Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo; a place of beauty, a place of happiness, but most importantly, a place of love. In coming to the municipal, little island, located off the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, I expected nothing short of a tourist trap. A place only interested in the money in my pocket, they sure proved me wrong. Arriving in mid-April, my first task was to find a cheap, clean hostel, right in the heart of the island itself. A fellow traveler I’d met earlier that week, in Cancun suggested a place named; Pocna Hostel.
“It’s good price” he told me, in his broken English.
I was on a budget, so I budged. Walking in, I was greeted by cheery foreigners like myself at the service desk, given sheets, a pillow, and a sleek red wristband that read “Mi casa en el Caribe” I thought nothing of it at the time. My goal in coming to the island was simply a resting stop, between Cancun and Chitzen Itza (our next destination.) My first night on the town included; mingling with tourists, and foreigners alike, at the hostel’s beach bar. That night I’d met people from all over the globe, every religion, nationality and color. It was refreshing, I thought, though my goal was not refreshing, it was breathtaking, adventurous and romantic.
What could be more romantic than Chitzen Itza’s towering pyramids? The ancient stories still lingering in the air, and the ground beneath. I got tickled just thinking of it. Waking up the next morning, in hopes of leaving the island to Chitzen Itza, I heard raindrops, trickling down the sides of my tents polyester rooftop. I was stuck; the ferry back was closed until the rain wore down. I remember stepping out of my tent, angry and bitter at the weathers timing. As I felt warm rain drops trickle down the tip of nose, my anger seemed to dissipate, and I become relaxed and at peace. I head over to the hostel’s dining area, where toast and coffee are complimentary, and the news is playing on the television. Everyone seems so glued to the headliner story, I get my coffee and join them.
Swine Flu outbreak across Mexico and U.S., the television projects, my initial thoughts are
“Oh no, I ate pork last night.”
As the story goes further on I laugh off my ridiculous initial thoughts, the news begins to describe the outbreak as pandemic and that any trips into Mexico should be cancelled, and tourist who were there now should book the soonest flight home, after decontamination, of course. Panic began to form in the faces of my Hostel mates. The locals seemed to simply shrug it off, and go about their daily routine. The rains wore down, and the warm Caribbean sun returned to its rightful place in the sky. Coming back to the Hostel, that night, everyone simply seemed to have disappeared. More and more left each day it seemed, with a few trickling in here and there, I decided going home was out of the question, and leaving to Chitzen Itza was just too risky. It was Isla Mujeres or bust.
|Isla. Mi querida.|
Early each morning I’m awoken by the sounds of the bongos playing in the distance, a cold shower and a warm cup of coffee. During the afternoon’s peak, the remaining of us flock to the beach, lounging in hammocks and basking in the sun’s glory, letting the drift of the waves carry us off. My nights are spent by the beach bar, dancing with the locals, singing terribly off key, and laughing at absolutely nothing. We become no longer local and tourist, we simply become, family, a part of the island and all its entirety. Life itself seemed entirely worth living. I fall in love…with a place and the people residing, because for that moment, I simply enjoyed life.
I came to realize that in searching for breathtaking, adventurous and romantic elsewhere, I’ve found it here, right in front me the whole time. And what seems like only a week, is really a month, the shortest month of my life, it seems. Soon enough the swine flu, wears down and It’s time to depart. I have only a week left of my travels, and as much as I want to stay stuck in this beautiful cycle, I know there is much more beauty to be seen and laughter to be had elsewhere. And in leaving Isla Mujeres, I come to realize that in making the decision to stay on the island during the Swine Flu epidemic, as opposed to running home, I came to experience something that not many will ever experience in a whole lifetime. I experienced life with the innate, with the truly genuine, and truly loving.
Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, undoubtedly became “Mi Casa en el Caribe.”
My home in the Caribbean.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
It's nearly 4 am. My mothers home is completely silent. All that is heard are the sounds of the clock ticking, and my fingers pounding the keyboard's keys. It's nearly 4 am, why am I even awake? Curse you late night coffee cravings! How I loathe you, and love you dearly...
My eyelids are starting to get heavy, and the sun starting to peer through the cracks of the Western Hemisphere.I've come to realize that staying up this late, or early (depending on which way you see it) is simply no good. It's trouble I tell you. You think reading about it's bad? My unwilling awakeness (yes I know that's not a real word) has driven me across this lonely planet. Literally, to lonelyplanet.com. I find myself perusing through South America, Egypt, then finally Laos.