Sep 11, 2010, 10:29 AM
Post #5 of 5
Favorite places, now long gone?
Re: [YucaLandia] Quintana Roo as the Latest Kid on the Block
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Cozumel & its awsome reefs before 1985.
Sanibel Island, with incredible shelling before 1970.
Shenandoah, Yosemite, & Yellowstone (nearly tourist-free) before 1970.
Yucatan's back-country ruinas y grutas are our current candidates for enjoying now, before the herds arrive.
... or is it all just nostalgia?
A good question, Yucalandia:
Despite our choosing the Chiapas Highlands as our second homefront in Mexico (the other being at Ajijic on Lake Chapala AKA Peoria Upon Sump), we still have a love affair with the Yucatan Peninsula. While looking around Mérida back in 2005 with an intention, at that time, of perhaps moving to that city´s historic central district, one of the several side trips we took was the drive from a hacienda/hotel where we had overnighted in Sudzal through Izamal up back roads to Dzilam de Bravo and then along the coast to Progreso and back down to Mérida. In those days, there was still a lot of hurricane damage along this primitive, almost deserted and mysterious coast with its shacky fishing villages but we were really taken with that area as a place to spend some time in the winter renting a beach house as opposed to buying in a coastal area where severe hurricane damage was always a possibility. (Do not think we overestimate the destructive force of hurricanes. We were married and first lived our married lives at Mon Luis Island on the mouth of the Isle Aux Oiseaux River on Mobile Bay in a house that, after Hurricane Frederick in 1979, disappeared from the face of the earth). We fully understand the gamble one undertakes by building a home on a hurricane coast. Remember Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis to say nothing of New Orleans?
So, anyway, we were deterred from our intention to spend some winter days along the Yucatan Gulf Coast by the house project we undertook in Chiapas in 2006 but this winter I think we may head back to that coast for a couple of weeks of relaxation in a rented beach house. Just one thing. We have been told that, since those days when this desolate but beautiful coast so intrigued us, the area has become the in place for NOB retirees, especially Canadians, to settle and buy or rent beach homes. If, indeed, this formerly poverty stricken and isolated coast has been overrun with foreign retirees, maybe we are in for a rude awakening when we return. We hope not.
In addition to the Yucatan Gulf, we also drove that year down to Bacalar and the coastal village of Xcalak in Quintana Roo on the Caribbean entertaining the idea (although not too seriously) of, perhaps, renting a lakeside home on Lake Bacalar or beach house on the coastal dirt road that runs between Xcalak and Majahual. As beautiful as Bacalar was, it had what to us was a disturbing melancholic air about it that discouraged us from the notion of spending any significant length of time there in the future. So we drove over to Xcalak and spent some time looking at beach houses north of the old village still largely deserted after severe hurricane damage that had occurred some years earlier.
Some of the beach homes on the Xcalak-Majahual road were quite charming and situated upon deserted beach fronts of great beauty to be shared (occasionally) only with the most vicious and hunger-crazed mosquitoes we have ever seen anywhere (and I have been in the Minnesota north woods so I know of what I speak). Despite the great beauty of this coast, we had the uneasy feeling that it would wear thin rather quickly and to say the services at Xcalak were primitive fails to convey the sense of complete isolation one feels there. After looking at several of these beach homes for sale or rent (at outrageous prices), we headed back to Xcalak village to enjoy a cold beer at a lodge there and asked someone who lived there what it was that one did all day in such a glorious but isolated environment a serious drive from the nearest good shopping (or medical care) at or near Chetumal. So, he related the typical day in Xcalak:
(1) After walking the dog along pristine and deserted paths, go diving among some of the most beautiful coral reefs on the planet. Then, perhaps a bit of time fishing in the Caribbean.
(2) Late lunch overlooking the beach with a fine tequila or dark rum chaser.
(3) Continue to drink booze and beer until one reaches a state of immense relaxation and passes out.
(4) It is now tomorrow. Repeat (1) through (3).
(5) Head for Chedraui in Chetumal once a week to restock food and booze. This takes all day and is the highlight of the week.
(6) After six months of this, if you are still alive (they don´t do liver transplants in Chetumal), place beach house for sale on the internet for an exorbitant price, head back to Des Moines and pray for a telephone call from a sucker looking for a retirement home on a magnificent beach far from the madding crowd.
Maybe Lake Chapala and the Chiapas Highlands aren´t so bad after all and at least near Dzilam de Bravo, it´s not that far to Mérida.
(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Sep 11, 2010, 10:39 AM)