It’s 6 p.m. on my last evening in Mexico. I’m just about ready for tomorrow’s departure to Belize, & thus Central America, just a few kilometres from here. Tonight will be my second night in Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Located on the Bay of Chetumal, a sheltered inlet of the Caribbean Sea at the mouth of the Rio Hondo, The city is trying hard to promote itself as more than just the obvious – a gateway between Mexico & Central America. As border towns go Chetumal isn’t all that bad, but there’s no denying that there’s not a whole lot to do or see here. So it – the promotion of the city as a tourist destination – is a tough sell, one that would be made all the more difficult were it not for the city’s awesome Mayan Cultural Museum for which I set aside a few (fascinating) hours earlier today.
– A quote on the walls of the Museo de la Cultra Maya recounting the arrival of the Spanish in 1517
— davidMbyrne.com (@ByrneDavidM) May 9, 2013
I’m sure Mexico hasn’t gone out of its way to impress me. But it has. Rarely has a first-time destination resonated with me as much as Mexico has. And now, on the eve of my departure from the country, if I were to choose one word to sum up my time here it would be easy. I could list more, many more, all of which would in some way broadly generalise travel in the country, and all in an overly positive way. Don’t get me wrong, I like to complain – maybe more than is good for me – but of my time in Mexico I really have nothing to complain about (nope, I’m not even going to mention the stifling Yucatan heat, not even once).
Sights? They just kept coming. Mexico is a huge place (I’ve only barely scratched the surface) and what to do and see here can be somewhat overwhelming, but overwhelming in a good way. History & Architecture? Fascinating, both. Yes all those pre-Columbian (meaning before the arrival of the Europeans, notably the Spanish in 1517) ruins or Spanish-era colonial architecture can, if being honest, get a bit repetitive, but still they never fail to impress. Transport & getting around? Fast, comfortable & cheap. Accommodation? Suffice to say a lot more than I expected for €7-10 a night. The people? Easygoing & friendly. The language? Oh yes, I’ve dug up my teenage-years Spanish and it’s getting me by, & getting better. Food? Mexican food, real Mexican food, at Mexican prices. Enough said. Beer? Corona for €1.50 (although I’m not fussy & will take a Sol just as easily, whichever is cooler – ‘Frio, por favor.’). Mexican days have flow by & now they are at an end. That saddens me. But I’ll be back. Of that there is no doubt.