Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cancún, part 1

I think we've finally figured out how to have my kind of fun in Cancún. We got here just over a week ago, joining our neighbors at their timeshare condos on the beach. They told us that that the first week's condo was so much nicer than the second that we decided to try the "resort" life diring week 1 and travel further abroad this week.

We enjoyed salsa dance lessons, lap swimming, body surfing, attentive service, books and food all week long, but I was pretty much completely bored by the end of the week. I think Alla was less bored and happier about last week's schedule. As Nika observed, I don't generally idle well.

"What's the difference between Miami and Cancún?" "In Cancún everybody speaks English." I did realize early on, however, that if I asked to speak in Spanish the folks here would be kind enough to let me do it. The pactice is helping, and I'd love to continue working on it. I can talk about a lot of things, but not everything.

Actually, yesterday we made our first foray into a place where some folks didn't speak English. We jumped on a bus in the afternoon and went to a mall where one of the hotel staff told us that the locals liked to shop. While I don't normally enjoy shopping as a vacation activity, I actually enjoyed this mall. For one thing, a large percentage of the shop keepers spoke no English. Best of all, however, the visit climaxed at a local competitor to WalMart (who is indeed here) where we found clothes, appliances, tires, motor bikes and a huge grocery department.

We loaded up on groceries. The hardest thing was staring at the fresh corn tortillas in our cart. The store included a huge bakery where we saw people making all kinds of breads and, more importantly, those tortillas. The first thing I put into my shopping cart was a paper packet of steaming-hot tortillas right off the grill. Unfortunately, they were sold by weight and they had not been weighed yet. I had to look at them wistfully for a long time until we finally got to the cashier with that all-important scale.

We loaded up mostly on fruit and white cheeses. Fruit can be very heavy, and it was a long walk back to the bus, but highly worthwhile. We made dinner with our tortillas, cheeses, avocadoes, tomatoes and salsa when we came back and shared it with our friends.

We enjoyed today even more. We took a bus tour to Chichén Itzá, a particularly large Mayan archaeological site. We liked pretty much everything about this day, from the guide's commentary on the ride down, the other guide's commenary about the site, the site itself, the weather, the limestone sinkhole where we went swimming on the way home, the late lunch we ate with limitless hand-made corn tortillas, and even the Mayan artisans trying to sell us stuff we didn't need.

So, my thoughts so far on resort life: It can provide a great place to come home, but I wouldn't want to be restricted to it. We've made up a reasonably ambitious plan for the next few days and look forward to more adventures worth talking about.