Yeah... Mexico. To be honest, it hasn't really worked out for us here, though how much of this is down to Mexico and how much is down to things like illness and homesickness is up for debate. Whatever the reasons, we're moving on to Belize, and we're both utterly delighted with the prospect.
Of course, we haven't really given Mexico much of a chance, so any whinges I might have are pretty unfair. We spent the first couple of weeks acclimatising in the tourist central of Playa del Carmen, which is about as Mexican as Ko Samui is Thai, and I don't think you can count Tulum as particularly Mexican either. Mérida and Valladolid were much more authentic, but by that point it was probably too late, as I wasn't really focussing on Mexico any more by then. When I planned this trip, I included Mexico in the itinerary as it's a logical place to fly to from London, but the countries I'm really interested in are places like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. People rave about these places; sure, lots of people are complimentary about Mexico too, but have I ever had anyone light up when I've mentioned Mexico, and tell me that I'm about to have the best time of my life? No, I haven't, but I've been deluged with tips and hearty thumbs up from people who've travelled deeper into Central and South America, and I can't help thinking there must be a good reason for that.
And it rained – boy, did it rain. Every day, massive downpours made Mexico smell like old socks, adding to the black mould that seems to have a lethal grip on the buildings round here. Is this Mexico's fault, that it's wetter than usual for the time of year? Of course not.
And the food? That really didn't work for us either. It didn't take long for us to start getting a bit jaded about having to eat Mexican food again. 'No! How can you say that?' I hear fans of Mexico shout, and in particular those who say Yucateco food is the best in the whole of Mexico; well, I like burritos and tacos like the next man, but it's a boring cuisine, and every restaurant seems to sell exactly the same stuff. And then there's the fish; it seems that the Mexicans, like their close neighbours the Cubans, seem to have it in for fish, treating it with such a bludgeoning lack of subtlety that it's criminal... and this on the Caribbean coast! I can't wait to find somewhere that plucks fresh fish from the azure waters and just cooks it there on the beach, serving it up with some rice and a smile. That would make me a lot happier than another corn-based tortilla-wrapped cheese-tomato mush.
So it's pretty clear that Mexico didn't motivate us a great deal, but one of the great things about travelling is that if you don't like somewhere, you can and should move on. I don't think we particularly fell for the charms of the Yucatán, so it's clearly time to strike south for Belize. Just writing that down makes me feel more positive about this trip, so it's definitely the right move; moving on always is...