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Published: July 11th 2010
Considering I spent the morning running around on a quest for bus tickets and taxis I was glad to have the afternoon lazing on the beach. I walked to the bus station, caught a taxi back and requested him to return which he did, after we'd been left standing on the dusty street with our bags for more than 20 minutes. Arriving at the bus station we filed onto the second class bus, only to find there wasn't a seat free. We eventually found one space and squeezed the two of ourselves and our bags into the space.
We arrived in Cancun and found our hostel. In the earliest colonial sources the island of Cancún was originally known to its Maya inhabitants as Nizuc meaning either "promontory" or "point of grass". In the years after the Conquest, the population was drastically reduced due to disease, warfare, piracy, and famines, leaving only small settlements on Isla Mujeres and Cozumel Island. The name Cancún, Cancum or Cankun first appears on maps from the 18th century, but it is unknown where the name originates from. When development was started on 23rd January, 1970, Isla Cancún had only three residents, caretakers of the coconut plantation
of Don José de Jesús Lima Gutiérrez, who lived on Isla Mujeres, and there were only 117 people living in nearby Puerto Juárez, a fishing village and military base. Due to the reluctance of investors to bet on an unknown area, the Mexican government had to finance the first nine hotels. Cancun is now a successful tourist resort. We finally went in search of a beach. We picked up a map and took the receptionists advice of seeking out Playa Delphinus... which incidentally was also the furthest away! The bus ride was interesting, as we passed numerous hotel complexes, and watched as increasingly large and loud tourists got on and off, many of whom were rather rude with the poor driver who evidently didn't speak English. The crowd on the bus thinned as we got further away and when we finally reached Playa Delphinus I was pleasantly surprised. My idea of a beach paradise would have to include lots of palm trees, some wildlife and a hammock to laze in, but what I got still included brilliant turquoise waters and fluffy white sands, and relatively few people. Perhaps because it is so far along the coast less tourists come to
this particular beach and we were spared the endless rows of self-baking bodies and instead shared the beach with a few swimmers and sandcastle-building families. We went for a swim, which was more of a splash. The water remained surprisingly shallow quite far out, but the waves didn't make swimming particularly easy and it was more enjyable to just frolick in the waves anyway. We passed the afternoon on the beach and then with salt tangled hair and sand covered legs returned to the bus and then our hostel.
We went out in the evening to track down a restaurant and wander around the streets in the evening. Cancun is unlike every other place I have visited in Mexico and everything is aimed at mass tourism and package resort holidays. We walked past rows of tacky tourist shops selling overpriced souvenirs with 'Cancun' emblazoned on every item, and endless bars and cafes with loud music and neon lights acting as venus fly traps for the easily dazzled foreigner. We found somewhere to eat and strolled back to our hostel. Cancun isn't exactly a place I would be keen to visit again but it was a nice last day to our
trip and is of course convenient for our onward flights.
This morning I checked my packing and hauled my bags into a taxi. My boyfriend came along for the ride and the driver looked rather startled when I headed for the airport and my boyfriend sat ready to ride the taxi straight back to the hostel as his flight isn't until tomorrow. It is distinctly weird to end a holiday by not going home, and not leaving with the person I've been travelling with. It will be nice to see Sahuayo again though, to meet the new teacher and be back with my classes.
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