Season and Travel
Paul's Weekly Feature
The latest hurricane in the Caribbean
taught us an invaluable lesson about planning to travel during a hurricane
season. My wife, children, and I, had planned to spend several days in and
around the city of Tulum, on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula,
We were looking forward to learn about
the local people and their culture, visit the famous Mayan Ruins, explore
the ecological parks and tropical reserves, and discover the system of
underground rivers and caves. We also wanted to swim and snorkel in the
It was Friday evening, August 17th,
only four days before our scheduled departure flight from Vancouver, B.C.,
Canada, when our travel agent telephoned with the disappointing news. She
warned us that a hurricane, Hurricane Dean, was traveling through the
Caribbean along a north-west path in the direction of our planned
destination. The travel agent added that we shouldn’t worry, yet, since
hurricanes don’t necessarily stay on one course.
Not sure how to respond to the news or
what to do next, we were faced with the blame, the looming uncertainty, and
the questions surrounding this vacation. Who was responsible for coming up
with this holiday plan? Were we told, or should we have known, that the
hurricane season included the current month, August? Would we qualify for a
refund if we cancel these travel plans? Was hurricane travel insurance
offered to us, and if it was, then why did we not opt for it? Should we
carry on and travel anyway, hoping that Hurricane Dean will deviate from its
direction to the Yucatan Peninsula? Will we find another time that is
convenient for our family members to travel together?
With barely four days left until our
departure, we decided to track closely the path and intensity of this
hurricane before making any haste decisions about the trip. We paid close
attention to television news, and monitored Internet weather forecast sites
that focus on the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico weather.
With the passing of each day, however,
it seemed to make little sense to follow our travel plans. Hurricane Dean
was roaring through the Caribbean Sea, with its powerful winds leaving
destruction and havoc on some of the Caribbean Islands. It continued
heading toward the Yucatan Peninsula’s east coast, the coast of our planned
vacation. Furthermore, this hurricane’s speed and intensity were increasing
as it traveled along the open parts of the Caribbean Sea.
On Monday morning, one day before our
planned departure, we finally decided not to take any chances and thus
canceled our trip. Our travel agent was quite understanding and helpful,
arranging for us to recover nearly all related expenses. The decision to
cancel this holiday was definitely the right one. Hurricane Dean caused
considerable damage once it hit the Yucatan Peninsula’s east coast.
In conclusion, before booking your next
vacation, be sure to consider and check all factors which may affect your
travels and your planned holiday activities. And without hesitation, do not
choose a time or a travel destination which incorporates a hurricane season!
Check these map sites to locate the
mentioned areas and places:
Additional helpful map sites:
Mexico (Encarta World Atlas)
Yucatan Peninsula (University of New Brunswick)
Rinehart and Winston [Mapquest])
Try a quiz on the above reading. The
answer key follows the quiz.
Quiz: Hurricane Season
1. The lesson by Hurricane Dean about
a. not important.
b. of little value.
c. extremely important.
d. somewhat significant.
2. The writer and his family wanted to
visit the Yucatan Peninsula in order to know more about
a. the local weather.
b. the local people and their
c. the traffic noise level.
d. a and c.
3. The travel agent indicated that
Hurricane Dean was traveling in a/an
a. east-west direction.
b. south-east direction.
c. north-east direction.
d. north-west direction.
4. The family members didn’t know that
the hurricane season in the Caribbean includes
the month of
5. The family had purchased hurricane
c. Not enough information is
6. The hurricane was followed closely
through information on the
d. a and c.
7. It is mentioned that Hurricane Dean
caused destruction and havoc on some of the Caribbean Islands. A
synonym for the word “havoc” is not
8. The planned trip to Mexico was
b. rescheduled for a later date.
9. Of particular interest was the
hurricane’s heading toward the Yucatan’s Peninsula _______ coast.
10. Hurricane season is the only factor
to consider before booking a holiday.
Answers: 1. c. 2. b. 3. d. 4. c. 5.
a. 6. d. 7. d. 8. a. 9. c. 10. b.