It’s good to get back on the road again after seven weeks in Mexico. I really couldn’t have taken another week in Playa del Carmen. I think this October will be my last trip to Playa and Mexico for a long time and maybe even for good.
So now for a relaxing visit with a childhood friend before a whirlwind tour of the Caribbean. Chris Hartley and I grew up for a time in Bermuda, shared the same culture, enjoyed the ocean and worked on his father’s helmet diving boat. We hadn’t seen each other since my dad died some thirty five years ago. Both of us have had star studded unusual lives which enable us to communicate in ways that I am unaccustomed to in my nomadic daily life. We both enjoyed Bermuda’s in its final glory days. Memories of zipping around Harrington Sound on our glass bottomed boats called “Glasshoppers” punctuated that idyllic time just before post-pubescent life tends to get complicated. Memories come flooding back as each cherished story is related.
Given my exposure to so many countries as well as their architecture, arts and antiquities, I am happy to be in a country where more focus will be on the personal level. Having stayed in countless hostels and AirBnbs, it is an absolute joy to be staying in such a beautiful, comfortable and hospitable home. It is this sort of experience that sustains me through many months of solo travel.
This year has me on the road for ten straight months! That’s a new record for me. Fortunately I had the visit from Jason in mid-February, and I will rendezvous with my friend Karen in Paris in the beginning of September after a two week volunteer stint in the French countryside. So thankfully, I’ll be saved from becoming a tongue chewing, babbling incoherent by the time I arrive back stateside.
Then again, I think being in the States currently is more challenging to one’s mental health even when surrounded by friends than it is to be traveling alone in some of the less welcoming countries out in the world. The level of mental abuse being directed out of the White House toward its citizenry in America is truly unprecedented and sadistic. People are having their fundamental concept of reality challenged on a daily basis, and are left feeling disoriented and debilitated as a result.
CHRIS & MARILYN’S COMPOUND – Quite a spread!
A nice view from the upstairs suite where I was staying. After being spoiled like this, I think my visits to youth hostels might become threatened in the coming year.
MY LUXURY SUITE – With fully stocked kitchen courtesy of Marilyn.
DREAM MACHINE – One of Chris’ many toys.
Just before loading up the boat, the clouds opened up and the giant raindrops left a wonderful texture on the water’s surface.
Then it really started coming down!
I can’t imagine how many days this man has spent piloting boats. I guess it’s more than many people sit behind the wheel of a car. It was such a flashback to be cruising through waters so similar to those we grew up upon in Bermuda over forty years ago.
Cruising out of the inlet into open water.
PALM QUAY – Going for fuel.
No spray tan needed for Cap’n Christopher.
And now a shot of a freckle limbed, pasty faced chuffer. Hey, I’m of Dutch/German ancestry.
ATLANTIS – Notice inside the canal entrance behind the spray is a bridge where a scene from the James Bond movie “Thunderball” was shot.
PLENTY OF PARKING
Time for a stroll up the beach.
Chowing down on the same special protein bread that I ate whilst driving around Iceland last summer.
I don my diveskin to avoid getting burnt to a crisp, but we were only in the water for a short while.
SPARSE CORAL GROWTH
STINGRAY – Same species that took out Steve Irwin – You actually have to try hard to get one of these to kill you.
More mature stag horn coral.
KITCHEN SMOOCH – Tasty pork chops on counter
Sandwiched between Marilyn & Pauline during a fine dinner party. I need to work on that bulky stomach.
Marilyn & I were chatting in the living room when King of the Castle entered the room in his elegant robe.
BAY STREET – The main shopping street.
THE STRAW MARKET – The place where tourists buy their knick knacks and souvenirs.
KURA-KURA IMPORTS – Rosanne Pyfron, proprietor of a Southeast Asian art store and allegedly a direct descendent of the prophet Muhammed.
Chris buggers off, leaving a perfectly calm inlet to fight high winds and serious swells on the open sea?
He finally returns minus his Bahamian flag which blew clean off the boat along with what was holding it in place. I’m glad I stayed behind and avoided the possibility of feeding the fish with the contents of my stomach.
BEAUTIFUL END TO THE DAY
Chris was starving so I took us out to a fish restaurant for some serious hogfish action.