DHARMA IN PLAYA, PT I
From Snow to Sand: Saturday 12/4/10
This is how O'Hare international airport looked when I left Chicago on Saturday morning.
And this is how Cancun International Airport looked when I arrived in Mexico a few hours later:
In the morning, the feet were walking in snow.
In the afternoon, the feet were walking in sand.
And the mind could not comprehend it.
* * *
Driving to the El in the dark during a snowstorm at 5am and schlepping bags through the snowy streets of Chicago had the mind thinking, "Why are you doing this?" The sensation of freezing cold salty slush oozing through vacation shoes and soaking into bellbottoms was not pleasant.
Nor was the long wait for the elevated train to the airport. People looked miserable! And the snow was falling hard and the wind was blowing like crazy and it was dark and cold.
But eventually the train came, and - much to my surprise - the airport was half empty (or do you say half full). The plane actually left on time. A United plane.
* * *
I had considered spending a month with Lino Miele Kovalam, India this winter, but it didn't make sense. Besides, I needed to see Dharma.
Perhaps the universe is aware of the latent desire to return to India. The movie they showed on the plane was Eat, Pray, Love. The second part of it takes place at an ashram In India. (NOTE: This film is much better the first time around).
When I got on the bus in Mexico, they were also showing a movie that took place in India, only it was dubbed in Spanish.
The mind was, like, saris? Cricket? En Espanol? What?
Where am I? / Donde estoy? I wondered.
Turns out they were showing The Namesake, and I was exactly where I was meant to be; on a quest to see the guru.
* * *
The bus to the city took about an hour and cost $11. We made a slight detour and it took a bit longer than usual because the United Nations Climate Change Conference is taking place here through Saturday. I think that Al Gore is in town.
I walked from the bus station to the hotel.
There, I was greeted by this:
The senses were pleased.
I unpacked and called J's room; she didn't pick up.
So I made a beeline for the beach.
On the way, I saw this, and knew I was in the right place:
Then I dipped my feet in the Caribbean. The air was salty. The mood was calm.
Except for the pelicans, who were having a field day fishing. I wondered what you have to do in life to come back as a pelican; dive-bombing head-first into the sea seems like a difficult way to scare up dinner. And you need perfect eyesight to boot.
The late afternoon light was beautiful.
Next I headed to 100 Percent Natural for a green juice and a dish called Arrozote (brown and wild rice stir-fried with green vegetables).
It was exactly as I remembered it.
Even the light fixtures are lovely.
Then I made the traditional first-night pilgrimage to Wal-Mart to buy sattvic, juicy fruit (on our first trip here in 2008, we asked the locals where we could buy fruit, and that's where they sent us - Wal-Mart. Later we found a cute little local organic place that has limited hours).
It seems that Wal-Mart is now called Mega.
The thought of a Wal-Mart failing was not an entirely unpleasant one - at least to the lower mind.
Inside, I had a nice conversation en espanol with the fruit-wallah, about which of the very green oranges were the most ripe (the lemons are also green; I think that's why they're called limas).
Outside, the Christmas decorations are the more-or-less the same. Christmas in tropical climes is a bit disconcerting for this Midwesterner. It always seems like global warming has finally won.
Next I stopped by the XOXO mini-mart (which I call Hugs & Kisses) and saw a familiar figure. I tapped her on the shoulder - and there she was, my friend J from New Jersey (who did all the research and found the wonderful hotel).
Hugs & kisses all around.
It was just like India.
(Except for the public display of affection of course).