Mexico’s full of long, mysterious dirt roads and this rutted byway is no exception. Iguanas cross lazily and we have to wait for them like we do geese back home. Finally we arrive at a clearing and beyond that is Xpu-Ha Beach. The Caribbean is that electric blue found in sno-cones. The sand is powdery. The air feels like a caress.
Neil decides to read underneath one of the many grass umbrellas dotting the sand, but Randy, Cynthia, Lisa and I make our way toward the water. As usual I take forever getting used to the sea, even the mild Caribbean. But finally, I’m in. I submerge, come back up and feel like I’ve been baptized. How lucky to have even a few days escape from the harsh weather up north.
Ten minutes later the others stay in the water, but I get out, sitting on a sun-bleached log nestled on the sand. The warm rays of the sun feel like the nurturing hands of Mother Nature.
I bask in her warmth, taking in this beautiful beach which caters mainly to tourists, although there are young Mexican couples and families. A bar is set up where people order Mai tais and Coronas with lime. Salsa music plays from speakers. Near the shore, young men try to entice people to kite surf. From the looks of it, you stand on a small board and hold onto the strings of a crescent-shaped kite above. When the wind hits, you sail over the water at amazing speed. Impressive, but I’ll stick to my log.
We leave for home tomorrow. It’s hard imagining going back to snow plows and flurries. I’m already obsessing about weather reports calling for another storm when we’re supposed to land. Somehow it seems fitting. We left in the dark and cold. We’ll return in the dark and cold. Still, I remind myself it will be beautiful soon in New England. Crocuses are due. April brings daffodils and forsythia.
That afternoon we have lunch at the beachside restaurant with its wide porch overlooking the waves. As usual, the pace is slow and unhurried, so different from the frenetic energy of New York. The food is fresh and delicious. I’m getting better with the language as I order “acqua con gas con limon” (sparkling water with lime). But as usual, I’m most drawn to the natives with their easy banter. My favorite part of travel is always people-watching with its fascinating mix of familiar and exotic.
After lunch, we pack our beach gear and start to leave. As we make our way to the car, I take one last look at paradise. Small children play near the water. Young men kite surf. Salsa music carries across the sand. The water’s impossibly blue. Thank God we had this wonderful escape to Mexico.
Already it feels like a dream.