I’ve been traveling, working, and on the go so much I haven’t had the chance to blog about Cozumel. I had such an incredible time. In fact, for a week I would wake up every morning and think I was still there. The weather, the food, the people, the beach, the ceverza… I found myself missing it all. The travel to and from was a complete disaster, with constant delays and problems but the rest of the vacation was seamless.
I travelled with my younger brother and it was his first trip out of the country. For those idiotas (a commonly used insult among Mexican children), who thought it was strange to travel with family and not have some lavish affair with some dude that would eventually leave me heartbroken, I think they should get a friggin’ life. Upon arrival, every shopowner and salesperson at the various stores along the waterfront thought we were newlyweds. Of course, this amused me because it means I apparently look young enough to be with a 19-year-old. Go me. Everytime one of us would reply that we’re hermanos, the sales guys would try and lure me in with their charms. One even slapped a bracelet on my arm as a gift, even though I protested that I never wear jewelry.
The photo above was taken the first day we arrived and the beach was across the street from our hotel. Unlike the fucking regulations-weighted beaches of the United States, the entire coast is open for the public to swim at. That’s right, just along the docks for the major cruiselines, entire Mexican families could be seen swimming and jumping off the docks. It really irritated me that our country, founded by people who were sick of strict regulations and answering to a government, has a rule for everything. Just try and go to half of the beaches in NYC and you’ll find how many ban swimming because no lifeguard is on duty.
This also holds true for the legal drinking age, which makes far more sense in Mexico. It was a perk for my brother, who could enjoy being “legal” for a change. Since water costs as much, if not more, than beer, we found ourselves
drinking Sol and Corona on a regular basis. The second day, we decided to walk to a local beach. Yes, we were the only gringos. I befriended a six-year-old girl named Aura, who’s mother was scarcely 21 and who’s entire family of cousins and other siblings were swimming among the reefs. She asked to see my eyes and said she only knew one other person who had blue eyes before. I always prefer speaking Spanish with children because they’re so much more understanding of miscommunication. While we chatted, her cousins and friends were daring one another to speak to the gringos. It was so cute.
Every morning we awoke at the hotel to fresh juices, a chef ready to cook our breakfast, pastries, yogurt, and a buffet of pure splendor. It was also free, included in our especially low hotel rate. While at breakfast, the maid would clean our hotel room and rearrange the towels to emulate different shapes and animals. I only wish I had taken more photos of her creations (the elephant was my personal favourite).
We took a quick ferry ride to Playa del Carmen, to visit some sandy beaches and the mainland. A major storm passed through while we were on the beach and there was no where to run for cover. So, I clung to a palm tree as the rain pellets pounded against the sand while my brother swam in the ocean. I know palm trees tend to have a great allure and are seemingly romantic and fun, but palm trees are homes to bugs. Lots of bugs that were more than happy to climb all over me as I clung to their tropical home. Thankfully, the weather cleared up quickly and we found this amazing healthfood restaurant called 100% Natural. Dinner and drinks came to $10 each… my brother also became the proud owner of a palm grasshopper that pledged to put food on the table for a local family.
The rest of the week we spent snorkeling. This, as I’ve mentioned, is my new favourite activity. The first time we took a glass-bottom boat out to sea with a bunch of tourists and locals. The boat offered free equipment use (which caused my entire face to breakout… although it was worth it) and unlimited beverages. Between the beer, soda, water, and bumpy waves, I swear my bladder nearly exploded. I was near tears when the following photo was taken and my brother found it amusing to constantly make jokes about my condition. I’ll tell you, the boat wasn’t even completely docked and I pushed my brother forward and jumped ship, running down the pier to the bathroom. Then again, no vacation is ever complete without one instance in which I have to desperately find a bathroom.
Each day ended with a swim or lounge at the hotel pool, because six hours a day of swimming JUST wasn’t enough.
The last day we went snorkling at Sunset Beach, this time choosing to walk two miles back into town. In order to keep the taxis busy, you cannot find a map in Cozumel that indicates how far the beaches really are from the city. We were the only tourists to walk and the funniest part of the entire trip occurred as we walked in the blistering sun along the local beaches. Seated in the natural jacuzzi of this small beach swam twelve children and a little boy, no more than four-years-old, saw my brother and me and started screaming, “Mira! Gringos!” Next thing we knew, all the children stood up and turning around, jumping and waving at us. It was a riot. Like we were some kind of sideshow. I really cannot wait to return, if only for another chance to be a sideshow act.
At the airport, where a little boy thought my brother was a real cowboy. He was the perfect companion on this adventure and I cannot wait until the next one. We’re thinking Thailand.