Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Watch

I woke up before my alarm clock. I've showered, had breakfast, finished packing, and am still waiting for the alarm to sound. 

I found my watch today. I never wear a watch in the U.S. What's the point? My cell phone goes with me everywhere and even if it didn't, there are clocks in every room--often more than one. My apartment has 7 clocks. Two computers, two cell phones, two alarms, and one wall clock. I bet the average house has wayyy more clocks than that. They are everywhere! Stoves, VCRs, DVD players, radios, cars. 

Yet, somehow our American obsession with clocks never really stuck anywhere south of the U.S. Each trip I take I am reminded about my inner need to be on time and constantly know the time. On my study abroad trip to Mexico in January I bought my second ever watch. (The first was bought in Lithuania). The joints made of cheap metal are tarnished with the residue of the salty Atlantic. It went with me everywhere and bears the scars of some questionable decisions. 

Aziz and I were bored sitting in a kayak in Akumal Bay as part of the coral and sea turtle protection team. I kept checking my watch to see how much longer until our turn was finished. 
To make our 30 minutes a little more exciting he suggested that we kayak out to the point where the waves break on the coral.  I agreed. Once there, he suggested that we try to ride the waves in. After arguing back and forth about the safety of such a feat (the waves were close to 7 feet in height) I caved to his idea. 

We paddled out and once there we gave it a few tries, each time getting slightly closer to the crashing waves. Finally, Aziz said, "If we're going to actually ride the wave, we need to paddle all the way to the middle of the wave exactly while it's breaking, so we can be on top of it."

That made logical sense. 

So we paddled to the middle of the impending wave and as we started to right our boat to the shore we turned around and saw a wave twice our height breaking behind us. I screamed Aziz's name. Aziz yelled a few swear words and the wave crashed down on us, pulling us both out of the kayak and slamming us onto the coral. 

I stood up in the shallow water, trying to locate Aziz as more waves crashed down on us. He was closer to the shore and had already reached the kayak and a paddle. I cautiously walked towards him--each step damaging more coral that we were supposed to be protecting. 

As we flopped back in the kayak sopping wet, our cuts stinging from the salty Atlantic, a boat of divers slowed and signaled us to see if we were alright. In the boat was the director of the coral and sea turtle protection team. I lowered my eyes and let Aziz wave as he quietly said, "thank god our 30 minutes is finally up."


  1. Thanks for sharing that story! I love it!

  2. K, you tell a great story. Can I offer some unsolicited advice? Keep a journal, if you don't already, and get as many memories of your trip as possible down on paper. If you wrote a book about your travels that read anything like this story about you and Aziz, not only would I buy it, I'd probably get copies for friends.

    Nice watch-inspired rant.