“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 →
Crumbling ruins, lazy iguanas and pristine Caribbean beaches. Now that’s what I look for in my historic sites.
Tulum, on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, is one of the premier attractions in the area, and it’s not hard to see why. I’d never been to an archaeological site where you can wander around admiring historic attractions for a while and then walk down to a perfect white beach to swim in a crystal clear ocean.
Of course, being a major attraction only a couple of hours from the resorts of Cancun, it’s highly advisable to get there early. We took a colectivo (shared van) from Playa del Carmen that arrived shortly after the 8:00am opening time, and had the place almost entirely to ourselves.
By late morning, the tour buses had descended and the quiet contemplation and deserted beaches had turned into a heaving mass of humanity.
Before the crowds arrive, though? It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.Continue Reading →
You could say that I’ve had a varied sporting career.
I played both football and cricket as a kid, but gave them up by my mid-teens due to a lack of both time and skill. When I had the choice of either attending cricket practice or my after-school job, those fifty bucks a week seemed a better option than having my gentle off-spinners smashed around the local park for a few hours.
Like many people, any fitness I once had disappeared fast once I hit university. A steady diet of fast food and cheap beer didn’t do much for my waistline, and exercise seemed far too much like hard work. After four years of that, I was developing an impressive middle-age spread … at twenty two.Continue Reading →
In less than two years I’m going to turn forty.
I believe that’s the point when I officially start planning my midlife crisis, buy a sports car I can’t afford, have an affair with the intern and wonder where the hell my hopes and dreams went.
Except, well, I don’t want a sports car, I’ve got a wonderful girlfriend that I have no desire to cheat on and I’m living my hopes and dreams every damn day. Today I’m in Mexico. Next month, Belize. The month after that it’s the US, then Australia. By the time that birthday rolls around in 2015, I’ll have been travelling continually for nearly four years, set foot on every continent in the world and run a marathon.
And then I’ll set some really ambitious goals.Continue Reading →
It was New Year’s Eve last night. I didn’t do much, really — certainly less than in previous years. I’m not big on this particular celebration as it is, and it’s cold here in Guanajuato at the moment. The thought of shivering in city plazas while not understanding the drunken Spanish flowing around me just wasn’t enough to drag me out of the house. Things might have been different if I’d had a warm jacket.
I didn’t have a warm jacket.
So instead, I stayed at home with Lauren. We gorged ourselves on cheese and ham, drank one bottle of wine, then another. We watched New Zealand play an epic game of cricket half a world away, one of us caring rather more than the other. As midnight struck we went up to stand on the roof, kissing in the darkness as church bells tolled nearby and fireworks exploded overhead.
And I had an epiphany.
The change of year is supposed to invoke reflection as well as hangovers. We should always be thinking about what the future looks like, but New Year’s Eve forces the issue.
It certainly forced it for me.Continue Reading →