Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

Ruins + Radiohead

“Moooshrum? Moooshrum…Hongos?”

I’m sure the local “guide” just wants my first experience in Mayan ruins to be as magical possible; but, I weave around the distributor of nature’s virtual reality and stroll into Palenque.  Opting away from said fungal delights, I slip my headphones over my ears and scroll the wheel on my iPod until it highlights Radiohead.  My senses are overwhelmed as I wander through the ancient ruins with Pyramid Song pulsating through my ears.

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Mexico preparedness tips

  • Tacos are a breakfast food (pass the hot sauce!)
  • Every day is a good day for a parade.
  • Sometimes, shit ain’t perfect.
  • The cab driver is not your friend, and he’s less than impressed by your drunk Spanish.
  • Recycling is cool – always bring your envase.
  • Don’t ask the price, just offer the bare minimum something might be worth.
  • Who needs tap water when you have Coca-Cola?
  • Bus drivers get their kicks by passing gas trucks on blind corners.

Día de los Muertos

For Día de los Muertos I was lucky enough to have a local Campechano take me to a small town cemetary for a stunning peak into the pre-hispanic celebration.

Click the photo to enjoy a few more!

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La Playa ¨Bonita¨

I just ate sand.  It wasn´t because some friendly locals invited me come eat tacos, drink caguamas and play beach soccer until passing out (though that would have been rad!)  Yet, there was drinking involved.

After a shower and a breakfast of standard hostel fare I heated water for a mate.  I decided there was no reason to sit in the hostel and sip my beverage when I could opt for the beach instead.  Hell, I was in Mexico! Besides, I needed to get out of town – a wet, salty, little vacation.

I navigated my way to the bus stop without even a hiccup, which is impressive when the desk clerk´s directions include taco stands as landmarks.  A bus puttered up immediately.  Chamera.  Isn´t that what he had said?  Surely, the first bus to pull up must be meant for me.  Unfortunately, not every bus in Mexico goes to the beach. 

It was just about siesta, which signified that the rest of the city was leaving downtown with me.  I chose a window seat, you know, for the view.  Rookie mistake.  The relentless sun pulsated through the window.  

Noticing the sweat dripping off my body (or perhaps the smell) the driver turned around, “it’s hot, huh?”  We were now high enough in the hills for me to realize that hammocks and Mai Tais were nowhere nearby. 

“Yeah,” I replied, “really hot.”  He proceeded to tell me that I had gotten on the wrong bus and would have to finish the loop and get off where I’d started.

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Don´t believe the hype

A couple hours later, I arrived at my destination.  Much to my chagrin, “Playa Bonita” was merely a clever name.  Since there were few garbage cans or ashtrays around, people had decided to use coarse, cement chunk sand as their receptacle.  Still, I wanted to make the best of it.  I stripped down, high-stepped the broken bottles and cigarette butts, pushed through the seaweed, and sunk into the murky water.  It felt surprisingly good.  Things were looking up.

I hopped onto the beach, poured warm water into my long-awaited mate, and instantly knocked it over onto the cement chunk, broken bottle, ashtray sand.  At this point you either laugh or cry.  I let out a chuckle and picked up the straw for take #2.  I gracefully drew the infusion into my mouth, held it, and chomped a gob of cement chunk, broken bottle, ashtray sand.  So much for the Playa Bonita.

Mexicans also drink beer.

It was already dark by the time my bus arrived in downtown Cancún.  Mildly lost but not willing to stop and pull out a map, I did figure 8´s around the bus stop and acted like I knew exactly what I was doing.  I tried to look as inconspicous as a blonde kid can while wandering the streets of Mexico for the first time with a gigantic backpack.

I´ll admit I was a little nervous.  I had approximately 12 shadows and they were all following me from different directions.  With each whistle or chuckle I tried to look tougher.  My knife was growing tired from the 846 checks to make sure it didn´t jump out of my pocket.  My family and friends´ repeated well-wishings and warnings about being safe left me convinced that each passerby was ready to rob, mug, and then kidnap me for some ancient ritualistic sacrifice (home liquor and bloodletting included).

Maybe it was the puffed up chest, the hardened stare, or perhaps my new lightweight, quick-drying, non-wrinkle, waterproof yet breathable pants that impressed the locals enough to know that this wasn´t the gringo to mess with.

Once I found my hostel I dropped my bags and headed back out into ¨the streets¨, which was a friendly urban park.  Kids asked their parents for ice cream while couples cuddled on the benches.

Despite overzealous tourist warnings, Mexicans also enjoy taking an evening stroll, chowing on cheap, delicious food, and maybe grabbing a beer on the way home.

I think I´ll like it here.