April 20, 2006

Backpacker Layover
CancĂșn, Mexico

I've been running around Cancún for several days now, but I can't say as I find the area particularly stimulating.

There is a surprisingly high turnover rate at the hostel I'm at here. It's not because of the establishment, but because backpackers use Cancún in more of a utilitarian way. The city is the main travel-hub for the region, and most people (myself included) are either on their way into or out of Mexico, often times sticking around for less than 48-hours. As someone that's been around for five nights now, I've seen an amazing number of people come and go.

But you know, there's no real reason for a backpacker to stick around here. The resort beach is average (although the dozen yards of opaque turquoise water off the shore isn't bad to look at), the nightclubs are out of the budgets for most (but the short-term holiday traveler), and there's not much history to explore (Cancún is a very young city). I can see why so many either come here to relax and party or push onto more interesting locations.

I found what appears to be the resort for ditzy teenagers and college students to party at. The Grand Oasis Cancun is absolutely packed with young, beautiful, drunk, and annoying American's. I'm left to wonder if they packed their beer bong, or were adventurous enough to venture into downtown to collect the supplies, sporting arms covered in nightclub wristbands worn like badges of honor.

Out of pure curiosity, I managed to slip past a small army of security guards, penetrate the grounds of the all-inclusive resort, and pop into one of the top-level rooms being cleaned by housekeeping. Amazing—for the posted lobby price of US$370/night, you get a room that looks like it would best be found in a $24.99/night Best Western on the side of the highway. For the price of a single night, I could stay in the hostel I'm in now for 30 days.

With my old friend Babak flying down from Arizona for a long weekend tomorrow, I'll be curious to see how staying a few nights in the NH Krystal Cancun Hotel in the middle of all the action compares to downtown hostel life.


My afternoon on the beach was drawing to a close yesterday when I found myself involved a conversation straight out of American Gigolo—too bad it was with a guy.

I was lounging in a padded beach chair that I had liberated from the nearby resort, when I entered into conversation with a friendly enough guy near me from Mexico City. Entertainingly, the conversation discretely turned to how he could "become a sponsor." (chuckling)

I was tempted to throw out a number, just to see how he'd react, but I didn't want to get started in any kind of negotiations! Hummmm… Maybe I'm going about this sponsorship thing the wrong way. ;)



Craig | travelvice.com

April 20th, 2006

By the way…I've added a new page to the about section of the site, Travel Vocabulary.

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