Meeting the Ancient and Contemporary Mexico
Time to meet another neighbor of the US. I had heard a lot about Mexico while living in the US for years. Delicious burritos and enchiladas in Texas were not enough; a real experience was needed to learn more about the country. The Yucatan Peninsula was the closest and easiest stop, witnessing two sides of Mexico: ancient Mayan culture and thriving tourism set-ups.
I hit the road with a few friends to cover the preserved Maya ruins, azure Caribbean & Gulf of Mexico waters and colonial cities. Although Mexico is much more than the Yucatan states, it was good enough to get a feel of the country. It was a good idea to meet the exotic and elegance first. No better place for this than Cancun. After a few days in this charming city, I could imagine why Cancun deserves one of the top spots among the party destinations around the world. Sleep deprived but still in mood to experience more of nightlife, we headed Playa Del Carmen, a coastal resort town showcasing its colonial culture and modernity with streets full of bars and clubs.
A few hour of drive through small villages, agriculture fields and industrial towns took us to Chichen Itza, a complex of Mayan ruins. It was a big contrast from what we experienced a few days ago, taking us back to the ancient time. Life around this region seemed slow and simple. Big shopping complexes were replaced by small handicraft shops. Simple, traditionally cooked food was far better than the exotic foods and drinks. We took time to explore local spots, ruins and cenotes, learning more about history, rituals and traditions.
This brief introduction to the Mexican land, history and culture presented many shades of the country. The meeting with the ancient and contemporary Mexico was just the beginning.
Next: West coast of Mexico and ruins of Chiapas