My favorite birthday/Christmas present this year was a new stamp in my passport and my first even tourist visa! On Christmas Day Michal and I left New York and traded it in for warm and sunny Mexico.
We are staying in the small fishing village of Puerto Morelos, about 30 minutes South of Cancun. My mom has been here twice and highly recommended venturing here instead of the peak tourist places. Puerto Morelos seems to be a nice blend of locals with a little bit of tourism.
The highlight of Puerto Morelos is the small town square which is surrounded by shops, snorkeling tours, and restaurants. At night the square comes alive with music, crafts, food vendors, and kids playing soccer. We are staying right off the main square directly behind the church. This puts us close to all the action and less than a block away from the beach. The roof of the apartment we’re staying in is a thatch roof. The first night we were here I woke up to the sound of pouring rain on the roof. It sounded like little drumming men. My biggest fear was that raindrops would start falling on my head. Thankfully the roof kept the rain outside.
We spent yesterday and today reacquainting ourselves with the sunshine and indulging in Mexican food and drink. I’m pretty sure we will gain more weight on this trip than any other trip we have been on. The best food we’ve had so far was from a small family run taco shop called firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be going back there again! Another great thing about Puerto Morelos is they have great coffee! That’s a huge plus for me.
This afternoon we ventured inland to “La Colonia”. I have to say this was perhaps the most overwhelmed I’ve ever felt while traveling. This part of town felt like what how you see Mexico portrayed in so many movies. Old pickup trucks with lots of people loaded in the back, dusty and deserted streets with shops and small hole in the wall food places, lots of stray dogs, and no English language. I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t even take any pictures. I felt hugely out of place and found myself hyper-aware of my surroundings.
The beach is my happy place. The second largest coral reef in the world is located off the shores of Puerto Morales. Seaweed lines the beaches and it is said that it helps protect the reef. Furthermore, the only sunscreen sold in most stores is organic and biodegradable which further protects the integrity of the reef. We plan on taking a snorkeling adventure in the next few days.
While sitting on the beach people try to sell you all sorts of things ranging from food to bracelets to drinks, etc. Oftentimes young children are trying to sell bracelets and wallets. Today we witnessed a mother and young boy who looked like he was maybe 4-years-old selling bracelets up and down the beach. Later on at dinner, they were walking up and down the beach selling them, and when we returned to our apartment around 8 we saw them still walking on the street trying to sell bracelets. The first time we saw them was 11 AM. My heart breaks for young children who need to work such long hours; especially at such a young age.