In between the circus hopping and the New Year’s celebrations, we enjoyed Costa Maya the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed. On the beach, eating great food at Casa Banana in Tulum and Almirante Pech in Playa del Carmen, having long breakfasts and days on the beach in Tulum’s La Zebra, dancing at Playa’s La Santanera and ordering guacamole with almost every meal we had. And, probably my favourite part – singing in the car.
Went to see the acclaimed Cirque du Soleil show Joyà in Playa del Carmen on December 30th. A wonderful addition to a schedule already packed with impressions and highlights – and my first ever full Cirque du Soleil experience. It was amazing! The 250USD tickets (for two people) included a bottle of champagne and small bites of salty and sweet deliciousness (with edible spoons, yum!), and we were lucky to get some of the best seats in our price category, with a great view of the entire stage and all the little surprises happening around it. So very worth it. The stage isn’t huge like in other venues so it’s a very intimate setting and you’re literally part of the show at some points with things happening all around. The show itself was based on a simple adventure story, family friendly and entertaining – and blended a mix of languages, humour, dancing, acrobatics and of course great music into what became a rather magical night.
We had some time to have a drink and some starters in the restaurant Nektar just before the show, and were positively surprised by the low prices and really fast and great service considering the amount of people around and the absolutely stunning venue. All in all, a very positive experience, highly recommended if you’re in Playa!
With a long weekend ahead of us in the end of September, I decided to sell my tickets for a concert I was planning to go to and instead accompany Nuria to pick up her car from a workshop in Tulum in Mexico. All completely unplanned, we jumped on the first best chickenbus on Saturday morning and made our way north though the green landscapes and swirly northern highway of Belize. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love going by bus. (Look at this collection of tripping from 2012) I was listening to music and disconnecting completely, and even if it eventually took us almost 11h (twice the time it takes by car) to arrive in Tulum, it was all pleasure.
In Tulum, we were picked up by my friend Alfonso who runs the creative and environmentally responsible space Residencia Gorila, a sort of artsy collective where creative minds from all over the world gather to spend some time, get inspired, and create. A very nice place to disconnect, and very much in line with what Tulum is all about.
We spent the night at Gorila and the days at the beach, and some time at Alfonso’s home and office in Aldea Zama. We went for dinner at the always amazing Casa Banana, breakfast at La Zebra according to tradition, and had pizza and tequila with new acquaintances, we also had random talks about art and went dancing a bit. The town was very quiet because of the low season, but it was still a million times better than spending a long weekend in Belize City.
We spent the entire last day at the car workshop, waiting for the car to get ready – which they had promised over and over it would be. I had my book and music so overall it was actually a nice relaxing time even if a bit frustrating and worrying. I finished the book – Jessica Alexander’s “Chasing Chaos” is an entertaining and very personal account of the life, doubts and insights of a humanitarian aid worker – recommended!
By 9pm the mechanics realized that the car wouldn’t get ready on time for us to drive back, which was a bit of a nightmare since the only option we had left to get back to Belize City on time for work was the ADO night bus. And this bus is nothing short of horrible – it’s ridiculously cold and blasts the AC so hard you can’t hide from it, it stops and throws you off for bureaucratic bullshit every time you’re about to fall asleep, and you arrive in the morning at 6.30am feeling completely destroyed, kind of like as if you haven’t slept for a week and as if 5 elephants stomped all over your body. I guess it works if you’re doing backpacking for months and have time to spare – although then I would definitely even more strongly opt for the chicken buses – but getting to work directly after is really not to be recommended.
I had coffee when I got to the office that morning and made it through the day even though I wished I could have spent all day in bed. I will try really hard to avoid ever going by this bus again, but overall it was worth it. And thanks for your utter kindness, Alfonso! You know you always have a home wherever I’m at.
Here’s an example of what celebrating life is all about. A video I made last month trying to summarize the fun we had when Avina was here visiting me in Belize and we spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Mexico. A beautiful couple of weeks in the best kind of company – a friend that you can relax and be yourself around, and dive straight into total euphoria with. Ella Eyre was our soundtrack for the trip, joy and spontaneity were our rushes.
Soundtrack: Rudimental – Waiting all night featuring Ella Eyre
Avina on CC Island
Christmas on the beach – thank you, Tulum!
Playa del Carmen is for Dancing, and Surprise Cabaret
Cancun Beach Fun
Counting down to 2015, celebrating New Year’s Eve in Mexico
New friends, wine, a boat, and yet another beautiful sunset
Life is a Cabaret – last night in Playa del Carmen
Tulum stories: The Moon is full and life is yours to enjoy, now come – dance and love.
Turtle photobomb in Gran Cenote, Tulum
Day trip to Altun Ha
This was a trip that will stay in my mind as a cherished memory for a long time ahead. Tack älskling!
As some of you know, I spent last week in Mexico City. I needed to go for a doctor’s appointment and going to Sweden was going to be way too expensive, so I drove up to the Mexican border town Chetumal after work on Friday, and hopped on a flight to the capital. Adriana picked me up in the airport and we spent the weekend and next couple of days running errands, going to the doc, hanging out, eating sushi, talking about love, shopping, and watching some Mad Men.
During the second part of my stay, I stayed with Chema and his family, who welcomed me to their house as if I were family. I got lots of hugs and it felt like I had been there two weeks ago, not two years!
As I do whenever I get a chance, I asked for a Peruvian restaurant, and was recommended Astrid y Gastón – the world renowned (No.1 in Latin America in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013) concept that also has restaurants in Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires and Bogotá. It was an experience, all the way from the attendance of the staff and the little details “would you like lime, cucumber or pineapple in your water?” to, obviously, the food. I love Peruvian food, and this place definitely delivered. Causas, tiraditos, ceviche. All of it. And free valet parking service. That thing always makes you feel a bit special, no?
I had already gotten my cultural shock of the roughness of this huge city last time, and done all the “musts”, so this visit was a bit calmer and less overwhelming. Traffic and pollution was still quite disastrous to spirit and body, but luckily we escaped the city before I started disliking it again. We made our way to Cocoyoc, a bit outside of the city, where Chema’s family has a summer house close to picturesque towns and with a pool and a proper hang-out lounge. So we watched movies, exchanged tunes, danced around, played air-drums to Dirty Loops, made big breakfasts, hung out in the jacuzzi and explored the surroundings.
We came back to Mexico City late on Sunday evening, and managed to squeeze in a last dinner before everything closed down. We ate at Cluny, a Belle Epoque inspired restaurant just next to Chema’s house in San Angel. I had a salmon tartar, Chema had a pepper steak, we both had good red wine, and we paid less than 40€ for the meal! The prices for quality food in this city are really.. wow. And being able to walk around in San Angel by night wrapped up the stay and my vibe of the city really nicely. I urgently needed all of this.
I flew back to Chetumal early early morning on Monday accompanied by a fresh book by the Mexican writer Angeles Mastretta, and once I got back into my car I realized I wouldn’t be able to drive it back all the way to Belize City. I pulled up by the first workshop I saw and I explained the issue I was having (and have been having for months) and the guys immediately knew what the problem was. (I want to point out that 1. It’s a really common issue that it took the mechanics one minute to guess, and 2. I have previously taken the car to three different workshops here in Belize City and they all said something else and charged me for NOT fixing the real problem. Urgh.. Never again.) I had to spend the night in Chetumal while waiting for the car to get fixed and happily passed out in my hotel at 7pm. Next day I worked from my room in the morning, did some grocery shopping, and was on my way back to Belize in the afternoon, Suz shooting off like she had been given new life, full speed, loud music, and myself singing along with the sun setting behind me. It was a great way to close these 10 days of being away.
I’m back in town, folks. Now enjoy the visual part of this story.