After the cultural (Oaxaca) leg of our trip was over, we flew to Tulum. Tulum is the last point on the 'Riveria Maya' just over the tip of the Yucatan peninusla on the Carribean side of Mexico.
We had been wanting to take a beach vacation for a long time and Tulum did not disappoint. It's still relatively underdeveloped (at least in contrast to Cancun or Playa del Carmen). It was kind of a hippie outpost a decade or so ago, and is now a magnet for yoga types, city hipsters, Euros, small families and there's still a (small) smattering of hippies hangin' out.
We arrived after dark, but woke the next morning in paradise. I know that's a cliché, but that's how it felt. This is me walking on the beach about 40 minutes after waking up. I'm going to hang this picture above my desk so I can try and remember this feeling for the rest of the year. I happily did not care about ANYTHING within two hours of being there.
A lot of people do not enjoy and/or can't sit around doing 'nothing'. Not me. If it were up to me, I would still be sitting under a palapa, sipping a margarita and staring at the sea.
Armin got pretty good at it (doing nothing), but being the adventurous kind of guy that he is, he spent several days diving the Cenotes (fresh water sink holes/underground caves) that dot the Yucatan and have become a major regional draw for outdoorsy types. We fell into a nice rythym where he would go on a dive every couple of days, come back to our hut electrified from the experience and tell me all about it over fish tacos and margaritas (see below).
A side benefit of A's diving excursions is that his diving guide, a chill Chilean dude, took us to this out of the way 'insider only' restaurant shack on an unkonwn strip of beach. I (almost) single handedly ate this entire platter of fresh, delicious ceviche:
One morning we got up early(ish) and rode bikes (Tulum is totally flat so you can ride bikes all over the place) and went to the Tulum ruins (first pic in this post). We left early to get there before 9:00 when the busloads full of Tourists start showing up.
It was spectacular, but in all honesty I enjoyed the more surprising, unexpected moments like running into a burro while wandering around, or taking a cab ride at dusk to go get cheap tacos in town and loving the Mexican music that driver had on at full blast.
My first 'real' trip (not Canada or Hawaii) was to Nicaragua in my very early twenties. On that trip it became clear to me that seeing the world was going to be a priority in my life, and probably the first step in what lead me to live my life in a foreign country.
It also made me realize how much I loved Latin America. It's kind of astounding that this was my first trip to Mexico, considering I was born and raised in L.A.! I certainly hope it won't be the last.