Cancun, Mexico: Before I came.

Here I am in Cancun, Mexico.

Coming to Cancun was just part of my plan a month ago. As I was asking a friend for suggestions for spring break. He is always an interesting person to talk to, especially his word choice. It’s different from the people I know. He was born in Tibet and grew up in Chengdu, Sichuan. The windy and cold weather in Champaign and Urbana was just a piece of cake to him. When the weather got a bit nicer and warmer, he wore a t-shirt and flip-flops to class while I was still in my coat and thin scarf.

It was a nice day and he told me his nice days in Cuba. Cuba, in the south of Florida, is warm all the year round. Illinois doesn’t get the warmth and heat until May while fall starts as soon as in middle of September in the northern part. According to my experience, temperature drops immediately after sunset that I have to wear hoodies starting in late September.

It may be because I am raised in subtropical area. I am not used to the cold. I am so not used to it. The good news is that I survive.

One night, I was talking to another friend, Xuan, about visiting Cuba. She said she might be able to join me if I went to Cancun. Well, why not. It’s hard to find a companion. Well, but soon she found that she was broke for the trip.

What can I do… Well. I was all on my own.

The day I finally made up my mind to visit Cuba, I started by buying the air tickets. Only a few U.S. cities have the direct flights to Havana; Chicago is not on the list. Therefore, I have get to Mexico first and transfer to flights to Cuba. I thought it’d be nice to stop in Cancun. I double checked the schedule since I have to make separate purchases.

I bought the ticket from Chicago to Cancun. Ok, then the one of Cancun to Havana came next.

“Sorry, there’s something wrong with your purchase. Please try again.”
Again and again, it failed and failed.

Even the bank called me and asked if things were okay with the multiple trials of transactions. It’s ok but it just didn’t go through at all.

“Well, since you tried so many times within this short time, it may just automatically decline your request. Try a bit later, like tomorrow.” She said.

No, it still didn’t work.
I panicked. I really did because I only wanted to visit Cuba, not Cancun.  Then I called Orbitz, where I booked the flight.

“Sorry, it’s not refundable,” the person said.

Great. I was stuck, either I would just go to Cancun or became a baller and just let the flight be and I stayed in Champaign.


I decided to come visit Cancun. Then I booked a hotel in downtown area, which is more local than the Hotel Zone. More importantly, hotel in downtown is cheaper than the resort hotels along the coast.

It’s local in downtown. It can be a challenge for me, such a person who knows no Spanish.

All I know is: O la (Hello), Si (Yes), No (No), Uno (One), Gracia (Thank you).
Honestly, I don’t even know how to pronounce my hotel’s name. I am sorry. But the rolling-tongue R is very, very difficult for a flat-tongue person like me – Terracaribe. Try it. There are too many r’s.

Before I came to Cancun, it was still chilly in Champaign. I couldn’t wait to wear flip-flops and skirts to get around.

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