February 21, 2019
Currently awaiting our chance to board the aluminum tube for Cancun and the start of our trip. The following was composed a couple weeks ago before heading to Colorado. So farm things have gone well this morning. The Lyft driver was on time and the freeway ride was only deterred with one accident. Check in was quick and easy. Time for a full breakfast.
Back to preparations from two weeks ago…..
Snow has been falling steadily since yesterday. There is more than a foot on the ground with more on the way. We are one week away from the start of our next adventure. The first part of the trip entails a fun visit to see Barrett and Bobby as well as their parents in Colorado. Bobby will be celebrating his second birthday. Hopefully, his snow board skills will still be limited so Grandpa can keep up with him.
After most of a week with them, we return to Columbia and grab our luggage and stuff for our adventure to Central America. I certainly plan on posting daily as we traipse about but I thought it might be fun to describe our planning up front. This will provide a point of comparison later as we discover what we forgot.
Out itinerary starts with a flight from LAX to Cancun. The plan is for a driver to meet us at the airport and transport us to Playa cel Carmen located an hour drive away. As old people, I am less interested in the dodgy art of negotiating a curbside ride to a hotel. This is now our standard practice, boring but safe and used after all plane rides and for trips to the airport in potentially sketchy situations.
The trip includes many mini-adventures that require some advance preparation. It is here that I will take the time to examine our plans and prep. We will spend the bulk of our time in tropical or semi-tropical environments. Essentially that equates with heat, humidity and bugs. After trips to Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and the Amazon we finally have the appropriate light weight, quick drying and UPF rated clothes. Despite the strangeness, it is more comfortable to wear long pants and have log sleeved shirts than to wear t-shirts and shorts. The full coverup provides protection from the sun and most bugs.
Bugs are a problem that can give the gift that keeps giving such as malaria. Our jungle clothes are all treated with permethrin that was originally factory applied and refreshed on the front porch in prep for this trip. Naturally, as paranoia in travel can be useful, we have a selection of bug juices for application on hands, necks and faces. We have evolved over the years to use Picaridin rather than the sure-fire DEET based repellents. The toxicity of DEET is scary but we will carry it anyway as a last resort back up.
My Dad returned from two years in New Guinea with a case of malaria that stayed with him well into the mid-1950s. There is still no cure but treatments can control the impact of the disease. Fortunately, mosquitos carrying malaria are not present at the elevations and locations that we are traveling. Nonetheless, we will try to keep the bug bites away including those from chiggers and ticks using maximum clothing cover and repellents. Deadly Yellow Fever is rarely found where we are going but we have our vaccinations for that particular nastiness done. So much for bugs. Spiders have eight legs are don’t meet insect criteria. Peggy doesn’t like spiders. I think look before you grab is in order.
We are bringing our own snorkeling face masks. They are full face and much easier to use than the standard tube that you normally see. We also like the idea of not sticking a well circulated, communal mouthpiece from the guide’s collection at the bottom of the boat. Of course we have water shoes and reef friendly sun screen. We now carry Lycra shirts to swim in since the back is really exposed to burning when snorkeling about. We also now bring small inflatable life vests suitable for snorkeling and boat rides in less than Coast Guard rated vessels. We have plans for snorkeling in Cozumel, Belize and Costa Rica. Best to be prepared.
We plan to be hiking quite a bit. Shoes with soles suited for not slipping are standard. We are also bringing our trusty hiking sticks and head lamps for night time ventures as well as possible issues at our accommodations. Scratch the walking sticks. No room in our packs. Shouldn’t need anyway. Famous last words. Sandals are nice when concerns about bugs and critters that bite are limited like in towns and on the beaches. Other comments on clothing aren’t really necessary other than to assure the reader that we have light weight rain coats even though we are in the dry season.
As for the usual health and sanitary precautions, these are pretty much the same as for traveling anywhere. We have then ability to stop any sink and hang any clothing for washing along with our camp soap. Hopefully, laundry service will be readily available. We carry Imodium and prescription Cipro for the possible and PeptoBismo for the probable. We also try to practice good water discipline and have water purification supplies in case bottles and safe water is unavailable. Our other stuff is pretty normal but we do carry extra tissues in our day packs.
Banks have been notified of our plans. Copies of important papers have been made. Insurance cards and travel insurance are there if needed. Copies of vouchers and travel arrangements in hard copy are there to supplement electronic copies that might get lost, stolen, etc. I think everything is ready to get on the plane. Speaking of which, we now carry alcohol wipes to clean tray tables and our hands after touching anything. Unfortunately, we can’t do much about the sneezing guy behind me on the plane other that consume vast quantities of Airborne and bring plenty of our own water.