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142# Mexico "à la zeub"

Updated: Mar 21

- No way!!! Did you just...take a shit in that bush!!?

- Yeah…


After the week in Mexico, all the Canadians flew back home with diarrhea. Brad, Mireya, her two friends and I had planned a trip around Cancun after the wedding. It was their first time in Mexico, where rules are different than in Canada or Spain. We flew from Monterrey to Cancun, rented a car, and reached our Airbnb in Tulum at 1 in the morning.

Brad is a control freak; the kind of person who does not use a broom because it leaves dust in the corners. His apartment is cleaner than a surgery room. He irons his t-shirts and his hair is always perfect. We met randomly and bonded in dark humor, cultural references, and a lot of weed. Brad had moved from France to Canada without ever being in a third-world country. So in Mexico, everything shocked him. From the stray dogs to the stray drunks to the stray roads, “à la zeub”, he kept saying, “this whole country is à la zeub”.

In Monterrey, Beto held us by the balls. We had not smoked for the entire week. So, as soon as we dropped our bags, we went on a quest while the girls went to bed. We followed the music through the shady back streets of Tulum, found a bar, and our treasure. We picked up some snacks for the munchies and settled in the patio. Brad rolled a perfect symmetrical shell, and we officially inaugurated our vacation.

Mireya and her two friends lived near Zaragoza in northern Spain. They had a schedule for everything. Any activity was thoroughly researched, weighed, and planned. I used to be like that, until Latin America. Here, rigid plans do not work. One must be flexible, improvise, and adapt. Plus, as the sole captain of La Chichona, I was used to making all the decisions. Now we were travelling in a group of five. I had to compromise.

We started our trip with the lagoon of Bacalar, 3 hours south of Tulum. The scenery was outrageously beautiful. Brad and I had a great evening by the deck, sharing stories, smoking weed, and laughing at the full moon. I was happy to finally relax and soak in all that beauty. The next morning, Mireya wanted to leave. "There is nothing to do here" she said. Bacalar was one of the most beautiful lagoon in the entire continent, yet that wasn't good enough. I was confused and pissed off. I bit my tongue and drove on.

Over the next few days, we crammed as many activities as time would permit: the pyramid of Coba, the ruins of Tulum, beache, cenotes, even islands! By the third day, I was exhausted and frustrated. We were always in a rush. The girls wanted more. I wanted less. Tensions grew between Mireya and I and Brad got caught in the middle. He also wanted to slow down, but he compromised for the ladies.

On the last day, we set to visit the island of Isla Mujeres. To get to the island, there were two options: a 20-min ferry that took only passengers, or a 3-hour cargo boat. The girls insisted on taking the car on the cargo boat. That meant we would spend 6 hours total on a boat in just one day. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. I told them it was a stupid idea. We clashed, and Brad mediated again. I pulled Brad aside, “this is our last chance to go on an adventure. The girls have no idea how things work in Mexico. I don’t have a plan but whatever we do, it’s gonna be fun. Trust me, à la zeub.”

Three hours later, the girls took the car while Brad and I walked on. For the first time that week, we had no plan. We stopped for lunch at a beachfront restaurant, and asked the waiter.

- Hello my friend

- Hello sir,

- Are you from here?

- No I'm from Valladolid. But I have been here for 5 years now.

- Fantastic! So you know the island well I guess. I have a special request, something only a local would know.

- Tell me.

- My friend and I are looking for a quiet place to get high. Somewhere remote, in nature, away from the cops and pesty tourists. Do you know a place like that?

He scanned us from head to toe, giggled, and added, smiling.

- I see... Do you have google maps?

- You’re the man!

The waiter thought we were a couple and went out of his way to help us find privacy. He pinned two spots on the map and urged us to rent a golf cart to move around the island. It was the best idea ever. We cruised by the coast, stopped for picnic groceries, and found the waiter's spot. What a view! We laid the towels down, opened a cold Modelo and cracked the first joint of the day. Just like that, à la zeub!

A few beers later, the rising tide pushed us out of the creek. We jumped on the golf cart and rode towards the second spot. On the way, we stumbled upon a neighborhood with amazing street arts. Dark graffities on colonial flashy houses gave the area a unique urban-tropical touch. We explored the island; two happy kids in a huge playgrounds, wandering in colors, dunes, and turquoise waters.

At the end of the day, we returned the golf cart and asked the clerk which restaurant had the best sunset view. He pointed to a beaten up shop away from the main alley. The place was old and felt abandoned, but it was right on the water. We had tacos and got drunk on bad wine and purple skies. Epic day.

Brad's phone rang. It was Mireya. The girls joined us by the port. They hated Isla Mujeres. Stuck in traffic most of the afternoon, they waited for hours to reach a National Park on the other side of the island. When they finally got there, the park was closed. They spent the rest of the day looking for a beach with a car access and when they found it, it had no parking space. Mireya's complaint was music to my ears. I was way too drunk to care about her feelings, and just rubbed it on her face. I told you so was the nicest thing I said. It was mean, insensitive, and completely unnecessary...but so satisfying.

Months later, Brad confided that Mexico with me was the best trip he ever took. Somehow, he managed to leave his anxiety at home, and embraced uncertainty. He went with the flow, whatever that was. Even his diarrhea was material for jokes. With that attitude, everything was light and fun. Brad was an outstanding travel partner.

It was great travelling with you my friend. I'm looking forward to our next trip. 

A la zeub!

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