Cancun Journal: October 17

Sometimes small miracles happen.

Today, I drove ten minutes down the coast to go snorkeling. Ten of us headed out with Guillermo and Ricardo. To get to the reef, we pass through two “jungles”—islands of crooked trees rife with exotic birds, for all the world like the Amazon—and finally we’re in the ocean.

We follow Guillermo into the water and, presto, within 30 seconds we are surrounded by fish. You can touch them with impunity, and two nip me back for my gall. I’ve never seen such rich sea life but, through the fins, I notice that Guillermo has something that looks like a Parmesan cheese shaker. He’s feeding the fish!

Finally, we travel on, 45 minutes around the reef and back to the boat, longer than I’ve ever snorkeled without a rest. We take a break, which I need, and we’re told we can take some more free-swimming time before we return. Only half of us go back in, but as I perch on the side, Guillermo hands me the shaker and says, “Feed the fish!”

I swam away and realized I was holding a plastic soda bottle with strange brown flakes. I squeezed a few out, and nothing happened—no fish. At that point, I realized that my snorkel had come off my mask. I bobbed around replacing it (Hammacher Schlemmer, bless their hearts, easy to fix in the water), and when I looked back in the water, I was lousy with fish.

I pressed the bottle as long and hard as I could. Fish peered at me through my mask, shouldered me aside, inspected my outfit, nibbled my fingers, escorted me around. I was the Pied Piper of Pisces, just magical moments.

Finally, food exhausted, the fish went about their business and I returned to the boat. I handed the empty bottle to Guillermo and asked what the ingredients were.

“Tacos, of course,” he smiled.

Thus far on this trip I’ve written Balancing Act, the Mentor Newsletter, the SAC Newsletter (Weiss Advice); completed a sample chapter for a new book proposal; finished revising my book, Value Based Fees; and completed the next article for Alan’s Forums. I do this solely in the morning at about 7, watching the sun rise over the Gulf of Mexico.

Tonight we dined in the high-end Italian restaurant at the J.W. Marriott, another outstanding resort. Grilled Portobello mushrooms followed by an outstanding risotto with cuttlefish, squid, and assorted seafood, accompanied by a 2003 Chilean Los Vascos Cab, from the wonderful people at Lafite Rothschild. Chilean wines are among the world’s best—I’ve been visiting there for 25 years—but often don’t travel well. This one traveled first class. An elegant dining room with live music, a surfeit of wait staff, and wonderful food.

Earlier today, we stopped at a shopping area. When I traveled in Mexico years ago, while managing Latin America for a consulting firm, I was often approached by shady figures trying to sell me cocaine. Today, one of those same shady figures offered me Viagra!

© Alan Weiss 2007. All rights reserved.


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