It worked out

Trip Start Jul 29, 2005
Trip End Aug 15, 2005

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Sunday, July 31, 2005

So I was feeling pretty paranoid and alone because I was uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. I was in a situation which I did not control and therefore I felt I had no effect on my environment. I was merely an observe to that which came upon me. I felt comfortable by exercising my right to act by not acting, by removing myself from the unknown factors. I wanted to stay in the hotel room, wait things out and go to Belize in the morning.

But I knew I had to rejoin with the adventure and unknown. It's what I wanted to do, so eventually I left the room. It was raining too. I like the rain. Unfortunately I went in flip-flops and I was slipping and sliding all over. But it felt good to be somewhere else and to release all those worries outside. I had seen a church from my room window and decided to head that way. I knew that it meant there would be some activity or thoroughfare in that direction. Turns out that "church" was actually the Maya Museum in Chetumal. I didn't even know that there was a museum in Chetumal. Only shows that sometimes you think you know something but it turns out you don't. I learned a lot about Maya culture, which is something I didn't expect to learn about when I started the journey. But because of the intense ties between the Maya and the region I was visiting, I was going to learn about the Maya whether I wanted or not. I learned how bloodletting was a ceremonial process in ancient Maya culture and how revered the jaguar was. Blood-letting was actually a form of self-sacrifice that was performed, it was done to show that pain was tolerable but not fatal. That you must give up something of yourself to further develop and understand yourself and others.

Eventually I found this little diner place across from the museum and decided to eat there. There were three plastic tables with plastic lawn chairs and it looked dirty, but it looked homey. I saw that the plato del dia was puerco frito con arroz y frijoles. Well I was all about the frito and some arroz. I wasn't sure about the frijol, but I decided to try it anwyay. The camerero Raul figured out I was a tourist and we talked about America and how I learned Spanish. He told me "Te van a gustar los frijoles". Turns out he was right. In fact, it was one of my favorite parts of the meal. I've never been a fan of beans, but my oh my, those were delicious. It was like how refried beans are before the refrying. I think it's just that the refried beans I've had are always from a can and therefore unpalatable. The meal was delicious, cheap and I got to enjoy music and entertainment that was going on in the town square. It was interesting because the music and entertainment lead up to some speeches about abortion.

I wandered around the vendors a little bit more and tried to learn a bit more about Chetumal. I had been on a very long bus trip with little food and just filled myself up. I was tired from the meal and went to bed shortly thereafter.

I was surprised at how much Chetumal offered. I saw it as a stop along the way, and at Nuevo Mercado I worried about my safety even though I shouldn't have. But I think the whole experience in Chetumal made me realize that as much as I despised the Cancun tourists, there's a little bit of that in me still. And to enjoy the journey, I had to be a backpacker, not a tourist. And it really helped shape how I acted for the rest of the holiday.
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