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First Trip to Progreso

On a lazy Sunday, with nothing to do and wanting to conserve money for our trip to Los Angeles day after tomorrow, we found ourselves wandering the streets, halfheartedly thinking about maybe, possibly buying guayaberas. It was such a lovely day, though still crazy hot, when I remarked casually that it would’ve been a good day to rent a car and go out to Progreso. But at 2:00 in the afternoon, this hardly made sense. Jillian, revealing herself every day to be the more intrepid of the two of us, suggested we take the bus, even though we only had a vague idea of where the bus station was, how long it would take, or how much it would cost. There was nothing else to fill the afternoon, and I was trying to find a way to get out from under the promise I had made to go see a Spanish language production of “Oedipus,” so I agreed.

We made our way down through Centro, to the bus station, and found the ticket window. Jillian astonished me with the Spanish she spoke to the woman in the ticket booth, learning when the next bus was, how much it cost, and when the last one came back in only a few sentences. Looks like these lessons are worth the dough, or maybe it’s just because Jillian is outside more, interacting with the world. At any rate, with the next bus leaving in 10 minutes, why not?


The bus station in Merida.

The bus was immaculate and modern, with closed windows and air conditioning for the 45 minute trip to Progreso. Much of that time was just spent trying to get out of the city, with many stops being made along the way. Upon arriving on the outskirts of Progreso, it all of a sudden occurred to us that Progreso was big, and it was entirely possible that the bus terminal would be nowhere near the beach. After wandering around for a few minutes, though, or fears were quickly erased as we found this:


Boom. Welcome to La Playa.

The pier pictured above was built when Progreso decided to turn itself into a port city, even though the water was far too shallow for ships to come in. The solution was obvious…build the world’s largest pier, and bring Mexico to the ships. The entire beachfront is lined with lovely restaurants, raucous bars, and small gift shops. Vendors with carts selling everything line the sidewalk, and then it’s just beach and horizon for as far as you can see.


Palapas on the beach are serviced by the restaurants across the street.

Of course, because we are Malcolm and Jillian, we had made no preparations for our day at the beach. Who thinks to go swimming at three in the afternoon? But after seeing the water, we knew we had to get in it, so the hunt began for throwaway bathing suits from the vendors lining the sidewalks.


Jeans are hot at the beach.

After walking the length of the boardwalk a few times, taking it all in, we finally selected our suits. Total cost? 12 bucks for both of us, and I think we got gouged. So it was off to a restaurant for a quick margarita and coconut shrimp (not to mention use of their bathroom for changing), and within a few minutes, we were in the ocean.


Jilly at the restaurant, smack on the water.

Let me tell you something. THIS is how I envisioned our lives in Mexico. While I love Merida, there is a lot to be said for lazy days in the sun, swimming in bright blue oceans the temperature of a bathtub, and drinking cheap beer under a palapa, barefoot, with sand in your shorts. We kept laughing and laughing, not believing that this idyllic vacation spot was 40 minutes and $1.20 worth of bus ride away.


Mild discomfort in my cheap shorts.

After swimming, we cozied up for a few cans of Sol and plates full of ceviche, eating fish and looking at the ocean. I also bought my first ever item from a street vendor, who wandered up to where we were eating. Once I had shown any interest at all in his wares, he was impossible to get rid of…not to mention kind of a delight in his own right. My purchase? A red coral ankle bracelet for Jillian.


We watch as two young Mexican boys murder a third.

Life can be pretty incredible sometimes. So far, so good. Expect to see lots more pictures of us in Progreso. I am growing tired of the city, and the beach is just right there. Why wait until the house closes?

There Are 4 Responses So Far. »

  1. OK. That’s it. I’m packing.
    Love you and have a super time in LA…you’ll probably have reverse culture shock…

  2. Like the suit, the legs, not so much

  3. Mmmm, those margaritas look good! Jillian – I like your style. Very Urban Hippie meets Tropical Hottie. Look forward to meeting you guys in Nov!

  4. So proud of you Jillian!!! Can’t wait to hear your spanish. Urs and I are still in Auckland where it’s much colder than we expected, we have secured a rental campervan and depart for our 3 month tour on Wednesday. Having blog problems, but should be fixed soon. Love and miss you guys!!

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