Oliver and I had a tour booked for today. The tour was scheduled to begin at 8:00 am when a driver would pick us up at our hotel. In our original email correspondence, they asked for my hotel name, but since I was using Airbnb, I could only email them back with directions to the place we were staying. I offered to meet them at a different location, but they assured me that my location was just by their office, so it’d be no problem. For some reason, I had a feeling the driver would have a hard time finding us. It’s what I thought about when I was trying to fall asleep the night before. And sure enough, 8:00 became 8:15, which soon became 8:30. Turns out, it was a problem.
After waiting for thirty minutes, we decided to walk towards the bus station to see how much it would cost to take a cab to Chichen Itza. I wasn’t crazy about going on a tour anyway. The website assured me that they were an eco-friendly company that traveled in small groups, but I kept getting visions of 30 people following a guy with a shiny flag on a stick around Chichen Itza. When they never arrived, I was somewhat relieved. We went to find other transportation, and that’s how we found ourselves in Priscilla’s white cab speeding down the two-lane Mexican roads on our way to Chichen Itza.
I can’t remember a time where I’ve had a woman taxi driver, much less one who has Pris y Josh written in large letters on the top of her front windshield. I later learned that Josh was her boyfriend, and his kids’ names were written on the back window. As Priscilla sped down the roads, I envisioned the dramatic scene that would unfold if these two didn’t make it. Imagine having to scape names off your car after a bad break up.
We drove much of the way to Chichen Itza in conversation. She explained the villages through which we drove. She tolerated me trying to practice Spanish and answered my many questions about life in Mexico and what it is like to be a woman working in a man’s world. My favorite response was when I asked her about if she felt welcome and respected in her work, she said that she demands respect from the male drivers. She’s a strong woman for being 26 – I guess you’d have to be in her line of work.
With no tour, we parked the car, and Priscilla pointed to where she would wait for our return. Oliver and I walked through the ruins at our own pace and were able to stop and linger each time Oliver spotted an iguana (which was often). There was no rush, and there were no large masses of people.
After Chichen Itza, we stopped in Vallavolid, a city known for its colorful colonial buildings.
Priscilla asked what we wanted to eat, and I told her that I wanted something authentic. She smiled and said that I was paired with the perfect person and drove us to a food court in the town’s center. Oliver had yet another cheese quesadilla (I know that is difficult to imagine), and I let Priscilla order for me. I ended up with a sampler of all the things unique to the region. Some were good, some were not, (and some I didn’t even try – like the brown sausage) but I was grateful for the experience.
Today provided a good lesson in going-with-the-flow. I was worried about whether the tour company would find us, but it turned out not to matter. We ended up having a nicer day, a more tailored day at half the price of the original plans.
When I got home, I had an email from the tour company claiming that I was a no-show. I wrote back to them and explained that it was they who were the no-show but that I had a great day in spite of their absence.