“Let’s go somewhere. Anywhere. I don’t care. I need a vacation.”
“Just like that? Pick a place, then,” replied the husband.
And just like that, Playa Del Carmen in Mexico became the guideless, point-a-finger-at-a-map-with-your-eyes-closed-then-scootch-it-to-where-you-actually-wanted-to-go destination of choice.
“Let’s go eat a lot of tacos and film you eating them.”
And with just as much decisiveness as our destination choice, our vacation quickly turned into an opportunity for more content.
Playa Del Carmen didn’t feel like a tourist destination where cruises stopped to drop off hordes of humans with lumpy bodies full of buffet food. Walk only a few blocks away from the beach and the town is brimming with culture: kids playing soccer after school, construction workers speed-walking during their lunch break to the nearest food truck and meat sizzling loudly at select street corners.
Our nights consisted of bartenders slinging their egos across the bar, laughing at my distaste for mezcal and touting their favorite brands of the smoky spirit. “Stick to mezcal all night, no hangover. Have one beer, and ruin it all,” taxi drivers and chefs alike fed my thirst for cultural understanding.
With only a few hours left before our flight home, we jump into a taxi and ask to be taken to the nearest churro stand. It’s the only thing we hadn’t eaten yet during our trip. “Churros are hard to find in the summer,” our driver tells us after driving aimlessly to random street corners where we thought we’d seen some before.
“Fuck it. Tacos for breakfast it is.”
Pico de gallo and unlabeled sauces sit under the hot sun threatening to punch me in the large intestine and make me shit my cute vacation shorts. And as I bite down on that final taco before my flight, I understood. I’m not sure exactly what I understood, but it was definitely some kind of gastronomic enlightenment (and not a potential shorts accident.)
I’d eaten a high variety of animal parts, introduced completely new spices into my body (big ups to achiote,) exclusively shot mezcal for four days in a row and felt nothing and everything at the same time.
Watch the video at the top of the post and experience my slow and delicious journey to taco enlightenment.