Saturday, December 6, 2008

And so it begins...again.

It's strange, the similarities between the start of this grand adventure and my last. Both times I packed my belongings away in storage. Both times I said goodbye to my friends and family. Both times I boarded a flight to Cancun, unsure of what lay ahead.

But that's where the similarities end, and the differences begin. Already I amazed at how different this trip is. The nervous feeling in my stomach is gone. I'm speaking Spanish well (OK not too well, but good enough for now). And perhaps the biggest difference is that I am not alone. Embarking on such a grand adventure with a partner (and a wonderful one at that) is truly a blessing. While I would not trade last year's expereince for anything in the world, I am glad to be sharing this adventure with Natalie.

I spent a good portion of my flight yesterday mulling over these thoughts as we cruised through the skies at 35,000 feet. Finally we arrived. After easily clearing immigration (something that felt like an incredible challenge last year), I stepped outside into the humid evening air with a feeling of deja vu. Wasn't I just here???

The bus ride into town was short, and it was when I stepped out of the bus station that I realized how much my last trip changed me. As we walked towards our hotel I remembered walking down the same street last year hopelessly lost, and unable to ask directions. My hotel was only four blocks from the bus station and I stumbled around for what seemed like ages before I finally arrived. This time I navigated my way towards the hotel with confidence doging traffic and potholes like a pro. As we walked through the back streets of Cancun I remembered that a year ago I thought I was in an incredibly impovershed area. Walking the same streets last night it was hard not to laugh at myself for being so naive. These were not poor barrios, whose residents struggled to make ends meet, these were middle class homes with nice vehicles parked out front. What a difference a year makes.

I'm happy, healthy, and ready for anything. Unfortunately, right now that anything is an all night bus ride to Palenque. ARGH!

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