We were in Cozumel recently, an island off mainland Mexico. A group of us decided to rent a jeep to tour the island. It was an excellent idea except that we had no idea where to go. We drove along for a while until we came across a local lounging under a tree. He gave us some directions to a market to check out, but I was concerned about his credibility as there was a massive hole in the crotch of his pants. Anyone who thinks it’s a wise idea to leave the house with a hole like that in his pants, must be a little suspect.
Anyway, we carried on. It was interesting to see the island from the vantage point of a vehicle. It just feels exciting to be in a jeep. We drove through the downtown area, which was nondescript except for the many OXXO convenience stores, which is an excellent place to purchase cheap beers. We also drove by many corner taco stands. Yes, Cozumel looks pretty much like any other island except for corner taco stands and OXXOs.
At one stage, we stopped at one of the aforementioned taco stands to ask the lady for directions. It was fortunate that we had a Spanish speaker with us, so they discussed at length on where to go. The conversation must have taken at least 10 minutes. Once they were done, he turned to the driver and said “she said to go straight”. I guess Spanish is a much more long-winded language than English because I was sort of expecting a little more after that dialogue.
We made it to the market and it was definitely a unique experience. There were “freshly slaughtered” chickens hanging and produce stores and places where you could buy those masks for Mexican wrestling. I guess it’s nice to have a one-stop shop where you can get your weekly groceries and wrestling materials. There was also a restaurant in the middle of the market. We ordered a smorgasbord of food. I had an enchilada with cactus and a gordita with chorizo. The tortilla was freshly made and simply mouthwatering. We also ordered freshly squeezed orange juice and this rice milk drink. The Russian girls with us could not handle the “spiciness” of the food, despite no jalapeños being added, while I slathered on copious amounts of the green sauce. From my time living in Czech Republic, it seems like Slavic people are sensitive to anything that has the resemblance of pepper added to it. The gordita was by far my favorite. It’s slang for cute, chubby girl and I supposed if you eat too many of them, you will probably end up resembling one.
After lunch, I volunteered to drive. Little did I know that it was a manual transmission and the last time I drove a manual was 7.5 years ago. No worries, I thought. Driving a car is like swimming; you never forget. Then I realized that I’d actually forgotten how to swim. I didn’t want to alarm the passengers, so I just winged it. After driving through the first set of red traffic lights and forgetting to slow down for a speed bump, it all came back to me. Sort of.
We drove to one end of the island and checked out the beach there. It was a very nice, quiet beach and was pretty much deserted except for the small bar off to the corner. We walked along the beach until it was time to head back. The first driver insisted on driving again, which was a relief for me. Driving is a novelty for me but it turns out I don’t really enjoy driving manual, especially since I’ve kind of forgotten what to do. I’m still not entirely sure how to use the clutch.