Safe & Sound In CelestúnSunday, September 23, 2007
As summer wanes and we think about turning on the furnace I gaze upon this picture of Rebecca and think of the warm (hot, why not?) days we had in our July vacation in Texas and Yucatán. I long for them.
When Rosemary, Rebecca and I were in Mérida, Yucatán we had been forewarned by Hilary (my daughter and Rebecca's mother) not to even think about going to a beach. She particularly pointed out Can Cun. Hilary had read too many newspaper reports of Canadians being murdered there. Rosemary had indicated we might have taken a bus from Mérida (facing the Gulf of Mexico with its port of Puerto Progreso) to the seaside resort of Cancun, west in the state of Quintana Roo on the Caribbean. Foreign tourists avoid the placid and extremely shallow beaches of Puerto Progreso. There is no surf and one has to wade in luke warm waters for a long stretch before hitting the deep end.
Luckily our hotel, Casa del Balam had an excellent little pool that Rebecca enjoyed several times a day and helped cool her down from the near 40 degree temperatures and a relative humidity that always exceeded 90%. But we did manage to hit a beach once. We visited the Biósfera de Celestún not too far from Puerto Progreso and facing what is the fuzzy demarcation between the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. These biospheres are areas that the Mexican government has set aside to protect the flora and fauna of the region. This particular one in Celestún featured thousands of flamingos. Rebecca enjoyed the flamingos. Not far from the site was the small town of Celestún with a long beach of white sand. Just like in Puerto Progreso the waters were shallow. It was horribly hot and there was not one palm tree to be seen or a beach umbrella to be rented. I enquired as to the why. A fisherman pointed at a nearby lighthouse. It looked like a miniature version of the Tower of Pisa. Unwilling to fight the elements but unwilling to move to safer grounds the inhabitants of Celestún live and survive through all those hurricanes we in Vancouver read about with the detachment that comes from geographic distance.
I took the above picture of Rebecca in one of the few places I found that had some shade. I used my swivel lens panoramic camera, a frequently under performing peace of equipment. This time around it surprised me with clarity and drama (a yellow filter helped) and I don't have to wonder how Celestún braved the hurricanes that followed. I am sure the inhabitants simply shrugged their shoulders and hunkered down.