Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Paradise Lost-Trip To Cancun Mexico, December 1991
Back in 1991, I was working for a large Insurance Company. My wife was employed for two of this same companies leading agents, I worked in the claim department. There was a contest for claim department employees to win an all expense trip for two to Cancun, Mexico. The lucky winner and his wife were preparing to go on the trip when their young child was stricken with Chicken Pox. They announced they were not going to be able to go. They had another drawing and my name was drawn. My two year old son had recently had the Chicken Pox but was sufficiently recovered that we could go on the trip. It was about two weeks before Christmas. The wife and I arrived in Cancun and we walked on the beach the first day and I was excited at my plans to go para sailing the following afternoon. We got up early the next morning and ate breakfast and went to an Outdoor Market and enjoyed checking out all the shops and merchandise. I was proud of a switchblade knife I purchased. We ate lunch at a little Cafe and went back to the Marriott for a nap before I went on my para sailing adventure. I woke up from my nap and sat up and remember feeling dizzy. I could feel a big knot swelling up on the back of my neck. I soon was running a high fever and was shivering. I remembered my mother had recently reminded me that when I was a small child, when my older sister had the Chicken Pox, I did not catch it despite being in close proximity to her. Could it be I was coming down with the dreaded Chicken Pox or as my young son called it the "Chicken Pops." Soon there was no doubt, I was breaking out in sores all over my face and body. I spent the next two days in bed and then it was time to fly back home. The travel agent that went on this company trip told me to go ahead and get on the plane. I remember being at the airport and going through customs and then the x-ray machine for our carry on luggage. The technician was giving me a long look, I had sores all over my face but I was relieved when she did not say anything. We boarded the plane without incident and I had gotten in my seat and put on my seat belt and was starting to relax when I saw a commotion at the front of the plane. I looked up to see an armed policeman walking down the aisle and he was looking me in the eye. He motioned for me to follow him. He took me to the rear of the plane and pointed to a ladder. I climbed down the ladder to the tarmac below followed by my wife and the cop. He took us to the airport security office. We were interrogated by three armed police officers and none of them spoke English. They kept pointing to the sores on my face and I kept repeating Chicken Pox. They handed me a Spanish/English dictionary and I spoke the Spanish words for Chicken Pox. I think they were all convinced I had the Small Pox. I made my wife catch a later plane back to Dallas. They finally found someone who could speak English and told me they were going to send me back to the Marriott where I would be put under quarantine for ten days! I was relieved they were not taking me to a Mexican Hospital or worse a Mexican Jail. I had seen an army Jeep in front of the airport with a .50 caliber machine gun mounted in the back and I was concerned for a while they were assembling a firing squad. A taxi driver took me to the Marriott and they put me in a room on the back of the hotel near the kitchen. I was warned not to leave the room or I would be subject to criminal prosecution. I was told I could order what ever I wanted to eat from room service and they would bring it to me. I could watch t.v. and had The Movie Channel, Cinemax and H.B.O. to keep me company. When I would call room service and order, after a while there would be a knock on the door, I would run to the door and open it and my tray would be there on the floor with no one in sight. Finally after about three full days of this I got a visit from a doctor for the Marriott. He was dressed all in white and looked like the guy on Fantasy Island, he told me he was working to get my quarantine cut short. Thank God, I wanted to get the hell out of there. He came back later in the day with some guy from the Mexican Health Department. they gave me some official looking documents and advised I could leave that afternoon. The hotel arranged for my ride back to the airport. I was wearing shorts and a t shirt when my plane landed in Dallas in thirty degree weather and it was sleeting rain. My son still laughs about giving his dad the "Chicken Pops."
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