Bright Side of the Road
Travel+Leisure|December 2016

Stranded on a Mexican highway, an American couple gets a lesson in true hospitality.

Jesse Ashlock

Chi and I are married now, with kids, but this was our first trip out of the country together after we met. We were standing in a trash-strewn patch of weeds beside the 180 Libre, the free federal highway that runs east–west through the Yucatán, waiting for a bus back to Valladolid that may or may not have been coming.

This was after the $20-a-night room in Mérida with the horror-movie lighting that I’d tried to convince her was charming, but before the amusingly overdesigned suite in the boutique hotel in Playa del Carmen with the bathtub in the middle of the bedroom. I’d already survived a bout of severe gastrointestinal distress while riding in a colectivo in the countryside, but she hadn’t yet had the bike accident en route to the cenote in which she scraped most of the skin off her knee. We’d kissed among the ruins of Uxmal, but not yet danced on the beach in Tulum.

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