"Wherever you go, there you are." I love a relevant cliche. I've been pulling 'a geographical' ever since we left my mother and brother in Northern NJ on December 31st. This is an ineffective method of moving locations to ease discomfort. What's interesting to learn is, paradise or not, environment has zero to no effect on emotional turmoil.
We left Tulum, Mexico a few days ago and took a ferry to Cozumel. It was a relief to leave the touristy hustle and bustle of the east coast Yucatan. Tulum is over the moon expensive these days. We were lucky enough to stay in one of the last private beach sanctuaries on the Caribbean. Let me give you an example. In 1998 Sue Ann stayed on a beachfront cabaña for 15 US dollars per night. The resort next to our hippy sanctuary was 785 US dollars per night during high season. An 80-minute massage three doors down from our treehouse was 320 US. Holy cow. How a few smart New Yorkers can run riot and ruin paradise while turning an ancient culture upside down. Here's an example of the common con: eco-chic is a hotel-dwelling less electricity. Powering down your cell phone comes as an extra. Hey, I'll turn your cell phone off for half-the-price, and hide your charger while I'm at it.
In the 16th century, the Mayan women traveled to Cozumel for the fertility goddess Ix Chel ("the goddess of making children"). An interesting fact I learned yesterday from a middle-aged lesbian couple who moved here from Paris, CA four years ago. The locals are sweet. Especially our BnB host Lupita. We are staying in a modest studio one block from the ocean. Lupita volunteered to pick us up from the boat. Picture a third world style Santa Barbara. Our room is comfortable. We're getting better and better at setting things up with essential comforts like coffee, dates, nuts, sunscreen, bug spray -- we got slaughtered by the mosquitos in Tulum. I have at least fifty bites on my arms and legs alone. The one thing we haven't been able to locate is the automatic air freshener that spits out an overtly sickly sweet floral stream into the air every twenty minutes. It sounds like a coughing gecko. I imagine the little lizard pumping an ol' fashioned perfume ball dispenser at ever spray, smiling and hacking out his unwanted burst. We cover our noses every time and giggle at this small mystery of life.
Yesterday we took a scooter ride from our neighborhood around the Island to a beach called Palancar. It was liberating to ride. Unfortunately, every time I stopped to brake, our bike stalled. We eventually had to use a technique I like to call the hard-stop-gas. I feel as if my scooter driving tricks are at an all time high, here in Mexico. Palancar is where we walked on the beach and saw pelicans in their natural habitat. Driving back to town, we stopped at an oceanfront massage spot called Sky Reef. It was the first time we had our backs rubbed outside during a hurricane. The talents of these women were many. They pinned down towels with rocks while rubbing out our aches and pains, Esalen style. Seriously one of the best massages I've ever received, less the wind, rain, and cold.
Today we took a day trip to find the Mayan ruins where they worshiped the goddess Ix Chel. It did feel like holy land walking through the forest. Or as Sue Ann likes to say, the jungles. I like to pretend I'm not in the jungles. The tourists came in all shapes and sizes. There was a family from Alberta Canada, climbing the structures from 1200 AD. They were too fat to get up over the mossy stones (and I was mildly appalled at their irreverence). There were Latin hipsters taking selfies in front of the temples. And me and Sue Ann, two little gays from LA running out of clean clothes, dressed up in Thai elephant pants and flannel. As we left the temple grounds, I blessed us, just in case Ix Chel has since retired. It may be a tad late for me and conventional fertility, but I'll take a blessing or two for more songs and stories. Sue Ann on the other hand, may fare well with the traditional magic. As we put-put our way back to home base, the darts of rain pinch my face and soak our anti-wardrobe, one layer and one kilometer at a time.