13 Janvier 2016, 15:39 CST, Costa Maya, Mexico
We have been here before, before the category five hurricane that decimate this small place. There was the usual shopping right off the pier, attractive to those who have never been here before. An attractive nuisance to those of us who have. There was also a small rocky beach. Then there was Fisherman’s Village, where we spent the majority of our day about 9 years ago.
That day, we were on a family trip, with two kids in tow, along with two other family members. It wasn’t the best trip we ever went on, but it wasn’t the worst, either. It was okay – middle of the road – on an older ship, on a different cruise line, out of a different southern port. It was what seems now like a very very long time ago. That day, we shopped a bit. I bought a really cool bracelet that matched our wedding cake swirls. We went by taxi to the Village, had a few beers and a cigar or two, and played in the most beautiful sandy beach I’d been to at that point I think. I’ve been to better since, but that day sticks out in my mind. We made it back to the pier with minute to spare, the journey made even more adventurous with machine gun wielding men in a truck and being about 5 pesos short on the cab fare. Perhaps we should not have had that last beer. Oh well. The cabbie just let us go, thankfully. Only a few short months later, that beach, the sales area off the pier, and the tourist industry with it were all gone in an afternoon with the force of a major hurricane. I knew we would be back. Today was the day.
The pier was the same. I assume it suffered very little, if any, damage during the storm. It’s made of heavy-weight concrete and steel, anchored to the sea floor some 25-50 feet down I’d guess, and it’s only 10 or so feet above sea level. Not good fodder, in other words, for the hunger of a hurricane. Canes seek better prey.
The beaches looked the same, although the we didn’t journey to the Village. Perhaps I will regret that, especially when we return to winter in the States. Today we stayed in the main tourist area, though, and had a good day regardless.
The beach at the end of the pier is really rocky at first, with rough coral. Water shoes are a good idea, although I loathe them. They never seem to stay on my feet right, and I hate soggy shoes. I’d rather wear socks. About ten feet out, the coral gives way to soft, white sand. Ahhh. Nothing like the feeling of sand between your toes. Brings a smile to my face every time. We didn’t venture out far, since neither of us was wearing our swim wear. We did stand in that clear-to-the-bottom ocean though, long enough for me to get a farmer’s tan on only one arm. Thankful again am I, that it is winter at home and long sleeves will cover that error in judgment.
We bought s couple of things and had a slushy girl drink each. I think we spent about $40 between the two of us. Not bad for a short but nice day at the beach.
I do wonder as I look down the coastline what that little village looks like now. Is the restaurant / bar still there? Does it have chairs resting in the sand, four feet past the water line into the ocean? Is the sand as smooth as, to use an old adage from my brother’s youth, a prom queen’s thighs? Is the coast healed? Are the people?
The saddest thing I saw today were the dolphins. They advertise a dolphin adventure. I have always wanted to swim with them, but I think I’d prefer to do it in Hawaii, off the coast, where they roam free. These poor creatures were held captive in a rather-small looking concrete enclosure with no exit. I hope they feed them well. I hope they get fresh fish three times a day. I hope they release them after the tourists are gone, but something makes me think they do not. It makes me want to somehow release them myself. Like I could save them by my hands alone.
The Costa Maya we visited today was not unlike so many of the other beach towns in Mexico. Yes, it’s nice to be on vacation. Yes, it’s nice to be away from work. Yes, I like looking with and haggling with the vendors selling their wares. It just isn’t the same after you’ve been more places than you had been the last time you were here. It’s different. Not as exciting. Kind of like the older lady sitting next to us at lunch said, “Been there, done that, don’t really need to see it again.” The big question I have, however, is what happens when I’ve been everywhere?