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Friday, July 25, 2008

Three Friends in Cancun

By Silvia Uribe

The best time to go on a vacation ought to be summer; a happy, hot, humid, fun time that allows for diversion, entertainment, or let's just call it, "play time." Play, that's precisely what my old friends from grammar school and I did a few weeks ago in Cancun. What a place! The last time I visited Cancun with my family was many years ago, when it was much less developed, so I feared that this time around the experience would not be as peaceful. Now we were three middle age women alone, and I did not know what to expect from a place to which the school spring breakers go, and where the "girls go wild" (according to the soft porn video commercials).

I was determined to make this vacation a relaxing one, which can pose a problem for someone who, like me, does not really know how to stop and do nothing - or like the high school crowd would say, just "kick it." But we had a plan. We made the reservations, and finally, we were on our way to the blue, turquoise, and sometimes steel colored waters of the Mayan Caribbean.

Through the airplane window, from Toluca (now a small town in the outskirts of Mexico city ) to my destination, I was lucky enough to see Mexico's four highest mountains - the "Nevado" in Toluca, the "Popo", and the "Ixta", close to the capital, and the "Pico" in Orizaba, Veracruz. They looked like enormous giants guarding the rest of the incomparable vistas of my homeland, and its -- for the most part -- humble and sincere people. It was a clear sunny day filled with all sorts of cloud formations contrasting with an intense blue sky. Armed with my new camera, I was able to get wonderful shots of these mountains that I will make large prints of to hang in my office walls. (I use pictures as an opportunity to spark conversation with known and unknown visitors alike.) Once in Cancun, the humidity and the heat welcomed us, making us rush to our hotel to change to more ad-hoc attire. We took a tour of our hotel, and it was the start to one of my most wonderful vacations.

We went swimming, and snorkeling, went to a mangrove, danced to "salsa", and among many other things we did, we went to the largest club that I have ever been to, "The Coco Bongo." From the VIP area where we were lucky enough to get a table, we watched the best variety shows (I counted 19) one after the other. We danced and danced until our feet could not do it anymore. It didn't matter to us, or anyone else for that matter, that we were the same age as some the youngest attendees' grandmas. We, like the three musketeers, were one for all and all for one even in the unexpected and quite wild, loud, and at times overwhelming nightlife experience. We left the club at 3 am and went to have some original "tacos al pastor" immediately after. Picture this, pork meat marinated in a delicious red chili sauce (not too spicy) with a hint of pineapple on top, and vertically grilled. Yu-mmy! After the tacos, we walked to our hotel, which represented a real effort. We had to do it barefooted, since we could not stand on our somewhat high heels any longer.

During the four short days that I spent with my two best lifetime friends, honoring a friendship that has overcome time, distance (both of them live in Mexico), and other obstacles that life presented us, our favorite activity of all was to talk. We talked about our school times (from the third grade until high school), our families, our accomplishments, and most importantly, our future plans. It was energizing to realize that the three of us have many dreams and goals set for the future. We also made some sort of plan, or better yet, a pact, to repeat the three friends' retreat in three years, this time going somewhere in the USA, and another one after that in Spain. Knowing ourselves, I have no doubt that we will make it happen.

Cheers to friends, friendship and fond memories!

Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latino perspective.

Cross-posted at

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