After spending many vacations in Cancun, Mexico, I decided to take the plunge and move there to study the beautiful nature I’d admired in my previous trips. Having lived many years in the comfort and safety of American suburbia, it was time for some adventure. After learning Spanish, I went to the Yucatan and rented a home in suburban Playa del Carmen and hired myself a maid. Then, with help from hired guides and friends, I visited a variety of remote places in the Mexican jungles. It was an unforgettable experience to see a variety of animals in their natural habitats.
The ever-growing city of Playa del Carmen is an hour south of Cancun, and easily accessed by public buses. Both cities are on the Caribbean Sea, where coral reefs abound up and down the coastline. The beauty of pure white, limestone sand, and richly colored, turquoise water of the ocean drew me down there. Being a nature artist, I was fascinated by the plants and animals of the region. Armed with my cameras, drawing paper and pens, I got to work drawing and photographing bugs, birds, plants and anything else exotic. Soon, my artwork landed me a job as main illustrator for a large nature park called XCaret.
Whenever I had a drawing to deliver to my employer, I would board the employee bus for XCaret, and then walk down a long, back jungle path next to the park to the office. These walks fascinated me, due to the path was directly next to fenced enclosures for their zoo and aviary. Flamingoes, spider monkeys and a harpy eagle were animals I could see the best from the path. One time I made the mistake of giving one of the monkeys a cookie, only to see the other monkeys chase after him to steal it, trying to beat him up! I quickly got out a couple more cookies and gave the rest to them, to avoid the original monkey from getting hurt. They all sat there munching peacefully as I snuck off, hoping nobody saw.