She looks in the distance.

I can’t swim. Well, I’ve never swam. These long legs and arms would make for some great stroking, but the sensation is one I’ve never known. With that said, the last place I thought I would find myself is in a plastic speed boat with 7 people cruising along El Rio Lagartos. Dr. Pedro has taken us to a pier which gives boat tours near the Gulf of Mexico. 100 pesos (7ish dollars) per person is all it takes to have the wind whipping in your hair and saltwater freshly splashing your delicately heated skin in the late afternoon. Our guide, silent, dark, and barefooted, strikes the engine without warning. We’re going fast, and it isn’t long before land is far away.


“This is awesome!” someone yells as we take a sharp turn. The lot of us yell while taking photos and videos, and it’s no wonder that we’re able to stay in the boat. This lasts for about 20 minutes until finally everyone is quiet, and only the sound of the rushing water is left, abandoning us to reflection. The birds fly above. We are but endless waves washing in the tides, numerous and meaningful.

Our destination is small beached environment. They say it’s where the flamingos go. The guide brings the engine to a dull roar. “Callados,” he tells us. “Mira.” Sure enough, there are flamingos. We exit the boat as covertly as possible. My only aspiration is to get a decent shot of these pink wonders. We begin to approach. In the distance is Maria, who hurried to see them, but her excitement and jumping causes the flock to relocate. Meanwhile, I step on hardened seashells, wincing in the slight pain. Suddenly, my aspirations are tested.


I am determined for a shot. A half decent one will suffice. I hide on the opposite side of sand dune and continue hunched over through melty wetness towards the flamingos. I get as close as possible, and emerge to sit on the edge of a rock. The wind is blowing. My camera at max zoom. It’s no prizewinner but at least it’s proof.


The others eventually catch up, and we all gather in the sands; a touch of serenity as the sun slowly sets. However, I continue to wonder how I can get closer to these creatures. Dan extends up the beachhead towards the flamingos. I get it. He’s got the right idea. “Look Maha! Dan’s got it! Let’s go!” I say. She looks in the distance. “Actually, I think he’s trying to find a place to use the bathroom.” Sure enough, in the distance, is Dan.

Urinating.

Dr. Pedro tells us that water is so thick in minerals that we’re able to float, and almost everyone gets in. I remain slightly reserved, and unconvinced, until I see the effortless joy over take the others. I make my way into the light pink water and cast my cares to the flamingos. The weightlessness I feel reminded me of Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being. My being is effortlessly light in these waters, and I emerge feeling baptized anew. The mixture of cool and hot airs wedge us in a sandwich of thermal heat. A perfect breeze. We help push the boat back into the waters, and climb aboard for the 40 or so minute trip back. The sun by now; seeks to be a memory. Normally, it’s most difficult to look upon and causes me to shade my eyes, but now is not the case. This is the only place where I can look the Sun in the face with dignity.