Go Light Go Mega

I simply can’t get away with it every time and Kathey wasn’t going along with my usual minimalist approach when we packed for our wintering over in Playa del Carmen, on the Mexican Riviera Maya.

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As I’ve learned to be from my adventurous friends and own experiences, I’m generally a minimalist, packing light for travels abroad. Too, I’ve gleaned some good clues from the travel expert, Rick Steves (the guy on PBS). Though we tend to be more adventurous than the average Steves’ traveler, unless we are vacationing in Alaska in January (been there done that – Kathey won’t do it again), we don’t need much, or normally want to pack it with us.

Kathey bragged about her two large bags to the ticket agent in San Francisco, “That’s for several weeks.” He was savvy enough not to judge her statement, one way or the other.

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Still, I kept to a single bag with shorts and tee shirts, flip-flops and running clothes, not much more.

Through the check-in process and TSA lines to our five (5) hour flight to Cancun. Where we would observe the onboard transformation of quiet beings yet in their work-a-day worlds, bundled in layers for the wet and cold of Northern California, then to slip from their cocoons, becoming tourists in flower prints and flip-flops.

Too, attitudes changed: outward appearances brightened, smiles formed, inhibitions slackened their hold on tongues. For most of the people on our flight, they were now on vacation. For us, it was a move, a move to become short-term ex-pats (really just a longer vacation, on a smaller weekly budget then normal; travel cheaper, stay longer).

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We knew that near to our rented condo was a Mega market, one of those ginormous box stores with everything from meat and cheese to shampoo and body wash. All those things we left behind back home.

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In a place like Playa (as the locals call it), one can arrive with a light load, move into your condo, and buy what you need at the Mega, or one of the many other, big or small, markets. You don’t need to bring the big shampoo (for example), buy the right size here with the length of your stay in mind.

We’ll live here—for a short while. The view east to the Caribbean, windows of our condo open to the sea breeze, the sheer gauze curtains billowing about, relaxed, feet up, wine glass in hand, pondering what others might be doing, and—where shall we find the best cochinita pibil tacos tonight.

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