Christmas Mission: Cozumel, Mexico

Tulum or not Tulum? 

I woke up this morning feeling absolutely horrible. Fewer, ear infection, sore throat and beautiful racoon circles under the eyes. To make me feel better – tree hours bike ride on the schedule for today. I never skip workouts.

Mental masturbation lasted the entire morning. On the bike ride and even after I got back home, I couldn’t decide. Few days ago I found this cool place called Tulum and made a plan to go explore it. The place is located about 75 km from the ferry dock, so you needed some tipe of transportation to get there. I booked a rental car on the mainland and set my plans to get there after my training this morning. I would arrive to the mainland by ferry ($20), pick up the rental ($30 /day) and head towards Tulum. I would spend a day and night there and come back the next day. Drop off the car and return to the island for the Christmas Day/Evening celebration. I was not feeling well, but that wasn’t the problem. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go or not. Why? Where are you running? Why won’t you just slow down and take a breath? You can’t see everything in one day or week. Two different voices talked to me. One said  – go, another said – don’t, you need a rest. It was interesting to observe two completely different perspectives within one mind. “Go explore. See new places. Meet new people. You are here only for so long. Don’t sit on your butt, pick up and go!”. The other side of Sasha said: “You’ve got a fever, sore throat, ear infection. You are weak and exhausted. Even if you go, you will not enjoy the trip. You need to rest. You need to train. Where are you always running? What are you running from? You will just waste the money. You already spent much more on this trip than originally planned”. Each side had legitimate points, which drove me crazy. I realized I was wasting so much of my energy on this mental masturbation, trying to decide. Travel is so selfish. You are hunting for new experiences to feed your forever hungry brain. More pictures! More action! The more places you visit, the more new ones open up. More, more, more… Me, me, me… Something’s not right. You can only take so much, until it stops satisfying you. Maybe instead of getting, you need to start giving…

All of a sudden I got an idea.

Christmas Eve 

I’ve spent two hours going from one store to another in search for Santa Claus costume, however I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was asking anyone I could, where can I possibly find it, but people had no idea. I got a few suggestions of where to look at, so I went all around the island. Still can’t find the freaking costume. Not even a heat or beard of some sort. Only until I completely lost hope and gave up, the costume found me. On my way home, while riding along the street I spotted something red with peripheral vision. Looked over and I saw – A FREAKING CLAUS costume through the storefront!!! A maneken was wearing the costume. Jumped right in and said I NEED THAT! Got it.

I was so excited that I had the costume. I also felt so much pride in me – found a Santa costume on a Mexican Island, in the middle of nowhere. 

Now I needed the presents. Went to the grocery store and bought almost all the candies they had. Did not look at the price and picked some good ones. I envisioned how great would it be to see the kids smile, run up to me and get a nice candy. I am on a mission here: BRING THE CHRISTMAS IN TOWN. Make as many people smile as possible! YAS, I felt the fire start inside of me.

As the sun went down, Santa Claus jumped on his Honda-deer and headed to the main square, where the christmas tree is. Pedestrians on the streets, drivers on the road – everyone were shouting and waving at Santa. He waved in return and replied “Feliz Navidad!” (Merry Christmas in Spanish). Main square seemed empty at first, however the “Christmas Agent” took this time to practice his combat skills. 

Few kids popped up on horizon. Let’s get to work! We’ve got a lot of candies to give.

I was amazed how kids would come up to me – a complete stranger and HUG! Without a second thought they would run up to me with their hands stretched out and give me a genuine hug. I am not a hugger myself, and at first I was a little bit shocked. This little human beings totally flipped me out of balance. I forgot all the Spanish phrases I planned to say. I even forgot how to say Merry Christmas on Spanish. 

I’ve met so many kids. Mexican, Canadian, American… some older, some younger. Some kids were more shy than others, however they all had one thing in common – the look in their eyes. I felt a tremendous amount of responsibility landed on my Santa shoulders. I could not break their faith in me – in Santa! My plan was working out – I WAS MAKING OTHERS HAPPY. Holly shit how great it felt. I became a hugger. 

Some people would ask: “Why do you do it?” 
Just to make people smile – to have fun. Isn’t it what life is about?”, I replied.
Did you buy all this: costume and candies just to give it away?”, some looked concerned.
Yes! Here, take a candy.”, I would say.
You are crazy…

My new Mexican friend Breto – who accompanied me, kept on saying I was crazy. “Why crazy?” I asked. “In a foreign country, without even speaking the language, in front of so many people. I could not do that. You are a crazy Gringo”. He is right, I don’t even speak the language… but does it matter? Kids don’t need me speak the language. I just say Feliz Navidad!, give a candy and hug – everyone’s happy. You don’t need to do much and try to impress the little ones. They already think you are the coolest human being in the entire Universe. 

Christmas Morning

Christmas in Mexico is a big deal and people party all night long. They go to church around 8 pm, then come home for a family dinner and go party from midnight till sunrise. Similar to out New Year’s celebrations. All night partying was not in my plans and I went to bed pretty early. Loud music was blasting through the night. It was a bit hard to fall asleep at first, but once I did, you can not wake me up even if you shoot from the gun next to my ear. 

Today Santa operates at the beach. We went to the beach called Punta Morena. As expected, Santa on the beach attracted a lot of attention, not only from kids, but from adults. Even the owner of the beach club came up to say hi and thank me for engaging the public. She thought it was a great idea and asked to take a photo with her. Not only the business owner, but a lot of other people wanted to take a selfie with Santo Clós. It was a lot of fun, however hot! Santa stripped down into his red speedos and dove into the ocean.

Mission complete.