Attitude is the only difference between an ordeal and an adventure. ~Unknown. Many times on the road as a child with my mother, she would pull off to the nearest convenience store and return with scribbled directions, and a box of Rosebuds: the difference between being lost and “on an adventure!” We have continued sharing such adventures through the years, one comedy of errors particularly memorable: Nuevo Vallarta, 2013.
In a whirlwind of dramas among friends, Mom and I found ourselves banished from our original accommodations with only days to secure a hotel, and a pesky issue of me on a return flight the day before hers, but with a $450 rescheduling fee, we would make do.
To further challenge my blissful vacation, the morning of departure I awoke to the flu gods mocking me. Armed with Pepto, prayers, and popsicles, I crawled to the car, and barely survived the flight. Fortunately, a day and a nap made all the difference and things started to improve. My determination to enjoy my vacation despite dilemmas found me in the hotel lobby carefully sipping a cosmopolitan planning the week.
It was then I met Alberto; our cute, charming Mexican tour rep, with an amazing, sexy smile. He asked to take me out on my last night, but when I went secure plans, I had missed him. Disappointed, I made the best of it at the disco with mom, and Tequila. When we returned late and found a note on the door, my heart sank; it was from Alberto saying he would pick me up at nine. I felt awful.
The next morning, after solemnly packing, I tried to find my tanned skin prince, without success. On route to the lobby, the foot broke off my suitcase turning it into an awkward, unstable mess to drag home; the perfect metaphor for my own emotions. In the cab, I sniffled, and wiped my tears. “Why are you crying Senorita?” The driver asked. I sobbed: “Because I don’t want to leave yet.” “So, stay!”
Upon arrival at the airport, I limped my wounded baggage through the glass doors, across the polished floor, and bid adios to Mexico. Like a new kindergartner, I put on my brave face and took a breath; and then it was lost once more. There, running down the escalator, was the amazing, sexy smile that I thought I’d never see again. He reached the foyer and swept me in a hug, and a Hollywood worthy, kiss of a lifetime! For that moment, all was well with the world.
Armed with the strength of a proper goodbye, I presented my documents at the check in counter. I asked once more about changing my flight, determined to bend reality with persistence. Agents spoke to each other in Spanish, and something seemed wrong. I was almost sure I was about to be wrongly detained in a Mexican prison -which seemed a fitting end to this flawed fiesta- When the clerk finally explained to me: bad weather in Texas; my connection was cancelled. Shock rolled through my body, and I struggled to stop the grin from erupting as the reality hit me. “So I’m delayed and it’s your fault!” I was quickly booked on a flight the following day, and presented with travel vouchers and cab fare for the “inconvenience.”
The sun smiled on the road back; palm trees applauded my victory, the broken suitcase carried itself! As we rolled up to the hotel lobby, I barely waited for the taxi to stop before leaping onto the curb. There, in the archway stood Alberto – shocked and ecstatic to see me! The whole story, finding my mom and evening plans unfolded in the next ten minutes, through euphoric smiles and happy hugs. While dozens frowned in Texas, three beamed in Mexico for one, perfectly cancelled flight.
Any or all of these obstacles could have been a trip disaster, but thanks to attitude, they became the blunders we triumphed over for a uniquely memorable vacation; the places we paused to get our Rosebuds.
*Submitted October 2015- for possible publication to Travellers Tales.