Cancun is definitely bigger than I thought.
The city is divided in two main areas: the old Cancun, or the Mexican Cancun as I like to call it, and the ‘zona hotelera’, a twenty-two kilometers strip of land where the tourism business has found its ground. It is understandable by the name this is the area with the majority of the hotels, in my opinion big cement monsters, developed years ago when this area was still wild and uncontaminated. Some of them may be considered esthetically beautiful, but they are huge building, one after the other, and some of them so close to the shore that their shadow is projected onto the beach and the water, for a good part of the day. It could be a matter of opinions, but I would have liked to see a completely different scenario than this.
When I’m traveling in a foreign country, I think is very important to get to know the people and their way of living, try the local food, ask questions to learn something new, see different places. I could not stand the kind of vacation in a resort that offers everything to the point you could live inside and never come in touch with the reality that lies outside your hotel walls. I would feel such a fool saying “I’ve been to Mexico (or any other country for that matter) and not knowing what’s few hundred yards away from my room.
Gianluca lives in old Cancun, obviously. We are few steps away from “Palapa Square”, one of the main squares in the city, where you can find a market during the daytime and where local people gather in the evening to dance, play music and sing.By the way, for those who like me did not know it, “palapas” are roofs made of dried palm leaves, very common in the coastal areas of Mexico. Not very far from here, a run-down place seems to be the Italian Consulate in Cancun. I laugh if I compare this to the luxurious building in New York, right on Park Avenue. But then again, if I think where it is, the kind of weather they have all year round, and the kind of things they can do in their spare time, I think they have it good after all.
Gianluca manages a bar that is only open in the evening so we have all day to do what we want. We leave the square behind us and try to catch to R1, the bus that takes us to the beach. In Cancun there are official bus stops and unofficial ones. You just need to stand on the edge of the road and signal the bus driver you need him to stop. This is one of those experiences you need to try! Beside the fact they drive like maniacs, one of the buses I boarded was playing blasting music, had puppets hanging from the ceiling and stuck to the windows, and a big stuffed gorilla that served as the cash register.
I think the bus becomes a moving nightclub after dark!!
We reach the beach about twenty minutes later, the same beach we saw during sunset when I arrived in Cancun. This is an area that has not been developed yet (and hopefully will stay like this) therefore I can go straight down the shore, without having to go around several blocks or just pretend to be a hotel guest and walk through it.
We have few hours to relax. The color of the ocean is amazing and the sand is very fine and white. Not too far, few Mexican families are enjoying, like us, this gorgeous day at the beach. Once on while few clouds peep in the sky but it seems to be a quite normal thing here in Mexico. Somebody even wrote a song about it: “ Messico e Nuvole” (Mexico and clouds), the most popular version sang by Fiorella Mannoia. I have many thoughts in my mind: what to do, what to do with my life, how to manage my future. But then I think it’s mid February and I’m sitting in my bikini on the shore in this beautiful place and I’m doing exactly what I want to do, travel and enjoy my life, that I think at the end of the day I’m a very lucky person.