I know that Meg, in her guest post, talked about secret vacations and keeping certain things off the internet. And there were tons of things about my honeymoon that we will keep just to ourselves, but I live in stories. That’s how I work things out, that’s how I remember great events, that’s how I navigate the world.
Cancun. Perfect weather (except one day with some massive thunderstorms where lightening struck trees only a few blocks from us). Perfect beaches. Tropical paradise.
Plus, you know, just one of the Seven Wonders of The World.
Chichen Itza is the main pyramid of the Mayan ruins and was a little under a three hour drive from where we were staying in Cancun. So, on Friday we set our alarms for 5am, set on a 6am departure in order to beat the big tour buses, and headed out in our little rented piece of shit car (that shook if you made it go too fast and was always threatening to over heat). The directions to the pyramid were not exactly crystal clear. We had this vague map, with a few streets on it and a general direction to head.
About a block from where we needed to make the turn off to the highway, Kamel (bless his heart, but at the time I wanted to kill him) had a total freak out and decided we were lost, made us turn around to clarify directions at a little convenience store. The people in the store said they had no idea where the road (the road they worked on every day) went. This reminded me of the study out of LA that said some inner city kids, whose lives only existed in a 6 block radius had never even seen the ocean living in LA. Poverty is isolating.
So we headed further back, asked some exceedingly friendly cops for help, who then returned us to our original path and poof! There was the opening to the highway we needed. Like magic. At this point Kamel and I weren’t speaking to each other. Instead, as we drove deeper and deeper into the insanely lush jungle of the Yucatan, I searched the trees for monkeys. Obviously. And what I found was not monkeys, but something better: Butterflies.
Now, I’ve talked about how I don’t like butterflies, how flying things in general give me the heebie jeebies. I don’t like hummingbirds because they seem like giant effing bugs to me, and I’m a screamer, what can I say?
But while we drove the butterflies became more and more dense, floating by in the trees in light green, white, neon yellow, pastel shades. We were the only car on the road and suddenly the silence stopped being menacing and became calm. Kamel and I held hands and kept pushing forward.
When we got to Chichen Itza the sheer magnitude of the ruins took my breath away. It was early in the morning, the flood of people hadn’t arrived (though by the time we left they would have), the ruins, in a large cleared out field were surrounded by so much energy. Years and years and years, beyond my comprehension of years, and so much history and meaning weaved around them (what happened there, who lived there, the knowledge they had, their fall and conquering, their tragedy, their mystery) was palpable.
But so were the butterflies. Hundreds of butterflies danced around the field, landing on my back and legs, and then flying off again. They were mesmerized by Kamel’s green shoes – which also happened to be the exact shade of some of them. The butterflies would land on his feet or the ground near him, to the point where we were literally surrounded by flight. We moved through the morning heat, the stone pillars, the air thick with history, and butterflies. It was breath-takingly magical.