Posted by: Sarah | March 30, 2009

travel tales

Mexico was a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively.  While I longed to stay longer and explore more of the country, the vacation was relaxing and rejuvenating.  I spent some quality time with my best friend, drinking plenty of margaritas and mojitos alongside the pool, soaking up the sun.  I spent hours reading, writing, and pondering whether or not it was time for me to move back to Latin America or elsewhere.  No rash decisions have been made, but I appreciated the time out of my comfort zone to reevaluate several things in my life… as I usually do when abroad.

We spent one day on an excursion that including zip-lining (SO much fun) through the jungle, mountain biking, snorkeling and climbing/swimming through crazy caves.  Our fellow travelers, as well as our tour guide kept us thoroughly entertained.  Of course, I managed to fall while in the caves and bang up my leg on the rocks, as horror thoughts of knee injuries interfering with my marathon training flashed through my mind.  It had swelled up pretty badly by late afternoon when we got to the hotel.  One of the bartenders creatively fashioned an ice-pack out of seran wrap (that worked surprisingly well) for me, but I spent most of that evening chilling on our balcony rather than salsa dancing.

One of the highlights of the trip was befriending much of the hotel staff.  As is common with many all-inclusive resorts such as the one where we were staying, the majority of the guests were gringos who spoke not a word of Spanish and who had no real interest in experiencing anything that might resemble the true Mexican culture because it might shake up their perceptions a little too much.  It was amusing to see the reactions of the resort staff and our tour guides when they realized I spoke Spanish – often when I would overhear a conversation that they had not intended for us to hear.  
(ellos) Mira sus oyos bellos.  Ellas son mis novias.
(yo, sonriendo) Lo siento.  Creo que no.

(one employee to another) oh, look at their beautiful eyes.  They are my girlfriends.
(me, smiling) Sorry.  I don’t think so.

They were usually caught completely off-guard and would laugh in astonishment, immediately striking up a conversation, asking where I had learned Spanish, what I had done in Colombia, if I was married/had a boyfriend (some things never change when it comes to Latino men, regardless of where they are from), and what I thought of Mexico.  I chatted with the driver who took us to and from the airport about how Hurricane Wilma had impacted Cancun and the small town along the Guatemalan border that he was from.  The guide on our excursion asked about different travel adventures that I had gone on in Colombia, most notably in the Amazon.  We shared some interesting comparisons on two countries that have had such a different experience with tourism.  

The resort had live music at night, which alternated between mariachi and other very traditional  Mexican music and my personal favorite…salsa.  The fact that I knew how to dance may have been even more surprising than the fact that I could speak Spanish.  Songs that I knew by heart, many of them Colombian, which made me feel so at home, in this country that I had never before visited, as I spun around the dance floor and took deep breaths of salty, Caribbean air.


  1. your hair is so long!

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