Two boys. A girl. And a lot of Ironmen.

Right. I’m not going to go on and on on how my blog ended up being that benchwarmer kid who never gets to play ball.* Nope. I’m just going to make a beeline for our adventures in Mexico, as the best of our days were spent under the Mexican sun. Mind you, it was actually cloudy and rainy half of the time, but even then Mexico still takes first prize at the Best Country Ever To Just Hang Around and Be Happy awards.

From Playa del Carmen, we took a ferry to Cozumel. And even though the Cozumel-Playa ferry looks like something the US Navy might use to conquer a developing country, we were still pretty much packed like a bunch of sardines in a massive floating tin can. Which is all fine, because by then our rear ends were used to sitting snug – come chicken bus or little boats over high waters. However, this time around our fellow passengers weren’t chickens, potatoes or Mayan families returning from the Sunday market, but rather a drove of Ironman athletes.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

But wait, there’s more. Besides this conglomeration of the super fit, we were also graced with the presence of a gaggle of 40-year-old damsels en route to a girls weekend. And imagine their surprise (and our horror) when we all realised our onboard entertainment was an Elvis impersonator. I’m not going to elaborate any further because words really cannot explain how absurd that whole experience was.

Hello island

Cozumel was nice. Not really charming or quaint, but nice. It has a massive supermarket (foreign supermarkets will forever captivate my imagination), middle-class neighbourhoods with walls and doorbells and loads of touristy traps. As you walk from the ferry port towards town you are bombarded with hordes of glass-bottom-boat-snorkeling-excursionists and scuba-diving-trip-advisors. And the reason behind our trip to Cozumel was exactly that – the Brother and the Husband wanted to dive. So while they signed up,  I bought a box of wine.

The heat is on like donkey kong

Our hostel was nice. Not charming, but nice. It had hammocks, a pool and loads of nervous Ironman athletes when we arrived. We bunked with the nervous athletes, and in-between the carbo loading (us and them) things were all types of awkward and quiet. Besides, the Husband and Brother decided to take it easy as they paid a pretty penny for the scuba excursion leaving at sparrow’s fart the following day, so sleeping in wasn’t an option. So I finished the box of wine by myself.

The following morning, knowing that I had a WHOLE day to myself, got me all types of giddy. I could peruse the haircare shelves of the supermarket to my heart’s content, I could cheer on the athletes like a proud mother – I could even walk aaaaaaaaaall the way to the other side of the island and chill on the beach. And as I took my first step out of our air-conditioned dorm, the heat attacked my pretty tough South African skin like a dog with rabies.

Needless to stay, my citronella candle and I didn’t move an inch that day. No photographic excursions. No reading shampoo labels in Spanish. And definitely no walking to the other side of the island.

Later that arvie, the Brother and Husband returned from their scuba endeavours, a bit underwhelmed. The Husband was hopelessly yearning for his Utila diving days, and the Brother was still on a cenote high. And then one by one the athletes returned. Half dead. Parched. And with bottles of tequila. Apparently, there is no better way to kick the rusty Ironman’s behind than with a bottle of tequila. Which we were about to find out. But first we paid a visit to the local cantina.

¡Hola hombres!

Because I refused to move an inch the whole day, I had serious ants in my pants come dusk. And the cantina right next door was the best place to get rid of them ants. What fun we had! With every beer ordered, you get a lovely round of botanas – little plates filled with exciting things. First we had some nacho chips and salsa (always a winner). Then our charming waitress – who had a unique touch in the art of eyebrow shaping  –  plonked an assortment of fried things on little toothpicks, accompanied by a plastic bowl filled with mushy black frijoles, on our table. We tapped our toes to the lovely toe-tapping beat of the cantina music, whilst debating what the fried little things we’re so merrily consuming really were. More nacho chips made their way to our table of merriment, and after the second round of tequilas our waitress presented us with the pièce de résistance: a whole fish. Now how one eats a whole fish in a bar is another story. But we ate it with gusto and ordered another round to celebrate the wonder of the botana.

After nagging the Husband for hours to dance with me, the Brother offered to take me for a spin with his two left feet. When we got back to our table, a hombre with beer eyes asked me to dance. Or that’s what I think he asked. The Husband happily gave his wife of 2 years away to this complete stranger and had a lovely chuckle at my predicament. So I danced. It was awkward. And instead of cutting in, the Husband filmed it. How lucky can one girl be.

When we got back to the hostel, the Ironmen and ladies were having a hoot, so we joined in. After not drinking for a whole year, these super fit teetotalers partied like students on Spring Break. We went to a club. We had conversations that involved a lot of head nodding and big ‘I have no idea what you’re saying’ smiles. The Brother only returned the following morning.

Adiós Cozumel and Ironmen

And so our island adventures came to an end. Squashed in between many a hungover athlete, we made our way back to Cancun to bid my dearest brother farewell >insert sad face here<, and to await the arrival of the Bearded Wonder’s brother >insert happy dance here<.

We heard about this sweet snorkelling spot, so we just had to take a look. Below those unassuming blue waters my friends, lies the world of Steve Zissou. And as a non-swimmer, I’m always blown away by how amazing this world is.
And after swimming with the fishes, we bought this little snack to eat. I still have no idea what it was, but it was deep-fried and delicious.


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The Cantina Night mise-en scène: Our little plates of morsel and black bean heaven, with our charming waitress in the background.


Our goodbye faces outside Cancun International Airport. Although I might look smiley, I was terribly sad on the inside. Sigh.

*An analogy that describes my blog having to take the backseat while life happens. Quite rich coming from me, seeing that I’ve never played a team sport in my life. I can’t even catch a ball.