Misc V. 32 First Sights Around Quintana Roo

Taxi drivers, time shareholders, and hotel pickups surrounded us the moment we left the airport. We struggled to find the guy with our name sign and were led into a false Marco-Polo game before being offered a deal from another rent-a-car company. I understand the persistence since their sales pitch is a part of the job, but “Noo-OOOOO, thanks,” is never a sufficient answer. Even “we already pre-paid for the other car,” isn’t a sufficient answer. So we ran.

Just joshing. We found our shuttle person standing away from the crowd with a little exploring.

It was the start of an ideal date that may have been too spontaneous for a fresh relationship. Going abroad for the first time with my boyfriend would subtly test our compatibility. We had been together for a little under a year despite Tinder indicating our only common interest being “Fight Club.” If there were any deal breakers they’d come out during the 168 hours we’d spend in each others’ company.

Full disclosure, we’re now living together and co-owners of a cat plushie named Whiskers.

If the relationship had figuratively gone south, we still would have gotten a vacation. We were planning on a road trip around the Yucatan with backpacks and snorkeling gear. Hoping to swim in blue waters under tropical sunshine. Running across long stretches of beaches while simultaneously turning our muscles to jelly. Outdoor adventures with historical sites. Knowing that we’d encounter people living ordinary lives beyond resort property lines. I’d have rights to whisper in his ears, “we’ll always have Mexico,” without reminiscing Señor Frog’s as a romantic backdrop.

But since we weren’t planning on staying cooped up within the city, it meant witnessing a semi-truck collision on the opposite side of the highway. The road was backed up for miles with bystanders exiting their vehicles to access the situation. The driver must have tried to avoid a head-on crash by quickly turning the wheel. With the semi now on its side, it’s back trailer and driver’s compartment hunched over and skid to a stop. I’m almost certain we passed by someone that died that day.

It was the first and unfortunate site we saw after leaving Cancun.

Misc V. 31 Cities of Love: Tourist Trap

img_6649In the 1970s, the Mexican government decided to uproot acres of mangroves and marshes to replace them with glittering resorts. These enormous infrastructures were built along a strip of sand that previously housed a myriad of mosquitos, gators, and snake piles large enough to make this girl’s heart jump. No former settlements. Solely a jungle. It was truly a place ruled by the wilderness before becoming an indulgent getaway, known as Cancun.

The city will never be the face of Mexican culture behind its sheltering luxuries.
It wasn’t built for that purpose.

There are numerous pros and cons of being a world class destination:

People that head straight to Zona Hotelera will be welcomed to a gated community of staff that leaves after their shift. Nothing will get in the way of a good book and tequila combo at the spa. Visitors can trek to Dior storefronts, and be bombarded with timeshares and guided tour offers. The price of a towering hotel will block most public beach access and will ultimately cast a shadow to prevent any romantic sunset walks.

The high-end pampering here seems one dimensional against its tacky souvenir back drop. Even if you opt for a scuba diving experience the scenery might get old and stay the same.

There is so much more to the Yucatán than Cancun.

We didn’t want a vacation. So we rented a Volkswagon Gol, nicknamed Scooter, and hit the road for an adventure less than an hour after the plane’s landing.

Misc V. 30 Hard-knock Advice

The average lifespan of a blog is ‘supposedly 33 months,’ but I’m not a statistic. My norm is to disappear from the internet, then pick up right where I left off in another place, slightly older, and in a different state of sanity.

The only constant is booking a trip without telling my mother. I intend to spend Thanksgiving at home while whispering a quick gratitude for cheap Cancun tickets under my breath. A little secret between myself and United Airlines for a parent, worry free vacation.

I probably won’t have time to leave the Yucatan peninsula, but there’s no telling how far along the gringo trail I’ll wander. I’m not sending her to an early grave because there’s a Netflix documentary painting Mexico as Cartel Land.

Like most Americans, she has a general mistrust of foreign countries, and indifference if she can’t locate it on a map. The exceptions being Canada, European nations, and cruise ship getaways around the Caribbean – places that provide similar luxuries at home.

For example, my coworkers believe going south for the winter is dangerous and leaving the resort would be a death wish.

We have violence in America, but its far worst in other countries. If we die, it’s better to die on soil ground sanctioned for the red, white, and blue.

Advice that should be taken with a grain of salt because the dangers of Mexico seem to be kept out of the Yucatán. I’m not 100% positive that I’ll walk away from this trip without a scratch. However, with a bit of research, this area is relatively cool as a cucumber. I’m more likely to get hurt from just being clumsy. 

By all means, proceed international galavanting with caution and look both ways before crossing the street. 

It’s okay to be afraid of dying, but don’t let it prevent you from living.


Misc V. 29 Walking Home Alone


I use to live in a hotel above a Chinese restaurant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was in walking distance of a popular expat area, and next to a KTV karaoke bar, brothel advertised in neon colors. The entrance doors were always flung wide open, revealing a hallway illuminated with red lights after dusk. In two months, I saw various men walk in and out of that place but never any women.

Despite sharing close quarters with the neighborhood cathouse, I usually felt safe enough to venture out on my own. Small sense of security from knowing the populated area. I wasn’t walking down alleyways, and foreigners can be spotted regularly.

Until I passed a group of local men gambling outside the KTV one night. Some of them made a show of getting my attention. Sex noises consisting of throaty grunts and moans. “Ahhhh” “aughhhh”

I was worried about getting dragged into the building and forced into a line with other girls. Being threatened with worst things than death if I didn’t applaud the next William Hung-like solo.

I was ready to turn my brisk walk into a sprint if needed.

When I reached my hotel, I must have looked ecstatic after seeing the staff members having a smoke outside – assuming I was safe in paid company.

Except one guy misinterpreted and responded with a perverted kissy face. The same person who showed me my room. The same person I gave a tip too. The same person that I mentioned in a tripadvisor review for having impeccable hospitality. I stopped being scared at that point. He forgot I was a guest.

I was pissed. I think it surprised him, as much as me, when I marched the four stories up to my room, back straight and head held high. Somehow managing to fall asleep.