Monday, August 6, 2007

Viva la Mexico!

I'm having so much fun in Mexico that I decided to extend my trip an extra day. It's a good thing my boss is in China!

I have been staying mostly in Playa del Carmen but we took a road trip through the jungle and some indigenous villages via the worst road I've ever seen to a place called Isla Holbox. The island is on the northern coast of the Yucatan north of Cancun and east of Merida. It is a serious adventure getting out there. The island is where the Carribean and the Gulf of Mexico meet. The water is turquoise and the sand is powder fine. Lizards and a variety of birds live at Holbox. A few people do too.

Holbox is one of the last outposts of under developed coastal Mexico, I think. It may also be at the end of the earth. Fortunately the end of the earth has very good food. How can you go wrong with fresh grouper, shrimp, snapper and lobster with a side of frijoles negros and rice? In the little town of Chiquila where we caught the boat over to Holbox, we found a little place to eat overlooking the dingy port. It was a family operation where the mother and daughters cooked up whatever local fish and seasfood was available. En route to Holbox we ate fresh lobster tails. On the trip back, we had delicous ceviche with homemade corn tortilla chips (no Tostitos). We had breaded and fried fish filets (grouper I think) topped with fresh onions and tomatoes with sides of rice, cabbage and black beans. It was simple, fresh and delicious.

The whole point of trekking to the end of the earth was not however food, although I probably would trek to the end of the world for great food. Rather we went over there to snorkel with the whale sharks. They migrate through the nutrient rich waters of Holbox every year. They feed at the surface. This behavior affords a wonderful opportunity to experience these wonderful creatures up close.

I highly recommend the trip to Holbox to see the whale sharks or just to relax for anyone who is low maintenance, tolerant of heat and mosquitos, and not in a hurry. Things happen slowly. There is a reason why the Mayan language does not have a word for "problem."

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