March, April, May, June, July, and August… yep, almost five months of being locked down here in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Gratefully, I had my daughter here to keep my sanity because my husband was stranded in the USA working and not able to travel back and forth.
It started out nice enough, because we weren’t really locked down yet. While the tourists stopped coming to Mexico, lots of things were still open in Mexico. At least it was like that for the first few weeks. And that meant we had everything to ourselves. The beaches were empty, the water was spectacular, and everyone was keeping their distance from others. It was like being in a lost paradise, instead of a heavily trafficked tourist attraction. We spent every afternoon at the beach, took hundreds of pictures trying to get those “perfect Instagram” poses, and enjoyed the peace and quiet.
Until everything became too peaceful and too quiet. Until the place became a ghost town.
By the beginning of May everything was closed. There were no schools, no restaurants, no bars, and worst of all – no people allowed at the beaches! Our lost paradise we were living in, simply became, just living in the land of the lost. There were no cars on the roads. No people working. Nobody leaving their houses. Nobody having dinners or happy hours or photo ops in the sands of the deserted beaches. Nothing, nada.
And so our search to get creative to keep ourselves occupied began. Which was really hard because in Mexico, we got a few restrictions that I never heard of the USA having. For one, only two people were allowed to be inside a vehicle. What? Ok. I guess that’s alright because there really isn’t any place to go. But what if we just wanted to take a drive to get out of the house? I had to take turns bringing my daughter and then bringing my son, since we couldn’t all go at the same time. For another, only one person per family was allowed in the grocery stores, which when the grocery store is 30 minutes away, sometimes you want company and don’t want to go by yourself! And another was the random temperature checks on the highway. Yep, you read that right. At the check points (where law enforcement typically wait and randomly check people’s immigration forms) they had their health department officials taking temperatures. And of course, masks. But here the penalty for not wearing it was a night in jail!
So we had our challenges trying to leave the house to find something, anything, to do.
We finally fell into a rhythm. I worked all day, the kids did school work online and took lots of naps. And on the weekends, we would create a bar menu. We got pretty creative in some of the drinks we made! And we would take our drinks, fill the whirlpool tub on our rooftop terrace up with bubbles, turn the music on blast, and then continue our quest for the perfect Instagram shots. (oh, and my daughter discovered TikTok and started making music videos that I so generously became the camera man for).
A few of our favorite drinks:
- Sangria (four or five gallons of it at a time)
- Jello Shots (even when they melted and we were really just drinking the Jello)
- Pina Coladas (on the rocks because I don’t own a blender)
- Homemade Margaritas (of course, we had to experiment with every Tequila available in Mexico)
- Pineapple Juice and Malibu Rum (for the simple days)
- Grey Goose and Water (for the days we needed to hydrate)
- And this Hurricane Punch that I can’t even tell you the recipe for because we tossed so many different things into the pitcher!
- And let’s not forget Beer – because actually, with everyone out of work in Mexico, and no one in the factories making it, beer became an obsolete essential. THERE WAS NO BEER IN MEXICO! So, what we did have, we rationed. (and it became a valuable commodity for trade)
And that’s how we lived for the first few months. All in all, it actually was a great experience. We got to see our home area like we’ve never seen it before – vacant, a little eerie, and absolutely stunning – and we got to enjoy our time with each other.
Catch Quarantined in Paradise, Part Three for the rest of the story!