Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Viva la Revoluccion

Miguel and I anointed ourselves the world’s greatest wave jumpers and divers last week in the warm water of the white sands beach at Playa del Carmen, 41 miles south of Cancun.

“We are the only two in the world,” he added.

There may actually other wave jumpers and divers on the many shores of our planet, but as we frolicked in the turquoise waves, we imagined ourselves as the world’s sole practitioners.

“I’m number one and you’re number two,” said Miguel, his competitive spirit intact as we body surfed at Mamita’s Beach.

We spent a week in Mexico at the invitation of a friend from Wisconsin, who winters there with her four-year-old daughter every February in order to escape the frigid temperatures of the Midwest. When Anita, who visited us in San Rafael on the first night of Hanukkah, suggested we spend Miguel’s February break, known here as ski week, in tropical Mexico, my first thought was, “No way. We can’t afford it. It’s too much to pull together.”

Then I pondered her proposal later that evening and decided, “Why the hell not? After all we’ve gone through we deserve it.”

So we packed sunscreen, bathing suits, shorts, and sandals (yes, underwear, socks, and t-shirts, too), and flew down for a week of relaxation and few responsibilities.

One night we went to a circus, which featured one performer, a kind of jack-of-all trades who juggled, told jokes (mostly in Spanish), rode a unicycle, and performed a magic trick or two. Before we entered the tiny neighborhood theater, Miguel said, “I’m hungry. Let’s just go to dinner.”

I sensed, though, the show would be fun, so I gently insisted we go inside. Miguel was called onstage during the show and handed the performer four bowling pins to juggle while he was atop the unicycle. At the end of the week, Miguel said, “The circus was definitely one of the highlights.”

On our first day there, as Miguel and I almost lounged in the blue-green surf clear enough to see to the bottom, he and I said almost instantaneously, “I could do this forever.”

The weather certainly aided our sense that we’d never want to leave our Mayan paradise. Daytime temperatures hovered near 80 all week, and were in the mid-60s in the evenings. Pleasant breezes blew in off the ocean, cooling us as we lay on the sand, under umbrellas and on beach chairs.

When Maya first reached the ocean, she squealed with delight and jumped up and down for literally ten minutes. She was that excited. I only wished Verna could have been with us to see the smile of sublime joy stretched across her daughter’s face.

We drove forty minutes south mid-week to Tulum, a sort of hippy, counter-culture, sacred space, carved out of the forested coastline, and stayed at a hotel right on the beach. Coconut palm trees rustled outside our windows, creating the sound of rain whooshing up against the hotel room. Miguel and Maya jumped on a trampoline, and he and I tossed dried coconuts as if we were playing baseball.

Because there is virtually no ground light in Tulum, the luminescent canopy of stars under which we found ourselves at night was truly breathtaking. Miguel and Maya just smiled in awe. Maya said, “They’re all Mommy’s stars.”

During the week, we also ate tacos, I drank one margarita (my goal had been one a day), we saw a small fish dart by us in the ocean, and I watched Maya shake, rattle, and roll to a live blues band at the Bad Boys Bar on the beach.

It was a great, great, and memorable seven days, even if I only achieved status as the world’s second greatest wave jumper.

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