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7 Things I Discovered in Mexico

7 Things I Discovered in Mexico

This has happened before—I thought I had a good thing going, until I tried an actual Good Thing, and now going back to that other thing isn’t nearly as satisfying. There are wines I used to swear by that now taste like slightly tangy grape juice. I used to stockpile those Little Debbie oatmeal raisin cream sandwiches, right next to those rectangular-shaped iced brownies with one or two walnut pieces stuck on. I eat them now, and they taste like chemicals and warehouses. Does this “evolution” make me a snob? Entitled? A typical first-world white woman? Maybe. Except that I won’t say “no” to a glass of tangy grape juice, and I’ve been known to take a sugary trip down memory lane with a package of Twinkies. But overall, I prefer to spend my time and my calories on things that have proven themselves worthy of my time and calories. If that makes me a snob, then so be it.

You know, I’ll bet that the caveman who first discovered fire probably caught some shit from his friends for a while. “Oh, Bob thinks he’s all better than us now just because his food is warm.” But eventually, I’ll bet they tried that guy’s weird cooked meat and didn’t die from E. coli. I’ll bet they got on board then.

So this leads us to the first item on the list: Mexico was my caveman fire.

7 Things I Discovered in Mexico

{1} Mexico ruined me. Because of Mexico, I can’t just take a quick road trip to the beach anymore. No, because of Mexico, I have to save my pennies for months and months to be able to afford the air travel necessary to get to the types of beaches that now call out to me with their sandy siren songs. Mid-Atlantic beaches are now dead to me. It’s not their fault; they did their best. But compared to the blue-green, crystal-clear, cozy waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, the murky, brown, chilly water characteristic of the Mid-Atlantic states just won’t cut it anymore.


{2} Now let’s talk about breakfast nachos, otherwise known as chilaquiles. Tortilla chips, Mexican cheese, some sort of cream/milk, green chile sauce, pickled onions, and other toppings, all topped off with a couple of eggs—preferably poached or over easy, so the yolky goodness oozes all over the chips.  I had these at least four times while we were there. I could eat Mexican food every day and be perfectly happy. Seriously. I’ve eaten this ridiculously delicious (and therefore ridiculously bad for me) beef nacho dip for four out of my last six meals.


{3} Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to wake up early in the morning when you’re on vacation? That you actually want to get out of bed and start your day? If only real life were more like that. Indeed, upon arriving at our resort, we very quickly learned that, in order to secure the prime poolside real estate, one had to rise before the sun and stake claim on the best pool chairs, using a hat, sunscreen bottle, or other item that was personal enough to say “MINE,” but cheap enough to risk losing to an unsavory seat snatcher.


{4} Until traveling to Mexico, the only reference points I had for horchata were a) a Vampire Weekend song that quickly became our theme song for the trip, and b) that it was the basis for one of my favorite “I don’t care how bad it is for me, it’s delicious so give me all of it” adult beverages, Rumchata. Now that I am officially a Traveler of the World, I know that horchata is a delectable rice beverage sweetened with sugar and flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. It’s like thinned out milk at the end of a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Muy bien.


{5} We all know that breakfast for dinner is the best thing ever, but what about dinner for breakfast? Miso soup—for breakfast. As the resort’s Japanese concierge informed us, the Japanese flock to Cancun year-round. I guess they do morning miso? Regardless, I took full advantage, filling my bowl with that delicious broth, tofu, wakame, and mushrooms, and it got me to thinking: What other dinner foods could I eat for breakfast? Nowadays, nothing’s off the table—food is food and I eat what I want when I want to eat it because I am a grownup and this is one of the few real joys of being forced to Adult all day long. Burgers with coffee and pancakes with cocktails, please.

japanese man.jpg

{6} “Oh hey! Pretty lady! Bring your husband in here, we have the best stuff! We have the best prices!” “Hey! Hey there! Hey, come over here! Let me show you what we have! Hey come on in, come on in!” I absolutely deplore pushy salespeople. I thought I’d had it bad here in the states being accosted by a salesperson the moment my foot steps over the store’s threshold. But when we ventured off the resort grounds into a market across the street, and I had multiple people yelling multiple things at me the entire time, I longed for the familiarity of the awkward, “May I help you?” “No, I’m just looking, thank you,” American interchange. It makes me wonder why more celebrities don’t shave their heads and attack cars with umbrellas—the cacophony of noise and attention was maddening, and these guys didn’t even have flashing cameras.


{7} Unless you’ve been buried under a sandcastle, you’ve pictured that quintessential beach scene: sunning yourself on a pristine white cabana bed, listening to the waves crash on the shore, grasping a cool tropical drink in your hand.  It took me approximately 20 minutes into our vacation to make this scene a reality.  My first order was a traditional piña colada, and then I had a stroke of creativity and asked for mango instead of pineapple. I’m sure my pancreas didn’t appreciate the onslaught of syrupy orange goodness, but good God, was it amazing.

mango colada.jpg

This time every year, we dream of Mexico. That’s what happens when you go there in December, and you, clad in a bikini and flip-flops, walk past a nativity scene on your way to the pool. When the sounds of crashing waves mixes with traditional Christmas carols playing over the lobby’s loudspeakers. Your senses get mixed up with your memories, and you feel like you’re four months behind everyone else—summer is long gone, bikinis have given way to parkas, daiquiris to hot cocoa.

Time to start saving those pennies again.

Experience: Beef Bourguignon

Experience: Beef Bourguignon

Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce (Recipe)

Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce (Recipe)