Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The drive

Well, we had an uneventful drive from Cancún to Mérida. The drive is a straight shot via the toll rode and traffic is light and fast moving, with speed limits from 80-110 Km/hr (you'll have to make the conversion yourself- brain too tired tonight).  We stopped once for a soda and some japones ( dry roasted peanuts with a coating of sugar, lime, and spices), twice at the toll booth, and once for the policia estatal who wanted to know if we were headed to Chichen Itza, which is where most gringos drive to from CUN. He asked to see the car rental papers, looked at the tag, and waved us on with no hint of a smile.  Since most Yucatecans smile when greeted with buenos dias, I'm assuming that the police do not because they must
appear stern and authoritative.

We received a call from our property manager just minutes before the exit to the Centro and about 20 minutes later we pulled into the garage.  Directions given to us by Laurel, a commenter on this blog, got us here without a hitch. Thanks Laurel. Now that I've driven around the Centro a bit, it's not nearly as intimidating as I imagined. In spite of the fact that I have made a few driving mistakes, I have yet to be given the finger or see another driver mouth those two words most favored by US drivers.

I would not hesitate to make this drive again, but here's the rub. I made the car rental reservation through Priceline, using Alamo. The rate was very attractive for a mid-size at $132 USD for 7 days, unlimited mileage. I even signed up for the collision coverage, an additional $11 USD per day. Better safe than sorry. That still seemed not so bad at $210 for the week. Then, when we got to the reservation desk at the airport, we were told that an additional mandatory charge of $12.99 per day was required for liability insurance. OK, mandatory means we have no choice, so I signed up. We were then driven to the Alamo parking lot a short distance from the airport. The very nice man at the desk started entering all the information we were providing, and explained that a third party was covered if injured in an accident but that we were responsible for the full cost of the car. Wha...? For $35 USD per day we could relax and have no worries. "Don't worry.. Be happy." We checked for scratches and dents, hopped in and away we drove. Total cost: $449 for the week, unlimited mileage, return with empty gas tank. Piece of mind: Priceless.

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