Lost in Translation

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
June 2, 2021

With mandatory testing many of the resorts in Mexico offer free COVID-19 testing…. except at our hotel. So for $20 you can go to Occidental Xcaret’s on site clinic or pay $30 and they’ll come to your room. We choose the cheaper route.

We were a bit anxious about our test today. Not because we weren’t looking forward to having a long q tip swab jammed down our noses. Nope. It was because we weren’t instilled with confidence when we scheduled our appointments through guest services. Not to sound like a “Karen” but really they should’ve had this down by now. Maybe something was lost in translation??

The conversation went something like this: Is this where we schedule our COVID-19 testing? Yes they replied…. long pause… “But that other person over there can help you. Please wait, he’s with another guest at the moment.” Ok, no problem we said.

I surmised, as I was eavesdropping, that the other guest was having issues retrieving his test results. Oh I thought… hmmm that’s not good. Poor unlucky fellow! I wonder when he’s checking out?

Next, this fellow leaves and a beautiful young couple walk up. The guest service guy says “Can we help you beautiful young couple and please sit down”…. or at least that’s what I heard. I said What???? No! We’re next! I felt like a troll.

So we now sit down and start to schedule our COVID test… I think?? I’m wondering why this guest service guy isn’t pulling out some type calendar to figure out the 72 hour window of testing thing? Right? He asks us what day we are leaving? Good. We reply Wednesday the 2nd. Then he asks us two more times. Ok probably language. That’s ok. Room number? Name? Ok good. So we are scheduled? Yes he replied.

He didn’t volunteer information on where the clinic was or the cost or that they can do it in your room for an additional fee. Although I already knew most of this information we would’ve felt more comfortable if we didn’t have to ask. He did tell us to bring money and our passports. That was helpful.

Ok so our appointment day arrives. We go to the clinic, scan a bar code, fill out the information and stand in line in a hall that is very warm and humid. A large family before us go in and the door closes. We wait and we wait… Should we knock on the door? As we wait and wait….we start to get all sweaty. Allan now looks like he has COVID but I choose not to tell him that.

Finally the nurse steps out with a clipboard that has all the appointments… and no we are not on it. Our room number is on it with someone else’s name that has been checked off. Ugh!! I quickly glanced over the entire list, huge HIPA violation in the states btw, as I was still in disbelief. The nurse said not to worry. We will take care of you. I’m thinking perhaps this happens all the time??

Once in the clinic the medical team was great and very efficient. We were very appreciative of that. They told us our results would be available within the hour and sent to our email. I asked if us boomers could get a paper copy too? Absolutely after 4:00pm… at guest services. Hmmmm….

Well we did receive our negative results within an hour. Great! Then after 4:00pm we shuffled over to guest services again and yep, you guessed it, they didn’t have a copy and couldn’t find the record. Here’s what you do they said… email us your results and we’ll print them out here. Ok this probably does happen all the time….. it’s Mexico.

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About Marla

Allan and I are two frugal minded nomads from Orange County, CA. who love to write and travel. Our mission is to travel the world on a budget and so far nothing has been off limits. Our quests have led us to walking across Spain, hiking in Portugal, cycling through France, cruising Russian waterways and even riding a couple camels in Egypt. In so doing we’ve been introduced to a large community of travelers who thrive on diverse cultures and broader perspectives. The COVID-19 pandemic had put the world on hold as we burrowed down in quarantine, but now after tippy toeing out of our cloistered confines we’ve been excited to hit the road again discovering more new and unexpected places.

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