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September 25, 2003

Playa del Carmen

We got out of Merida as quick as we could last Saturday - it was boiling hot and there was no beach.

After a lengthy session of consultation, experimentation, and finally, purchase, in a hammock shop (I bought a six-seater), we jumped on the bus to Playa del Carmen.

And all of a sudden, it was as though we weren't in Mexico any longer. It was like being in Noosa. There's a paved pedestrian mall full of relatively tasteful souvenir and craft shops, as well as a number of very nice Italian restaurants, and one outstandingly cool bar. It's called Deseo and it's a rooftop arrangement, with a little pool bearing the cryptic message in tiles: "AWAY FROM YOU". The drinks waiters and the drinks are equally delicious, and you sip mojitos, tamarind margaritas and piña coladas while lounging about on great big beds. They project old films onto the white wall, and there's a DJ there on weekends. We drank there every night we were in Playa del Carmen, and the last night Tristan told us so many ridiculous stories that Mel and I fell asleep on our comfy divan. Tristan raved on, underterred.

There are lots of little clubhouses on the beach, where people organise your umbrella and beach lounge for you, and can make you cocktails if you wish. The sand was covered in red gringos who had neglected to apply sufficient crema de gringo (no danger of that with us - Mel was a psycho with the sunblock) and there were hundreds of Italians, who clearly disdain any sort of sun protection, and although most of them were as brown as raisins, they all put their chairs out of the sun and rotated them at regular intervals in order to inflict the greatest possible damage.

I tried talking to one of these creatures, only to discover, to my horror, that my brain only has space for 1.3 languages. I used to speak Italian quite well, but my spattering of Spanish has squeezed it out. I was very sorry about this. I'll have to make sure I get back to Italy before it's totally beyond recall.

Basically, we didn't do much for our last few days in Mexico - we just lay around on the sand, reading. I plowed through "The Rachel Papers" by Martin Amis - very entertaining. We did some snorkeling one day, which was fun - there were lots of gorgeous fish there.

On Tuesday we took a bus down the coast to Tulúm, a Mayan ruin that is perched right on a cliff overlooking the gorgeous Caribbean water. The setting is really spectacular, and there were some hilarious pink gringos there, all roaring at one another. Those people can be so entertaining. It's funny to be with other Australians again, taking up the good old sport of laughing at American tourists. They just make it so easy sometimes.

Tristan and Mel came chuckling out of a silver shop one day, where some gringos were buying up big. Tristan reported hearing the following conversation, and he did quite a nice Georgian drawl:

"Now, honey, we still need presents for Joe-Beth, Peggy-Sue and Barbara-Ellen. Now, I want you to look out for some things, you hear?" said a kindly wife.

"Buying useless crap's your passtime, not mine," roared her tender husband as he glared at the shop's entrance, plotting his escape. How hilarious.

I bade farewell to my excellent traveling companions on Wednesday and headed back to Mexico City. Mel and Tristan went back home to Australia, and for a moment I envied them. I am looking forward to my final destination in so many ways.

Posted by Sarah on September 25, 2003 06:13 PM
Category: Mexico

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