Our first trip to Mérida, Part 1
|Angie with her red backpack at Elway's|
My emotions were genuinely all over the place. Excitement, absolutely, but also a looming anxiety. What if it wasn't as great as I thought it was going to be? What if I've wasted five years infatuated with something that it turns out I dislike?
I have a philosophy of "hope for the best, expect the worst; never be disappointed."
We edged through customs and started through the airport hallway where we were repeatedly asked if we needed a taxi, through the doors and past the small palapa in front of the airport selling, I don't know, coffee? Margaritas? We didn't stop to find out as we continued walking, still bombarded with taxi offers.
We found the small bus to take us to the car rental building. It was starting to get later, our initial arrival of 2 p.m. had now drug out to 3 p.m. But, no problem, we'd get the car rented and be off on our way to Mérida in no time, just enough time to see the end of the Super Bowl.
Lest you think this is a case of a dumb 'American' abroad, we have rented a car in Sicily, an SUV in Namibia, a small bus in Norway and a scooter in Thailand. All of them were pretty painless transactions. Maybe I should have done some more research on Mexican car rentals, granted. But, so far, our travels had not warranted spending a lot of time on the subject. Also, this was an internationally-known car rental company.
Angie is, generally, very adventurous and gutsy, but when she becomes very overtired and/or stressed that all starts to melt into her own pit of anxiety. My empathetic nature means when she's stressed, I start to buckle.
The sun set and darkness crept in as we drove deeper into the Yucatecan interior. Angie started to question whether we should have just spent the night in Cancun. Whether we should be driving in Mexico at night. Whether there will be anyone waiting at the house, and if there isn't, what do we do then? We were not prepared to try and find a hotel at night in a city we've never been to.
As her stress and anxiety turned to fear, I started to feel the doubt spreading to me and a knot forming in the pit of my stomach as I gripped the steering-wheel tightly.
Maybe we should have just stayed in Cancun. Maybe we never should have come here. Everything is falling apart it seemed and it was all my fault for having this wild obsession over a place I had seen years ago on TV for 20 minutes.
On the main expressway to Mérida there are almost no places to turn off or turn around. There are a couple "exits" but otherwise you are on a straight shot. By the time there were any reasonable places to turn around we were already far closer to Mérida than Cancun. It's too late to turn back, I knew. So I pressed on into the darkness.