CANCÚN: Just Another Day in Paradise

20170622_141547290_iOSthe view from my bedroom window

When it comes to day to day life, Cancún is a city much like other cities in Mexico or, for that matter, anywhere in the world. It is hot and humid, but we haven’t felt it much since we installed mini-split air conditioning shortly after occupying the house. Except for the humidity, there is not much evidence that the ocean is near. There are signs, though, that we are living in what was once a jungle. Trees are tall and vegetation is lush. Even our little pebble-covered patio has a big tree. Its generous branches at my bedroom window, along with the leaves peeking over the fence from the jungle-like park behind the house, make me feel like I am sleeping in a tree house.

The house itself is a variation on the house where we lived in Torreon. Like most middle-class houses in Mexico, it is made of brick and steel, covered in stucco, and attached to the house next door townhouse-style. This particular house is an attractive pale yellow with red roof tiles.

As you enter the front door, a tiny hallway immediately to your right leads to a half-bathroom. A couple of steps more and the stairway with a generous under-the-stairway area is on your right. To your left is the door leading to the big square kitchen with a window above the sink overlooking a passage between our house and the house next door. The kitchen opens to the dining room by way of a wide counter. Opposite the counter, between the refrigerator and the sink, a door leads into a good-sized laundry room, which includes an old-fashioned stone sink and washboard as well as space for an automatic washer and dryer. There is a door leading from the laundry room to the outdoor passage.

Walking straight ahead through the hallway, past the kitchen, you arrive at the living room on your right and the dining room on your left. Each area has double glass doors protected by iron gates opening to the pebbled patio. The living room door is disabled by the small couch in front of it. The living room is about eight inches lower than the rest of the house, giving it a cozy feeling. Strips of inlaid dark-red tile delineate the areas for living room and dining room furniture. The floors throughout the house and the kitchen counter tiles are something between beige and tan, with little spots sprinkled through them, disguising spots, stains, and coffee spills.

Up the stairs, which are decorated with patterned tile on the face of each step, two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a master area with bedroom, bathroom, and walk-in closet are distributed around an adequate-sized landing with a window overlooking the street. The master bedroom and one other bedroom overlook the back patio. The other bedroom has a window to the street.

We shop regularly at Chedraui, a short drive from the house, or at WalMart, a stone’s throw—actually within walking distance if you can take the heat. So what about the famous beaches? We are a ten-minute drive from Playa Delfines in the Hotel Zone. That’s where you find the big CANCUN letters, where people wait in line to pose for photos. We enjoy Puerto Morelos, a more relaxed beach area and a real beach town, even though it’s a short drive—about forty minutes from where we live. Dora Sanchez, who was part of the kid-gang at the condominium in Guadalajara, has a classy restaurant, John Gray’s Kitchen, in Puerto Morelos. The water at all the beaches is a beautiful turquoise, usually framed by a clear blue sky with a scattering of benign white clouds. Even though the city is hot, the temperature at the beaches always seems to be just right.

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