As my train whizzes through the Scottish countryside (with a cold and rugged coastline on one side and lush green pastures on the other), my adventures in Mexico seem a lifetime ago. In reality, that was only two weeks ago – wow. Nevertheless, here goes a quick snapshot of my time in Mexico.
The snorkelling and diving on offer in Mexico is completely mind-blowing – especially when you venture into the fresh-water underground world! I had my first ever diving experience in the cenotes (caves) near Tulum and it was unreal. I know they tell you that the most important thing is to keep breathing normally but there were numerous times when I was awestruck and breathless! I think the photos speak for themselves…
Then, after a friendly conversation with the owner of our hostel (Casa Del Sol in Tulum), Ella, myself and two other English lads found ourselves travelling local style (in the back of a ute) to a completely isolated beachside town called El Uvero where we ‘camped’ in the owner’s unfinished house! We had to keep pinching ourselves as we kayaked out to the reef, snorkelled, caught all kinds of fresh seafood for dinner, found hidden cenotes, watched soccer games and shared our love of music… all under the full moon and all in the presence of swarms of mosquitos… hungry enough to bite through thick clothing! Totally surreal.
Having spent longer than planned in the Yucatan, we then headed straight for Mexico city. Although we didn’t spend long there, it was surprisingly pleasant! We wandered the historical centre at night, visited the Museum of Anthropology and I got to negotiate the full suite of hectic transport options on offer. My rush-hour subway experience involved police blockades to separate men from women and children in order to prevent people getting trampled in the surging crowds but even in that situation, I was greeted with friendly smiles and help.
After a sad farewell to Ella, I headed for the mountain town of Taxco where I was welcomed by Jaime and Romelia; a lovely couple I met at a conference in 2012. Taxco had Spanish charm, more amazing (although dry) cave formations and entirely different culinary options to try. My room at the Posada de la Mission convent from the 1600s was gorgeous and I only wished I had longer to enjoy it.
Nevertheless, a day or two later, I crossed back to the Gulf of Mexico coast where I met some family friends in Veracruz – Boca del Rio. This place showed me yet another dimension of Mexico as a drug-trafficking nexus, the old capital, a port-based economy and laid-back coastal living. Dare I say that it almost felt like life on the Sunshine Coast, QLD.
Mexico definitely upheld its’ reputation for amazing food. Highlights include:
– fresh seafood galore (some of it thanks to Ella’s spear-fishing talents!)
– limes galore (in beer, in tequila and squeezed on top of everything including plain tacos!)
– black beans (that taste better than I have ever been able to make at home)
– and quirky regional specialites (like jumil / roasted beetles and all sorts of variations on tacos and yummy sauces)!
All in all, I know that there is much more to explore in Mexico and hopefully, one day, I will be back