Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cancun version of myself

One of my favorite travel quotes is from essayist Lance Morrow in Time magazine, 5/31/82:

It is always one's self that one encounters in traveling: other people, of course, other parts of the world, other times carved into stone now overgrown by the jungle--but still, always oneself.
And a similar, much older quote, from Socrates [470?-399 BC], from his essay, "On Travel as a Cure for Discontent":

Why do you wonder that globe-trotting does not help you, seeing that you always take yourself with you?

Sure enough...Cancun Sarah was the same as DFW Sarah...spending too much on jewelry, drinking too much wine, eating too many carbs, and being too self-critical. Reading was my only virtue, but to make time for reading I sacrificed (ha!) physical activity.

Speaking of jewelry...after my second purchase from the lobby jewelry store, I was really gratified to hear from a Canadian coworker a tale that went something like this: a sophisticated stranger (well-dressed and well-accessorized, demonstrating shopping savvy) had volunteered to him the wisdom that he should avoid buying jewelry at Cancun's casual markets, since a better deal (better quality at good prices) could be found at the Le Blanc lobby jewelry shop.

I liked this story so much I went to the lobby shop a third time, but since it was a small operation and I had already scrutinized every shelf in it, I couldn't find anything new to buy. Another confession...I already owned a ring identical to one they sold there, having purchased it from an online store that specializes in Mexican silver...I accidentally wore my ring into the store and when I saw its twin on display, hid my hand in my pocket lest I be taken for a shoplifter. Shop-aholic maybe, but not shop-lifter.

The salesladies at the shop were very pleasant but not intrusive--in fact, during most of my time browsing there, they were doing some kind of inventory project. I think I prefer being ignored like that to the perpetual harassment you find in street markets...being ignored in an actual store is almost as peaceful as shopping online, in this introvert's opinion.

Packing for the trip, in selecting jewelry from my extensive collection, I realized there was one easy criteria--no to the Asian pieces (karma bead bracelets, yin & yang emblems) and an enthusiastic yes to the folk art-type stuff. I had to pack my skull earrings (made by an Arizona jeweler, but reminiscent of Mexican folk art) and my silver & glass sun pendant (purchased from the Mexican silver site). And, after a couple of drinks Thursday night in Cancun, I had to capture these two pieces in a photo. (Fortunately no one else entered the ladies' room while I was taking 50 pics of myself in an attempt to get one usable one.) I accidentally got a good shot of my lobby shop amber ring while doing a close-up of the earrings. And NO, my face and hand are not really that is a camera distortion.

I was excited to receive a compliment on another piece of jewelry (non Mexican) worn on Thursday with my blue shirt. Actually, I think it was worded more like, I have noticed you wear a lot of jewelry, and some of it is really nice.

Although this enlarged photo from Wednesday night is blurry, it shows my typical jewelry overkill--three crystal bracelets and my new amber pendant from the Le Blanc shop (worn with a chain I already had--how thrifty of me!), on top of a pearl & gemstone necklace from Le Blanc (that matched a bracelet on my other wrist).

My friend Julie, another jewelry fan, had some impressive insights: she understands that I'm attracted to pieces of jewelry as little sculptures, pieces of a method to explore who I am and a way to express myself to others. Jewelry is also a diversion for me--something nice to look at when things get drab and boring--and, last but not least, something to collect. (The reasons people collect things deserves its own blog...that discussion is beyond the scope of this one! As Julie points out, collecting probably serves a psychic need...some might say psychotic, but psychic is a kinder and more insightful word.)

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