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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Mexico: a Warm and Welcoming Adventure

The%26%23160%3BTemple+of+Kukulcan+in+the+ancient+Mayan+city+of%26%23160%3BChichen-Itza.

The Temple of Kukulcan in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen-Itza.

There’s so much wonder in exploring a new country that is very different from the culture you, as the tourist, are accustomed to. I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Cancún, Mexico, and I think I can truthfully say it was the best week of my life. I toured ancient Mayan ruins, I tried traditional dishes, I swam with dolphins, I practiced my Spanish, and I became painfully aware of my place as an American tourist. I tried my hardest to participate, not appropriate. I worked to appreciate and genuinely learn about Mexican and Mayan cultures, rather than just gawk at citizens like one would toward caged animals at the zoo. I’ve learned more than just the meaning of “Hola!” and “Adios!” and I’m honored to be able to share that experience.
Something I’ve considered extensively even prior to my visit to Mexico was the place that I hold in the eyes of other countries, specifically a country like Mexico, with all the conversation and controversy that’s recently arisen from many Americans. I am a white, American female. I am the stereotypical “spring breaker,” and though I was, in fact, there for spring break, I intended to use my time there to explore and learn more about and further come to appreciate a culture I could not call my own. I was in a country I did not know, with customs and languages I didn’t understand; I was the outsider who needed to be respectful and aware of my surroundings. One of the most incredible and eye-opening experiences, which helped to further put into perspective the place I hold in a global context, was the tour we took to Chichen-Itza. We were no longer on the resort, which meant that not everyone spoke English, and we were visiting historically and culturally significant sites held near and dear to the people who lived close by.
Throughout the excursions we took, I stumbled through ordering food and drinks, buying souvenirs, asking for directions, and questions about the town and the ruins, all in broken Spanish. Surprisingly, the awkward conversation, in both slow fragmented English and Spanish, made my time on the Yucatán Peninsula feel so much more real, and it reinforced the anti-Eurocentric concept that the world does not revolve around the United States. However, many of the people I encountered during my stay made me feel as though the world revolved around me and my experience, all while keeping me grounded by throwing me as far into their own culture as possible.
Truthfully, there was something incredibly warm and welcoming about the entire trip. Nothing felt like forced interaction or necessary false politeness; every person we encountered seemed truly kind and excited that we were there to have fun and learn about a culture we knew nothing about. When planning a vacation, if you’re looking for sites to see, exciting food to try, and amazing adventures to embark on, Cancún and the Yucatán Peninsula are spectacularly shining and welcoming options for your next world adventure!