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Reisverslag Week 1 - Cancún
28 maart 2016
Week 1 - Cancún
For the people who don’t know exactly what I am doing: to complete my master in food technology I have to do a 4 month internship. After a long search I was given the opportunity to do it at CIAD, a food research institution in Hermosillo, Mexico. For the people without a food background, I am going to see if I can make small particles with enzymes which can be added to meat to make it more tender. For my fellow food technologist, my assignment is controlled release of papain from pectin coated arabinoxylan micro-particles made with coaxial electrospraying.
Well enough of this technical stuff, time to tell about the first week.
Exactly 1 week and 4 days ago, I left Geldrop by car with my parents to Schiphol. Way to early though, my alarm went off at 4:30am. But after a nice drive I arrived in Schiphol without any trouble. Except that I realized that I forget my just purchased international drivers license, what a shame. I checked in at the gate, said goodbye to my parents, and went to Munich were I had a 2.5h layover. There I realized that I also forget my charger, which is of course a giant issue in today’s digital society :P The chargers at the airport were 40€, what a giant rip-off, they weren’t even from apple. So fuck it, I can do without until I find one in Mexico (which I did the next day for 2.5€).
After doing nothing for 2.5h in Munich, I had my 12h flight to Cancun. For the people who are ever thinking of taking an international flight with Condor, don’t! They make you pay 8€ for every movie, and only had 1 movie (crazy stupid love) and 1 episode of New Girl for free. I have never ever been so bored in my life, I should have brought a book….
After the longest 12h of my life I finally arrived in Cancun. The first thing was of course the heat, 32 degrees! I was still wearing shoes and jeans and this combined with a backpack was pretty sweaty. So I quickly bought a bus ticket and went on my way too the city with a German and French guy I met waiting for the bus. The German guy didn’t have a hostel so he joined me to the one I was going. After arriving in Cancun we started walking to the downtown area where the hostel was located. After 10 minutes of not seeing the street we were supposed to see, we asked a guy if we walked the wrong way, he said: just continue, so said the second one after 20 minutes. After 30 minutes the 3th person we asked, said that we were walking the complete opposite way….. So we had to walk all the way back and more, with our backpacks. I think I would have been more dry If had jumped in an ocean of sweat.
But we arrived! A very nice hostel with a couple of dorms and a nice courtyard, free breakfast and dinner included! The next day the German guy left, but I met another one who missed his bus. Since we had no plans we decided to go for a walk downtown. Downtown Cancun was nice, what you would expect of Mexico, lots of people, colorful houses, small shops and restaurant everywhere. Although I have to say I did expect Cancun to be more impressive with the 12 million tourists who come here each year. I also made my first mistake: 1 hour in the sun without sunblock. The sun is crazy here, you can see it at the picture at the beach I took right after.
Talking about the beach, after our trip to downtown Cancun we took the bus to the Zona Hotelera, were the hotels and the beach are located. Well Cancun became waaaaayyy more impressive in 1 minute. Giant resorts, marble everywhere, statues, thousands of rooms, giant gates, and it went on and on, hotel after hotel, it was insane. I am quite positive 1 night at one of those resorts cost more than my plane ticket. At one point we decide to get off the bus. I knew from my Lonely Planet that all the beaches are public and the resorts cannot claim them. So we tried to look for a way to go to beach which was nowhere to be found. To prevent other people from going to ‘their’ beach they just block everything. After like 15 minutes of walking we still didn’t find a way in, so we just tried to sneak into one of the lobbies and tried to act as guests, unfortunately the guard was not a stupid as he looked. But he told us there was a public entrance 10 minutes further. The beach was beautiful, I have never seen such blue water in my life. After some swimming and laying the sun (with sunblock) we went on a walk next to all the resort. So many Americans, all in their chairs drinking cocktails. Also some resorts with the Jersey types, in the pool, drinking liters of beer or cocktails. I kinda get the appeal though, it is the same as when I went to Blanes of Lloret de Mar in Spain. After some Corona’s in one of the bars we went back to the hostel, this time though a hotel lobby when the guard was not paying attention.
The next day the German guy left and I decided to go to Isla Mujeres. Because I couldn’t find the bus I walked to the dock, bought the ticket and waited for the ferry to arrive. When I was standing in line I started talking with 2 German brothers, and an English guy. They met each other at their hostel and asked if I also wanted to tag along. Yeah sure! They already rented a golf cart, which is the common way to ride along the island, which was about 5km long and a couple 100 meters wide. Way better than the bike I was planning to rent! The beach there was even better than the one in Cancun, shallow water as blue as the sky, white beaches with palm trees, incredible, straight out of a movie! After some time in the water we took our golf cart for a ride along the island. First stop, a turtle farm. I think it really started as a nice initiative to save the turtles, but now I was just a tourist attraction with some turtles in small tanks, but still the turtles were pretty cool.
After this we planned to get some food. The English guy spoke some Spanish so he randomly asked some construction workers where we could find a good place to eat. They just pointed us into this tiny local street where we found a normal house with 2 plastic tables and some chairs stacked on the driveway. Since there was nothing else this had to be it, so we walked in, in what we though was a restaurant. However, it was a living room with a couple kids playing and this old Mexican lady in the kitchen. We asked if this was a restaurant? Si, Si, Si comida. She unstacked the chairs and we were tightly squeezed onto the small path outside her house. But I have to say, the food was amazing, a perfect stock with chunks of beef, fresh mole, rice, tortillas, chili, it couldn’t be more authentic than that, it was perfect!
After our amazing lunch we drove further to the south tip of the island. There we had some nice views from a steep cliff and I saw my first Iguana, lizard or whatever it was. After that we went back to the main area where we found some friends of my companions and decided to give them a ride. That resulted in my first encounter with the Mexican police, side note, you are not allowed to drive a golf cart with 6 people. That evening I met some amazing people with who I had a heavy discussion about the whole Syria issue, socialism, capitalism, etc, unfortunately we were not able to find a solution to fix the world, but we gave it our best shot. The next day I went to a Mayan museum with a guy from Canada I met at the hostel. The museum was nice but kinda small and half of it was closed for renovation. Since it was still early I went to beach to spent a couple hours at the sea and to get some sun on my skin. Of course, even after putting sunblock on once every hour I still got sunburned, but luckily not so bad.
That evening we went salsa dancing with people from the hostel at an Mexican club with an open bar! In the beginning I was not sure if I should go: open bar in combination with an early flight the next morning, might not be the best plan. But it was lots of fun, even though I couldn’t dance salsa. Luckily the Cuba libre’s were not that strong so I only had a small hangover. The next day I took a bus back to the airport and took my flight to Hermosillo! But that story I will publish in a couple days.
Foto's bij verslag (24)
8 april 2016 07:27 | Door: Chantal
Keep on giving us this kind of travel stories have a great time. TAL
8 april 2016 08:10 | Door: Eefje
What an amazing start Bart. Well done ;)
Looking forward to the next blog
8 april 2016 08:36 | Door: Liesbeth Toirkens
Great story and nice pictures, it made my day!!!!!!
8 april 2016 09:26 | Door: Viool
Great pics and what a fab first encounter with Mexico. Have a good one!
8 april 2016 11:18 | Door: Marianne Toirkens
Nice to hear you're doing well and what an amazing start of your journey.
I don't understand all of the technical stuff, I will search on the internet for it :)
And what a beautiful pictures, nice to see you are really enjoying. Keep going on!
8 april 2016 21:39 | Door: Paul
Goed bezig Bartje! Stevig jaloers man
12 april 2016 22:22 | Door: Tom
Klinkt niet slecht bart, geniet ervan en de volgende keer iets meer samenvatten;)
15 april 2016 17:19 | Door: Liesbeth
Jullie mam heeft alles vertaald vertaald, en ik ben blij dat je het goed maakt. Ze zei ook dat het duurder is daar dan je dacht dus die 50 euro komt nog goed van pas!
Je staat mooi op de foto's
Veel kussen, oma.
23 april 2016 16:52 | Door: Jan en anja
What a Greet story, and You write very good in English. It's easy to read.
Have a Great time. Today friends of us, come for diner, that You made for us couple of weeks Ago. Nou, over op Nederlands, want die klote IPad vertaald alles steeds in half Nederlands, en that sucks.
Veel plezier, klinkt allemaal super daarzo.
Wij Zometeen lekker jou menuutje mmmhhhh
Liefs, Jan en Anja