Over The Edge, Lies An Oasis

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By Saraf Khan 

At the edge of Quintana Roo, Mexico lies a sublime metropolis called Cancún. A place overpopulated with tourists, merchants, and artists. From the airport to the hotel the scenery is just breathtaking, and stacks of hotels hidden within the beauty of the palm trees and the long beaches. The ideal time to go to any city in Mexico is mid-December, during that season the sun is not glaring above and humidity is at a year-round low, making it pleasant to roam. The beaches of Quintana Roo are all filled with white glittery sand and making the contrast of the blue waters to the land an incredible sight. 

Anything But Idle
Boredom is not something you will face in Cancún. One of the most exhilarating sites while in Playa Del Carmen is Xel-Ha. You can swim with dolphins, zip line over rocky blue waters and snorkel with colourful fish. The all-in-one pass gives you access to all the action, including an all you can eat buffet. Set in a natural scene, Xel-Ha doesn’t feel like an amusement park built from steel and plastic. The wooden boardwalks guide your path through the park and then you’re greeted by blue waters and iguanas just walking around. These creatures are like the pigeons of New York, they are everywhere.

The Mesoamerican Marvel: A Civilization Ahead of its Time
A large portion of ancient history is buried under the sandy surface of Tulum, just 40 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen. The moment you walk into through the stone arches into the ancient Mayan village, you can see what used to be a highly advanced society. The wildest phenomenon that archaeologists and scientists still haven’t been able to comprehend is how through years of natural disasters several of their architecture still remain standing strong. While all their structures have lasted the ancient Mayans mysteriously started to dissolve by 900 A.D. According to a local tour guide many Mexicans like to believe that the spirits of the Mayan rulers still roam around the grounds protecting what once was theirs and anyone that disrespects any part of their physical legacy is rumoured to end in turmoil. Due to these superstitions tourists are not allowed to set foot in any of the stone buildings, many say it’s the best way to keep tourists from ruining or damaging the sacred architecture. 

Pico de Galore: Mexican Staples Start at the Stomach
You know that Mexican know their cuisine when refried beans become a delectable breakfast lunch or dinner. For the most authentic taste, Taco Bell just won’t do; you have to go to the source of this 9,000-year-old culinary tradition. Seems obvious enough but it’s the experience that makes the food taste all that much better. From the freshly caught seafood to the imperfectly built tacos, Mexicans believe that every bite has to be a burst of flavour. One of the most joyous parts of having a meal in Cancún is that food and entertainment are an all in one package. The fun-filled evenings at a restaurant range from live singers to dancers to a waiter juggling three coconuts in his hands while he balances a can of cola on his head. A nice fact to keep handy about Cancún, they are prepared for the influx of tourist; a majority of places accept all forms of major credit and debit cards. Even though most resorts and hotels have lunch or all inclusive, going to Lorenzillo’s by the marina and having their seafood paella while looking out onto the Caribbean Seas is scenic for the eyes and the stomach.

Leagues of Tranquility
Your heart beats faster with the sound of the roaring waves. As you approach the drop off point the instructors yell out instructions, but all you can think of is, will the oxygen tanks work? The gear is more than twice your own weight, but everything is weightless down under. You put your gear on and somehow hold in your anxiety and make it to the edge of the boat. You sit and are asked to lean back and then all at once, splash! Everything is silent, all you can hear is the murmur of your breath. Your body descends into the unknown abyss. Your mind almost at a state of panic finally comprehends the miracle that is there in front of your eyes. It’s a completely different world down here, everything except for your breath is silent. Some find the silence deafening, but that’s what makes the true beauty of underwater truly enjoyable. Suddenly, you are welcomed by a small group of rainbow scaled fish to their world, they welcome you with a nod and quickly proceed back into their swimming path. Just around the corner of this sunken Volkswagen beetle car are the coral reefs, stiff and stubborn but more colourful than the rainbows, they are older than mankind itself, they apparently grow only a centimetre per year, it takes them millions of years to get to the size you’ll see in pretty tourism brochures. It takes a human mind immense amounts of effort to completely fathom the beauty that is the underwater.  

A Nation of Many Sombreros
Mexico is the 13th largest economy in the world and tourism serves as a most necessary component of the country’s progress. Their main income in is from crude oil, worth about $37 billion in revenue in the year 2014, cars and car parts equaling to an estimated $56 billion making them the 12th largest export economy. Despite being wealthy and a country in North America, Mexico and Mexicans have been looked down upon by many countries around the world. The living standards are similar to Bangladesh in the sense that the difference between the upper class and lower class is enormous. That is why are more than 12 million registered immigrants living in the United States. Only by visiting Mexico one can truly experience the love and hospitality they are ready to share. Cancun is a must have on your travel bucket list, if it isn’t there already, add it in!

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