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Imprisoned with a dinosaur in paradise

Pigs do fly to Mexico

sunny 25 °C

While waiting in the queue for my breakfast serving of ‘huevos rancheros’ – eggs with chillies, tomatoes and peppers in burritos – at our hotel in Merida, I had my view of the chef’s creativity blocked by a woman of ample proportions and an American accent. I’m not saying she was an American – just her voice. At that time of the morning I’m not particularly convivial and I was concerned that, given the visually obvious ability of my fellow hotel guests to consume, there may not be enough food left for me to demonstrate my appreciation of the chefs’ special efforts. My demeanor changed when I overheard my sight screen with the US voice say, “I don’t know why the Mexican’s stay in the US. They should come here; the food is Mexican and everyone speaks Spanish. They would love the music and would easily make friends”. I couldn’t agree more.
Our tour passed the very place our guide told us was the site of the asteroid or comet impact that destroyed the Dinosaurs. The Chicxulub crater. There is little to be seen at ground level, but aerial shots reveal something big happened. Much bigger than the 10,000 years of property development which has taken advantage of all the broken rock laying about. As a result, scientists from all over the world come here to study the site where mysterious minerals have been found. Personally, I believe they are just taking advantage of an all expenses paid holiday at the worlds largest resort region. More later. My own opinion for the demise of the dinosaurs is they couldn’t compete with the tourists here. The tourists ate their environment and the dinosaurs as well. More later. Flypaper is also skeptical of the extinction theory. She told me that she saw some dinosaurs out the window at lunchtime. The following day at lunch she pointed them out again. I could understand her confusion but, in a very compassionate way I gently corrected her error. “That’s not a window dear, that’s a mirror”.
Throughout Mexico there are pyramids, temples, ruined cities and piles of rock that, I agree, look like the work of demented human rock collectors. To be honest, I’m not keen on climbing any more ancient man-made tourist attractions. My thighs and shins ache (coming down is just as bad as going up) and I’m embarrassed to be seen creeping up steep staircases on all fours looking like a monkey searching for a dropped pitahaya. (Dragon fruit - Worth the search because it’s a bit like a Kiwifruit). In the north, Aztecs built stuff while in southern / eastern regions the ruins are principally of Mayan origin. In 40 degrees Celsius (its winter now) I couldn’t care if they were piles of dinosaur poo but our guides had gone to a lot of trouble to co-ordinate their stories so I went along with it. Exercise in this temperature has taught me many Spanish words of which the most important is ‘cerveza’. This is the only word that isn’t a swear word. I don’t understand why an enterprising Mexican hasn’t set up a beer dispenser at each rest level of a pyramid. I’m also at a loss why another hasn’t built an elevator or escalator. This country is wide open for entrepreneurs.
The Mayan ruins feature many cylindrical posts purportedly right outside the head honchos’ palace. While the esteemed historians and scientists mentioned above are united about the meteor impact, they are surprisingly divided regarding these common, easy to see structures. Some say it’s a sundial, others a phallic symbol while yet others claim it’s a whipping post for naughty Mayans. I think this says a lot about the individual historians’ predilections. I agree its too fat for pole dancing but ventured the option of an early traffic light pole – something which remains popular in the cities even today. (Evolution is popular among the scientific community.) Another thought I had was, perhaps it’s the evacuation meeting point during an earthquake. The crumbing edifices convince me I’m on the right track. However, neither idea is gaining traction among those who get paid for their silly ideas.
Following a hectic schedule of cultured tourist activity, Flypaper thoughtfully decided to include a few days of R & R at a beach resort. I fear this may be her worse idea to date. We arrived late in darkness. The road from the highway to the Caribbean beach was spookily like a potholed track to a refuse collection area. I considered Mexican Mafia and mysterious missing tourists. Suddenly we emerged into a stunning glitterance of palatial extravagance – which had me even more worried. The ‘disgorgement area’ – the covered arrival portico, was large enough to turn an articulated Mack truck with a house on the back. Along our journey during daylight we had seen dozens of million-dollar entrances to the playgrounds of the mega-rich. Now we were in one with little chance of escape. Being unable to think better, I slipped my credit card into my sock and followed Flypaper into a spectacular cavernous reception area. Surely the entrance to heaven – which I had hoped to delay a little longer. The registration process was arduous and numerous signatures were required under incomprehensible Spanish Conditions of agreement. We were kidnaped by a porter who was already holding us to ransom by commandeering our humble luggage and taken to a cell that would house several families. Flypaper expressed surprise there was only one toilet and disappointment she had inadequate clothing to fill even a few of the wardrobes. Having seen the shopping arcade in a wing off reception, I became more worried and mentioned the need for financial reserves in our old age. Following the decision as to which of 10 restaurants we would dine at we ventured out. 3 hours later we returned to our room disappointed to have discovered there were better rooms at the ‘exclusive’ end of the complex and heartened by the fact that the restaurant, bar, theatre and various ancillary services required no payment. Evidently, it’s an all-inclusive price that Flypaper assures me did not require 3rd party funding. I still slept badly.
However, the next morning the full light of day exposed further horrors. We found ourselves among hundreds of other captives at the largest breakfast facility I’ve ever experienced. 3 of the restaurants combined their resources to provide an array and quantity of foods that explain the existence of the poor people in Mexico. Foods of every preference for every ethnicity were available … and most guests were taking advantage of their hosts generosity. Both feet in the trough. Many kept the barman scurrying around (Yes – Barman … first time for me at breakfast) making Bloody Mary’s and other alcoholic rejuvenators – all for free. New Tequila and Mezcal bottles were arriving every few minutes. Some bottles contained alcohol preserved snakes. These were not free, but the additional cost didn’t deter those wanting a better poison. After a couple of circumnavigations of all food stations and conscious of 2 further meals and unlimited free snacks during the day ahead, I adventurously opted for fresh fruit (some of which I’d never seen before) and which seemed to make up the 3rd or 4th tier of most diners’ plates. During observation of our fellow guests I considered the fact there is no measurement scale for fabric pressure. There are accepted scales for temperature, speed, volume, distance, earthquakes, etc. There is a scale called Elastic Modulus – eg. A rubber band has a low elastic modulus – but nothing I’m aware of that we could use in the instance off (say) … “If that person eats another donut they will move from a x to a y on the tee-shirt pressure scale. Some big numbers would be scored here. Now you’re probably thinking I may have also been on the Tequila that morning but, believe me, just looking around was sufficient to induce a desire to make attendance at the gymnasium compulsory for those staying more than 48 hours. Many stay for weeks and I’m told that some women purchase 3 or more swimming costumes during their holiday.
I was touched by the number of couples, gay and heterosexual, who dressed in matching clothes. It made a statement – “This one belongs with me”. I wanted to ask whose idea was it, who made the clothes purchase and had it worked? In most instances the more masculine partner looked a bit glum, or perhaps conscious that the shirt wasn’t his preferred colour. Often there was a considerable age difference between these couples. I so wanted to discuss their lifestyles with them but feared Flypaper would have unpacked the leash.
We are always pleased to read the little cards in hotel bathrooms urging us to reuse towels and encouraging other efforts to conserve water. Very prudent – especially in hot dry regions reliant on subterranean aquifers such as the Yucatan peninsular. We do our best and sometimes only flush every second time as taught at primary school when the water pipe required repair because the 11 year old lawn mowing contractor crashed the self-propelled mower into the drinking fountain. (That job was worth 10 shillings each fortnight during the school holidays and thankfully the school secretary, my mother, didn’t deduct damage costs.) I digress. I’m sure we all agree its important to save water. Imagine my astonishment when the waiter deposited a very large ice bucket containing 5 litres of ice at our dinner table and thrust Flypapers bottle of ‘Casa Vino Blanco’ into it. 5 litres !!! It was the turn of the waiter to be astonished when I asked for the wine to be withdrawn and left on the table. I tried to explain that cold white wine loses most of its flavour resulting in a $60 bottle tasting just like a $10 bottle. Slightly cooled (8 – 10 degrees is perfect) releases the aroma and taste. The waiter quickly concluded I was a looney and left us to tip the 5 litres of ice down the drain. That was equal to a complete flush the following morning. Shocking waste.
An entertaining aspect of buffet dining is the disputes between guests. They argue over who deserves the first omelet or the last sugar donut. Its not just a comment like,” Excuse me I was here before you burst onto the scene and stole my food”. Its an ongoing dispute about rights, class distinction (what colour wrist band), lost holiday time, the number of starving children waiting back at the table and relative need. (Who is the fatter.) Even when one party realizes the sausage is getting cold and apologises, the other conues on the high moral ground going for the kill. Before you know it, the most indignant will switch sides and demand the apologiser take all the food in the hope they will feel bad about their very existence. Its even better when other waiting guests pitch in with a comment. As I found out to my detriment. They both joined forces and zeroed in on my funny accent, obvious low social status and inability to spit when talking.
I peeped over a wall into the trash collection area. As you do. These are places of excess – especially food waste. Some people don’t even eat all their 3rd or 4th helpings! Large wheeled bins overflowing with food scraps made me wonder if they shouldn’t run a pig farm nearby. But then I realized that would just be a duplication.
Few of our friends and acquaintances will be aware of the “Mayan Riviera”. It’s a region stretching about 50km (30 miles) along the Yucatan Peninsular in Eastern Mexico. There are dozens of unbelievably spectacular resorts similar to the one we experienced. They generally specialize in ‘All inclusive’ holidays as, once you’re inside one of these places, there’s no need to go anywhere else. The Caribbean coastline features beautiful beaches, warm weather and a cheap vacation experience. Some cater for the gay community, others for honeymoons, a few are ‘adult only’ and all have at least a ‘romantic’ restaurant. Canadian and US holiday makers have found the Mayan Riviera and deserted Florida, France, Spain and all other traditional holiday resorts. Check it out – Google ‘mayan riviera’ or just go to an example page - https://travelyucatan.com/mayan-riviera-hotels/. If this is your style of holiday you’d better be quick before the prices rise. One thing is sure. Flypaper has not trained me for a sybaritic or hedonistic lifestyle – I’ll never be back.

Posted by Wheelspin 12:04 Archived in Mexico Tagged ocean resort & riviera crater mayan coral tequila yucatan chicxulub turquesa Comments (1)

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