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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In the category of overrated things...

Your intrepid correspondent has traveled all the way to Mexico in order to be able to file this post about it. I am reporting from Club Med Cancun, which is why I'm a bit more prolific (in length if not number of posts) than usual: the alternative to sitting in my room pecking at the keyboard is going to the beach. I've been to too many beaches in my life. You sit on one of those uncomfortable lounge chairs, bake in the sun, get burned, and if you have to use the bathroom you must walk 100 yards or so. If you want to swim, you get sand in your bathing suit. With a little bad luck you get an ear infection, with a lot a jellyfish sting. And if you've seen one tropical fish, you've seen 'em all.

Not even the topless women make it worthwhile. I've often been struck by how unarousing the sight of topless women on a beach is. I can walk by one of them without feeling even the faintest stirring. It's not purely a function of their physical merits; some are good-looking. It's the situation. With all that flesh hanging out in the hot sun, it becomes desexualized. I can certainly recall times when just the glimpse of a breast would make me a little crazy, but here it is simply boring. I know it makes me sound like Cotton Mather, but I'd almost prefer they covered up.

Then again, it may just be that I'm getting old.

Club Med seems to have gotten old, too. Several years ago, when it was still owned by the French, all of the villages were staffed by enthusiastic, good-looking young Europeans who were slumming for a few years. The place had the feel of a European nightclub, throbbing with excitement. Knowing that people are being paid to be nice to me generally makes me uncomfortable, but somehow at Club Med it didn't bother me. The Europeans actually seemed to be enjoying themselves while making sure that all the guest enjoyed themselves too.

These days the company is owned by Americans, and they just hire locals. The Mexicans who work here are perfectly pleasant, but they just can't duplicate the same atmosphere.

Perhaps the worst part of being on a vacation like this is the vaguely disquieting sense that you should be enjoying yourself more than you are. This feeling comes with a slightly guilty aftertaste.

This particular Club Med has crocodiles in the lagoon behind the hotel, and iguanas by the front of the club. Understandably, neither were advertised in the brochure. But both are actually fun to watch. (More so than the topless women, in fact, and you don't even have to pretend not to be looking.) I saw an eight foot crocodile basking on a dry patch of land right next to the hotel. They are magnificent prehistoric beasts, not having changed form in 200 million years.

Club Med, unfortunately, has undergone all too many changes in just the last five years.

Looking forward to getting home.

Mr. Grumpy


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Too much ennui, not enough joie de vivre,

John Craig said...

Guilty as charged.

Anonymous said...


Enjoy the sun...and most importantly.....time with your son.

Wish you were home also.

Mad Dog

John Craig said...

Thank you Tom. I am enjoying the time with Johnny. Unfortunately, he seems to feel that this is a lame vacation as well.