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From Drab Cambridge To Lovely Cancun

By Nan Zheng

Hot Friday afternoon last March. Cancun airport. Long lines. Large football players in long lines. My friend and I were glad we decided not to spend Spring Break there.

Leaving a land where toilets flush out beer, we boarded our shuttle to Cozumel, a charming island off the coast of Cancun. As Mexico's largest Caribbean island, Cozumel has retained much of its natural beauty. Even the mobs of cruise-ship tourists who whirl through the town for a day cannot spoil the islands' natural topic beauty.

Thanks to my traveling companion's connections, we settled in at a suite in a resort by the white-sand shore.

For the first time in five months, my limbs were exposed to sunlight. Cambridge and its slush-layered streets seemed so far away as I watched the waves outside our balcony.

The town itself was incredibly. The ocean was visible from every corner. People strolled next to the sea to get to downtown Cozumel, which consists of a dock, restaurants, gift shops--and more restaurants and gift shops.

The crowd consisted mostly of couples celebrating anniversaries or marriages. These were people mature enough to appreciate beverages for their taste, not their alcohol content. College students were virtually nonexistent.

The Activities

It was my kind of spring break. Snorkeling, eating at all hours of the day, falling asleep in the sun and reading my Corporate Finance book, the last a feeble attempt to remind me of my student status.

Under the water, it was a miraculous world. The coral reefs were an amazing shade of blue-green. Silvery little fish swam alongside snorkelers.

Of course, no vacation is complete without an adventure. Ours came when we heroically voyaged via taxi to the Palancar Reefs, a beach approximately five miles down the coast. It was a little hub of commercial civilizationwithin a deserted part of the island.

After a snorkeling trip and a tasty meal, wewere ready to go back to the hotel to snorkel andeat some more. We sauntered toward the phone tocall a cab. "Dee fone ees bloken," the managersaid.

With grins and snickers, a few waitersloitering in the parking lot eagerly offered us aride. We graciously declined. At the time, we didnot fully realize the pain a broken phone caninflict upon human beings.

So we stumbled along in our flip flops, hopingto run into a cab on the highway. A mile later, itwas looking hopeless. It was also getting dark. Wewere in the boisterous companionship of a desertedhighway and dead animals.

Two miles later, we finally reached the edge ofcivilization. We were thankful that we did notjoin the ranks of the dead animals, for"accidents" were known to happen to tourists ondeserted and dark highways in Mexico.

When we got back to the hotel, we celebrated bysnorkeling and eating some more.

The Hookup Scene

Since hookups have become a much sought-afterobjective of the college spring break, the issue,by necessity, must be addressed.

Don't expect to find your future spouse inCozumel.

Well, unless you enjoy being followed by pudgyhotel workers named Marco Antonio (we endearinglycalled him Tostada Face) who periodically proposemarriage. We graciously declined to disclose ouraddresses in the U.S.

Or, you can take the outdoors option. Take astroll into town and you will encounter bands offriendly locals who will proudly exhibit theirwhistling abilities.

Of course, there was always the famed Carlos 'nCharlie's, frequented by cruise-ship touristsstopping over for the day. It was a meat-market ofa bar with probably the highest hookup rate in allof Central America.

Defying the societal convention which confinedwomen to skirt-wearing exhibitions, we upheld ourfeminist values and refused to enter the place.

Actually, the noise and the strange lightsemitting from the stairwell scared us.

Departure

Upon returning to Cambridge, I suffered a weekof severe Cozumel withdrawal. I missed the beach,the food and the sun. I even missed Marco Antonio.

I found sand in my Corporate Finance book, notexactly the strongest stimulus to do my problemset.

Many mornings thereafter I pretended to wake upto the sound of the waves outside of my window.Instead, I was mostly woken up by constructiontrucks and ambulance sirens.

Cozumel's serenity seemed like a dream, a dreamI wished would never end

After a snorkeling trip and a tasty meal, wewere ready to go back to the hotel to snorkel andeat some more. We sauntered toward the phone tocall a cab. "Dee fone ees bloken," the managersaid.

With grins and snickers, a few waitersloitering in the parking lot eagerly offered us aride. We graciously declined. At the time, we didnot fully realize the pain a broken phone caninflict upon human beings.

So we stumbled along in our flip flops, hopingto run into a cab on the highway. A mile later, itwas looking hopeless. It was also getting dark. Wewere in the boisterous companionship of a desertedhighway and dead animals.

Two miles later, we finally reached the edge ofcivilization. We were thankful that we did notjoin the ranks of the dead animals, for"accidents" were known to happen to tourists ondeserted and dark highways in Mexico.

When we got back to the hotel, we celebrated bysnorkeling and eating some more.

The Hookup Scene

Since hookups have become a much sought-afterobjective of the college spring break, the issue,by necessity, must be addressed.

Don't expect to find your future spouse inCozumel.

Well, unless you enjoy being followed by pudgyhotel workers named Marco Antonio (we endearinglycalled him Tostada Face) who periodically proposemarriage. We graciously declined to disclose ouraddresses in the U.S.

Or, you can take the outdoors option. Take astroll into town and you will encounter bands offriendly locals who will proudly exhibit theirwhistling abilities.

Of course, there was always the famed Carlos 'nCharlie's, frequented by cruise-ship touristsstopping over for the day. It was a meat-market ofa bar with probably the highest hookup rate in allof Central America.

Defying the societal convention which confinedwomen to skirt-wearing exhibitions, we upheld ourfeminist values and refused to enter the place.

Actually, the noise and the strange lightsemitting from the stairwell scared us.

Departure

Upon returning to Cambridge, I suffered a weekof severe Cozumel withdrawal. I missed the beach,the food and the sun. I even missed Marco Antonio.

I found sand in my Corporate Finance book, notexactly the strongest stimulus to do my problemset.

Many mornings thereafter I pretended to wake upto the sound of the waves outside of my window.Instead, I was mostly woken up by constructiontrucks and ambulance sirens.

Cozumel's serenity seemed like a dream, a dreamI wished would never end

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