The past week has been the first of a 3 week "quest" for me during which time I am "living" and studying spanish in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I have vacationed here in the past, mostly for beaching and scuba diving, and it is a place where I feel particular in the moment. Because of this, it was the perfect place for me spend my quest as I seek to return to my own Center.
Playa is known for its beautiful beaches and all inclusive resorts that dot the coast north and south of the city from Cancun down toward Tulum. The sandy beaches are spectacular and the water is a myriad of blues and greens. Friendly people and a tourist atmosphere abound the parts of playa visited by many Americans.
I am staying towards the end of the tourist strip known as 5th avenue, north of the central point of the city. The school is situated so that I am steps away from restaurants, "sellers" and Mexican handicrafts, bars and luxury stores. However, I am also just steps away from the city that many people call home. One of my favorite things about living here is to walk away from 5th avenue towards 30th avenue and explore the neighborhoods between Aviendas 10 and 40, outside of the tourist center. It's actually quite amazing that just a few blocks away a different world exists, as if the beach and the tourist did not exist. No doubt the tourist employs most who live here in one way or another, but I enjoy simply walking as if I am not a tourist myself and watching how the people live,
Early in the morning as I walk or jog through he neighborhoods, the people walk or ride their bikes to work. The maids and young women who work in the Lavenderias pass by in uniforms, typically in groups, talking and gossiping. Families walk past with children in school uniforms, fussing the hurrying to the schools. In the evenings I watch families walking or riding bicycles to the grocery, sitting outside in the park or school children playing games of soccer. In the park nearby a group of women meet every morning to dance together
Ex-pats, and some locals pass me walking their dogs or running with the getting, buenos dias (good morning). There is simply a high presence of Life, walking and moving and living with a capital L. I have come to realize that one of the things that I love about the Latin American countries that I have visited is that people live outside. From the open air patios that make up the restaurants, tacerias, apartments and schools, to the way the locals travel, life happens outside. Perhaps this is partially by necessity, but it makes me feel happy. Life outside is life in the moment, a quality that the Mexican people appear to have mastered.
This week I will continue my quest as I move into another week if study with my European friends and our teacher Luis. I'm looking forward to my daily walks, trips to yoga and learning more about living in the moment by observing my neighbors.