[ What are you looking at? ]

april 2005

"And the nature of your trip, sir?"


"Looks like you travel a lot."

"I try."

"You must make a lot of money."

"It's never enough."

And thus I avoided another pointless bag search.


Life's funny.

For years, Mexico has been on my "no go" list. I'd grouped it among other places I deem too dangerous to visit. I'm making a declaration to no longer do this. It's ridiculous. I mean really, what was I basing this perception on? Media stories. And of course the news will always give you the worst story going. I like to think I can spend a few days in a place without provoking the ire of a drug cartel.

Another misconception I had was of Mexico being a third world country. Granted, cities can't get much more touristy than Cancun. However, I saw an efficiently managed and thriving local economy. I'd colored Mexico with the wrong brush.

The line through customs was painstakingly slow. Several people around me repeatedly said, "What do you expect? This is Mexico." This was a wholly unfair slight. Customs has no control over 99 planes full of obnoxious tourists landing at once. Overhearing the impatient and rude commentary awakened a frightening consideration. Glancing at the crowd around me, I came to the dread realization that Cancun is an american tourist hot spot. Visualizing being in the proximity of britney spears and jimmy buffet fans literally made me shudder. Indeed, their conversations were impetus to immediately alter my view of Mexico. No way am I a part of their
collective (un)consciousness.

Frankly, the primary reason for visiting Cancun was cost. I needed sun and sand, and this was the cheapest thing going.

I invited my friend Double K. Bullriding, skydiving, rock climbing, street luge, bowling tournament - she's in. Always game for an adventure. Even more so than I realized. At breakfast, as I annoyed the waiters with special request tacos (without beans, cheese, or meat), she was digging into spicy eggs and refried beans. Call me crazy, but Mexican fare is not my idea of pre-beach nourishment.

Undoubtably, the highlight of the trip was the hotel. Unbelievable. Basically, it was a small apartment. It had two big rooms, a gigantic shower, a couch, and a balcony. If I were to do it all again, there's a strong probability I'd spend the duration in room 103. Throw open the balcony doors, open the bottle(s) of wine, sit back on the couch. Odelay! Maximum relaxation.

We quickly discovered the nightlife to be a complete bust. No way either of us can channel the mindset of a 16-year-old suburban teenage girl. And all the clubs specialized in pop music blared in deafening volumes with nauseating DJs yelling for extra emphasis. No thanks.

We made do. Vodka tonics and pina coladas on the beach. Wine and HBO (huh?) in the evenings.

My favorite memory?

Couple of bottles of merlot in, we're headed to the hotel's surprisingly good restaurant (sauteed fish, mashed potatoes, asparagus, bravo!). For no reason whatsoever (other than being firmly buzzed) I started singing "Summer Breeze"...

"Whoever wrote that song must be gay." (me)

"You're the one singing it."


That's what friends are for.

Overall, Mexico meets the three criteria for this traveller's recommendation: affordable dining, inexpensive wine, and most importantly - no gunfire.

Go for it. Just maybe steer clear of Cancun. Take away the amazing bus service, and you may as well be in Florida.