Bienvenidos a Cancún
March 28, 2011 § 1 Comment
We took a red-eye flight to Mexico, leaving the house at 10:30PM via Aeromexico. I guess it was due to the size of the airline, but we were relegated to the outer terminal at O’Hare. It was relatively empty. When we got in line for Aeromexico, the nearby usher guy gestured to us and said, “The line for Shanghai is over there.” I raised both eyebrows. I mean, we did look out of place, but really? Damn.
I barely slept that night. For some reason, I forced myself to stay awake during our four-hour stopover in Mexico City, and after we arrived in the humid mid-morning of Cancun, I pretty much wanted to die. We’re staying at Royal Solaris, which is the first all-inclusive hotel we’ve stayed at. All necessities are included — drinks (alcohol), pools, food, entertainment, etc.
As my parents sat down with one of the staff to go over hotel information, my brother and I wandered over to the bar to order some soda.
“Where are you guys from?” asked the bartender, a young-ish Mexican guy.
My brother and I answered simultaneously. “Chicago.” “USA.” “Chicago,” I corrected myself.
He asked again. “Where are you from?”
“Chicago,” I repeated.
He looked at us. “You’re really from there?”
We nodded. Did he not believe us..?
“You were born there? Not Japan, somewhere?”
Inwardly, I scoffed in disbelief. The ethnicity question can be an awkward one to ask, but the “Where are you from no where are you really from” tactic is just rude. I didn’t expect to encounter it here, but I guess I shouldn’t expect too much racial sensitivity in this tourist haven.
Going on vacation can bring out either the worst or best in people. Spending five days at a resort in Cancun should undoubtedly make any family happy, and my parents and I would be at maximum cheerfulness if it weren’t for my selfish prick of a brother. Now that he’s arguably stronger than me and our aging father, he takes every opportunity to poison the mood.
“Shut up,” he says to anyone in any given situation. He acts ostensibly chagrined to be anywhere near us or do anything with us, always sulking in a corner somewhere. He threatens to smash the camera if we try to take a picture of or with him. He’s no longer afraid to swear audibly in our presence. I’d really like to punch him in the face, but I don’t think that would teach him to be a better son.
I used to attribute this behavior to mere teenage moodiness, but there is no foreseeable improvement. I don’t particularly care what he says to me, but the tremendous disrespect he delivers to my parents is appalling. They choose to ignore it half the time.
Now that I’m 21, I’ve started to drink somewhat openly with my parents. I ordered some banana-pineapple mixed drink at the pool bar today. My mom’s eyes widened when she realized it was alcoholic, but she got over her initial surprise pretty quickly. I ordered a margarita at dinner [it turned out to be disgusting], and later traded it for a Miami Vice [it was delicious]. My brother tried some of my margarita and got a mouthful of salt LOL.
I’m not sure if it’s the journalist side of me or if it’s simply a personal habit, but when I look at some people, especially those in the business of service, I can’t help wondering who they are outside of this job. How did they get here? Do they like the job? Is it enough to provide for their families?
I thought about this as I watched the waiters work the buffet area during dinner last night. I thought about it at the beach today as I watched the handful of Mexican men selling sunglasses and other trinkets to sunbathing tourists. I also thought about it while watching the Mexican dance show provided by the resort’s theater.
In high school, I occasionally read the blog of a guy who worked as entertainment staff at Disney World — he and the other workers seemed to hate it. Indeed, donning a Goofy costume is not considered a very good job in America. But is performing in hotel shows in Cancun considered good work in Mexico? Do these people hate their jobs too, despite the bright smiles they show the audience? How much money does a sunglasses-seller make every day? What are the ambitions of the waiters who serve us drinks? All this thinking makes it difficult to enjoy the social privilege I have as a tourist here.
Anyway, these are my thoughts from the first two days here. I haven’t done much except eat, drink and tan. I wish I had photos to share but I haven’t used my camera at all, and I haven’t had time to get the pictures I’ve taken on my parents’ Nikon. I’m currently sitting with them while listening to the two-person band in the lobby/bar area, which is the only place with wi-fi. A 24-year-old Vietnamese girl from Toronto that I met this afternoon told me that the nightlife here is better than Vegas, but I don’t think this is the right opportunity to go clubbing, as much fun as it sounds. A girl at the table next to me just said that the cover for the VIP club is $49, which is pretty heinous anyway.
That’s all for now! I’ll have more to share in a few days :)