Barcelona, Cuba, Bolivia. Those were among the list of locations I texted to my boyfriend. “They’re easy to access and relatively cheap flights. Choose one.” He chose the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.
Mike and I haven’t traveled together in almost two years and my job as a petsitter keeps us sleeping separately about five nights a week. We meet up for hot tub sessions at 1pm and Netflix binges starting at 4 but we don’t spend huge amounts of time together, and for that our “marriage” has suffered. I already know we travel well together, but I was/am hoping that this trip can prove to me that we are still a good partnership for the long haul (like until we’re dead.)
Our first night in the Yucatán we slept in a small family-run hotel with stray dogs barking all night, next door to a wood shop that opened with sanding machines at 8am. Mike is grumpy without sleep, as I am without food. We’ve known this about each other for the entirety of our 10 years. Still Mike only complained for a few minutes, then drove us to the town beach where we accessed the famous “Maya Riviera” for the first time.
The next few days were touristy, though I got quality Spanish language practice when $20 USD got stolen from my hotel room, and again when a bungalow was advertised as being in the jungle but was actually in a pueblo, just across the street from their soccer field. I’m an adequate translator for Mike except when I listen for four minutes and sum it up for him in one sentence. He’ll say, “How can that be all she said?” He knows he’s not getting the full story but he never gets frustrated.
In the relatively empty state of Campeche we visited a few Mayan ruins, the most remarkable being Becan because it was tall with clean, square edges and we were the only people there. We climbed everything climbable. Mike said, “Obviously if it has a rope as a handhold, we have to go up.” He didn’t ask if I wanted to ascend; he knows me. We seek the taco shops with cheap plastic chairs on the sidewalk, the towns with graffiti that says “Without nature there is no poetry.” (Shout out to the hidden gem town of Bacalar.) We can play ping pong for an hour and have a good time.
This trip is about so much more than Mayan ruins and cenotes (limestone sinkholes where the groundwater makes a pool to swim in.) I’m testing our ability to grow old together. Can I be with a guy who won’t visit when I’m in Africa for two months or go salsa dancing on a Saturday night? Are those petty reasons to split up an otherwise wonderful partnership? I have a best friend who takes good care of me. That should be enough.