Spring Break is a rite of passage for an American college kid. The only week off for the Spring semester (so generous with holidays those administrators…), in which a lot of people go back home to relax, and everyone else goes elsewhere for a week with their friends, most commonly towards the much warmer weather of the South.
Being an exchange student and only having one Spring Break ever in my life, I wanted to get the full, stereotypical American experience. So that obviously meant a week of partying in Cancun, Mexico (or Mehiho as I annoyed everyone by calling it all week!). Well, of course! Eight of us Internationals (well, whilst we were in the US that is – I guess everyone’s an international in Mexico!) – three Aussies; Dani, Jordan and Sophie, three Brits; Ben , Luke and myself, an Irish; Aidan, and a Kiwi; Nathan -paid a large amount of money to spend the week at Oasis Resort in Cancun, staying Saturday to Saturday (well slightly less by the time we arrived and the time we had to leave!). The journey to Mexico I took with 5 of the others (Jordan and Nathan went different routes to the rest) was a long old one, leaving Chapel Hill at 3am, cabbing it to Durham to get a bus to Charlotte to fly to Houston then to Cancun. We didn’t arrive at the resort until 10.30/11ish at night, and I wasn’t checked into the room until midnight because they couldn’t find my reservation. Bloody Mexicans…
|The weary travelers. On the way there that is!|
|Looking over (a small part) of the resort|
|Me, Aidan, Nathan and Luke on the beach|
|Part on the beach|
|Nathan and Luke raving it up|
|The 'club' in the resort, complete with pole dancers on the bar|
|One of the Cancun MegaClubs|
|Sheridan and Sophie dancing on the bar. As you do...|
The usual spring break antics were in full swing throughout the week, including wet-tshirt competitions (I obviously won one of those…), lap dancing competitions and others probably not a good idea to mention on here. Sophie being Sophie wanted to enter one of the competitions in a club one night but got rejected for having boobs too small - how harsh is that?! There was a small army of security at the resort and by god did they need it – the number of heavily intoxicated people at like 2 in the afternoon was ridiculous, especially when stupid antics such as running into glass windows were occurring (as one incredibly dumb Brit tried to do and promptly broke his nose. Never been more simultaneously embarrassed and in stitches in my life!) and people having to be wheel chaired (yes, you read right) back to their rooms due to being so drunk they couldn’t walk. The other group of exchanges came home one evening to find a guy passed out on their bed, with absolutely no idea how he got their as the door and windows were locked shut. My guess was that the resorts pixies let him in. That view didn’t go down too well naturally…
|Casual lunch and cocktail in the market|
|Sophie, Amy and Dani wandering down to the market|
|The sink hole|
|Amy, Me and Nathan having a dip|
The main event of the day was going to Chichen Itza, the Mayan ruins. Without a shadow of a doubt these ruins were amazing. Simply amazing. The architecture, the thinking of these ancient people and development of writing and culture than stemmed from them was fascinating. Out tour guide was fantastic too and really knew his stuff – a helpful thing indeed! We spent a good few hours at the site, wondering around and having a look at the different ruins of different buildings. There were also many many stalls of Mayan and Mexican items for sale with the usual Mexican tactic of if you offer them enough stuff aggressively enough they’re bound to buy something. A tactic that must obviously work seeing as so many people flocked to these stalls to part with extortionate amounts of money for pure crap. Not… Another tactic they used was to call out “one dollar one dollar” as if the item they were offering cost only one US dollar. Don’t be fooled! In reality they were offering it of one Mayan dollar (which doesn’t exist) which by their exchange rate is approx 20 US dollars or whatever they think they can get you for, or else its one dollar off the original high price. Crafty Mexicans indeed!
We left the resort on the Saturday, enduring another incredibly long journey back to Chapel Hill. The flight from Mexico to Houston went fine, however with being International students, we were first held up at Immigration and then Customs, where Dani’s bag got pulled over to be searched (this also happened on the way out – she’s a dodgy looking girl that’s for sure!), meaning we well and truly missed our flight to Charlotte. After half an hour of searching for seats the incredibly helpful lady at the desk managed to get us on a flight much later, although Luke had to be standby whilst the rest of us had guaranteed seats. Drama indeed... Couple this with the bad weather in Houston, meaning flights were being delayed and cancelled left right and centre, alongside being one of the busiest travelling weekend of the year (in the middle of two Spring Break weeks) meant that there were hundreds of stranded passengers all trying to get on whatever flights they could. Some of them were being told that they couldn’t get on a flight until the Monday. Ouch… Anyways, we managed to all get on the flight to Charlotte, thankfully, after some tense moments at the gate waiting to see of a seat became available (Luke having to fight of other people trying to get on the flight!), only for the plane to be delayed even further for a large party to get on the plane. By this point we had well and truly missed our coach from Charlotte to Durham, so I spent a lot of time on the phone to various people trying to sort out somewhere to stay and getting booked onto the next coach. Many MANY thanks to Lillie and her family in their very kind offers of help, and Connor and Lindsay for spending time on the internet looking stuff up for me! We decided in the end to just sleep at Charlotte airport for simplicities sake, with the hope of getting into the military lounge at Charlotte. That didn’t happen as it was closed – typical – so the floor put us up. How nice of it! The coach back at 8am was very quick considering I slept for all of it, only to then be charge $60 for the taxi back to Chapel Hill. By this point I didn’t care. I just wanted to get into my room, have a shower and chill the fuck out!
Spring Break was an amazing experience, and one I glad I did – despite the vast cost of it! It was great fun being with the group I was with, all of them massive characters and a good laugh. It was also interesting to see the comparisons between the UK stereotype of Spring Break and how it actually was. Sorry to you Yanks, but the stereotypes were in full force and rather accurate. However, there were many similarities with the UK abroad hotspots such as Mali, Zante or ’Shag-alouf’ and had that “schools out” feel to it. Cancun gave me a feel for Mexico as a mental but fantastic place, and I am now keen to go back and see the ‘real’ “Mehico”, not the “American-tourists-are-here-lets-rip-them-off-to-the-moon-and-back-ico” that Cancun was. It’s also made me want to go and have a poke around South America. Looks like the travelling fever has well and truly taken a hold of me!