The harsh sounds of the mariachi music grated against my last nerve as I held on tight to the edge of the rocking boat. Pretty sure I had turned all fifty shades of green in the 20-hour boat ride –okay, it was really about 45 minutes, (but the longest 45 minutes of my life) while I struggled to keep the ceviche I had earlier for lunch down in my tummy where it belonged. I fervently prayed that 1) The boat ride would end –either by us arriving in Cozumel or a quick, painless and sudden death 2). We wouldn’t capsize or maybe we would and I would have a quick, painless and sudden death 3) The damn mariachi music would stop or I would cause a quick, painless and sudden death of two certain musicians or 4) I wouldn’t throw up my entire lunch on the woman sitting next to me.
Our original plan for our last full vacation day was to explore the Mayan ruins of Tulum. After a lazy morning of sleeping in and a late lunch, my friend B and I moseyed our way to the bus station, hoping to catch a quick ride to our destination only to find that we had missed the last bus by a few hours. Walking out of the bus station, we were accosted by one of the many street vendors wanting to sell us a dress or bracelet or offering to be our Mexican boyfriend. We vetoed all options. We decided to see what adventure we could go on instead of Tulum. The only thing left that late in the day was a snorkeling trip to Cozumel. We had 20 minutes before the boat left and we scrambled back to our hotel to get a bathing suit.
Reminder to self: You get seasick. Do not go on boats. Especially ones that rock back and forth on the water. And has awfully loud mariachi music.
When we finally docked in Cozumel, I had already planned to research ways to get back to Playa Del Carmen without having to take the ferry again. And I decided against snorkeling. The thought of getting onto another boat caused my churning stomach to loudly protest and I told B to have fun and to leave me to die on the side of the road.
After taking a little walk, (and losing all of the contents in my stomach in the dreaded ferry), I felt a bit better and figured I had nothing left to lose. Literally. So I grabbed my snorkel gear and stepped into the boat.
I didn’t notice him immediately, after all, I was still reeling from the ferry ride from hell and scrambling to get all our gear together. But after the hustle and bustle died down, I sat back to enjoy the much more smooth ride in the glass-bottom boat to our first destination. As I leaned back, I caught a boyish grin from the back of the boat. I gave him a polite smile and looked away. My first thought was, “That man is pretty cute. I’m glad I look like I just threw up in the bathroom of the ferry.” (He later said his first thought was, “Oh great. It’s two Americans.”)
We had three stops on our snorkeling adventure and I was really happy to discover that the small boat was much more gentle than the possessed ferry from hell. After stop one, I got back on the boat and Mr. Boyish Grin had moved up to the front of the boat and was chatting it up with B. I was happy to see that my friend had a cute boy with a great accent talking to her. I sat down next to them and then he politely introduced himself and told me he was from Austria. We made small talk until I was asked to move on the other side of the boat to even out the weight. In my mind, as the strains of “Matchmaker, matchmaker” played softly in my head, I was already plotting how I could get this guy to come out with us that evening since it seemed that he and B might be hitting it off.
At the second stop, I seemed to constantly run into Mr. Boyish Grin in the water and when I made my way back in the boat, I was pretty sure that it wasn’t B he was interested in, but me. We ended up talking the rest of the trip and before we got off the snorkeling boat and back on the dreaded, evil ferry from hell, I had already received a Facebook friend request and a suggestion that we all have dinner together.
He was really sweet on the ferry ride back. He tried to distract me with pictures, stories and asked me questions, until that damned mariachi band started back up. I then put my head down and thankfully dozed a bit ignoring my knotted stomach.
When we got onto land, we made plans for dinner after we all cleaned up a bit. While we were getting ready, B mentioned in a side comment about being the third wheel on our date. And so I felt really bad when she left right after dinner because she was “tired.” (I saw right through that B, but I appreciate it, my friend).
So, Mr. Boyish Grin and I decided to go for a walk on the beach. Hand in hand, we strolled along barefoot on the warm sandy beach, ever so often pointing out the camouflaged night guards or dodging the waters lapping at our feet. I picked up some shells to take home as the various strains of music from the nightclubs penetrated the darkness.
We walked for a while and chatted. A gentle breeze whispered through and caught an errant hair on my glossed lips. I tugged on his hand, motioning for him to stop so I could get the hair off my face and he suddenly pulls me to him and kisses me.
Then smiling his boyish grin, he pulls away and tells me that I’m the most beautiful girl in the world…in Italian.