Our day off at the beaches of Huatulco was pretty freaking sweet. We got up early-ish, did some blogging then went to the panaderia (how is it that this is always the first thing we find when we get to a new town?) and had 4 pastries for breakfast. Cause that’s how we roll in swimsuit season- with custard-filled rolls. We were headed to a different beach than the super close one we went to yesterday, but we had already wised up to the fact that the only places to eat on the beaches charge sums that would be ridiculous in any country, so we decided to pack our own lunch. Which, of course, included margaritas. While R traipsed off to the internet café, I hand-juiced a kilo and a half of fresh limes into a plastic bag (recycle, reduce, reuse!) in our hotel bathroom and engineered the perfect mix of cheap tequila and off-brand triple sec in an old water bottle. We ate surprisingly well and pretty cheap, too. This brings up a bone that I have to pick with Huatulco, but I’ll get to that in a second.
At Playa Maguey, a gorgeous pale and beach with crystal-clear, bathtub-warm water, we decided to rent some snorkels and fins for the afternoon. The cost was $7 per person and R actually sent me out first to do reconnaissance and make sure it was worth it. We are on a pretty tight budget and have done reasonably well sticking to it in Mexico, but these beach towns are pretty tough, even though we are staying in a hotel whose approach to the mosquito problem is to allow lizards to run around the rooms (as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, screens?). Alas, the snorkeling was fun, if not world class, and I found myself realizing that ‘I’m snorkeling in Mexico right now’ when I got at all antsy about how much better the snorkeling would be in Tulum. R joined me and we spent more time trying to stuff objects into each others snorkels than appreciating nature.
I know I’m going to sound like a troll for what I’m about to say, seeing as how we’re just hanging out in the tropics while our friends are toiling away in big cities, but I’ve got real issues with the food in this town. I’m so used to eating absurdly good food for equally absurdly low prices and we’ve run into a few days’ worth of food that makes me…angry. It’s not just that the food here is 2-5 times the cost of the cocinas economicas we’re used to eating in- I get it, it’s a vacation town- but I find it hard to believe that this is the best they can do with the quality. Mini hot dogs in R’s mystery scramble breakfast yesterday, when it was supposed to be an egg sandwich? I don’t even want to go into details about last night’s watery fish-cheese-and frozen shrimp dish that cost a third of our daily budget or tonight’s ‘chicken mole’ dinner that seemed an awfully lot like a turkey leg with Hershey’s syrup on top. I try not to be too much of a food snob and I love eating in markets and food stalls, but I just can’t stand paying for food that makes me want to give up on eating entirely. I’m actually getting to the point where I start to get a little agro after a bad meal- I’m like the Incredible Hulk of crappy food. I start to make snide remarks, which, thankfully, pass completely unnoticed by the Spanish-speaking teenagers who often man these eateries, and R has to talk me down afterward. I need to get a grip on all this because it just goes to show how incredibly spoiled we’ve been up until now with all the amazing food. Oaxaca is a culinary epicenter and we’ll be exiting the state pretty soon, so I need to get back to my appreciation of all things new and different and see beauty in everything. Or maybe I’ll revert to my Nutella for-3-meals-a day diet that has done me right in many different countries. Bikini weather be damned.