The feeling of being handed your first boarding pass on a semi-Round-The-World trip has to be one of the best feelings on earth! Knowing you have 3 months of travel ahead of you without working a single day, is like being handed the golden ticket to the world!
After almost 24 hours of travel I landed in LA on about 1 hour sleep. The excitement subsides when you realise you have to walk 16 miles through LAX to reach customs and then wait in line for around 2 hours whilst smelling like you haven’t showered in a week!
I finally made it to a nights stay at the holiday inn. I tried to do the right thing and stay awake until a reasonable hour to avoid jetlag. I met some American flight attendants in the bar at the hotel and we decided to go to a bar back towards the airport to grab some dinner. Apparently in America they call them “dive” bars but to me it was nothing but a ghetto bar! I felt so out of my comfort zone because clearly my booty was not sizable enough for anyone in this bar! It was still daylight outside but people were wasted and shaking their arses to some seriously loud R&B or Gangster music or whatever it was. It was definitely an interesting experience!
I slept at 11pm and was wide awake at 2am. I just love the Oz-USA jetlag! The next morning I took a bus to nearby Manhattan Beach and hung out in a bar there for a few hours. It was then on to Mexico!
An overnight flight, including a stopover in Mexico City meant arriving into Cancun at 4.30am. I took a shuttle to the hostel where the night clerk let me drop my bags and hang out on the rooftop. The rooftop had hammocks & a spa! Pretty cool for a hostel, but what I later discovered is the norm in Mexico. I waited until it was daylight and took a bus to the beach. It took me about half an hour to find an entrance to the beach! The whole coastline is lined with resorts that have private access to the beach. Of course you can swim in any part, but to find a public opening was a task. When I finally had the sand between my toes I was blown away! I had never imagined Cancun to be one of the best beaches I have ever laid my eyes on. It’s absolutely fucking amazing!!
I swam for a few hours and let my extremely white body sizzle in the sun for a little while. I still had around 4 hours until I could check in to the hostel so I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I hadn’t had a decent human conversation in over 24 hours and had only slept around 9 hours over the past 3 days. I have traveled alone for years and absolutely love it, but this was one of those rare moments of wishing I had a travel companion to either complain to or use as a pillow to nap on the beach.
I found a bar a few blocks back from the beach and sat down for a beer. I had 2 beers and was just paying my bill to leave when 2 crazy Americans from Ohio sat down next to me, looking a little sketchy, and started to chat. I didn’t know quite how to take them at first as the conversation started with how much cocaine is around in cancun and how much the Mexicans over-pour their drinks. Then a moment later I was like “who am I kidding?? These are totally my kind of people!” So I ordered another beer and that was the beginning of a 16 hour drinking session that ended at 4am the next day!
We spent hours & hours walking along the beaches, jumping off the piers, drinking beers, drinking cocktails, swimming, jet-skiing (scored a free ride might I add), swimming some more, drinking some more, eating some tacos and having one of the best days of my life! We finally made it about 10km along the beach to where their all inclusive resort was. I started to think as evening arrived I should do the responsible thing and make it back to my hostel, check in, sober up a little and maybe go out later. But again, who was I kidding? I drank for free at their resort for hours and then we went to a club in town and paid $30 to drink all you can drink for the rest of the night! I wouldn’t even like to imagine how much alcohol I actually consumed that day.
Despite all the “free” parts of the day I woke the next morning, fully clothed, sweating like a pig in my hostel dorm discovering I spent my entire weeks budget in just 1 day! Haaaaa you can’t help but laugh, really. I dragged my arse to the bus station and got a mini van to Playa Del Carmen. I briefly remember deciding on this move at 4am with the French & Mexican night clerks advice.
I checked in at one the best hostels I’ve ever been to, The Yak in Playa.
I decided the only way to rid the worlds second worst hangover was a good ol hair of the dog. I found a bar on the beach that was playing the World Cup and serving cheap beers & shrimp tacos so I was in heaven!
I met some awesome New Zealanders at the hostel in Playa so we spent the next 2 days together. The first night we learned how to make real Mexican guacamole at the hostel, the next day we went to the Cenotes which was absolutely amazing! We swam through caves, snorkeled in some of the most amazing (but cold) water I’ve ever seen and then defrosted in the open cenotes. Such a cool experience!
That night we went out in Playa and found an awesome rooftop bar that served the most potent Long Island Iced Teas. We discovered it was actually a popular hang out for scuba dive instructors so we met some cool people from all over the world. And of course we met some Aussies, a couple from Sydney who were 2 party-loving holidayers that loved to talk! At one point the girl asked if I wanted to go to the toilet with her.. At first I was like “man, I haven’t done that since I was like 16” but in the end I went anyway and discovered she generously wanted to share some Cocaine with me! Haha. When in Mexico!
After Playa I actually backtracked up to Isla Mujeres (an island off the coast of Cancun.) The island was a little weird, but the North beach was amazing! You almost want to pinch yourself at the sight, the crystal clear, turquoise blue water & white sand. I ate the best fish there that I think I’ve ever eaten in my life! The hostel sucked though and unfortunately was the only one on the island so I left the next day and headed back to Cancun for round 2 with the crazy Americans!
I arrived at their resort in the afternoon and after having to sneak past security and around the beach to get there with my very obvious backpack we decided to go to the partner resort for the rest of the day. We parked our arses at a beach table with umbrellas and lounge chairs. Every time the waiter came I hid my wrist so he didn’t see I wasn’t wearing the all-inclusive bracelet. He didn’t notice and he kept the drinks flowing! We drank tequila shots and vodka mixers all afternoon in between swimming and burying ourselves in the sand. We repeated the first night we met and partied at a new bar that served vodka in a cup the size of my head.
The next day was the worlds worst hangover as I dragged my arse out of their amazing resort room and onto a bus to Tulum. I’d heard Tulum was quiet and it’s just what the doctor ordered! I arrived in the afternoon and discovered the “hostel” was really a hotel with dorms and was gorgeous! I met so many cool solo travelers that afternoon. We went to go to dinner at an Argentinian Steakhouse and I was so excited at the thought of a big, fat steak! It wasn’t until we arrived that I started to feel really bad and wasn’t sure which end it was going to come out of. I started getting hot sweats and when the food arrived I looked at it and wanted to throw up on it. I left the restaurant and went back to the hostel knowing the exact feeling of food poisoning and knew it wouldn’t be long before it was coming out of one of my ends! Luckily this time it was from my mouth and after about an hour of hugging the toilet bowl I felt almost instantly better. Phew!
The next day I was a bit shaky and still couldn’t eat so I spent the day by the pool and did nothing. That evening I went with some Aussie girls to a bar along the beach that was probably one of the best settings I have ever experienced! We saw a tornado in the distance coloured like a big black cloud. Amazing! Tulum is a quiet, but gorgeous town with some amazing beaches. It’s the definition of relaxation.
The next day I hit the beach with some English, Scottish & Swedish travelers and worked on my tan, enjoyed a few arvo beers and talked travel stories. The beach is about 3km from the hostel so everyone hires these rickety old bikes to get around. I didn’t realise how much I missed my bike already! It was so much fun, despite how scary the roads (and bikes) in Mexico are.
Now I am on a 3 hour bus to Chetumal to take a boat to Caye Caulker in Belize. The bus journey may have been an hour if there weren’t 6,000 speed bumps. What’s with that!?
The other things I have learned about Mexico.. It’s prescription drug heaven (aka no script needed), learning some Spanish would have definitely come in handy (dreading Guatemala), Mexican food in Mexico rocks, tequila isn’t as bad as I once thought and not surprisingly Mexican men are fucking sleazy!
This country has meant blowing my budget more than once, breaking my only camera (hence the lack of pictures), minor food poisoning, the best shrimp tacos ill ever eat, copious amounts of cervesa and some insanely good times & places. Gracias Mexico, I will be back Amigos! Hello Belize!