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Arrival in Merida, Mexico

A Job Offer in Tulum

To follow up on my meeting in Tulum with the French woman…she offered me a job!  And I declined!  And that felt good and right.  The job sounded good in theory, helping her organizationally with retreats all over the world, spending a lot of time with dolphins.  I’ve never met a dolphin, but I hear they’re pretty cool.  In any case, she was fairly adamant that I was the person to help her and I was equally adamant that I was not looking for a commitment of that level anytime soon.  I’m finally free and I am not giving that up easily.  I also believe that the larger purpose of this trip and of my life is unfolding and I don’t think dolphins are in that equation – at least for now.

You’re not my friend.

Tulum was wearing on me, in part because I had to constantly defend myself from being ripped off.  Taxis, which are basically unavoidable because of the distance from the beach to the town, charge the “tourist fare” which is 20% to 100% higher than what the locals pay.  A ride that cost 50 pesos in the morning (which is 20 pesos more than a local would pay)  suddenly cost 100 pesos with another driver.  At every restaurant,  I had to check the ticket and count my change because evidently, it’s just customary to short-change tourists.  Upon catching a waiter doing this to me, he answered “My mistake” with no apology.  I wonder how many times a day he makes mistakes.   And, I imagine that most people don’t notice.

I’m told that minimum wage for an eight-hour workday in Mexico is 87 pesos ($7 US).  Obviously absurd.  But that does not make it OK or correct to pad your wages by stealing from the clueless foreigner.  It gets old real fast.  For that reason alone, I would probably decline a return trip to Tulum or the Riviera Maya as a whole.  The passive aggressive nature of it also makes me want to stab someone in the face; You are usually referred to as a friend right before you’re ripped off.  If you’re going to rip me off at least be more clever or more upfront about it.  And don’t call me your friend.

My house in the garden.

My house in the garden.

Arriving in Merida

I arrived in Merida by bus and walked to my hostel.  A woman led me to a round room in the garden and this is where I would spend most of the next 36 hours with a migraine, surviving on Coca Cola and Excedrin.  The room is no more than seven feet in diameter.  It has a concrete floor, yellow painted walls, cute wooden shutters, a mattress shaped like a half-circle, a fan, a table, a cabinet full of dust, and a steel chair that would give a newborn baby a hemorrhoid.  It’s kind of like a really cute prison cell.  The garden is full of junk and plants of all shapes and sizes planted in pails, kettles, shells, styrofoam Cup o’ Noodles cups,  yogurt containers and anything else you can think of that might contain a plant.  It’s a natural disaster. At first meeting, I thought that the owner might be gay, but seeing his garden made me sure that he is not.  No gay man would find this acceptable.

This is attempt #2 at hostel accommodations and I am clearly going to have to learn to A) like people, B) like dirt or C) find better hostels.  I’m going to shoot for option C for now, as Option A and B seem unlikely.

In the morning I had breakfast with the owner, who is Mexican, a 25 year-old guy from Germany, and a Ukrainian guy who took giant gulps of coffee and sloshed it around in his mouth before swallowing .  Hunched over, with a look of disdain on his face, he would occasionally  blurt out commentary about not liking America because of the difficulty in getting a visa.  “Not a friendly country.”  He never did acknowledge me or my presence despite the fact that I said hello and was sitting right next to him at a table of four.  Nice guy.  I’m surprised I didn’t ask him out.

My host asked me if I wanted to shower. I did, and so he went about turning on the heat for the water.  I don’t know where he went but he took matches.  A warm shower was a treat.  Also, not having the smell of sewage in my room is a treat as the bathroom is far away from my casita.  In case you lack nostrils, sewage really stinks.  And it’s not a smell you adapt to.  On Holbox Island and in Tulum  that smell was a constant in my room.  Mmmmm.

In the evening, three Korean girls arrived and quickly took over the kitchen cooking.  They have been mostly staring at their phones and have not interacted with anyone.  I think their phones might be surgically attached to their hands.

Migraine is now gone and I’m going out to explore Merida.

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