2014-05-07 at 20-29-25 - GOPR9833

Wrong-sided people and monkeys


There’s a scene from the film “Australia” that comes to mind whenever I encounter a selfish person. The young Aboriginal boy in the film has a good head on his shoulders for studying people and their behavior. He sees the “wrong-sided business” done by selfish ranchers and knows to avoid these people.

I had an absolute thrill of a time at Roberto Barrios yesterday. The day made for an epic video, and then I got burned by a wrong-sided traveler.

The muscular, tanned man with wavy black hair borrowed money to get into the park. He promised to repay, and then he consistently avoided that promise after we returned to camp. He said hello before dinner without repaying me. I reminded him of the debt at dinner, and he made no effort to settle. I went to bed unpaid, and he left for another city early this morning. I didn’t wake to money beneath my door or at reception.

His behavior isn’t forgetfulness. It’s deception and selfishness. And now I’m obsessed with a kind of hatred that I’ve never felt before. It’s ruined my night, this morning, and most of today. The anger has me cursing madly beneath my breath as if practicing for a chance to confront him.

I’m even beyond the 80 pesos. The $6 won’t break my budget. But I’m all but willing to kill for principle at this point. It’s the fact that the man never intended to repay me all the while professing otherwise. He knew the excursion would cost money because he told me what to expect to pay. Somehow he needed to borrow that very amount.

And it’s also about how mad I am with myself.

David is the habitual user of unsuspecting generous people. He’s the toxic kind of traveler who leaves a wake of wrong-sided business as he charms his way through life. He’s a waste of flesh and a mockery of what it means to be traveled. But I’m the sucker who didn’t see the writing on the wall. I’m the mark who brought more than enough money.

I’m always the angriest when I’m angry with myself. If I see David in Tulum, as I expect I might, the ridicule will be worth a followup video.

In the meantime, I’m trying hard to enjoy my last day in the jungle. Spending the entire day focused on something that can’t be changed won’t do. I decide to heed the advice of a meme and go for a walk. Rarely does a meme relate practically to my life, and yet today this meme is the key to some happiness. I see my first monkeys of Mexico.

They’re frolicking around the branches of a a mango tree. Baby monkeys no bigger than kittens swing and tumble between the thinest of branches. The adult male has sprawled himself across a collection of limbs that leave his balls hanging freely in the breeze. His only concern is escape from the wretched heat.

The distraction turns my day around completely. I invite my Polish neighbor for a walk. After, we eat tacos and share stories of Mexico over dinner. It’s a chance to leave Palenque with good feelings instead of bad. I must remember: the profoundly awesome encounters I have with nice people will always outweigh the rare negative ones.


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