The Final Countdown by Cameron Glover

With less than two weeks left in the 2010 Programa Mayab winter quarter in Merida, Mexico, the thought of returning home to the United States is exciting for some Ohio University students. However, the thought of leaving for most is a bittersweet reminder that our 10-week cultural vacation is nearing the end.

Everyday in between classes and activities, someone finds it necessary to remind everyone of the swiftly approaching departure date of March 19th. That conversation quickly turns into a rapid-fire game of 20 questions including: What was your favorite excursion? What will you miss the most? What was your favorite meal? Could you see yourself living down here?

I’m not a goodbye type of person, so I usually stray from answering such questions, as I don’t enjoy reflecting on the end of such a great adventure. Plus, you never know what could happen in two weeks.

This weekend a group of students, including me, has plans to visit the city of Tulum located on the Caribbean side of the Yucatan Peninsula. Most of the other students have already traveled there, and they all gave glowing recommendations on where to stay and what to do. Everyone said that the beach is like nothing they have ever seen with clear blue water and sparkling sand. A friend compared the sand color to that of a baby pig with tiny freckles as seashells. We’ll see if I’m able to reach that conclusion.

There are three different “zones” in Tulum, the first being the archeological zone that features Mayan ruins. The beaches along the coastline represent another zone, while the large town of Pueblo is the third. There we will find restaurants, small shops and fresh food markets.

Based on what we have heard, Tulum definitely has a laid back atmosphere with a noticeable Mayan influence. For us it is the last big adventure – and way to spend more money – before coming home.

Next weekend the program director and OU professor, David Burton, hosts a farewell ceremony at his host family’s house, which I will be performing the traditional dance of the Yucatan with several of my fellow classmates. All of us will be wearing the customary white dresses and heels for the girls and suits and sandals for the boys. We are all looking forward to those Facebook photo uploads.

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