What am I still doing in Cancun?

The adventures of an American single mommy working and playing in paradise.

Blog Action Day 2010 – Water



A picture of Laguna Nichupte in Cancun that I took from the parking garage of Plaza La Isla. The lagoon is known to be extremely polluted.


     Today is Blog Action Day 2010. Today thousands of bloggers from over 125 different countries will write about water issues in their communities and around the world. Bloggers were given possible topics to write about that ranged from the problem of scarce clean water to water solutions. Today I would like to talk about my personal experience with mother earth’s most precious resource, water, H2O, or agua, as we like to call it here in Mexico. 

     I grew-up in Michigan, The Great Lakes State, so I have always had access to clean water…water to drink, water to swim in, water to wash with, and I have always loved spending time in and near bodies of water. My mom has always told me that I first went swimming when I was only 9 months old, and that I loved it. I have called myself a “fishy” ever since. In fact, I can’t even remember not being able to swim. 

    We had a cottage (summer house) outside of Traverse City, Michigan where we spent every single summer. Our cottage was on south Lake Leelanau, a 5,370 acre lake with a maximum depth of 62 feet. We had a fresh water creek that you could drink right out of that ran along the side of the house and into the lake. The water was so cold that we would try to see for how long we could stand in it. Our summers consisted of swimming, playing in the creek, fishing, sailing, and tooling around in the rowboat, which my brothers later convinced my parents to get an outboard motor for. 

     I had absolutely no idea how lucky I was to have a cottage, and to have access to so much clean water. I do realize it now. Seeing photos of the area actually makes me feel so melancholy that it brings tears to my eyes. How I miss those days, spending hours swimming and playing in the water, pretending I was a mermaid or a gymnast, and then running through the small rocks and over the beach to grab my warm towel which had been hanging over the rail of the deck in the sun. I was barely dry before I would go swimming again. 

     Shortly after I graduated from college I moved to Chicago. Chicago is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. I try to explain to people who have never see Lake Michigan (like my husband or Mexican friends) that it’s HUGE, that it looks like an ocean, not a lake, and that you can’t see across to the other side. I lived with my best friend for the first few months, and he lived just a few blocks from the lake. Whenever I was sad or stressed, I would walk over to the lake and just sit. I always felt better by the time I walked back to the apartment. Then of course there were the many weekend days that my friends and I would put on our bathing suits and sunglasses and pack-up beer, cigarettes (I was young), umbrellas, snacks, towels, beach chairs and the occasional vodka-soaked watermelon and schlep it all down to the beach for a blurry fun-filled day. 

     After about 10 years in Chicago, I made my way to Cancun, a place known for it’s beautiful beaches. I have been living here for almost 10 years and every single time I see the ocean I still cannot believe what color it is. It is such a clear beautiful aqua blue that it almost looks like one of those cheesy paintings where the “artist” exaggerated all of the colors, except it’s real, it’s nature. It’s spectacular. 

     My husband always says that swimming in the ocean cleanses you. When one of us is stuffed-up, we always say, “I need to go swimming in the ocean.” Swimming in the ocean also seems to heal a small cut, and your soul as well. 

     I know I am probably guilty of blindly living my life and adding to our water issues here on earth. It’s not my intention, but what is one person to do? In those suggestions for topics the organizers of Blog Action Day sent us, there were many statistics, including this one, “That cotton t-shirt you’re wearing right now took 1,514 liters of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 liters.” What?? Well then is there any hope for us at all? Or are we just going to use and pollute all of the water on earth until we are fighting wars over clean water and not oil? 

     I don’t know the solution. I just feel we are slowly but surely headed towards disaster, and I want my son to have his own precious water memories, and not just hear about mine.

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