Parque De Las Palapas

By far the most amusing place located in the heart of Cancun Downtown is Parque de Las Palapas. This square is where the locals like to enjoy their afternoons. I believe that this is one of the most popular gathering places for the locals, as well as a very popular destination for tourists who like to discover more about the local life in this city.

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Las Palapas at night

The central part of the Las Palapas square is the stage which every now and then hosts cultural and entertaining events for its visitors.

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Food Court at Las Palapas

To the left from the stage there is an open air food court with a variety of traditional Mexican dishes at very affordable prices. You order the food and sit at one of the tables in front and wait until your number is called out. The chairs and tables are made of concrete with a white rooftop creating a comfortable shade from the sun.

This park is especially convenient for the families with children who like to let their children play in the playground next to the food court, ride the little cars in the center of the park, and enjoy churros, or other authentic Mexican treats, such as sweet or salty corn on the stick, Mexican ice-creams, etc. To the right of the Las Palapas stage there are many other stands displaying home-made jewelry and souvenirs, national wear, embroidery and other unique things.

There are four main roads connecting Las Palapas to two main streets of the city, Yaxchilan and Tulum Avenida. Near the park there is an open air Catholic church, Iglesia de Christo Rey, of exceptional architectural construction, where locals attend the service. And further on there is another park where street performers present their shows to the spectators and passers-by. On the other side of the park, the road leads to the Yaxchilan Avenue famous for its night clubs and restaurants. Further on that way there is Mercado 28, a well-known shopping place for tourists.

The New Beginning

I finally reached Cancun. The very first impression as I got out of the plane was the heat. As I walked down that hall I could not help but notice people starring at my winter clothes. No wonder when it was about 30 degrees on the outside! For a person who was in the temperatures below zero just half a day before this was quite a change. I folded my winter coat underarms and placed my hat and scarf into my backpack and hurried through the airport hallway to meet the love of my life. However, as it always happens, there occurred some obstacles to make it a bit harder for me.

Obstacle #1: Border Control

The border control went rather well, I gave my passport to the lady at the control. In a very bad English she asked “Vacation?” I was confused at first, wondering in what language that might be said, and already questioning my Spanish language skills, as well as English or any other language that I might be familiar with. I then decided to just slip my itinerary into her hands hoping that that would answer all ofher questions. She took a look at it, and handed me the card, saying something that I also did not understand but I like to believe it meant “Have a pleasant stay”.

Obstacle #2: Luggage

Waiting for the luggage took us a lot longer than I anticipated. My impatience was thus more supported by the heat, and by being inadequately dressed for the Cancun temperatures. As I waited for my suitcase, I took a look around and noticed that the other travellers seemed to have the same problem. The luggage track was very narrow and every now and then some of the luggage would fall out of the track being hit by another suitcase, and this was amusing to everybody except to the people whose luggage it was. Finally, about half an hour later I got my suitcase off the track and headed to the customs.

Obstacle #3:  Customs

At the customs you have all your belongings scanned and pass on to the stand with a random check. This is very simple technology, you push the red button and the light comes up. If the light is green, you are free to go. But if the light is red, then you will have your clothes checked by the customs officers. I pressed and the red light came up.

Unexpected obstacle #1: Red Light

The lady standing by the light looked at me and pointed to the side desk where several customs officers were standing in their uniforms. I brought my suitcases and placed them on the desk. The lady was checking my purse and hand luggage, and the man was looking through my suitcase. They found the little figurines which I brought as the souvenirs from Serbia to my friends, and made me unpack it. The man commented about my clothes and how I had a “Chanel” lotion in my suitcase, saying “She is so sophisticated having a Chanel in her luggage, she must be rich” in Spanish, thinking I wouldn’t understand. I laughed a little on the inside, but kept my “foreign tourist” look and waited. I had two bottles of Serbian Rakija, the alcoholic drink and I just waited for them to say something about it. It was packed in my suitcase and it was not properly labeled so I worried that they would confiscate it. After a few minutes of going through my stuff they let me pass. Saying goodbye to them in English I was happy to go through the “Salida” door, and there was another surprise waiting for me.

Unexpected Obstacle #2: Wrong Exit

As I got out from the airport, I got overwhelmed by the heat of the night. The exit path was long and crowded by taxi drivers wearing white uniforms and offering their services to the city. As I kept walking each of them asked me if I needed a transport. At the end of the track I figured this was not the right place to exit, so I returned. I stood for a second looking at where I should go next when one of the people from the crowd, a taxi driver, asked me in Spanish if I want a taxi to the city. He was short, dark skinned, round faced man in his forties, with a mustache, wearing a taxi driver uniform. I thanked him in Spanish and said that I already have somebody waiting for me. Then he pointed to his left and said that the friends and families wait on the other side. I thanked him again and headed in that direction towards the little gate kept by two airport guards. Behind the gate there was a crowd of people expecting their friends and family. But he wasn’t there.

Unexpected obstacle #3: He is not here

So, I looked through the crowd and could not locate my boyfriend. It came to my notice that I was standing at the entrance to the DEPARTURES area of the airport, not the ARRIVALLS. This was bad, because we had arranged that he waited for me at the INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS. I went inside and asked the lady where the international arrivals section was, and she explained that it was on the other terminal and that the bus in front can take me there. I looked at my phone and saw that it had 10% battery left. I had three options: to go to the other terminal and look for him in there, to wait, or to take a bus or a taxi to the hotel where I was about to stay. I immediately discarded the first option as it would be hard to move with all my luggage and it was most likely that once they see I am not in that area they would look elsewhere and most likely come here. Then I decided to wait and see what happens. The third option was still on in case they don’t show up soon.

The miracle called WiFi

I found the perfect spot to the right of the entrance where I could perfectly see anyone who enters. I placed my winter coat on the floor, placed my belongings around me and sat on the floor. People at the airport were used to foreigners sitting wherever they find a free spot, and paid no attention to me. I took my phone and got a notification: the message from my boyfriend saying he was on his way to the airport. I sent him my location in details hoping that he will see it soon. As soon as I sent the message, the phone went off. And not long after that, I heard excited screams and I saw this guy running towards me and lifting me in a hug.

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All the good things in life do not come easily, and it was the day of our victory. Once again we beat the distance after two years long struggle. This was yet another beginning and we have many more opportunities to pursue and more obstacles to overcome until we achieve all our goals.

Window Seat

Whether on a bus, a train or a plain, the window seat will always tell you the most enchanting stories. The trees and vegetation, the clouds in the sky, the houses and buildings… everything is fascinating and intriguing, attracts your fullest attention.  It tells a unique story of each place you pass by, and even if you pass the same road again, you will never see the completely the same imagery twice: that bird will have flown away from that tree, the sun will have shone a little bit lighter and that bud will have developed into a rose.

Train window shows much more than just scenery: it displays the most sincere emotions, hugs and tears, and smiles. It seems like a train is some sort of a time machine which never goes along with the changes of the modern times. It is like a transit domicile between hellos and goodbyes where people get in a quiet blissful state lulled by the thumping sound of the locomotion and consoled by the most beautiful sights of nature until a joyful meeting at the end of their journey.

But the window seat on the plane.. It is the queen of all window seats! It gives a completely another perspective to the entire world beneath you, it makes you admire it, it makes you wonder about it, and it leaves you speechless. The only thing you do is take a deep breath… relax… and enjoy the view.

Be Well, Do Good, Keep in Touch

The day I went on my so dearly expected trip to Mexico, my dad went to see me off at the airport. We were sitting in the hall of Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade, waiting for me to board the plane. He gave me a valuable father advice about life and family, and his best wishes for my future life. I have always been thankful for having such an amazing family. And at that very moment I realized how far I was about to go, and then it hit me! I don’t know when I will see them the next time. It could be a month, it could be six months, or it could be years. And that made me sad. I hugged my dad as strong as I could, thinking about how much I love him and my family, and went to pursue my happiness and find my own purpose in life. However, I could not help but think about it during my flight, and I had a pretty long flight to go.

You may not notice at first, but an airplane can be a great place for thinking. During the twelve hours in the airplane, I went through my life, the time with my family, and I was so happy to conclude that I have so many unforgettable moments and great memories with my family. Some of those things I would have never guessed that I would appreciate so dearly now, and I am grateful to have them in my life. I have realized some things and I would like to share them with you.

Enjoy the time with your family

Make sure that you fully enjoy the time you spend with your family because regardless of how small and ordinary they seem to you at present, they will be very precious to you in the future.

Tell them you love them

In Serbian culture you will rarely hear people tell their family members how much they love them, we mostly do not waste words but show our dearest how much they mean to us. Whatever your way may be, it is always good to make sure that your family knows how much you love them and that you appreciate their love and support.

Be aware that one day you will have to continue on your own

Every change that we make in our lives requires a compensation of some kind. In order to get something you need to give up on something else. And thus I was aware that being an adult and becoming independent would eventually mean that I will have to leave the comfort of my parents’ house and go on my own. I was lucky to have the parents who managed to make that path easier for me, to support me in my decisions and make sure that I have got everything I needed to get me going. A few days ago it was their 29th anniversary. Marriage requires lots of tolerance and patience, and being able to last for so long and to keep the harmony in the house despite all ups and downs in life is really a rarity these days. I see my parents as the great example of how to manage all difficulties in life and how to be a great parent to my own children in the future.

When you do continue, there is always Skype

Skype, Facebook, Viber, Whatsapp, Gtalk, you name it!  Leaving your family nest does not mean that you will separate from them forever. The good thing is that they will always be your family and they will always be there for you. The technology nowadays made it much easier to keep long distance relationships with the people you love.

Having this in my mind, as I reached the grounds of Mexico I was ready to start a new life and pursue my goals. I have set my heart to success and I will do everything in my power to make my parents as proud of me as I am of them.

This “thinking session” was quite an experience for me. I wonder how many of you have had similar kind of thinking experience. Does that come along with making drastic changes in life? What are your thoughts on family relationships and getting independent?

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Welcome to my Blog!

I am thrilled to share my story with you! I have just opened a new chapter of my life by travelling all the way across the globe to start fresh with the love of my life. This gigantic change will lead to many exciting and amazing things in my life and adventures that you shouldn’t miss!

Ever since I started travelling to different places I’ve been wanting to start writing a blog of my own where I would write about my adventures, and being encouraged by my dearest people to pursue this kind of activity, NOW seems like the perfect time to do so.

I say now out of three reasons:

  1. Because I am in the beautiful city of Cancun at the very heart of the Caribbean where awesome things happen.
  2. Being a jobseeker, I have plenty of free time to explore this wonderful place and get a firsthand experience of whatever all our lovely shiny tourist agencies tell us every day.
  3. And finally because it is that part of the year when most of us sit down and make assessments of our lives, reminding ourselves of our goals and priorities in life, and making new resolutions to begin the New Year with.

This blog follows my journey from the day I took off from our gorgeous airport of Nikola Tesla in Belgrade in a cozy Lufthansa airplane and reached the grounds of this wonderful city of Cancun after a not so cozy 12 hour Condor flight over the ocean. I will tell you all about my adaptation to the new surroundings, about some useful tricks I have learnt from the local people, about the cultural differences, touristic attractions, natural wonders… And many more!

I believe that most of you may have had similar experiences of being an “extranjero” in many countries in the world and I am excited to hear your stories and experiences as well! Also, since this is my very first blogging experience, please don’t be stingy on comments, suggestions, advice. Everything is welcome and highly appreciated!