|Wind in my shirt fatness. I like the fat guy with a new hat look.|
Lets cut to the chase. Cancun in North America's Whore.
Until this week my last trip to Cancun was in 1982 when it was not even on the tourist radar. Read an interesting history of Cancun Development here and the Wikpedia page here. Crazy to think that in 1970 there were only 3 people living here and 174 in nearby Puerto Juarez. Now there are almost 800,000.
I do not remember much from that trip only because it was so long ago. I was working as an employee with Disney Florida and we received huge discount tickets on flights and hotels to help promote the place. I remember the airport being tiny and rustic and during the ride in we passed through small towns with crumbling buildings. Etched in my mind is a small crumbling church and I do remember thinking to myself "this is not Canada or the United States".
The Cancun of today has a modern airport with incredibly efficient bus service to downtown or if you are in the Hotel Zone you have unlimited "pre-paid" options on pick up and delivery services. The entire operation is fast and efficient to say the least. I am staying at the Granada 6 hotel/hostel downtown where a private room and bathroom is $21 a night, a splurge in my world. We are a 10 minute walk to the ADO bus station and the chaos of downtown Cancun and I would not have it any other way. Street vendors, dangerous traffic, honking horns, random pretty parks, cheap delicious food and helpful locals. I am sharing my time with like minded travelers of various ages and backgrounds who are always eager to share their story if you just take a minute and ask.
** As an aside I met Chinese girl here who as it turns out if from Xi'an, the city in China where I will be moving to in January. We have already arranged to meet and she will show me her city. How serendipitous (thanks for the word Lucy) is that.
As I have mentioned before long travel knocks the crap out of me. From Tehuacán I caught the 10:30 am bus and I was sipping a beer in my room in Cancun at 11:00 pm. In between it was bus/taxi/bus/flight/bus/taxi and all the travel and wait times that go along with it. After a solid sleep I wandered the downtown for a couple hours stopping for various snacks and drinks along the way. There was a feel here that was definitely not Tehuacán and just outside the downtown core it was more like Niagara Falls. Bus after bus tearing down the road at breakneck speed to the Hotel Zone, taxis honking, money exchanges, tour operators of every type, souvenir and trinket shops, touts trying to sell everything from booze to drugs and girls. Prostitution is legal in Mexico and the local parlors are quite impressive, from the street view that is. This was my first taste of what I was to learn is the very real Cancun.
"Cuando usted escupirá hasta que aterriza de nuevo en su cara".
"When you spit up it will land back on your face"
That simple quote was casually said to me during a late night tequila conversation with Hymie and Maria, the owners of Granada 6. Maria is yet another intelligent and insightful Mexico who used that quote to describe the Hotel Zone that is home to the "North American All Inclusive Crowd". This was in reference to the fact that all the hotels are build on a sandbar and when the next big hurricane comes through they are going to be destroyed. Hurricane Wilma came through in 2005 and caused extensive damage. "The foreigners come here, build and then leave. They don't care because the are insured."
This conversation went late into the night. It touched on topics including American Politics, Mexican Politics, How the Media and Corporations control the world (them not me for a change), People becoming dumber (again them) and how Mexico should be a huge player in the world but feel second best to the United States, butt and this was said with emphasis "that is changing because this generation knows America is disgusting"
I could rant about the hotel zone but why bother. It is NOT Mexico by any stretch of the imagination but it brings happiness to millions of sun seekers during the cold winter months. Like the Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Everyone complains about it but the city would be nothing without it. Like it or not that is how it has evolved.
I am going to the hotel zone tomorrow. I am going to catch a boat to Isla Mujeres where I will go snorkeling, work on my tan and drink cold beer while enjoying a great seafood lunch. That is why I came to Cancun. I love the fact that I listened to the tequila fueled local opinion, however having been born, raised and dependent on the nasty tourist trade for the first part of my life I can appreciate and respect the dialogue.
But Cancun is North Americas whore!