As we prepare to fly out of this crazy country we call Mexico, it feels like we’ve already left. Not because of some ethereal high-brow poetic concept, simply because Cancun feels nothing like any shade of Mexico we’ve seen. In short, if there was a god, and if he was the interventionist type, you’d say that he/she did a big poo and called it Cancun.
We are a little biased here, cities in general aren’t our thing, particularly when they’re over developed and a bit plastic. So Cancun is pretty close to our version of a hell. This place is a hastily mashed up combo of Vegas, the Gold Coast, a theme park and of course… A poo. Admittedly we have only had a passing stay and seen very little but as the saying goes, if it looks like a poo and smells like a poo… Lots about poo here, fitting really.
So with all this vitriol, best a bit of an explanation. First up we were warned by the cabbie on our way to the hotel that we need to be careful not to get mugged and stabbed, great! So safe to say that the local area is a bit poxy.
The shining light for tourists in Cancun seems to be the hotel area. This is a thin peninsular surrounding a lagoon packed with over 50 big hotels. It has all the trappings, restaurants, events, bars, diving, jet-boating… you name it. So with our full day in Cancun we decided that this place doesn’t really sound like ‘us’ so much but it’s better than being stabbed. As it turns out, only marginally better, wow, this is plastic vacuous shite on the grandest of scales. I’ve barely ever seen a place more devised to take large amounts of money from insipid new-money social parasites than this. Harsh I know but that’s the feeling that seeps from every pore of this part of town. And just to emphasise the environment here, even Charlie wanted to go sit in the hotel room in stab-town rather than experience this place.
But we take a breath, as we must. My thoughts sit not so much on the sad situation that is Cancun, but more so on what these places invariably do to the surrounding areas and towns. This is a phenomenon that happens all around the world, a tourist trap that is indeed a trap, it keeps the surrounding towns far less abused. This phenomenon allows places like Tulum to exist, with draw cards that lead the world accompanied by a far more genuine experience.
It is a risk in pondering these circumstances to greedily covet places like Tulum. We as white middle class tourists want to keep Tulum casual and authentic so that we can be the only white middle class tourists to see it, I’m aware of the irony. Tulum, and other places like it, however aren’t without tourists, in fact there’s plenty of them. As our dive guide Carlos said “you’re not Americans, they stay in Cancun or Playa”. A moment while I climb my moral high horse… there’s the ‘all inclusive’ tourists and there’s the rest, God bless America for providing these tourist traps, god-poo’s for all the flies to buzz around.