Sunday, September 24, 2006

Mex, Mex, MexicOH!


I didn't want to leave. Who would?


I love a hammock... sadly there is no way I can accommodate one in my New York City apartment so hammock siestas will only be had in Mexico.

Of course, that makes them all the more rare and special and more to be cherished when the opportunity arises. (but I still wish I could have a hammock at home!)

The last time I went to Mexico I returned to torture the people I love with endless photos of the unearthly beauty of the sunrises. The pictures above and below are sunrises from this trip.

I'm a night person... but typical for me... I am also an early riser. I am up before dawn almost every day and that worked to my advantage in Mexico where the reward for early rising is not getting a 'jump on the day', instead the reward is a stunning sunrise that takes your breath away every single time. A cup of coffee and the hammock ... pelicans and terns out fishing for their breakfasts... I do believe the definition for what I felt is BLISS.

A new addition to my little paradise in Quintana Roo was the wildlife. When I went in March there were birds, sure, lots of 'em, but not much else. This time I was surrounded by critters! Little geckos ran rampant! They are simply adorable. Little teeny guys with ENORMOUS eyes - they look all the world like living gummy-lizards. I would walk into the room and there would be a gecko on the wall. Now the drill when coming upon a gecko goes like this: You spot them, they stop, you make eye contact, they check you out, it hits them "ACK! GIANT!" and they get running! Pretty amusing. Yes, okay, I'm easily amused. So I'm a cheap date, so what!

I'm still attempting to positively identify the blackbirds I was feeding every morning, because they were so funny (always travelling in packs of three). They sound like this Grackle calls so I think they are in fact great-tailed grackles. Sadly I only have them on video not in photos and I haven't worked out how to snip a frame out of the vid and make it a still, so no pix of the pretty birdies here.

While on this trip I did several things that scare me and I'm thrilled. I'm afraid of so many things, but the only way to be brave is to do the very things that scare you. So despite the fact that I'm terrified of drowning (I cannot swim), I went swimming with manatees, sea lions and dolphins in Puerta Aventuras.

I only have pictures of the manatees (this is Romeo on the left and Juliet on right) because I had to stowe my camera for the swims and only got shots of the manatees before it all began. I am not afraid of animals of any kind, but I am afraid of deep water... especially dark water... which is weird because easily 50% of my childhood fantasies were about being a mermaid and living underwater. Aquaman was second only to Superman in my geek-kid world... and yet I never learned to swim and have a deathly fear of the water. But, as I said, doing the things that scare me has become a hobby of sorts.

So it was swimming with dolphins in a tank that was at least 30 feet deep... or perhaps there was simply an abyss... either way, I was in over my head. Literally. But I did it anyway - and I have two dvds to prove it. (They tape the entire swim and then sell you the dvds. Don't you love touristy paraphernalia?)

When you go into the dolphin environment there is a platform against the wall that you stand on when you are not 'swimming' with the dolphins. I swore I would not leave the platform - I was all for the 'dolphin kiss' the petting of the dolphins and anything else that involved contact with these beautiful animals. But no WAY was I going into that water, screw the life vest, I KNEW I would be the one freak-fatality if I even attempted going an inch past that platform.

The dolphin trainer, a lovely German guy named Peter, told me to take his hands and step off the platform.

"Just float," he said. "Hold my hands and step off - I won't let you go."

"I can't!" I said. I could literally feel the panic starting and thought, three things:

1. where's the damned xanax;
2. boy am I going to embarrass the hell out of myself in about 30 seconds when I start screaming and drowning;
3. why did I think a DOLPHIN SWIM would be fun?!!!!

I've never been the most trusting soul, but I remembered my own words on this very blog about grabbing a hand that is offered to you and holding on... it seemed I would have to take Peter's hand or eat my words. So I held on... and stepped off...

long story short, he did not let go. I did not drown. And I swam with the dolphins. It was remarkable, and it was over too soon. Sort of like life. Hold on, do the scary stuff, it's remarkable and it's all over far too soon.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

What a wonderful and moving story - you need to go back to writing - this should go in a motivational book. It's time to write your biography - it would be a best-seller. You have a such a way with words and a way to move people's hearts. Each time you try something new and scary, you grow a little on the inside (I've read too many Barney stories to my kids over the years!) I'm going to get you on a horse yet!!!!