Friday, September 4, 2009

Mezzanine and New Friends

It’s been a few days since my arrival and things are shifting slowly as I settle in and find my way into new routines and experiences.

Having internet totally helps and Ron, of Ron and Catherine in Casa #2 has been extremely generous in allowing me to use his wireless whenever I need to. I have a key and can come and go as I please. It’s nice because I can just sit right out on his patio and do my thing. In the evening, he’s home along with his new biz partner, Matt. Catherine has gone off to Guatemala for a month-long yoga/meditation retreat. Though I’m bummed she’ll be gone for all of my stay, I’m excited about her journey and very curious about her experience.

She’s going to a full moon retreat which basically starts on the full moon and ends on the following one. It’s in Guatemala which is at least an 18 hour bus ride from Tulum. Catherine left around 6:30pm on Wed. and arrived in Palenque, a Mayan town in Southern Mexico, 12 hours later. Unfortunately, she just missed the bus to Guatemala, and of course there’s only one, so she had to stay overnight and catch the next one in the morning. Traveling all those hours by bus, for me, is quite a stretch. Factor in her limited Spanish and very gentle nature, we are all anxiously awaiting word of her safe arrival in Guatemala later today.

Back in Tulum, I met up with Stacie, a woman I’d met online while I was looking for places to stay a few months back. She’s from Denver and has a place here where she and her family are staying until the 6th. I emailed her to let her know that I’d arrived and she subsequently invited me to join her family and 2 friends from Akumal (20 minutes north) for a drink at Mezzanine, one of my favorite places on the beach.

I was hesitant to say yes only because I was feeling so out of sorts the night before with my walk into town, but I realize I have two choices - I can stay folded into myself or I can get out there and meet some people.

Mezzanine is a great bar/ restaurant/hotel. During the high season, they fly dj’s in from all over the world for a lively Friday night party. I arrived early and settled in at the bar with a beer and my journal. It was great to see the ocean again!! Amazing that from my bar stool, just 20 feet from the shore, there wasn’t one person on the beach in either direction. Plus, I was one of 3 patrons in the restaurant. More reminders of the realities of low season.

Stacie and her husband were lovely. Her two year-old son, Holt, was gorgeous, with white blonde hair and eyes as blue as the Caribbean. Sherwood and her husband, whose name escapes me, were also very nice. They don’t officially live here all year-round, but they keep coming back and staying longer each time. It was nice to listen to their stories of dealing with their travel visa’s and the border patrol – they drove here from the States. Sherwood asked for my email – she wants to have her chart done.

As the visit wore on, I was conscious of my tight budgetary restrictions. This week, I’m trying to live on $20 per day. It’s quite possible to do so in Mexico, though I’d be drinking at home and eating Torta’s (sandwiches) from the stand in town and walking everywhere. It’s just for this week only, thankfully. With paying for groceries and transport from the airport, my self-imposed weekly stipend was cut dramatically.

I hate being on a budget which is why I only took exactly enough pesos with me. Had I taken more, I would have blown the bank because I was tipsy and having fun. Instead, I bid my new friends adios and headed back into town. The unfortunate part of this story is that I didn’t have enough money for a taxi back to the condo. So, I was on foot for the long haul. I don’t how far the beach is from the condo, but I’d venture a guess of 2-3 miles. I didn’t mind. I had a nice time and I was feeling more positive about my time in Tulum.

About 10 minutes into my journey home, a young mexican boy passed me on a bicycle. He said something in Spanish and stopped. All I could make out was”ride” to which I exclaimed, “YES!!” Two minutes later, I was standing on the pegs affixed to the back of his bike, with my bag hoisted on my back. He spoke no English and I don’t speak much Spanish, but it didn’t matter. I was so grateful for the ride.

He let me off at the edge of town and I walked home from there happy to have a shower.

The next day Catherine asked me to lunch. She wasn’t leaving until that evening and she wanted to introduce me to some of the people she knows in town. In the end, a bunch of us went and it was fun to eat a great meal for very little money. I was able to ask a lot of questions of everyone at the table as each of them live here all year ‘round. Robin and Jeannie husband, live in the condo next to my friend, Karen’s. I met them on my last trip. They just moved from Canada days before my departure. Both of them are leaving for the month of September, a common theme that’s starting to amuse rather than irritate.

There’s going to be a lot of room for meeting new people on this trip and the departure of the majority of the ones that I know, though disappointing, leaves the space open for the new. Yet another moment to choose my perspective – gain or loss? Gain keeps the energy moving forward. I’ll go with that until it proves otherwise.

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