Stretched by Mexico

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the Tulum ruins, Tulum, Mexico

I haven’t written for awhile, in part because I was in Mexico from the 10th to the 17th. I decided to leave my computer at home, as it often feels like an unwanted appendage to me.

I’d never been to Mexico before this trip. I don’t speak any Spanish. I am about as gullible as they come.

There were many things I enjoyed about Tulum. The retreat itself was wonderful. The round stucco bungalows were steps away from the beach. I bonded with new people, and we had a lot of fun together.

The natural wonders of Tulum are plentiful. I was especially awed by the Cenotes I visited. They are winding rivers, or round pools. They are unusual in that they are underground waterways. They are often connected to the ocean, which allows for the influx of a variety of sea life, that you would not expect to see.

The two Cenotes that I visited were surrounded by chunky gray rocks, and dense foliage. The water itself was just about as blue as you can imagine.

It was strange being driven from Cancun International airport, to Tulum. It’s around a 2 hour drive. The cops that I saw, with incredibly huge automatic weapons, alarmed me. There were what appeared to be exclusive condo properties-with large gates, right beside places that were ready to fall to the ground.

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Luckily, a friend of the Yoga teacher’s that led the retreat, picked me up from the airport, so I didn’t have to drive, or take a taxi. Driving in Mexico is chaotic, and I’m pretty sure I would have gotten into an accident almost immediately, had I decided to rent a car. I definitely did not, and do not relish the idea of dealing with the Mexican police.

At the last minute, I made the decision to try to learn scuba diving. Our teacher had gone on 5,000 plus dives, and had trained our yoga teacher. I felt confident in him, but not so confident in myself.

I thought I’d never be strong enough physically, to attempt scuba diving. Waddling along in my flippers, with a 40 pound tank strapped to my back, and 15 pounds of weights tied around my waist, was not easy!

We only had to walk 20 feet, to reach the edge of the Cenote, but I wasn’t sure I’d make it. I was concerned that I might make a fool of myself, and I considered going back to the truck.

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Iguana sunbathing

Divers fall backwards into the water. I didn’t, and still don’t like the idea of this. Not being able to see where I’m headed, makes me nervous. I splashed into the Cenote, in full regalia. It wasn’t as bad as I’d expected.

What freaked me out the most, was that I forgot most of the hand signals that are used under water. I was so anxious, and my memory is so horrendous that I was totally confused by the signs that Victor, the teacher, was giving us.

It’s supposed to be very bad for your lungs to breathe quickly with the respirator in your mouth. Thankfully, my meditation practice prevented me from freaking out completely, and shooting to the surface.

Once in the water, the weight of the tank isn’t such an issue. You do, though, have to remember which button to push, to inflate, or deflate your wetsuit. I kept getting mixed up, and would press the deflate button, when I was already swimming in sand at the bottom of the Cenote.

Once I got the hang of things, it was fun. Kind of. Something about being 20 feet or more under water, and recognizing that you are totally dependent on all of your equipment working properly, is sobering.

All you can hear is your own breathing. It’s very weird. We swam with some HUGE fish that had come into the fresh water, through a connecting tunnel to the ocean.

We traversed through a cave, that had openings on both sides of it. Twisted metal, covered in kelp, rested, skeletally against the rocks. It was an incredibly foreign landscape, but eerily fascinating. Thankfully, we didn’t see any sharks.

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beach at retreat, in Tulum

The bad part of the trip was that I got swindled several times by opportunists, which made my blood boil. I won’t go into the details, because I don’t want to have a stroke.

I would be more guarded were I to go to Mexico again. Hopefully, we will have a new president by then, who isn’t hated by the majority of the world. I heard from a friend that right now more crimes against Americans are committed in Mexico, than in any other part of the world!

I’m glad I didn’t know this before leaving the states.

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Mexican raccoons at the ruins
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8 Comments

  1. It’s a shame you got swindled on an otherwise beautiful trip. I wish people wouldn’t tarnish our travel experiences like that, because these countries have SO much more to offer. Great post!

  2. Scuba diving in a cenote! Fantastic! You have nerves of steel–I wouldn’t have made it!!! In college though, our study-abroad group swam in a natural spring and it was the highlight of my trip. I’ll always remember it. I really need to get back to Mexico–it has been too long!

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