Cancun and drive to Chichen Itza

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Dr Manaan Kar Ray
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Joined: 08 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:04 pm    Post subject: 19th Dec 2011 - Arrival in Cancun and drive to Chichen Itza Reply with quote

Have travelled quite a bit, and have frequently used BA as airlines of choice, however I must say that the plane looked quite old, atleast the AV system was outdated by atleast 10 years for a trans-atlantic flight, i.e. all the movies started at the same time and there was no way to use the AV system like one would use there Sky HD box. This must be the first ever for me, that I actually did not watch a single movie on a long distance flight. On the bright side this meant that I managed to get some sleep which is a rare occurence for me. Mahi and Mayank were extremely well behaved and towards the end I felt more impatient than they were. I guess I got bored of staring at the A level statistics that the young chap in the next seat was doing

In spite of leaving about an hour late, the pilot made up the time. We went through immigration fairly promptly but then there was an awful que at the customs. It took about an hour. Finally we got out, withdrew some Mexican money from an ATM and it was so wonderful just to feel the warm air about 24 degrees C.

We were supposed to get a lift to the car rental. I had booked it with a company called Easy Way, it appeared to be much cheaper than the standard Hertz or Avis. However there was no one to be seen, fortunately before Mon started to point out that I should have gone for one of the standard companies, another car rental lady of another company made a couple of calls for us and a chap appeared from the other terminal.

The traffic was chock a block getting out of the airport, and people were not following lanes, so I thought to myself that its a good thing I have driven in India and that experience will come handy. However we came to some kind of an arbitary check point where the mexican police stood with scary looking guns. They had narrowed down the road to one lane and that is why everything was stuck, not quite sure though what they were doing, anyway after that the traffic moved smoothly and peple stuck to there lanes including the local mexican drivers.

In another 5 minutes we arrived at this car rental place, located behind a petrol pump in what looked to be quite dodgy surroundings. Did the paperwork and was ready to go, but the sat nav that I had already paid for was not available, they mentioned that it had broken down and there were no alternatives, they just wanted me to follow the straight road which would take me to chichen Itza. However I was not going to budge. Not driving in a foreign country with limited spanish vocabulary.... I just stood my ground, what this meant was that they went out and bought a sat nav, so a further 2 hours wait, by this time the kids had fallen asleep as there is a 6 hours time difference and in there body clocks it was well past mid night. By this time though Mon had decided enough was enough and they should drop us of at Hertz or Avis. The chaps were doing what ever they could to sort it out, so hung around for a little bit longer.

Did get a sat nav in the end, but could not set it to english. However I felt it was getting late and we had to go. Got in the car, VW Jetta, reasonable condition, other than the fact that the remote did not work, and after opening the driver car door, if I dont turn the ignition on, the alarm went off, everytime. Well I figured this one out later, by then it was too late as I was in Chichen Itza.

Figuring out how one turned back on the main highway was a bit of a feat. Not to mention that I could not sort out the mirrors, kept looking for the switch, till I realized that the windows were not electric and had to be rolled up and down the old fashion way, the same with the mirrors I guessed...manually. Once I had sorted that out I followed some cars that appeared to be queing up on the inside lane hoping that they might be turning, yes they were turning but left not doing a U turn, thought I had broken a few rules, but later learnt that was not the case. This is completely legal, it is called a retorno and is legal to do so long it is done safely.

The car rental people were actually correct, that it was a straight road and that I will not have any problem, so long I do not veer of the Toll road. At the toll, Mexican police did check my lisence and were going to ask me to get the passports out from the boot, but I think they took mercy on the sleeping children in the back and let me go.

Once in Piste, I asked a traffic policeman in my broken spanish and he gave directions to Hotel Chichen Itza. Reasonable hotel and the room was extremely good keeping in mind that we were only paying 49$s a night. The front desk did say that he had given us a free upgrade. The resturant was about to close down, but they accomodated us and we had our first chicken fajitas, the first of many over the next 8 days.

Before going to bed there was just on more thing to do, sorting out the language settins of the Sat Nav, which for some reason I maaged to do without much problem in the calm enviornment of a hotel room, but for the love of god had failed to do prior to starting the journey to Piste. I guess I sould have taken a chill pill.
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