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Laura and I have had a lot of incredible experiences researching the Yucatan peninsula; this one is definitely among my favorites.

Part One, “The invite”

My last meal of the day, 8pm, at a new restaurant in the resort town of Akumal, Mexico. It was a day that began at 6am with a long colectivo van ride (like small buses) from Tulum, Mexico, north to Puerto Aventuras, Mexico.

No bicycle on this day, I depended upon my feet and a few taxi rides. I had already dined at seven restaurants, but the bulk of those were around lunchtime. In the afternoon I walked miles of beachfront, some lined with beautiful sand, but most nothing but rocky shoreline dotted with rental properties. For the first time in days I was actually hungry and this restaurant was one I had never tried. A cerveza (beer) is definitely in order.

   My cerveza Sol (a favorite brand) was brought to me teeth-chilling cold and with a broad smile by my waiter, Wilburt. I was the only patron, so Wilburt and I shared some conversation on a beautiful night (This is how so many close friendships begin in the Yucatan). After enjoying a nice meal, Wilburt mentioned that he had three days off and was going home to his village for a visit—I was welcome to join him.

Like many Mexicano’s who work in the resort areas, Wilburt leaves his family behind, shares housing with others in a similar situation, and returns to the village to take money and spend time with his family—a family that I would eventually learn included a beautiful wife and two small children.

In Mexico, public transportation is abundant. Vans leave from larger cities throughout the day destined for dozens of tiny villages, some up to four hours away. Wilburt was catching the last van from Tulum (the same city I was staying in) at 10pm. I wasn’t going to be able to travel this evening, but I promised to join him the following morning.
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