Sometimes my first impressions are spontaneous rather than learned or developed.
I need to learn to settle in. Suss things out. Beauty does not always get recognized immediately.
That’s what happened to me with our Airbnb in Bacalar.
Travel days can be stressors for me. All the bits and pieces to keep track of and the need to be on a schedule can make me irritable. My discombobulated mind hurries forward skipping steps.
Adjustment is required, and I know decompression will happen momentarily. It is just a lesson I learn over and over.
I am learning how to look around me. Having my new camera helps. Settings, metering, framing; it all makes me slow down. I talked about my desire to hear that camera click in the last post.
So now, I get the camera out, shoot some still life, really see things. I should do this at the beginning of any jaunt we take, any place we stay. It works like magic.
We arrived at our Airbnb in Bacalar in the afternoon after a taxi and then a long bus ride from Puerto Morelos. I was tired.
We’ve been to Bacalar before when we inadvertently booked a room at a hotel in Buenavista instead of the town directly. This time, we made sure we didn’t make that mistake.
The taxi ride to the cabin from the bus “station” (the side of the road) seemed long. It wasn’t, but first impressions of a drive through town and out the other side made it so. In reality, it is only a 15-minute walk to the Centro. One we ended doing even at night.
We always felt comfortable and safe and needed to walk off the goodness of the evening’s meal.
Our cabin on the cenote was rough around the edges. Four beds, two bedrooms, and an inside bathroom where the room was a shower/toilet set up, similar to so many in S.E. Asia. When faced with one, make sure to remove anything from the area before you turn on the shower or it will get drenched. I am out of practice with all this. It used to be second nature.
I am returning to that mindfulness that less is often more.
Glenn preferred to serenade the birds and used the outside toilet/shower, which was open air and had a more designated space for each. He could look out over the lake and contemplate. A lot of thinking got done there. Facebook posts, emails, you name it.
This cabin was Glenn’s choice on Airbnb. I wasn’t sure about it from the start. And at first, I was resentful. It was a bit pricey. I hadn’t found the magic. I thought others would be better suited to us.
The owner and host, Jacqui, was lovely during our entire stay though. Accommodating, and a joy to chat with.
And then I found out our first morning just what a special place her cabin really is.
Don’t you love surprises?
I got into its rustic charm. Things that rattled me at first became exactly why I ended up loving it. It reminded me that perfect is not all it is cracked up to be. Sometimes a bit of a challenge is just what we need to feel alive.
In my childhood, we made family trips to a resort in the Trinity Alps of Northern California where we had the same cabin every year. It was one big room and a porch sporting two more beds that hung over the river. No refrigerator there, just an ice truck every day or so, dropping off a large block to keep things cool. A gas stove, a kitchen table, a small bathroom. That was it. Heaven.
We kids spent our days at the swimming hole carved out of a bend in the river. The big kids jumped off the bridge above it. One year it collapsed and everyone had to drive their cars through the river to get to the other side and leave our Nirvana.
Now, our Bacalar cabin was perfect for bare feet and hanging out. There was a romance about it when I let myself see it for what it really was, one of the best locations on the lake.
We have never been people in love with pristine “perfection,” it bores us. Deeply moving experiences, a bit of a challenge; now that rocks our world.
Here, we got used to the lack of curtains on the big screened windows that cover its front. We are getting comfortable in lacking modesty. It is overrated. We are who we are. We look how we look.
As the cabin was right on Cenote Negro, it provided us with a killer view over the cenote and across the lake. There was a daily gathering of sunrise paddleboard worshippers on its calm water. Pontoon boats came through in a circle and we caught snippets of the conversations onboard.
We got up before sunrise, perked our pot of coffee, and took big mugs onto the porch, where we settled into the day. It was spectacular! And it all could have been missed if I had had my way. Talked Glenn into booking something else.
There were books! Lots of them! If we had been staying longer, I would have cracked one open and remembered a time before my Kindle, when pages got crinkled and dog-eared.
We really got comfy in the porch hammocks.
And then there was a dock where we dipped our feet into the water and lily pads and Glenn dove from it into the deepness of the cenote. Deep enough for a boat to sidle up to and pick us up for an afternoon sail, cold beers, and an awesome soundtrack that matched our mood. The captain, a really wonderful young guy from Mexico City who used to be an engineer until he heard a different call for a less hectic life and answered it. Now, he is supremely happy, and it shows in his wide smile as he sings along to his tunes. I even got him to do a bit of chair dancing!
Changes are possible.
Tranquility is such a great goal.
I used my new camera here. Still not entirely sure of what I am doing, I brought it along each day and captured the bright murals and the electric meters that are surrounded by stories.
I wrote and had a productive session with Danielle Anderson, my memoir coach, there on the upstairs porch, gazing out at the view. Zoom makes things possible when the Internet works.
During our time in Bacalar, I also hooked up with my Monday Writers’ Workout with Nadine Kenney Johnstone. We did have Internet that one afternoon, YIPPEE! She gave us three fantastic prompts to work off of.
IF I COULD SET THIS TO MUSIC – was one prompt. And, our Bacalar cabin was my inspiration.
This is what I wrote:
If I could set today’s sunrise to music, it would be haunting in a silence that is not.
The beat of soft, fluttering wings stretches out over a new day.
There is a little chirp from deep in the branches. Simple, confident, but not echoing.
The lake ripples softly, hinting of a gusty wind that may come up in future hours.
The dark shadows give rise to gray and orange. And pink rose over the treetops in front of me.
A paddleboard squad dips oars in unison, barely whispering so as not to disturb the loud silence.
There is no words. But there is feeling.
Of a body full of joy, sipping a warming coffee lightened with cream.
Holding hands with my loved one.
My music does not need to be heard around the world.
It is in me. It is in you.
Let the music wash and heal.
Let the silence be.
It is enough.
I kind of like that. I don’t do poetry. But I am trying it out once in a while and finding the fun in it. There is always room for more creativity.
If we listen to life’s hints and look around us, we can find a map and a blanket to wrap ourselves in. I am reminded of this at the times I most need to be. It is becoming a habit.
If you are staying in Bacalar, perhaps you too will want to experience the peace of the cabin. Without frills, it allows you to find its comfort and specialness as though meeting a new acquaintance for the first time. Ease in, stay a while and discover. Contact Jacqui here on Airbnb.