Let's not mess about. Everyone would love to be a beach bum for a while, or at least try to without worrying about life's complications. When I got to Mexico I was so busy trying to find a job teaching English that I forgot I'd been working my arse off for a couple of years to have a break. It wasn't until I got to Mazunte, a lovely beach town in the province of Oaxaca, that I started to appreciate life without work. Here's an excerpt from my time in Mexico. Wouldn't it be great to drop everything and dart off there with my wife and baby for a year?
|Living in a hammock was damn good...|
apart from the mosquitoes!
I was finally off the beaten
“Why don’t you eat with
us?” Victor said, as we sat on the cabana’s balcony gazing at the sun drifting
down over the back of the sea. “The restaurant here has the more fresh fish in
Cristina, the owner of
the cabanas, rustled up an amazing fish risotto, which went down a treat with a
couple of cold coronas. I was picking up this strange habit though; I always
had to have a slice of lemon in my beer to really enjoy it.
We sat around a long
rectangular wooden table sheltered by some thick palm trees and chatted with a
hypo Dutch couple. They’d been travelling around South America.
“Brazil is the best
place,” said the bloke, “you can hire a dune buggy and cruise along the coast. The
beaches are amazing there.”
“What even better than
here?” I asked, surprised that there could be better beaches than in Mazunte.
“Sure, Mazunte is great,
but the beaches in Brazil are something else.” Brazil was still a long way off,
but I kept his comments in my mind as I made plans in South America.
As night fell, a breeze
picked up and creatures in the trees made odd creaking noises. I felt as though
I was deep in the Amazon jungle (somewhere I never actually made on my travels).
Mosquitoes darted about stinging our ankles so Cristina put out some candles
and the Dutch couple lent everyone their repellent spray.
As they spoke about
their travel adventures I realised I was still a travel virgin. I’d only been away
from home a month and most of that time I´d spent trying to find work. I had to make
more effort at this travelling lark.
Einstein’s place turned out to be a
grotto after Victor’s honeymoon suite. On the first morning at breakfast I realised
the hostel was really dirty and scabby. Sitting by the stained oak tables were
a French couple and two Scandinavian girls. In the corner lazing about were
three skinny black dogs covered in flies.
Einstein’s delicioso breakfast of cold eggs and
stale tortillas was revolting. I tried to eat but the buzzing flies and wet nosed
dogs put me off. I accidentally dropped half on the floor - an old trick my mum
used when she wanted to leave the table – and the dogs gobbled up the scraps.
Einstein was all over
the Scandinavian girls, trying to impress them with photos of him travelling to various places in Mexico. Strangely enough, his charm seemed to be working as
they giggled at his corny jokes.
I’d miscalculated my
budget so I had to use Einstein’s kitchen to cook my own lunches.
“Of course, of course,
come see, come see,” he said, shooing the dogs out of the entrance. At first I
wondered what the strange buzzing sound was, until I saw the cloud of flies.
They swarmed above our heads as Einstein showed me round. The oily kitchen
surface and dirty utensils made me feel queasy. The dogs trailed behind,
sniffing for leftovers. Thinking about preparing food in the stinky kitchen
made my stomach turn, but I had no other choice. I stocked up on tuna, pasta,
and tomato sauce from the only supermarket in Mazunte and prepared myself for
some dull lunches.
Away from the grotto,
Mazunte seemed to be the perfect place to kill a few days and really get to
grips with being on my own travelling. The beach town had a real bohemian and
friendly feel; everyone acknowledged each other with a nod or smile. As it was low season there was plenty of space
to chill out on the main beach and watch the waves crashing on the shore.
Travellers splashed about and played in the waves. I’d never been in waves so
high and it made me realise that I was a bit scared of the sea.
The next couple of days
were hard work. I sunbathed, played frisbee with Ed and Victor, and practised
Spanish. In the evenings, I ate with Ed, Victor, and Maria. We never arranged
to meet; we just turned up and enjoyed the evening together. The food was
fantastic, fresh fish or steak every night washed down with ice-cold beer. We
never drank a lot, just a few to send us to sleep.
One night a couple of
local lads working in the bars put on an impressive fire juggling show. The
audience cheered and clapped as the acrobats pranced about, risking their lives
to entertain. Life as a traveller was good.
It wasn’t long before I’d had enough
of Einstein’s palace. Cooking lunch was a nightmare. I got sick of the fly
infested kitchen and stinky dogs sniffing my nether regions while I ate. Once my bank transfer came through, I whisked
my stuff up to the cabana on the hill, enough was enough.
Luckily, Victor taught
me how to sleep in a hammock.
“You need to put your
back straight, like this,” he said, folding up like a bat. He made it look so
easy; a hammock professional. I, on the other hand, was an apprentice.
The first night I didn’t
sleep a wink. I tossed and turned to try to avoid the mosquitoes but they bit
me to death.
“How you sleep?” Victor
asked the next morning.
“Terrible, I dunno how
you sleep in these things,” I said with puffy eyes, a crooked neck, and enough
bites to think I had chicken pox.
After watching the
expert a few more times, and with the help of a can of mosquito spray, I
eventually got a decent night sleep.
Waking up with the
sunrise every morning was a dream come true. I’d get up and spend all day down
the beach. I forgot about my dream of teaching English abroad. I was quite glad
to stay put for a while and become a professional beach bum.
Labels: is beach life for me?, life on the beach, living as a beach bum, Mazunte, TEFL Mexico, travelling in mexico