Friday, May 30, 2008

Que Onda Mexico?

As promised, I'm going to get caught up with everything before we get buried like we did in Argentina.

So, right now, we're in San Cristobal. Tomorrow night we take a night bus (our first in Mexico) to Oaxaca, where we'll spend the next six weeks.

Before we left Argentina, I had one final order of business to attend to: I was starting to look like a damn hippie, and I needed to correct the situation with a haircut and a shave. I keep letting my beard grow out while we travel because if I shave it all the way off, my skin gets irritated. And I hadn't cut my hair since the unfortunate near Bic job that the Thai lady gave me back on Khao San Road.

So I got an Argentine mullet.

All right, it's not really a mullet, but it's just a bit longer in the back than I usually find acceptable. Oh well. At least I don't look like an extra from Dazed and Confused anymore.

Our flight from Buenos Aires to Mexico City was pretty awful, but here's the reason it was all worth it: My first taste of tacos in Mexico. Even though these were just from some crappy stand at the airport, they were awesome.

We spent one night in Cancun, checked out the beach, found that it sucked unless you were paying $$$$ to stay at an all-inclusive, and quickly decided to head to Isla Mujeres.

Here's what we found there:

The beach at Isla Mujeres is spectacular.

Truly, it rivals even the best beaches we found in Thailand.

The only downside is that here we paid $40 per night for our room. In Thailand we probably averaged under $20.

The food, of course, was terrific. I've been craving Mexican food for so long (I've never gone this long without it before), I think I ate 19 tacos in the first two days.

These were particularly delicious. Asada, Pollo and Camarones.

This was a quesadilla, which was deep-fried and not all that good. I'm posting the picture because it's the first time I've ever ordered food that came with a plate emblazoned with a pithy, accurate review of the food it was holding. Unimpressive.

Ceviche. So good.

I was really close to buying the "Who cares asshole" T-shirt.

This dude scampered out of nowhere and scared the crap out of us. They're harmless, though. That is, if you consider flying, acid-spitting death lizards harmless.

I'm kidding, they really are harmless (I think).

This was a nice beachside snack: roasted pumpkin seeds with fresh lime, salt and chili. Really excellent, we will try to recreate this at home as an appetizer.

Just another ridiculous sunset.

Finally, a country that plays basketball! Manu Ginobili aside, it was near impossible to find a court, let alone a court with players, in Argentina. In Mexico they're everywhere. I gave these 4'1" 9 year-olds the schooling of their lifetime.

Nice dinner on Isla Mujeres with the largest portion of guacamole ever. That bowl was heaping when it arrived.

Our next stop: Isla Holbox (pronounced "holbosh"). It's less touristy and more mellow than Isla Mujeres, but strangely more expensive.

Food wasn't as good either, but we did find a place with pretty sharp margaritas.

And the hottest sauce known to man. The guy asked me if I wanted "salsa picante," and when I said yes, this is what he brought. WOW. After dinner he told me how it's made. Basically you puree habanero peppers with olive oil, salt and garlic.

Apparently a lot of the structures on the island were destroyed by a hurricane within the last decade, but you'd hardly know it. There were lots of colorful buildings with this kind of faded cool character.

People in Mexico drink a LOT of soda. They consume more Coke than any other country in the world per capita.

It's my dog in a box!

Next stop: Tulum. The beaches here are a lot like those at the Oregon coast: wide, with strong waves. The only difference is that it's 90+ degrees here so you can actually swim.

Although the conditions aren't quite as ideal as they are at Isla Mujeres, the setting is still postcard perfect.

There are also ancient Mayan ruins overlooking part of the beach.

Those Mayans really had the best real estate of all the indigenous peoples.

That's it for now. We're not completely caught up, but we're getting there. I should have plenty of free time in Oaxaca, so you can expect more within the week.

Until then, adios!

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