Friday, April 15, 2016

GE 2016: Day 1: Meeting in Mexico

My favorite day of the year... the start of the Great Escape Global Scavenger Hunt...2016.  Over the next 23 days we will go to 11 countries as we travel west around the world.  Since we have no idea where we are going, or how long we will stay in any country or continent, it is a true "blind date with the world" adventure. Along the way, we will do scavenges, decode puzzles, answers riddles and do crazy but interesting things with locals in every country. Every scavenge gets you points.  Small points for easy stuff.  Big points for scavenges that take a lot of time or effort.  The person with the most points at the end of this event, wins.  This is Rainey and my NINTH time on the event and we obviously love it.

The 2016 event started in Mexico City.  We had our orientation meeting this afternoon where we met all of the teams and reviewed the rules and procedures.  And then on to a fantastic Bon Voyage party at a nearby restaurant.  We are staying at the St. Regis hotel which is SO fancy that each floor has its own butler who will pack and unpack your suitcase for you, iron your clothes and run any errand you wish. You can reach Manuel at any time of the day or night at Extension 0 (just saying... I may never come home).

The ten teams competing this year are being corralled around the world by the ringmasters of this event, Bill and Pamela Chalmers. As Bill pointed out, Rainey and I have been on this event so many times that we have now spent close to a year of our life with this couple. 

Quick introduction to everyone else.  I will start with the teams that we are associated with:

Lawyers without Borders:  Rainey Booth and Zoe Littlepage.

Traveling Tridents: Chris and Chloe Hunte.
This team is my niece and her husband.  They live in Barbados and we’ve traveled quite a bit with them so we know they are going to do great.  We have been bugging them for years to come on this wild ride… and this year they finally agreed.  Chris works in IT and is very tech savvy.  But today Bill took away that advantage and emphasized that the competition rules prohibit the use of Google, any search engine or any tech assistance at all. Level playing field again.

Soca WarriorsAndrew (Bop) Skeete and Savannah Hutchinson
Savannah is my niece and Chloe’s younger sister.  She starts graduate school in physical therapy at University of Miami in May and had a few months off between graduation from college and her grad program, so the timing for Great Escape 2016 worked out perfectly.  Bop is also from Barbados and we’ve traveled with both of them before (once for 3 weeks through India in Tuk Tuks) so we know they also have what it takes to conquer the challenges of a global scavenger hunt.

T3 or Two Texas TravelersWendy and Georgia Herman
Wendy and I have been friends for almost 30 years. Three years ago she came on this trip with her son Oliver.  This time she is back with her 15 year old daughter Georgia.  Other than a two day visit to Canada, this is Georgia’s first trip out of the United States and she got to use her brand new passport today. So exciting.

Nola Second LineJim and Betty
Another repeat team: Jim and Betty came on Great Escape 2015.  They are from New Orleans and Jim is a retired scientist and Betty is a retired teacher of belly dancing.

Erik Walker
Traveling by himself, this is Erik’s fourth time on Great Escape.  So yes, this trip is clearly addictive.  Once you do it, you get hooked. Erik has lost a tremendous amount of weight in the last year so wait to be surprised by his photo.

Perfect Strangers:  Alina and Simone
We are going to have to keep our eyes on this team.  They have never met before and the event producer matched them together as a team of singles.  They have a lot of energy and are asking all the right questions... could be tough competition.

Two Global JunkiesSue and Wendy
A mother-daughter team, these two have a lot of travel experience and one of them works in the travel industry as a tour director.  we better beware.

Girls Gone World: Julia and Marla
These friends from Napa Valley, CA are traveling together – without husbands.  Watch out world!!

Slow FolksTom and Paula
Paula first contacted Bill and Pamela about doing this event in 2001.  And for the past fifteen years, she has stalked the competition and read the blogs and waited for the right time to jump in.  2016 was it.  They are finally here. And ready for action!!

We are staying in Mexico City tonight and Bill will open this leg tomorrow morning at 8:30AM.  That will start a mad scramble across the city as we rush out to pick up as many points as possible before check-in.  Not sure if we will sleep in Mexico city tomorrow night or fly out late to some new (mystery) place ... so stay tuned.


Beverly said...

Have a great trip. looks like a fun group..... we will be traveling along with you in spirit and enjoying your blogs.
Bev and Buz.

Unknown said...

Welcome to my magical country. Mexico full of color, music, laughter, traditions, history and delicious food.
Good luck on your new adventure!!!

Unknown said...

Thanks for your opening blog and for giving my girls this opertunity. Following every word as usual

april said...

Eeek jealous ok yeah based on picture alone i say that "perfect stranger" team going to give you run for money (i doubt they realize who they are dealing with quite yet though). Have fun.

Unknown said...

Have fun Zoe. We will be watching again this year. Maybe sometime.....

Susan Saladoff said...

I love following you on this adventure. One day I will join you . . . or better yet, make a documentary about it!! How does that sounds? Have a blast!!

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