There’s a famous quote by LP Hartley that you have probably heard of; “the past is like a foreign country, they do things differently there”. As someone living in a foreign country where they definitely do things differently does this mean that I am living in the past? Continue reading “The Past Is Like A Foreign Country”
I’m typing this on the flight home from Cancun, Mexico. We’ve had an amazing week, the weather has been mostly good, the people friendly and the scenery beautiful. This was our first holiday together since last year so it was great to get away. Even though Kat and I have had evenings and weekends together for the past two months it was even better to get a full week together. Our hotel was fully inclusive and very reasonably priced; going in September proved an excellent decision.
The definite highlights of our trip were the trips we took to the Mayan ruins at Coba, Chichen Itza and Tulum. I was most impressed by Coba; you can climb a huge pyramid; an activity that is prohibited at other sites to aid preservation. Climbing 120 odd uneven, damp steps in humid weather was good exercise and the view as you climb above the jungle canopy was stunning. The fact that there are thousands of other Mayan buildings still covered by the jungle foliage at the site was amazing. The sheer scale of the architecture at Chichen Itza was enough to make us stop and exclaim “wow”, as were the 30C heat and energy sapping humidity.
We found that local buses cost just 1$ or even less if you paid in pesos. The bus drivers make a lie of the myth that men can’t multitask. They drive, hand out change and sort their money simultaneously. We also found if you stay on the bus too long you end up in an area of Cancun that tourists don’t visit, with ever narrowing mud roads and shacks topped with corrugated iron lining the streets. We were a little apprehensive when the bus reached its final destination in one of these areas; western tourists were certainly not frequent visitors here. The experience gave me an increased understanding of the poverty that so many suffer here and a understanding of the difference that tipping our hotel staff regularly can make to their lives. We tipped our maid every day and she repaid us by arranging our towels into shapes like a heart and a swan.
Despite the poverty the staff at our hotel and most of the people we met were very friendly. I felt most for the Mayan people; the guide on one of our trips explained that they are amongst the poorest of Mexican people and often live in mud huts. Seeing the descendants of this once proud and advanced civilization dancing for the money of tourists made me sad and determined to learn more about the Maya on my return to the US.
So Mexico was a great success and neither of us suffered from the infamous Montezuma’s Revenge, which a number of people had warned us about before we flew! We would definitely go back one day, but next on our list is a visit back to my family in England probably not til December. Looking forward to autumn in Massachusetts now 🙂