After leaving Coba and the refreshing waters of a nearby Cenote we made our way to Valladolid. The day had already been one of incredible sights, ruins, food, and color. Valladolid didn’t disappoint.
Our purpose to traveling inland to Valladolid was to experience some of the colonial architecture and inland culture. We’d have preferred to go to Merida but it was just too far to justify on our short trip.
The city is full of one-way streets and it took us a little while to get our bearings and find our hotel. Google maps was not terribly cooperative and Julie had to bust out her honed mapping and directional skills to get us where we needed to be. She is very good. Part of traveling off-the-beaten path is the frustration of getting around without help in an unfamiliar place. We end up with little periods of stress mixed in with wonderful new experiences, rewarding sites and sounds, and amazing food.
We wandered around the streets taking in the architecture and goings on. During the time of our stay we took many fantastic photos of the street right outside our hotel. It was a lovely spot just off the central square of the city.
We wandered around the square and checked out the historic church in the area. It was an amazing area.
The central square was a cute little spot. There were many people hocking their wares and trying to make a living. The paint colors are so pleasant and endearing and in the evening hours there was an incredible commotion of birds calling loudly.
We spent the evening wandering the streets. Here are a couple of shots from that night. That night we went in a little early because Julie was not feeling well. We listened to the horn and percussion band playing music in the streets in our charming and lovely hotel room (see the link below).
You would not believe the number of birds in the square. At dusk they went completely nuts. Listen below.
The next morning we enjoyed a lazy morning, a breakfast in bed, a wonderful walk around another part of the town and a relaxing lunch before our drive back to Cancun and the airport.
While eating the last meal of the trip before heading home we reflected on the trip. We had a great time. Little did we know we’d be in for a mad dash to get back to our children that night.
It turns out that Valladolid is not in the same timezone as the coast. The time change must occur very close to the coast as we did not drive very far inland to reach Valladolid. We left Valladolid with what we expected to be a very easy drive to the coast with 2.5 hours to drop off the car, get to the airport, relax, and catch our flight.
We drove most of the way to the coast before we noticed the time on our phones change (apparently the time zone changed at the beginning of 2016). See the time zone map below. We started getting nervous, but we still had a good 1.5 hours to spare right? Wrong. The rental car agreement had a bogus address on the front page. Google maps took us deep into the ghetto of Cancun. It was a residential slums with dirt roads and potholes so deep we were lucky to get out of them. I kept thinking, “I’m sure we’ll pop out of this and find ourselves near the airport.”
After determining our serious mistake we assessed the damage. We’d lost about 20 minutes and the new map to the airport pegged us with a 45 minute drive to drop off the rental car. This would leave us with about 30 minutes to drop off the rental car, catch a shuttle, get through security, and make it to our gate. What a tall order!
My old courier skills burst into prime time and I started driving like a local on dilapidated roads. We were under a significant amount of stress during that drive. At one point we were stuck behind a flat-bed truck fully loaded with cinder blocks. The load was not very well secured and I said to Julie, “I don’t like the look of that load…. looks pretty sketchy to me.” Julie blew off my concern and chocked it up to my intense safety focus. A few moments later I saw two blocks come off the truck directly in front of us. I exclaimed, “They are coming off,” as the blocks hit the pavement and shattered. Julie looked up in time to see several pieces of shattered cinder block careen around our little car. Yikes!
With 30 minutes until the plane was scheduled to leave the gate we finally arrived at the car rental facility. In a panic we pulled up and started unloading the car. The rental car company employee greeted us and asked to see our rental agreement. I handed it to him and asked when the shuttle would leave. He said it just left and that another would leave in 15 to 20 minutes. He then proceeded to hassle me about being 30 minutes later than the return time on our rental agreement. I proceeding to explain the situation in a very inflammatory and anxious sort of way.
I told him, “we don’t have time for this, just tell me what you want!” I was not about to miss a flight over such a small mater. Finally I asked, “how many pesos do we still have Julie?” We had about 300 pesos left I think. I said, “we’ll give you the 300 pesos that we have if you’ll drive us to the airport in this car right now.” He accepted the deal and off we went to the airport.
Finally we arrived at the airport with 15 minutes to spare before our international flight was schedule to depart! Ahhhh! I figured we would not make it. Here we are running through the airport just hoping that security would be fast. Luckily there was no line in security (if this wasn’t a tender mercy I don’t know what is). The security agent didn’t like that our electronic boring pass because it showed the boarding time instead of the departure time (Thanks a lot Delta) and didn’t want to let us through. Ahhhhh! Finally, they figured it out and let us through. As one last insult Julie’s bag was held for inspection. Ahhhh! We decided that I’d run to the gate and hold the plane! At this point it was about 6 minutes before our flight was scheduled to leave. I arrived at the gate with about 4 minutes to spare and sorted out our boarding passes (they changed our seats). With about 2 minutes to spare Julie came around the corner and we were allowed to board the plane.
We were both completely exhausted and emotionally drained. We made our flight despite disaster after disaster! We’d be making it home to see the kids that night. Nice!