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MUSINGS The Cancun Stone


Chilli pepper

The Cancun Stone

Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

OUR Mexican adventure started off on a late-night bus trip to Dublin Airport with one of my travelling companions freaking out thinking someone was feeling her foot. Turns out her leg had gone dead and hit off the other one. I could already tell this was going to be an eventful trip, and that it was.
We thought we’d given ourselves ample time before our flight for shopping and grabbing breakfast, we realised with 20 minutes before our flight that we were walking towards the wrong gate. A very quick dash and a rushed reunion with the third travelling partner, and we were off.
But the drama didn’t end there.
Stopping off in London, one of us was one watch down, another was frisked, and my carry on luggage was pulled aside after testing positive for traces of explosives.
You will all be glad to know that we made our connecting flight to Cancun on time and relaxed into our seats for our long-haul flight. And it was most enjoyable, even if it did involve a 30 minute search for where to plug in our earphones and an explanation to one of my buddies who the ‘eejit’ was, talking on the TV monitor. It was Richard Branson. Yes, we were flying with Virgin Atlantic.
Between movie watching, napping and eating, the ten-hour flight whizzed by. Arriving in Cancun, we looked at each other in surprise that we home birds had made it half way across the world in one piece, albeit minus a time piece.
We crossed fingers as we passed each hotel, hoping we hadn’t booked a shack for the coming week – and to our surprise we hadn’t. Ok, granted one part of the pool area smelled like many’s the west of Ireland nightclub on a Saturday night, but there wasn’t a tin of fruit in sight and the beach was out of this world.  
When they say all inclusive, they mean all inclusive, and our families were right: the hotel definitely lost money on us. Second helpings were a given at every meal time, and pancakes and maple syrup became staples of our diet. As a result, we now use the term ‘The Cancun Stone’ as we ‘found a few pounds’ on our trip. Rather than fearing our bags would be weighed on our return flight, we feared we would be.
Unlike past holidays, on this one really was chilled out. We left the partying to the youngsters, ‘the spring breakers’ (American and Canadian college students who travel there to party for a week). Instead, we did things completely out of character, such as go on excursions.
On one tour we were treated to authentic Mexican cuisine in a rural town. Unfortunately one of the girls got so excited at seeing what she thought was guacamole that she piled it on to her fajitas. After the tears began to roll we were informed by an enthusiastic Canadian that it was in fact liquidised habañero chilli peppers. These babies hit 200,000 to 300,000 on the Scoville scale for measuring the spicy heat of foods. Let me put that into context for you: Your average jalapeño measures 2,500 to 8,000 on this scale.
So, what did we learn from our trip away from the homestead?
One, always make sure you’re in time for your returning flight – that extra couple of pounds gained could be the difference between making the boarding gate and watching your plane take off without you. And two, never assume anything is guacamole.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.