3, 4, 5…wake up!
3:45 to be more precise. Time zones played a trick on me (or rather Daylight Saving Time did) forcing me to start my shift like a ghost – in the middle of the night – because I believe there’s no other expression to name 4 a.m. in Mexico: NIGHT.
I’ve learned already, that there’s no case in which I could even consider pressing the beloved snooze button on my yelling phone – we’ve all been there, where 3 minutes magically transforms into 3 hours.
I’ve also learned to take everything I’d need out of the room in one go: phone, charger, mosquito repellent…. because my little chamber when I leave it, is still so heavy with unfinished dreams, that stepping back inside even for a second would probably cause me collapse in the middle of it and start snoring instantly.
Playa del Carmen.
“Sober!? Is it even legal there?” a surprised friend asked me one day.
Believe me or not, two weeks in Mexico – still sober, and counting. Going to bed early, organised more than ever, grocery – done, laundry – done, not waking up 2hrs too late in a bed full of sand…who have I become? I guess I can only blame the fact, that after a couple of very intense months (or maybe a year) I have my own room in a villa where I’m about to stay for a month.
I placed my clothes in a closet, put cosmetics and perfumes on the neat nightstand and magically within two weeks time this place already started feeling like home: the same bed, familiar lady at the cash register in a shop nearby, the same guy who is jerking off on the same bench every single time when I go back at night…it’s just lovely!
Seriously, love it.
Yummy tuna and I don’t know anything more about it.
To spring or to break, that is the question.
Cancun turned out to be a rather mellow city without many attractions and crazy nightlife (excluding the famous Zona Hotelara, where for everything you’re charged 4x more than normally). Maybe that’s because of the low season, maybe I don’t know where to look for a party…What I’ve found so far was a gathering of screaming mamas dancing to Spice Girls songs after one or five beers too many – no judgment, although I decided not to join them this time and continued my walk through the concrete jungle.
Oh, the jungle! Tall buildings surrounded by wide streets cutting almost empty fields with giant hotels and shopping centres here and there – everything bright, simple, spacious… and actually kinda stern, slash empty. No monuments, no pyramids, just a large space, and palm trees. At first, I felt like being constantly in the suburbs of metropolis (you know, far away from the centre, where all of the Carrefours, Reals, and Ikeas are, but no place for a human being willing to take a walk) and I couldn’t understand why do they call it a downtown.
Cancun Extreme sports for free.
As I mentioned before, Cancun is a city of wide streets. Or rather serious highways. Crossing them requires uncommon courage and a pretty great time of reaction. There are no regular pedestrian crossings, and what people do, is to jump from one green island to the other (no sidewalks there either) smartly manoeuvring in between dashing cars. You could say it’s like in Vietnam, but oh noes! Busy lanes are much broader, cars faster and literally, sometimes you feel like a tortoise on the highway who does his best not to become raw patty served on an asphalt.
Jesus will bring you some eggs.
Talking about food… Before I moved to my comfy private room I stayed two nights in a hostel run by a Spanish family: mum and 3 sons. I absolutely fell in love with them all, even though we were communicating with each other using different languages: I talked in English while Mamacita replied in Spanish (both of us with many hands, legs and everything that could help included). Plus, the small, but hearable resemblance between her language and my, let’s say, intermediate Italian turned out to be a blessing.
One day, early morning, sitting at the kitchen table I was working already for 3 or 4 hours when lovely Mamacita wrapped in floral dress rushed into the kitchen.
– Hola! Do you want tortillas for breakfast?
When I shook my head and murmured something about gluten, she made a terrified face and exclaimed “no tortillas!” which was followed by a question what would I eat then.
– Scrambled eggs, like yesterday if it’s not a problem.
Mamacita peered into the fridge, and a moment later she was standing in the middle of the kitchen screaming “Jesus! Jesus! Jeeeeesus!”
And then he came: not all in white but wearing old, weary jeans, no t-shirt and a pair of trainers. Maybe the trainers used to be white one day, but I wouldn’t vouch for it. Mamacita clarified that this is Jesus (oh well…) and that he will bring me some eggs. No wine, no manna from heaven- just eggs from the supermarket block away. I felt more V.I.P. than ever.
You drive me crazy.
Before I’m going to tell you about the quaint Philippino family that lives upstairs, some practical information about how and where to go while in Cancun.
First of all: they have UBER. It was introduced in Mexico only a month ago, so it still remains a pretty fresh thing, which not everyone is familiar with. Those who are, not always support it – the usual taxi-uber battle – so don’t be surprised if the driver will ask you to sit on the front seat and pretend to be his friend, or wife, so that nobody could accuse him of doing still not so legal and not so affably welcomed ubering.
Second: ADO buses. Departing from a central station in a heart of Cancun. Big, comfy, cheap, with a TV (playing horror movies from 10 in the morning and not giving a f**k), a lady selling popcorn and AC that sometimes can freeze you to the bones.
Playa Delfines – on a tiny peninsula of Zona Hotelara. Easy access by the bus you can catch at El Ceviche. 10,5 MXN (0,5 USD).
The first impression is unbeatable: SOMEONE HAS PHOTOSHOPPED THE WATER! Seriously! And bleached the sand. Although, like on a beach, there’s not much to do (you can choose between a variety of crazy activities like: lying, drinking, pretending you can play beach volley) I still like going there. Even though it takes me an hour to get there, even though I’m being murdified with “chica, mojito?” every 5 minutes. It’s one of those places in which you start thinking “daaaaaamn, I’m in the middle of a postcard”.
Playa del Carmen – an hour and a half drive with ADO bus. 64 MXN (3,5 USD).
Did somebody say party? This is the place you should be heading to! First of all: a beautiful beach! Somewhere in between floundering in the water and passing over a pair of crutches to an old lady who was swimming naked in the ocean (duh), I got carried away. Carried away so much, that a moment later I was dancing to some decent house music, in the middle of the day, on the warm sand with the wind playing with my hair and warm waves destroying my already almost dead nikies.
Playa del Carmen.
Next to the beach you can find a cobweb of bigger and smaller valleys filled with bars, restaurants, people on drugs and….yes, souvenir shops, unfortunately. Very touristic, very “Hola Chica good price”, very likely to be annoying. From what my tinder correspondent told me the main spots are on Calle 10th and 12th, but, the new boring me, who I’ve been for the last 2 weeks and a half (OMG!) still haven’t checked it.
Playa del Carmen.
Danza de los Voladores.
– PART TWO –
Mission failed aka I’m old
After 3 weeks of eating fuckin’ organic, not drinking (even when I went to a bar with an Englishman-in-Cancun, who was pouring margaritas into his tummy one after another) I decided that that’s enough. Been there, done that, I’m living healthier and less party life than my Grandma, TIME TO STOP.
The plan was to do the regular: a bottle of dry red, some cheese, off to bed – nothing crazy. What turned out to actually be crazy, was the morning after, which I spent clung on to the toilet like Rose to Jack, whispering “I’ll never let go, I’ll never let go…”
But I decided to be brave and started my long-awaited expedition Playa del Carmen in search for a party. What (WHO!) I’ve found instead, was a stalker, but hey, at least it wasn’t boring and I felt like a celebrity for a while. Anyways, a walk via 10th and 12th street was made, and, confirmed: if there’s a party in Playa – it must be there.
Chichen Itza Kukulkan Pyramid.
Let’s move to the next spot (while the sneaky Filipino Woman is observing me from behind the counter).
Chichen not Chicken…
Chichen Itza! Pyramids! OMG my DREAM! But why didn’t I realise that such a famous place will be overcrowded not only with tourists but especially with Mexicans desperately trying to sell you anything?
“Chica, Sombrero! Good price almost free!” were the first words that welcomed me in my Mexican Eldorado. Ice cream, coke, water- everything’s price x4. Vendors trying to sell wooden “instruments” that were about to pretend a roaring jaguar sound, but actually sounded like someone severely choking. Hot and loud and crowded, but…the main pyramid is just outstanding. It’s something you need to see…and hear. Yes! The main phenomena of this piece of art is, that when you clap in front of it, it responds in a sound of a quetzal bird. Really! The echo provided by the precise construction is absolutely out of this world. “I’ve been studying acoustics all my life and I’ve never heard something like this” said one of the American Scientists and we like American Scientists very much 😉
So go, see, hear, but if only you’ll be able to spend there less than 4 hrs – do it. 2 would be absolutely enough and what happens after 2 hours – you’re just more tired and pissed off.
But then there was….Tulum.
Another day, another place, another vibe.
Tulum (at least the ruins) is a heaven on earth: quiet, peaceful, clean, picturesque. Walking in between the old walls of the castle tastefully garnished with evergreen bushes I thought – this is the best. The kind of lizards you’ve probably seen before only in a shopping windows, there – they’re basking in the sun right in a reach of my hand, an elderly guy with gray long hair was sitting on one of the fortifications playing flute, and, looking at his linen beige pants and the almost ancient instrument I couldn’t help but wonder if I was still in the XXI century.
Entrance to the Tulum ruins.
When you’re done with ruins feel free to take a walk through the tiny valleys, admire beautiful murals, eat some tacos and enjoy the show of life happening in front of your eyes.
The Rice Drama Queens
I’m not a racist. I never was and I never will. Sometimes I judge people, that’s true, but not by the way they look, or where they’re from, but by the way they use this piece of meat they proudly carry around inside their skulls. Yes, brain.
It was one of the evenings I was spending in my usual place: in a living room working on my computer. I knew there’s gonna be a “new arrival” straight from the Philipines and I must say I was pretty excited – all’n’all it was in Philipines where I stayed for over 3 weeks and made some friends, that I hope will last forever.
The door opened and two ladies entered the room: one, I guess around 80, leaning on a cane, second, I guess 50yo, who I figured out to be the first’s daughter.
– Good evening! – the Grandma squeaked slowly placing her weary bones in an armchair. The Daughter sat on the sofa opposite without saying a word, and Max (my host) started to explain the basic house rules: key, AC, fresh water in the fridge, wifi…when his monologue was interrupted by an unexpected question:
– Do you have a rice cooker?
– No, I don’t have one…
And theeeeeeeere it started. Not only, the Daughter spoke, but astonishment, shock and outrage in the purest form began as well:
– YOU DON’T EAT RICE?!?!
– I do, yes, but I cook it in the pot.
– THEY DON’T EAT RICE! WHAT DO YOU EAT? HOW? AND YOU? – suddenly I got included in the conversation too – WHAT DO YOU EAT? WHY YOU DON’T EAT RICE?!?!
I said that sure, I like it and I do eat it, I just don’t need a rice cooker to prepare it. But they stayed impervious to our arguments. 10 minutes passed, and so the outrage. They slowly started looking really upset and lost.
– I’m hungry… – the Grandma complained – I need some rice…I need…I…I MUST! I MUST EAT RICE!
…and just like that the very peculiar family from the other end of the world entered my life.
Murder attempt number 1
The sun was already up and I was up even more: finishing third coffee and the drawing I was working on for the last week. I heard quiet shuffling coming from the upstairs and a moment later I saw a black haired person coming into the kitchen, that is divided from the living room with a long counter. No “hi”, no “good morning”, no nothing. “Oh, so we’re not talking anymore” slipped through my mind but not bothered by this too much I quickly forgot about the Daughter bustling at the stove. What woke me up from my busy daydreaming was a strange and intense smell…
I ran to the kitchen to find out that yes, YES WAY: the gas was on, the fire off, the stove empty…I switched it off and stood there for a while couldn’t believe what had just happened.
Then I walked up the stairs, knocked at the door of the Philippinos room and gently asked:
“Excuse me, do you want to blow the house up in the air or something?”
The answer was a surprised look followed by “Something…?” and when I explained the situation, many holding-head-with-both-hands accompanied by “no, no, sorry, no!”.
But I couldn’t decide: was it possible to be that mindless?
Miss Grumpy gets chatty
That day the Daughter dashed to the kitchen clearly excited. Non-ever-existing hello she replaced with: “Did you see a man?”.
Well, lady, I thought, I saw a pretty bunch of them, all different shapes, sizes and colours, but I don’t understand why would you ask me about it on this beautiful sunny Morning.
-Yyyy..yes, I saw…men…
– A man, here!
– A man, came yesterday!”
Ohhh, right, I knew there’s the missing particle of the Philipino family coming, but he just brushed next to me to disappear in the chamber upstairs.
– Ah, yes, I saw him – I confirmed and the woman’s face highlighted with happiness.
– HE’S MY SON! – she exclaimed proudly adding a second later – You want some rice?
Murder attempt number 2
The Son turned out to be just like his mother. Brown skin, black short hair, no need to talk at all. So when I’ve found him in the kitchen by the stove in fumes of familiar smell I wasn’t even that shocked.
– What are you doing?!
And there it was, the same blank surprised expression on his face… and then the same “no, no, sorry”… and then I started to think…are they doing it deliberately? Still no answer.
So my days in the lovely villa run smoothly, between random rice conversations, work, and even more random gas-assassin-attempts. The Son plays on his smartphone all the time, the Daughter cooks dishes packed with the amounts of garlic so big, that I could swear the thick, greasy air has already made my lungs smell like a china takeaway and the Grandma never leaves her chamber upstairs, but she make so much noise Skyping their friends and coughing, that I know she’s still there.
Oh, and they have a rice cooker, their life is complete.