Personal Journey: Less than calm before the Cancun storm

As Hurricane Rina approached, the TV news out of Miami was unhelpful, but workers at Dreams Cancun Resort were preparing for rough weather.
As Hurricane Rina approached, the TV news out of Miami was unhelpful, but workers at Dreams Cancun Resort were preparing for rough weather. (SALLY COURANT)
Posted: February 26, 2012

Glen and I just wanted a short getaway to soak up some sun and relax on the beach. We decided that a four-night vacation to Cancun would be ideal. Leaving early on Sunday, we imagined being suited up with a tropical drink in our hands by early afternoon.

OK, so our flight was delayed 20 minutes, no big deal, we would still arrive in Cancun in time for the beach. A 20-minute delay, however, turned into a five-hour delay. After seven hours in the airport and about four hours in flight, we were in Mexico. We were losing daylight as we waited for our prearranged transport to the hotel. I said to Glen that we still would have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for the beach.

By the time we were standing at the front desk of the lovely Dreams Cancun Resort, I was tired and hungry. First good news of the day: The hotel had upgraded us to an oceanfront room. I was so excited that our vacation was back on track, I applauded. Then the energetic bellman scooped up our luggage and escorted us to our upgraded room. It was a beautiful evening to dine under the stars. Day One ended on a good note.

Day Two, we turned on the TV and found a Miami news station. It said there was a hurricane, Rina, heading for where? . . . No, it couldn't be . . . Cancun! Even though I kept yelling at the TV, "Tell me when it is going to hit," all the Miami meteorologist wanted to talk about was if it might make landfall in Florida.

Rina was not in Cancun yet - so we hit the beach.

Day Three, Miami news still wouldn't give us the information we needed, but the hotel kept us up to speed on Rina. We called the airlines. They knew about the hurricane, but flights were not canceled.

Day Four, there were a few dark clouds but we still planned on an afternoon at the beach. Hotel staff was busy putting away everything that was not nailed down, along with some things that were. Planks were expeditiously being removed from the fishing pier. We quickly grabbed two lounge chairs before they, too, were stored away. The three outdoor restaurants were bare of tables and chairs. Windows were being boardedup and sandbags being readied. The hardworking maintenance workers paused to wave as I took their picture. Did they know it would be printed in The Philadelphia Inquirer?

Airlines must have been watching our hotel's preparations because they finally canceled our Thursday flight and also canceled all flights out of Cancun for Friday. We were rebooked for Sunday.

Rina was downgraded to a tropical storm. Thursday evening she wreaked havoc outside our upgraded oceanfront room. By daybreak, Rina was gone, boards were being replaced, and beach chairs were back where they should be.

Remember we lost Day One on the beach? We made it up plus two and missed the October snow in Philadelphia to boot.

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