Saving Grace

After our bungle in the jungle — a tour de force of mosquitoes and humidity — we followed the signs for nearby cenotes. (Read about my swim in Cenote Dos Ojos.)

I wanted to submerge my body in freezing cold water.

And that’s what I did.

I needed to be reborn after donning a pair of Levi’s cut-off shorts. LooseGringa does not wear shorts. I would gladly wear Bruce Hornsby concert t-shirts before I wore shorts.

But this was Mayan ruins, so I couldn’t show up in a dress or a skirt. I had feared this moment, the moment of wearing shorts, of exposing thighs and all sorts of unpleasantness. (Dear readers, I haven’t worn shorts since I went to Disney World in, like, 1999. The year before the world turned modern. So, may you understand my distress.)

The locals told us that cenote Tamcach-Ha was the best in the area. So with our crude map and our 4-cylinder rental car, we dodged potholes and stray dogs down dirt paths to the cenote.

But first I had to take a photo of a church we passed. This is the kind of place to get married in, if you’re into religious weddings.

It has character, no?

The cenote guide who greeted us informed us that we had to take showers before we entered the cenote. I can only imagine he understood my need for an immediate baptism from abysmal shorts-wearing.

But, in all probability, it was to wash away sunscreens and other toxins that could upset the balance of the pristine freshwater cenote.

That's my silhouette taking a shower. Glamorous

We crept down a wet and winding set of stairs to a below-ground cenote. It was almost entirely cut off from air, and a little difficult to breathe.

That photo above is what you think it is: a diving PLANK.

I couldn’t wait to jump. I am afraid of heights, but I love jumping into water. The plank was about 25-30 feet in the air, and scary as hell. Some people jumped, and others couldn’t muster the courage.

I decided not to think about it. I was that desperate that I just needed to throw myself from great heights for fashion forgiveness. And when my body hit the water, I was clean again.

After the dip, we stopped at a no-name family-run restaurant where I had one of the best meals of my stay in Mexico. The waiter whipped us up some mango water — simply, sliced mango and water, blended until smooth. I could drink this forever (and with vodka, too).

And a shared plate of cochinita pibil. Heaven!

Back in our Tulum hotel room, I balled up my wet shorts and cast them into eternal damnation forever.

But it was still a really good day.