I’ve been to Mexico four times in my life. The first three times, I spent a lot of my time there drinking my face off. Now, let’s be clear here: I was never that girl, doing unsafe, stupid, drunken American things in Mexico. Even under the influence, I was still a rule-follower through and through. But, most of the time I spent in Mexico was spent drinking lots of beer, tequila and even wine. Here are some photos that I dug up to show you:
This first trip was to Cancun in 1999-ish. I’d never been outside of the US and had never seen beaches or ocean water that looked like anything other than poor (Bless its heart) Texas’, muddy, dirty beach and Gulf of Mexico situation. I was totally enamored by the crystal clear, blue water and the white sandy beaches. I drank lots of beer on that trip and just to give you a sign of the times, you only needed a birth certificate to get into Mexico at that time. I took my cute little honorary birth certificate with my infant foot prints stamped on it with me and was told that it wasn’t an “official birth certificate” and, therefore, I wasn’t allowed to travel to Mexico. Well, this WAS 1999, so I asked nicely, “Oh, please?” and some nice person at the airlines said, “Oh, okay, sweet heart. But when you get home, get an official copy of your birth certificate for the next time you want to travel to Mexico, mkay?” And away we went to Mexico. My, how times have changed.
My second trip was in 2003. We flew to Cancun but stayed at Isla Mujeres, which is a lovely, quiet island. We headed directly to the Sol Beer distribution center on our golf cart and got I-don’t-know-how-many cases of Sol to enjoy while we were there. On this trip, I got the honest-to-God “Montezuma’s Revenge,” made exponentially worse by a hangover. It wasn’t pretty, but luckily only lasted a few hours.
This was a trip to Playa del Carmen in 2007 for my best friend’s wedding. There was a lot going on during this trip. For starters, we’d just had a baby, so I was in a bathing suit a mere 5 months after giving birth. I was incredibly self-conscious about that and not feeling my best by any stretch of the imagination. Also, I was dealing perhaps a bit poorly with new motherhood and already drinking more than usual on any given day at home. This wedding was lots of fun, but I went “balls-to-the-wall” (if you will) and drank a lot. We’re talking tequila shots and all, which wasn’t my normal drinking pace. I fell down at one point at the reception and had a black. blue and green bruise on my hip the the next day.
And here I am just a few weeks ago, back in Playa del Carmen. This was my first trip back as a teetotaler. and I noticed a few things:
- There’s not much to do at an all-inclusive resort except to eat and drink. We were offered champagne upon checking into the hotel and the drinks didn’t stop flowing from there. I watched people walking in the pool with their drink in hand, then walking over to the swim-up bar for one or two more; lather, rinse, repeat. Might I also point out that precious few of these people ever got out to use the bathroom? Ew.
- I was looked at strangely by most of the staff when I repeatedly ordered water or sparkling water. Finally, it just got easier to order a soda or a virgin drink at times. That seemed to appease the staff a bit more. Who was this “wheta” (white girl) and why wasn’t she drinking?
- Drunk people can be pretty gross. One afternoon, we left our kids in the game room and went over to the adults-only section of the resort. There was a hell of a party going on in the adult pool and it was pretty gross. Women hanging all over men, drunk ladies dry-humping the poolside DJ, hootin’ and hollerin’ like you wouldn’t believe. It made me yearn for the family pool with only grumpy toddlers refusing to wear floaties.
So, I did it. I went to Mexico and I didn’t drink. That’s something that I never thought possible. I read a lot. I thought a lot and I daydreamed a lot. I thanked my lucky stars to be in the place where I am today over and over. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.