Saturday, June 28, 2008


When Joanie and I finally caught that chartered plane for Mexico all was well with the world. That is until we arrived in Cancun. Cancun was still being built and the Mexicans that were building this tourism Mecca were still living and working there. There was a lot of poverty. Several buildings at the airport were on fire and it looked as though we were entering a war zone.

We were there on the cheap and decided to get a room in El Centro instead of the beach. This ended up being a good move because we were exposed to a lot that tourists rarely get to see. A friend of ours did get a room on the beach so we spent time there when we wanted to.

Almost immediately we rented a VW with the intention of getting out of town. I had been hiding our money in a crack in a wall of our room. We made the mistake of telling the folks at the hotel we’d be gone for a few days. For some reason, at the last minute, I decided to bring all our money. This ended up saving our trip.

We hit a gas station on our way out of town. The attendant was locked inside a glass fortress. He refused to give me my change. He said my Spanish was bad or he couldn’t understand English. It was a total rip off but I couldn’t get to him.

By the way if you have a strong stomach for real adventure check out a Mexican gas station rest room!

I had heard they were in the process of uncovering a new set of ruins in a small southern Indian village called Coba. We must have stopped at every fishing and shipping village on the way down.

We caught a hovercraft ferry over to the island of Cozumel. I decided the island would be my only destination some day. It was a beautiful old tourist resort that was all but abandoned. We rented a couple of motorcycles and made a day of it. On our way back from the island schools of flying fish kept pace with our speeding boat.

I snorkeled at every stop we made. A sting ray flew between my legs at one of the coral reefs where I swam.

When we finally made it down to Tulum we tried to find a hotel. It’s really been built up since we were there but at that time there was only one motel. We went in to check out our room. There were no lights or electricity. An iguana was clinging to the living room wall. A toilet without a seat stood right next to the most disgusting bed I’ve ever seen. We decided not to stay.

Heading even further south on a small dirt road to Coba we were startled by an eagle that flew right into our windshield.

The pyramids and other ruins hadn't been uncovered yet. They looked like large dirt hills. We were able to walk through passages in the pyramids. They local Indians were descendants of the Mayans. They were very friendly and I was able to get a coke. We were about thirty miles from Belize.

We finally drove back to Cancun only to find our room had been rented out from under us and we were still being charged. I thanked god I had decided to grab our money. After a lot of angry haggling they found us a suite at another hotel until another room became available.

Driving through town the next day I was stopped by the cops. They took my drivers license. I was told I could pick it up next Thursday at the station for $80.00 or I could pay $40.00 right there to expedite matters. Joanie was furious. “You want a bribe,” she screamed. I told her to shut up and let me pay so we could get out of there. “No way,” she insisted. The cops could tell we weren’t getting anywhere and saw another tourist’s car speed by. Just as they jumped in their car for the chase Joanie snatched my license out of a cop’s hand. He did a quick double take but kept going. We got the hell out of there.

I had successfully avoided Montezuma’s revenge until the day of our flight home. I had a drink at the airport and wasn’t paying attention to the ice cubes in it. I didn’t get the runs until we got home.

Speaking of the flight home, we finally caught up with our original charter group. We were stuck on the runway for hours because a tourist had brought a souvenir sombrero onto the plane that was too large to store anywhere. This thing had to be 6 feet wide and 5 feet tall.

Mexico has got to be the most corrupt place I’ve ever been to in my life. It also has to be the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I’ve often considered moving there but it’s too damned wild in places.

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