The page ended on Chapter 2 yesterday and we flew from Mexico to Los Angeles. Goodbye to Central America, to Mexico and Costa Rica, thank you for having us for 6.5 weeks. It has been wonderful and eventful.
We are sorry to leave Mexico but not Cancun, a mistake we will not make again. Trying to make it interesting or funny is like trying to write about bath enamel – hard work.
We escaped the town on both our days there, going to a lovely ‘cenote’ on Tuesday 100km south of Cancun. These are natural sink holes in the limestone plateau created by rain and water over many years. Many of them have been turned into tourist destinations; you turn up, pay to get in and to hire a locker and then jump in and go snorkelling. Families lounge around the water’s edge. There were few fish; we got our kicks diving deep g in the half-cave where the dark gives you a very small but terrifying insight as to what those poor kids in Thailand experienced. Lola has turned into a right little mermaid while her sister is wary of the fish.
We then went to Akumal, a stunning little bay with perfect white sand and family-friendly shallow water. The seaweed has won and it coats the shore. The locals try to clear and clean it up into huge stacks of rank brown Sargasso seaweek, but even back-breaking manual labour by a big team doesn’t touch the sides. We go swimming in search of turtles. We see a group of snorkelers treading water and swim out to join them: 10 people floating above one poor turtle who ignores them. It is still pretty magical to see.
We enjoyed Mexico and only wish we’d seen more of the ‘real’ country. The Yucatan Peninsula and state of Chiapas are perfect for a 2 week holiday and amazing place to visit with high and low culture, history, beaches, wildlife and sunsets, but, as you’ve read on this blog, the Yucatan is not very Mexican. There is a strong creative and cultural streak in the country that we glimpsed but never really understood; the heritage has been diluted in the south east of the country in the cause of satisfying foreigners’ needs and wants. There is a tourist paradox too: the places which are safe for tourists may not be the most authentic locations.
It is easy to live in a bubble. We have felt safe yet we read this week about a journalist in Playa Del Carmen (45 minutes drive from Cancun) being murdered. He apparently published an article criticising the police and was warned what would happen to him if her continued in that vein. So the insinuation is that he was killed by the local police. How much violence goes on as we skip from taxi to hotel to restaurant to pool? Perhaps it is better we don’t know.
We arrive in LA in good spirits. It takes 3.5 hours to clear immigration and the car rental and a joy to arrive at Al and Liz’s house (Lucy’s brother). More on LA soon.