Creating Culture Where None Existed Before

When I came to Cancun I couldn’t believe how little there was to do here. There’s partying. But I was a wild teenager and once tried to live on LSD for a whole month. I have lots of great stories from those days (though I can’t remember any of them). I don’t need to party anymore. Well, not too often.

And there are boating and water sports here. But I don’t swim well, I don’t want skin cancer, I don’t own a boat and so that’s that. As far as I’m concerned the beach is for when guests are in town.

Then we’ve got Maya ruins, but I’ve been to Chichen Itza 6 times, Coba 3 times, Ek Balam 3 times and Tulum 5 times. And besides none of those ruins is IN Cancun, all require travel.

Cancun is really boring. So I work, and I meet friends at Starbucks, and I see the crappy movies that they show in the theaters here (the best ones never seem to come here). And sometimes we go out to eat and then complain about how bad most of the restaurants are here.

Two years ago, to stave off total boredom and to bring a bit of culture to our lives, a friend and I started an English book club here. In our first month we were forced to read a truly abominable book just because it was the only one we could get multiple copies of here at the time. It was a book that had been an Oprah’s Book Club pick, but not even Oprah could save it, it was terrible and everyone hated it.

Since then we’ve progressed. We’ve developed a system so that we choose books far enough in advance that we can find someone to bring them from the U.S. for us. And we’ve learned a little about picking books. Sometimes we blow it and end up reading something mediocre, but usually we pick a book that has real merit. The group seems to unconsciously gravitate towards historical fiction, and we don’t read too many classics or too many non-fiction books.

We hold meetings once a month. And the meetings usually involve too many bottles of red wine and lovely hors d’oeuvre. But we always enjoy our book discussions, they lift us out of our own lives an into the world the author created. For a little while the group transcends Cancun and it’s lack of culture. And we are reminded that we have brains.

Of course I would have more brains if I hadn’t tried to cook them when I was a teenager.

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3 Responses to “Creating Culture Where None Existed Before”

  1. RiverGirl: A Gringa Writes About Life in Cancun, Mexico
    May 19th, 2008 21:48

    […] now my book club is reading Christopher Hitchens’ Portable Atheist. And I have also just finished […]

  2. Shanna
    June 4th, 2008 00:10

    oh my god you have an english book club here I have been looking for one for a long time. I just found your sight, and am amazed. If you have room in the club i’d love to join you can contact me at 914 0000 or 914 0001. Thanks

  3. RiverGirl
    June 4th, 2008 10:50

    Shanna – My book club is full right now. But email me (there’s a link to the lower right), I think there’s another book club forming.

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