When the grinding stops…

If you grew up in India and ended up married in USA, you would have a fair idea of what am talking about.
Right till my 12th, i dint pause a moment to think about why should i go to school everyday. It just happened and all i wanted was to ace my exams, score well in the entrance and get into a college that i dreamed off.

As with the rest of the flock, stayed put in college for 4 years, dint try to ace the exams. Fitting in, making friends, learning something about life and computers, i graduated(little bit of color). There were campus interviews to worry about and i did get through them and got a nice job in Chennai. Happy about the fact that i was returning home, i boarded the train as a graduate. Something to be proud off.

Worked hard for 5 years, raced the rats, got some accolades, travelled a bit and met some interesting people. Finally life catches up with you and i got married.

Disclaimer: Now this has nothing to do with marriage, USA or being a NRI.

With the economy hitting rock bottom, many of us ended up as dependants, students and entreprueners. When the grinding and racing stopped, am stranded. We are a generation spoilt for choice but then there is such a thing as too many. It doesnt help when you need to factor in 5 years of future into your decision.
I’m thankful that am not part of the race anymore. I’ve had the time to reflect on what i truly want(which seems to be taking a long time) and i have learnt not to be too hard on myself. I can finally take a break but i am still trying to enjoy it.

So its true.. the grass is greener on the other side huh?

Land of Tequilla – Cancun, Mexico

My passport is my treasured travel companion. Besides it being a legal document, the colorful stamps is the pride of my trips around the world. Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, France, North America and the most recent addition – Mexico. Now thats a list to be proud off 🙂

Cancun, Mexico was our official honeymoon and a relaxed vacation(well deserved). Peeking through the airplane window i did not catch a glimpse of the aqua marine sea or the popular hotel stripe. But when you have travelled a while you accept that patience is a virtue. The airport is a good 30 minute ride away from the ocean and is located in the middle of nowhere(believe me).

Before i waited in line for immigration i was handed a blue form which stated that a new virus outbreak was detected and we had to notify any symptoms to the authorities. This did not alarm me, partly confident about my indian roots(we do boast of a superior immune system) and partly suspicious that this was a bogus threat. No fruits or nuts are allowed past security as per US regulations(whatever happened to mexican regulations) so i dumped the oranges mournfully.

There would be a good number of people trying to get you into a taxi or a shuttle for triple the fare so get past them and get out. Again my indian origins helped in skillfully wading through this while smirking at the crowd who fall prey. We got into the taxi and finally got view of the hotel stripe. In a minute you are suddenly transported to this new Cancun which has no connections to the city you landed. Here things are more grand and the hotels of every known brand tower the sky.

We stayed at nH Krystal which has a spectacular ocean front room, easy stroll to the beach, adequate swimming pools and excellent food. The hotel was a block away from all the night life that comes alive during the wee hours and ceases to end till dawn.

Friday was spent lazing at the swimming pool, sipping on tequilla(more about this later), riding the waves of the carribbean and taking a quick stroll to the malls, pubs, flea market and taco factory. Rise and shine to the sound of waves crashing in, which is the best way to wake up and we were ready to explore Isla Mujeres. Snorkelling and beaches are the selling points of this island so we followed suit.

The reef is spectacular and fishes are colorful. Snorkelling is a must do activity when in Cancun and it would help to know a good deal of swimming. If not, do not venture out into the waters and cling on to the boat for dear life, colorful fishes or otherwise. I can hear the smiles but i shall dutifully ignore.

Spread the beach towel and take a quick nap in the beach(Playa) or munch mangoes, coconuts and sorbet which the street vendors sell. They are a delight. You can rent golf carts, bikes, cycles and wander around the island which is just about 5 miles in all. There are quite a few sights recommended here.

Nightlife never ends in Cancun. We started our tirade around 11 and crawled into one of the bars. One of the traditions here is women with tequilla bottles and whistles, who hoard you to take gulps of tequilla and honour you when you are done. It is worth it 🙂 Did i mention that tequilla is to mexico what coke is to USA.
It tastes great so dont be alarmed if you end up with a couple of bottles while unpacking.

Street dancers, local restaurants, mayan artifacts, pubs, malls, cafes are all part of the night walk and you can have a great time if you are careful where you enter. Some of the places are pricey and disappointing so do your research on this.  Coco Bongo has the longest lines for entry but is very pricey so we tried Corono Bar instead which has great dancing and no cover charge. A late night snack at the Taco Factory is worth every bit and take note of the cashier who is working with ten hands(fast and efficient).

Sunday was the day to relax. The beach was our first stop and we spent a good part of the day riding the waves before they crash into you. We lay near the shore in the sand where the water caresses you and pulls you into the ocean. The hotel had a paya or a hut which you can rent for a good afternoon nap. Armed with bolsters and a book about mexico, i was fast asleep in a moment’s notice.

Mexico is the land of tequilla, pina coloda, nachos, salsa, beaches and fun. Mexicans will speak spanish even if you dont follow them but a word or two would get you a free taxi ride, a ocean front table, tobasco sauce or even extra salsa. It has been a land of struggle with no political stablity or great leaders but the tourism industry flourishes inspite all this.They are hospitable and eager to please but you can get nothing for free. When shopping remember to bargain and you can get some pretty bags, artifacts and handcrafted items.

Cancun is not just a spring break destination but a great vacation spot. Enjoy the sea and dive into the aquamarine ocean and it is worth every peso. But remember to say Muchas Gracias!!!