Topes Y Cenotes - Tulum, Mexico, Part 1 - Getting There

Our journey began a the crack of dawn on the morning of Sunday, July 11.  We had attended a wedding the evening before, and got home around midnight or so. My alarm was set for 4:30 a.m., so needless to say, I wasn't functioning at my highest level considering that I had gotten less than 4 hours of sleep. (Because you KNOW that I didn't go to bed right at midnight. Of course there were last minute packing things to do...)

Since this post will be light on pictures, here's one from the wedding we were at

Anyway, DH's younger brother so kindly agreed to drive us to the airport.  He's quite the trooper - after dropping us off, he heading straight to the rental property to continue renovations even in DH's absence.

We were both slightly nervous about how everything would pan out with this vacation.  This was our first time taking an international vacation that was not booked through a travel agent. I booked everything through Orbitz because their prices were so much lower than the prices than the travel agents quoted us. As much as we wanted to go through an agent, it just didn't make sense to throw away that extra money.

We were flying with American Airlines and had e-tickets, something that DH had never experienced before, so he was slightly concerned.  I had a big maroon Carnegie Mellon folder with all of our travel documents, maps, notes about sites to visit, etc, and fortunately that little folder never failed us.  So we did the e-check in, got our boarding passes and checked out bags.

Side note: When I booked this trip, I knew that we would likely have to pay $25 to $30 per checked bag each way, adding up to as much as $120.  At some point in the spring though, something changed and American Airlines flights to and from Mexico that were booked before a certain date (we had booked before this date) could check up to TWO bags for FREE!  How crazy right?  We were thrilled about saving $120 that could go towards other fun things.

Anyway, after getting through a particularly long security line we waited in line at McDonald's, since that is one thing that DH looks forward to every time we travel.   Our flight was scheduled to depart at 7:25 and so we quickly ate and then headed to our gate around 7 a.m.

Imagine our surprise to find the gate completely empty - everyone had already boarded!  There were only two other people checking in in front of us, including two small children who were flying alone and their mother was sobbing uncontrollably as they walked away.  It was sad.

Anyway, we walked right onto the plane, into our seats, and they closed the cabin doors! Oops - apparently they were waiting for us, as we were the last people to check in, and our plane departed at least 5 minutes earlier than scheduled.  We felt sort of bad, but at the the same time knew that we weren't being unreasonable, and actually, we loved not having to wait in line to board the plane.  I felt sort of VIP for how easy things were for us.

So from Pittsburgh we flew to Dallas, where we had about a two hour layover. We went to the Bennigan's in the airport for lunch, and received some of the worst service ever.  No one knew who was supposed to serve our table so they just ignored us for about 20 minutes, and then the waitress who finally realized that it was her table came over and gave us far less than sub-par service.  I asked her to change a $10 bill into ones and then gave her a paltry tip because I was tired and cranky.  Because of this slow service, we were nearly late to board our Cancun flight, and once again breezed onto the plane without a single minute wait.  Apparently this is how we roll....

We tried to get some sleep on the plane, but we all know how difficult that can be. Plus, we were in a row of three, and I was in the middle seat, so I was afraid of falling asleep on the girl next to me.  Fortunately she was really nice, and had been to Mexico before (Cozumel.) She was actually going to Playa del Carmen for three weeks for a class and was going to be living in some sort of student housing there. 

But we were finally off, and so far, no hitches or problems!


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