A couple of weeks ago I went to Cancun, Mexico for a short vacation. Going in, I deluded myself that I’d do a few hours of work in the morning, then relax in the afternoon. Yeah, right. Who’s gonna work when you can look at this all day?
So I didn’t work. My buddy Troy, who’d invited 50 different friends, called me “the 2%” all week. Because I was the only one willing to come down and hang out in the tropics, sitting on the beach, reading a book by the pool, enjoying the scenery.
Oh, and speaking of scenery, the landscapes are pretty nice, too! 😉
We met a bunch of people. This is Dave, Stacey, and Troy on Monday at Isla Mujeres.
I met a turtle in her pond who wouldn’t leave me alone.
I met a couple, Max and Brittney, who had come down from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Troy’s city. Imagine, flying 2,000 miles and across the Gulf of Mexico, to meet someone who lives just a few doors down from you. And not only that, but this couple had a connection to me, too. Last August, on a whim, they drove a half a day to come down to this area and watch the eclipse at the same amphitheater in Chesterfield where I watched it.
You might be thinking they’re the most interesting people I met in Mexico, but you’re wrong.
Perhaps you think it’s the friends from New Jersey (where my mother grew up and I still have nice memories of visiting as a child). Nope.
Perhaps you think it’s the whole group of friends / frenemies that Troy and I hung out with a few times over the week, laughing and drinking cerveza and telling jokes and them smoking. (Hint – a couple of them are in that first picture above). Nope.
Perhaps you think it’s Janet and her daughter Billie, who Troy ended up spending a lot of time with, over the week. Janet bought us dinner on Monday at the resort. Pretty sweet! But no, she was not the most interesting person I met.
Perhaps you think it’s Kyle (I think), the iguana who peed on my hand on my tour of Tolum.
Maybe the people I met at the cenote, the freshwater reservoir where we ate lunch and swam after Tolum?
Strike three! (Four?)
Maybe the tour guide, Carlos, who showed us how the sun can be viewed through a piece of obsidian. Still not the most interesting person I met.
No, the most interesting person I met was someone else. I met her after I climbed up the pyramid at Coba:
And had to stop a couple of times to let my fear subside. I’m not usually scared of heights, but that was a little precarious. After we butt-scooted back down, we made our way out to the front of the park in groups of two or three. There I bought a frozen fruit pop and rested a bit.
Within a few moments I saw a woman standing by her bicycle. Mid-twenties and slim, she looked a little out of place compared to all the rest of the white European tourists in groups of ten or more, and very out of place compared to the shorter Mexican citizens.
Her bicycle was loaded on the front and rear wheels with bags. And it looked like she was on a tour. I decided to be nosy.
“Excuse me, can I ask you a question?”
“Yes, sure.” Her accent sounded French, but we spoke in English, as most people there do.
“Are you on a tour?” I pointed to the bicycle.
“Yes, of course.” Her demeanor seemed almost dismissive, as if I was asking if the sky was blue.
“By yourself?” I couldn’t see anyone else on a similar bicycle, and she didn’t look like she was waiting for a group.
“Well, I had a partner for the first part of the trip, but now, yes, it is just me.”
“How long have you been going?” Expecting a few weeks.
“Ahm, about six months now.” My eyes popped open. This is not the first time I’ve met someone on a long-term tour (there was a guy going through here from California to Maryland last summer). But it is the first time I’ve known of a non-native doing it across thousands of miles in a strange country, all alone.
Color me dazzled. Or is it “be-dazzled”? Regardless, I admired her resolve. I envied her freedom.
“Wow, very impressive. Good luck,” and I waved a short goodbye. She did the same, and turned away to purchase her ticket to go see the Coba ruins and pyramid.
And I turned away, back to my tour bus, back to my pampering in air conditioning, back to letting other people do for me instead of doing for myself.
Back to wishing I could do that.
Back to planning for the day when I can do that.
Back to yearning for the chance to go where I want, when I want, without obligations of schedule, of deadlines, of mortgage and health insurance and homeowner association fees.
Back to waiting.