|Eric & Amelie|
I had another remarkable trip to Mexico in January & February. I returned to Cancun, Tulum, Isla Mujeres, and San Cristobal learning, or reinforcing, an important idea: You can’t go back again. Nothing ever compares to the first time, and it’s unfair to expect it to. Life blossoms in the new, and rots beneath the log of lazy familiarity and habit.
The highlight of the first half of my trip was the first week: in Tulum and Isla Mujeres. I met Eric and Amelie at the Weary Traveler hostel in Tulum. They were in their 20’s, Canadian, and both worked all over the world (Egypt, Afghanistan, Asia, above the Arctic Circle) in food service, Eric as a chef. From the beginning with these two, I laughed until I thought I would piss blood. I literally hadn’t laughed that hard in years. It served as a reminder that, somewhere along the way, I began to take life, and my place in it, a bit too seriously. For the next several days, we drank, laughed…,and drank…like madmen. After we made our way to Isla Mujeres, I seriously considered tagging along with them all the way to Mexico City. That is, until I did some accounting and realized how much money I’d spent that first week! It was worth it.
|Eric & Amelie|
|The Caribbean: It doesn't suck. |
|Zac, Gustav, Karl, & Karl's fraulein|
It turned out I was already familiar with Eric, although I had no idea when I first met him. He had some global notoriety in ‘07 when he started the “I’ll Do Anything For a Million Dollars” website. It went viral, and Eric found himself doing radio interviews for stations all over the world. Unfortunately, he never landed his million but I was at my last radio gig then, and remember hearing about him.
|Eric. Isla Mujeres|
|El Guapo con Huevos!|
From Cancun, I returned to San Cristobal, to resume the Spanish lessons I’d halfheartedly begun in ’11. I prepaid for a month’s stay in a private room at my friend’s new hostel, and settled in. After a couple of weeks, I began to see my mistake. Not so much in returning to San Cristobal; that’s never a mistake; but to try to re-enact fond memories. Things at the language school were just different. Rosa, my teacher from ’11, had moved on and I never really gelled with my current instructors. Plus, the hostel had a shitty vibe. I initially thought my expectations were probably too high. Nothing could compare to the now-closed Posada 5. But, my Canadian friends confirmed my sense of things as we packed to get on our way toward Puerto Escondido. They absolutely detested that hostel!
I did hang out with Jose Luis (the ex-politician) for a night, and got a first-hand introduction into the Mexican attitude toward drunk driving! Not surprisingly, we had rather intense political/social discussions and he shared some personal stories about his days as what I would classify as being a mercenary. I got a kick out of explaining to him how I made no distinction between Obama and Bush or Romney; that, bullshit rhetoric aside, they’re the same in the end: corporate puppets.
Following my stay in San Cristobal, I bused to Puerto Escondido with my young Canadian friends, and by the end of my stay had decided that I’m likely going to be one of those old gringos that migrate to the Pacific coast of Oaxaca every winter. The Rockaway bar, Karina, Max, nearly breaking my neck in the Pacific surf; they’re all worthy tales. As is the one about drinking entirely too much coffee-flavored Mescal, then being unable to navigate the lock to my hotel, and passing out on the street. Oh, and being woken up by my friends shortly after sunrise to a standing ovation from the Mexican construction workers next door. These require long-form details, and hopefully I’ll get to them one of these days.
|Sunset over the Pacific|
|Geronimo. The Rockaway|
The Argentine/German couple I had met at the Posada 5 hostel in March ’11 now run a hostel in the tiny beach town of Mazunte, which is a two-hour bus ride south of Puerto Escondido. They were my primary reason for coming to this side of the country, and I spent nearly a week camping just yards from the ocean, drinking, and meeting some of the most fascinating people you can imagine. I’ll be returning to Mazunte on a regular basis as well!
|The Pacific: It doesn't suck.|