- No way!!! Did you just...take a shit in that bush!!?
- À LA ZEUB!
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. We followed the music through the shady back streets of Tulum, found a bar, and found a treasure. We picked up the munchies and settled in the patio while the girls slept. Brad rolled a perfect symmetrical shell, and officially inaugurated our vacation.
The girls lived in a northern city in Spain. They moved at a different pace and with an agenda. Every desired activity was researched and carefully planned. I learned in Latin America that rigid plans do not work. As the sole captain of La Chichona, I was used to making all the decisions. Now that we were five, I had to compromise.
We started with the lagoon of Bacalar, 3 hours away. The scenery was outrageous. I was finally happy to relax and soak in the beauty. The next morning, the girls wanted to leave. "There is nothing to do here" they said. I was confused and pissed off, but friends have to compromise. I bit my tongue and drove on.
We crammed as many activities as possible: pyramids, ruins, beaches, cenotes, even islands! By the third day, I was exhausted and frustrated. The girls wanted more. I wanted less. We were always in a rush, it did not feel like a vacation. The tension grew and Brad was caught in the middle. He also wanted to slow down but was too classy to be a douche.
On the last day, we set to visit the island of Isla Mujeres. There was a 20-min ferry and a 3-hour cargo boat. The girls insisted on taking the car on the cargo boat. That was the final straw. We clashed, and Brad played the mediator again. On the deck, I pulled him 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.”
We parted at the port. The girls took the car and followed their agenda while Brad and I walked on. For the first time of the week we had no plan, and it felt great! We had breakfast at a nice restaurant. At the end of the meal, I called 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 in nature, remote and 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. Best idea ever. We cruised by the coast, found the spot, and cracked a cold one with a perfect view. Just like that, à la zeub!
A few beers later, the tide rose and pushed us gently out of the creek. On the way to the second spot, we stumbled on amazing street arts. Dark graffities on colonial flashy houses gave the area a unique urban-tropical touch. We explored the island, two kids in a huge playgrounds, wandering in colors, sand dunes, and paved alleys.
By 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 almost abandoned, but right on the water. We had tacos and got drunk on bad wine and purple skies. Epic day.
We met the girls in the evening at the port. They hated Isla Mujeres. Stuck in traffic, they waited for hours to reach a National Park. And when they finally got there, it 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. Their grumbling was music to my ears. Too drunk for manners, I rubbed it in their faces. It was mean and insensitive and completely unnecessary, but so satisfying.
Later on, Brad confided that Mexico was his best trip ever. Somehow, he managed to leave his controlling tendencies and anxiety at home. He embraced all differences and flowed with whatever happened. Even his diarrhea was material for jokes. With that attitude, everything was light and fun. Brad was an outstanding travel partner.
Looking forward to our next trip. Always à la zeub!