Cancun – Descending Into the Polar Vortex

17 Jan

While in Cancun, we kept hearing about the Polar Vortex, this huge weather system that was bringing frigid temperatures into Tennessee and everywhere else. First, I wondered where the term Polar Vortex come from? Do meteorologists sit around and come up with sinister sounding names for weather systems. In the old days, I thought it was an Arctic Blast. Second, we knew that at some point we were going to have to go home, and that meant going from the 80 degree average of Cancun to something completely different.

We woke up bright and early on the day of our leaving and prepared to make the trip to the airport. We dressed as we had dressed each day because we did not take any coats. My wife said that we wouldn’t need coats in Cancun. Unfortunately, we would need them in Tennessee. Luckily, I packed a pair of long pants to wear.

We took the ride to the airport and got dropped off into chaos. There was a huge crowd of people trying to check in. It was made up of people like us who were scheduled to leave that day, but it was also made up of people who were supposed to leave earlier and were trapped by cancelled flights. We talked to some people from Boston who had been trying to get home for a couple of days. This Polar Vortex thing was so powerful that it cancelled flights in Mexico.

We must have hit the sweet spot because our flight was on time. That gave us a chance to study the airport. There was basically a duty-free mall. There was a Johnny Rocket’s. There was also some dude dressed up like the Mask. Put together, it was kind of surreal.

We flew out of Cancun and made it to Charlotte. There we had to go through the hassle that is customs. Apparently, the United States does not trust the capabilities of other nations. We had to get our bags and have them rescanned. Once that was done, we made our way into the terminal. It was chaos all over again. Flights were cancelled. People were huddled in corners. Those who were coming in on delayed flights were barely missing their connections.

Once again, we were lucky. Our flight to Nashville was only 30 minutes late. However, the way people were dressed gave us an idea of what was happening outside. Heavy coats and hats were the norm. In fact, we stood out with our short-sleeved shirts.

The flight to Nashville was a little rough, and my window seat offered a glimpse of what we were descending into. As we got closer to the ground, the area just looked cold. Hardly any cars were out. The sides of the roads were white with ice. I can’t describe what cold looks like, but I know it when I see it.

Walking through the terminal, our summer clothes were looking really strange. However, we planned ahead. The guy picking us up brought heavy coats for us to put on. Despite those coats, walking outside took our breath away. The last time we were outside it was 80 degrees. Suddenly, we were hitting air that was 6 degrees. As we walked to the car, I tried to keep warm by thinking of this.Cancun - Poolside

And this.Cancun - Volleyball

And this.Cancun 216

Despite the temperature, we were glad to be home. One thing we all agree on is that it is good to travel, but it is also good to return home. It was also good that my mom had made up a big pot of soup.

10 Responses to “Cancun – Descending Into the Polar Vortex”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong January 17, 2014 at 02:56 #

    I remember coming back from a Caribbean cruise to Boston in February. Lucky we knew to bring our winter gear, it was bitter and by the time we got home, the beaches of Caribbean were a million miles away. Like going through a wormhole!

    • Rick January 17, 2014 at 03:08 #

      It’s a strange experience. I’m still amazed that we can travel that far that fast.

  2. Andrew Petcher January 17, 2014 at 08:09 #

    Good story. Reminded me of ‘Trains, Planes ans Automobiles’.Living in the UK it is fairly normal to leave good weather and return to cold and rain so generally we are prepared for it.

    • Rick January 17, 2014 at 14:28 #

      I thought I was prepared until I inhaled the first time. The next Polar Vortex will not be as stunning.

  3. DyingNote January 20, 2014 at 09:01 #

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this Cancun series, Rick.

    • Rick January 20, 2014 at 14:05 #

      Thank you. I’m glad you did.

  4. shutterbugshea January 24, 2014 at 00:53 #

    Hi Rick, Mom’s soup is always the best!


    • Rick January 24, 2014 at 00:55 #

      That is the truth.

  5. jcalberta February 2, 2014 at 06:01 #

    not really a fan of airports … you were lucky. many people got beached this year – in the wrong way. imagine camping out in an airport for a few days – over Christmas. it’s been brutal this year.

    • Rick February 2, 2014 at 07:51 #

      There were a lot of people stranded. It had to be a terrible experience.

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