I went to the beach in Cancun, Mexico and laughed. There is no beach in Cancun! It has all eroded away, never was there anyway, was washed to the heavens by hurricane Wilma, or has just been so crowed by five star hotels that there is now only a little strip of sparkling white sand for fat tourists to rest their big sunburned butts on. There are lots of fat tourist with big sun burned butts on the little pee wee beach of Cancun. But the tall towers and massive complexes of literally hundreds of 5-star hotels still stand presidingly over all. I fear for these hotels though, as they now only stand around 10 meters from the ever threatening tidings of the Caribbean Sea ever smashing up against, and carrying out to sea, the Mayan Riviera.
This beach at Cancun was probably really nice at one time, I can see glimmers of the beauty shouting from the crystal blue ocean water. I found that if I swim out in the waves, and only look out to sea, then I can allow my imagination to dream far past the paragliders, jet skiers, and Mexicans selling swag weed to the sharp beauty that was once this beach. But now there is now only a narrow corridor of sand between the sea and the brooding walls of upper class hotels, and scattered upon this thin strip of sand are only a few groups of worn-out looking, big sunburn butted white tourists sitting around on beach chairs like bloated seals. Sometimes a Mexican or two would walk up to them and try to sell them un–smokable Marijuana or an old dried up starfish. I think that I would rather smoke the star fish.
Mira and I watched all of this for a while, and just could not figure out why these people hopped on a plane and traveled all the way to Mexico to just sit on a peewee beach butt to butt with other tourist and do nothing but try to convince themselves that Cancun is a wonderful vacation destination. I have been to many beaches, and I know that the skinny spindle of Cancun beach is not a good one (though I find it beautiful anyway).
But I do appreciate the fact that tourism often has the common courtesy to bloom in places that are not the most wonderful in the world. I began noticing this in Playa Gorgona, Panama, as I walked from the garbage encrusted, rock torrented tourist beach – with sky high hotels and rich white people drinking cocktails – to the beautiful, big, pristine, and completely un-touristed local beach a few kilometers away. I like that tourism knows how to keep to itself. I know that I can still breathe in this beautiful, beautiful world.
But Mira and I enjoyed Cancun fully, even though we found it to be a funny sort of place. We did not know what to expect when we left our hotel in the residential (urban) section of Cancun, and set off for the beach. Even though we both have been traveling for many years, we seem to be supremely ignorant of the everyday assumptions and notions that every other tourist or traveler seems to hae. We had no idea if Cancun would be a grungy, heavily populated beach or a pristine, nice one. I decided to leave my camera behind, as one of my biggest annoyances when traveling is swimming in the ocean with my attention constantly fixed on my little pile of stuff on the beach. People steal stuff on the beach. Not joking, it happens all the time. So I do not like going to populated beaches with anything but my skibbies and gay pink homosexual slippies. But the camera is one of those tools that I need to properly make this blog and the Vagabond Journey.com site. So it was a toss up:
Do I bring my camera and get in my fifty photos a day? Or do I leave it behind and just enjoy the day and swim without regard for possession or property of any kind. I choose the later, and left my trusty Sanyo Xacti behind and went to the beach with only a pair of shorts, my pink slippers, and Mira. Upon arrival at the Cancun beach – after we figured out how to get through the luxury hotel barricade that block the beach off from the rest of the world – I realized that I probably would not of had to worry about anything of mine being stolen. I was clearly, without a doubt, the poorest foreigner on the beach. I think even the short little Mexican who spends his day beachcombing and selling marijuana that looks like dried lawn clippings would not have been interested in my poor-man’s possessions. But, upon second though, there was not much at the Cancun beach that I would have wanted to photograph anyway.
I must say that my photographic sensibilities were knocked off kilter by the awe-inspiring collection of big sun-burnt tourist butts.
I ran to the ocean, and that is where I stayed. I could not step to those butts.
It is funny for me to think that a vacation for most people means doing absolutely nothing. It is an extreme activity, me thinks. Maybe these people are so stressed out for 50 weeks a year they work that they NEED to just sit somewhere and do nothing for a week or two. Nothing except drink scanty, colorful alcoholic beverages from funny looking glasses, that is. Good on them, I say, sit on the beach and burn your big, white tourist butt to your hearts content. The beach at Cancun is good for this.
I just want to play in the waves.
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Map of Cancun Mexico