April 15-18, 2008
Today I entered Mexico for the first time in ten years. The bus went from the Belizean border up the Caribbean coast to Playa del Carmen, one of those all-inclusive American resort towns. Seventy-five percent of people on the beach were pasty and fat. They looked like in the last year they had spent fifteen minutes exercising, thirty minutes in the sun, and the rest of the time in an office eating junk food. Fifteen percent were so red it looked like someone poured a can of paint on them because they went from a terrible winter with no sun to sitting outside all day in the tropics without the inconvenience of sunscreen. The other ten percent were the color of bratwursts with a matching skin consistency, like they had spent three hours per day in the tanning booth for the last three months to prepare for their trip. That's not to say that I'm the prime example of a perfectly-bronzed beachgoer either.
The weird thing about Playa del Carmen was that despite all the decadence and tourists who think sitting on a beach for five days constitutes getting to know a new culture, the place started growing on me. The weather was perfect, the sand was fine and white, and there was nothing expected of me because nobody else was doing anything, either. My biggest accomplishment at the end of my trip was going to the clinic for another blood test to confirm that I was finally dengue-free. I also played a lot of cards with my fellow hostel-goers and realized that while I am going to miss this carefree lifestyle, it's okay that it's about to come to an end.
The photo album for this entry is here.