Saturday, July 05, 2008


We wandered into a small park in Cancun. From a few paces away it looked like a tranquil and shady escape from the heat.

We entered it and found a man sleeping on a bench, another talking to the pigeons. As we passed near the benches, we saw that the entire place had fallen into decrepitude. Benches missing boards, rusty nails sticking up. A skinny cat curled up next to an shoe shine chair which has clearly seen better days. It was not possible to sit on any of the remaining benches so we left. No sooner had we exited the park than I noticed we were being followed by a thin, bearded man with shoulder length hair. He was disheveled and dingy. He was clearly a gringo, and I recognized him from about 20 minutes earlier when we had gotten off the bus. Obviously he had followed us to this place.
He called to our backs from about thirty feet away.
"Are you American?"
Reflexively I turned my head. Perhaps it was the American accent that caught me off guard. Beth did not slow down.
"Yeah," I said.
"Thank god!"
The man approached me. "I'm from Portland, and my wife she just got a phone call from her family. We didn't expect it, but now we have to go...."
I cut him off with a wave. "I'm gonna cut to the chase. I don't believe you." I turned and saw that Beth had already put some distance between her and us. I started walking to her.
"Why, man?"
Beth looked at me.
"I know. I know."


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