things learned on a mayan riviera vacation

1. Lots of people really don’t care how they look in a bathing suit. Like, REALLY don’t care. They wear bikini tops that are too large or bottoms that are too small or Speedos you can barely see. They walk around shirtless with splotchy sunburns on their chests, or they walk around topless with their boobs hanging out. While you’re sitting there in your beach lounger in a tankini top that hides your stomach and boy-short bottoms that cover your butt, suntanned octogenarians shuffle past in string bikinis. They don’t give a shit.

You find it reassuring. Not because you enjoy looking at stranger boobs, but because you like knowing that there are people out there who aren’t as ashamed of their imperfect bodies as American advertising wants them to be. You like that other people aren’t as burdened with self-consciousness as you are. Maybe one day you’ll stop giving a shit, too.

2. Your tendency to wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning can be fixed by getting exercise. Seriously, get some exercise. No, seriously.
Also, your recent heartburn episodes are from a thing you didn’t eat much of in Mexico, and that thing is cheese.

3. White liberal guilt is not a myth. You are white, liberal, AND a former waitress, so you tip all the service people at the resort like crazy. When you’re not tipping like crazy, you’re wondering if the service people are genuinely friendly or if they’re just good at hiding their contempt for all the damn tourists.

You would not be good at hiding your contempt for all the damn tourists.

4. You also spend time speculating about the personal lives of the waiters and waitresses you meet at the resort. Does Silvino have a wife and kids? Where does Arsenio live? When Claudia gets home from work, does she refuse to cook eggs because that’s what she has to do all damn day and if she has to look at another fucking egg she’s going to scream?

5. As your friend Dusty says, the ocean may as well be outer space for how vast and unfamiliar it is. As you say to your sister and brother-in-law when you surface after your first official scuba dive, “There’s a lot of shit down there, you guys.”

6. To do long exposures when it’s pitch dark outside, raise your F-stop really high and turn off the auto focus. Shots with the moon in them will take 20-30 seconds, and shots without the moon in them will take up to 90.  If you can’t find a makeshift tripod, the ground works just fine.

7. Traveling is your psyche’s bread and butter. You are rarely happier, more relaxed, or more inspired. You knew this already, but it’s nice to be reminded.

2 thoughts on “things learned on a mayan riviera vacation

  1. I just got back from nine days in Mexico and I LOVED the thing about the bathing suits. It was wonderful and refreshing and completely awesome. I also felt the same way about the bottom of the ocean — I went snorkeling at the reef almost every day and I almost could not believe some of the things I saw. And finally? Same news over here with me and cheese. Sad news!

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