We were off for a few days to Cancun just in time for the autumnal equinox. Cancun exists because the Mexican government decided to create another resort region, an alternative to Acapulco. In 1970, the population of Cancun (there was no real Cancun) was three (yes, you read it right, 3), and those people were tending to a coconut plantation. Potential investors were leery of the project, so much so that the Mexican government had to fund the first nine hotels. Now, the Mayan Riviera has no trouble finding money to start new projects or to partner up on an existing one.
The Cancun International Airport is conveniently located just south of the city, and on the north end of a run of resort properties that stretches south along the ocean and white sand beaches for more than 60 miles. The airport has done well in keeping up with rising passenger traffic. New construction and renovations have expanded capacity, and it is clearly designed with the comfort of tourists in mind. Shops and restaurants are spaced all around the airport. There are a lot of open areas and a good amount of natural light (big windows), a big improvement over my memory of this facility from more than a decade ago. My only criticism is that there are too many American places, including: Bubba Gump’s, Johnny Rockets, a Harley Davidson store, and Wolfgang Puck, which has multiple locations.
Passport control at the airport gets an A plus from me. They get it. They process people quickly, use the latest technology, and employees are actually at work and not at lunch or wherever as often the case in places like Chicago and Newark. Customs checks move quickly as well, again in part because there is enough staff to handle the volume. The smart use of technology has speeded up the process in places like DFW, giving me hope that other U.S. airports will become more efficient in the future. I have trips to Romania and China coming up soon, and I will report on my experience in several airports.
Our destination was the Valentin Riviera Resort, just a short ride from the airport. It’s a very nice place with the usual multiple pools, swim-up bars, first-rate service, and very good food. Every form of entertainment was excellent. The mini-circus show, music, and dancing were staffed by talented performers from Cuba, Belize, Costa Rica, and other parts of Mexico. The day time entertainment was different. There was a lot to choose from (e.g. spin class in the pool), and some elements that are hard to avoid: ugly Americans who have had too much to drink and are too loud; who spend a lot of time entertaining others at poolside. I learned more than I wanted to about their personal lives.
I did an unscientific observation study in an attempt to estimate the percentage of persons who sport tattoos. My friend, Mike, and I have been talking about the seeming uptick in the number of persons who have tattoos, and earlier this year we attempted an unscientific observation at the pool of the apartment complex in which I live. The only better place to observe inked-ness would be at a nudist colony. This time I was more cognizant of biases and observation errors. I sat in the same place (bias) and simply counted and scored ‘yes’ if the person observed had at least one tattoo that I could see, and ‘no’ if … I may have missed some (bad angle of observation, bad eyesight, or they had one in a spot not observable at all). Well, of the 63 persons I observed, 28, 44.4 percent, had at least one tattoo. Keep in mind that this was a somewhat older crowd. I am fairly sure that younger persons are more likely to be inked. More on this in another post.
My book for this trip was Elizabeth Pisani’s “The Wisdom of Whores.” Pisani is a medical demographer and epidemiologist, someone of my ilk, who has studied the spread of AIDS within multiple countries. Pisani’s reports on science being hijacked and denied by politicians and religious leaders who have agendas to sell. She writes of success and the value of collaboration in addressing serious health challenges. I have been just lucky in recent months. All of the books that have been recommended to me have been very good.
It was home again for just a few days. My next stop was Chicago in early October. I am not going to post about this one given that I have written about Chicago on several other occasions. I did read Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” It’s a good book to read if you are a leader of anything. However, you may disagree with some of his recommendations. A few of my colleagues who have read this book like the concepts and lessons, but fear that if one does all of what Lencioni recommends, even more dysfunction might occur. You can decide for yourself.
Next Stop, Iasi, Romania.