“What the hell?”
The bus lurched to a stop, passengers scrambling over each other to press their faces against the grimy windows. Sweat dripped from my forehead as the fickle breeze disappeared, while loud voices competed with distorted hip-hop from a dozen mobile phones.
In my exhausted state I could understand little of the heavily-accented Creole, but eventually a single word started to make itself heard over and over again.
A few people snapped photos on their phone as the bus eventually started to move, police waving the traffic on past what looked like a bundle of clothes in the middle of the road. Drawing closer, I realised that what I’d thought was discarded clothing was nothing of the sort.
The body of a man lay face-up on the highway, the broken remains of a motorbike scattered up and down the road. Thick, dark blood lay pooled around his head and body, baking in the heat of a tropical morning. The white towel over his face explained why I couldn’t hear the wail of an approaching siren.
There would be no point calling this man an ambulance.
The murmurs from other passengers increased in volume as we passed, that single word being passed around like a football once again.
Dead.Continue Reading →
For someone with a history degree, I really didn’t know much about the Mayans before I arrived in Mexico. I mean, it’s not like they’d exactly had a huge impact on my home country of New Zealand – but you could say the same about the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, and god knows I spent enough time studying the minutiae of what they got up to.
I was vaguely aware of a few stereotypes – ball games, fondness for animal and human sacrifice, a well-known calendar – but knew little detail. The few pictures I’d seen of Mayan pyramids didn’t seem that impressive compared to those that housed the pharaohs, and all in all, I just didn’t expect to be particularly wowed by the historical sites on the Yucatan peninsula.
And then, well, I went to them.Continue Reading →
Mexico gets a bad rap, especially from the news media. As I discovered during six months in the country, however, it’s almost entirely undeserved.Continue Reading →
So, remember how I published a book in February? Well, if you’ve been putting off picking up a copy, procrastinate no longer – because it’s FREE this week!
Until Saturday 12th April, you’ll be able to download a copy of Hammocks and Hard Drives: The Tech Guide for Digital Nomads for Kindle from any Amazon store. If you don’t have a Kindle, it’s no problem – just read the book using the Kindle app or in your web browser instead.Continue Reading →
“Please come this way.”
The young immigration officer ushered me towards an open door, his immaculately-polished shoes squeaking slightly on the waxed airport floor.
“Is there a problem?” I asked, as innocently as possible.
“Maybe. Maybe not.” The officer’s face gave nothing away, but I already suspected that my afternoon was about to get a whole lot worse.
A few minutes later, it did.Continue Reading →
As you may have noticed, things have been a bit quiet around here lately.
I mean, it’s not like I hold myself to a rigorous posting schedule these days, but even for me, two posts and a couple of photos in a month is pretty lax. The good thing, I guess, is that I have an excuse… and for a change, it’s a pretty decent one.
You see, even though I’ve been living a few hundred metres from the Caribbean Sea for the last month and dining on delicious street food every day (tacos de arrachera and tortas de cochinita pibil have changed my life), I’ve been spending all day, every day in my apartment or hunched over my laptop in a local coffee shop.
Why, you may rightly ask? Why on earth would I inflict such punishment on myself?
Well, you see, it’s because I’ve been writing a book.Continue Reading →
Last weekend a few of us rented a car here in Playa del Carmen and headed down the highway to the ruined Mayan city of Coba, about 90 minutes away. Only a few sections have been cleared from the jungle, but it’s estimated that the city limits stretched as much as eighty or ninety square kilometres.
While there are what seems like thousands of cycles available to rent (and dozens of persistent tour guides and cycle taxi drivers), we opted to walk around the ruins instead. The key, as always, was getting there just after opening time when the crowds were fewer, the temperatures cooler and the entire experience far more enjoyable than later in the day.Continue Reading →
As you may be aware, I rarely post guest posts on this site. When I was approached by a mutual friend to help publicise some of the work being done to expose human trafficking in South East Asia and around the world, however, it struck a chord. Please take a minute to read and share the post, watch the video and donate a little to the cause if you can.Continue Reading →