WELL, I'VE JUST had a last couple of days of playing before I actually have to do some work so it was an overnight bus from the dive that is Belize City to Cancun – a city with a proper party reputation, beaches and more importantly a hub for dirt cheap flights all over Mexico on their Ryanair equivalent. But that's doing an injustice to Interjet, who could teach BA a thing or to, never mind Ryanair!
Alas, I was immediately presented with evidence that I'm maybe starting to feel my age – Cancun is a tacky tourist trap full of a heady mix of tourists that like tacky tourist traps and folks much younger than me enjoying chemically enhanced "massive" nights out in superclubs.
Clubs (more like stadiums) hosting literally thousands of folks, with the full gamut of superstar DJs, swimming pools, foam parties and wet t-shirt contests, "music" (I use the term music loosely) at ear-bleeding levels and helpful staff on-hand to constantly offer you "tequila? coke? ecstasy?" It's all to wild for me these days, I'm afraid.
After a brave effort to extract full value for money from my entrance fee to one of said superclubs ($40US - but with as much as you can drink included, binge drinking is certainly encouraged - don't tell the Nats!) and coincidentally once the wet t-shirt contest was over, by the time I was wandering home at the early for Cancun time of 03.00 on my first night, I'd concluded it was the first ferry out of there for me in the morning.
Handily, the ferry to Isla Mujeres leaves every half hour and the trip only takes half an hour. It's much more my pace - snorkelling, fishing, swinging in hammocks, massages on the beach, beach bars in the evening. Not a superclub in sight and the only evidence of drug culture was a Reggae bar called "The Joint" – a much, much slower pace all together!
There are three transport options on Isla Mujeres - pedal bike, golf cart or moped. Buzzing around anywere on a scooter, imagining I'm Phil Daniels in Quadrophenia, always gets me in the mind to buy one when I get home and start going to scooter rallies etc. I imagine they'll be even cooler now Bradley Wiggins is doing it for the mods, but the weather in Scotland surely makes it unbearable.
Main attractions are the said water based stuff and lying on the beach working on turning a healthy shade beetroot with a few special attractions thrown in. The turtle farm is interesting - the locals watch the beaches for turtles coming on shore to lay their eggs, collect them, hatch them and release them, funded by tourists dropping in to see what goes on. Apparently the turtle population is rapidly declining as folks take their eggs for food, but I never saw any on the menu!
On balance I preferred the crocodile farm I lived next to in Kariba, Zimbabwe - a more interactive experience could be had there, plus you could get really good back-scratchers made from their claws...
What a pleasure Cancun Airport is though - a pleasing sign above security "please do not take your shoes off" I managed to suppress any fear of rogue shoe bombers and get on the plane without showing the airport my old, holy socks. The very fact that they need a sign like that speaks volumes about the "security" we've mindlessly conditioned ourselves to in the UK.
The next fortnight I shall be in Mexico City working with the www.homelessworldcup.org - I've an organising role helping ensure the competition aspect of the event runs as smoothly as possible – and I also get to blow my whistle as a referee – hopefully without causing any international incidents!
It's truly a fantastic project though, do check its website and see how your country is doing in the contest - it's most likely represented!