A Tale from Akumal Worth Sharing

Source: Linda Kurtzweil

After almost two years in Akumal, I have tried the majority of the restaurants in the area and I’ve narrowed the list to a select group of my favorites. These are the places that I visit at least once a week and I normally don’t even have to tell them what I want – it just magically appears before me.

I feel at home when I visit one of these places and I make it a point to get to know the employees. We’ve even exchanged cell phone numbers with several of them and occasionally communicate via Whatsapp.

If you’re not familiar with Whatsapp, check out the article Moving to Mexico? Better Get WhatsApp. But not right now, wait until you finish this article. Geez, keep your head in the game!

Anyway, whenever I see a new employee at one of my favorite places, I go out of my way to meet them. This is how I met an older Mexican gentleman who was working in the parking lot of a place that I visit at least twice a week.

He’s in his mid to late 60’s and he greeted Linda and I with a big smile. I spoke with him for a minute or so and learned that he is originally from the state of Yucatan. Since many of the people that I have met from that state speak Mayan as their first language, I asked if he spoke it. His eyes lit up and he answered, “Of course.”

My knowledge of the Mayan language is very limited; however, I have learned a dozen or so phrases in Mayan over the years. I then asked him what his name was in Mayan, “Bix a k’aaba?

He gave me a very surprised look and we carried on a very brief conversation in Mayan. Linda jumped in and repeated several of the Mayan phrases that she knew. He seemed impressed by our efforts.

I told the gentleman that I really liked the Mayan language and that I would like to learn more. Over our next few visits to the restaurant, he attempted to teach us a few more Mayan phrases. I like to use the word attempt because they didn’t all stick in my brain.

Yesterday, Linda and I went to the restaurant for lunch to meet some friends. We were running late, so we didn’t have time to talk with our Mayan professor in the parking lot when we arrived. We just waved to each other as Linda and I hurried inside.

After lunch, we walked out to the parking lot and he was waiting near our car. He had a big smile on his face and he handed me a piece of paper. The paper was covered front and back with 45 Mayan phrases translated into Spanish. That’s when I realized that he had taken the time to make us a study list while we were eating.

I was so impressed and humbled by the gesture that I was left speechless for a moment. I then thanked him for the list and promised to study it.

Here is a photo of just the front of the list:

Let’s Wrap This Up

Admittedly, Linda and I originally moved to Mexico to live a Caribbean lifestyle at a low price tag. Although we did find that, it’s not the only reason we stay — it’s the people.

The Mexican people that we’ve met have been friendly, helpful, genuine and absolutely wonderful. The article today only highlighted one incident demonstrating this but I could write a dozen similar articles a week.

We love being part of this community and look forward to meeting many more amazing people.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) is a former lieutenant from the Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida. During his 25-year career, he received numerous commendations to include two of the agency's top honors: a Meritorious Service Medal and a Medal of Valor. In 2015, Paul retired and moved to Mexico with his wife. He now spends his days enjoying the Riviera Maya and blogging from the beach.

49 Comments on "A Tale from Akumal Worth Sharing"

  1. Jo Flowers | May 6, 2017 at 9:23 am | Reply

    I never subscribed, but I seem to be getting your blogs anyway. So please take me off your list.

  2. What a great experience! So exciting to share others’ cultures and languages!

  3. How do u stand the heat and humidity. I know u are from Florida so it may.be easier. I love PV would love to live there but! It’s hot and sticky. And yes, the people are fantastic.

    • Q-Roo Paul | May 6, 2017 at 9:29 am | Reply

      I guess we just get used to it. We like the PV side but the water is too cold for us. I guess there is no perfect place, so we all have to prioritize our wants and needs.

  4. Hi Paul,

    I really enjoy reading your blog. This story is touching and reminds me that there are kind people amidst all the chaos. You’ and your wife are clearly also “the people” –you take the time to get to know the folks in your community and show you care.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and insight!

  5. Love your blog. Is one of your favorite restaurants Mezzanine in Tulum? Is it still there? We loved it for lunch when we were vacationing nearby, but not dinner because of the loud party atmosphere.

  6. Dana Hughes | May 6, 2017 at 10:01 am | Reply

    Beautiful. Every blog makes me more excited about my pending move to Akumal.

  7. Linda Gosslin | May 6, 2017 at 10:20 am | Reply

    We’ve lived in Paamul for 18+ years full-time. One of the great pleasures of life here is the daily interaction with Mayan speaking people. When the men are building a palapa roof, listening to them call out to each other, laughing and singing, is one of the experiences we treasure most. They never lose their good cheer even when standing on a narrow wooden log 30′ in the air, barefoot or in flimsy plastic sandals.

  8. Great story, Paul. There are so many kind people in the world, thanks for sharing your friendship with this gentleman with us.

  9. Charles Benfante | May 6, 2017 at 10:44 am | Reply

    I live in Lagos de Moreno and find the people here are pretty much the same – we visit the same restaurants also and in three of them we dont even have to ask they just know what we want. And we are pretty much on a first name basis with most of the the duenos y meseros. Don’t have to worry about the water temp as we are inland.
    PS enjoy your blog

  10. Jan Roberts | May 6, 2017 at 11:00 am | Reply

    We live in a small town in Arizona right on the Mexican border. A trip to a restaurant usually means we walk into Mexico. The food is great and much cheaper. We have a regular poker game and half of the players come up from Mexico and, to be honest, I prefer them to the Americans. We have found the Mexican people to be warm, kind and with a great sense of humor. Thank you for your story. It proves my point. I can’t wait to retire down there (3 years and counting).

  11. Sweet!! How kind of this man 😉

  12. The Mexican people are the biggest reason my husband and I return several times a year and the reason we’re considering retiring there (that and of course, your blog has made it much easier to seriously consider!).

  13. Great article, as always! Cheers from Hallandale Beach, FL

  14. Kaye Richardson | May 6, 2017 at 11:48 am | Reply

    What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing! We were in Akumal a few days ago. Stayed out at half moon bay. Loved it! Went to Chichén Itza for a couple of days and now in Valladolid – using a lot of your suggestions! Staying at El Mesón del Marqués. Love your blog! Thanks for the tips!

  15. That’s so nice of him! When we were there last winter I learned that Spanish is not the only language spoken and that there we many different ones depending on where the people came from. So surprising! Thanks for your blogs I love them!

  16. Hey Paul!
    We just arrived to the Barcelo Maya yesterday for our 15th year visiting Riviera Maya. This resort rocks and we are getting out feet wet by looking at properties this Time. Maybe We’ll see you while in Akumal…who knows.

    SUSAN from Ca.

  17. Ethel aka Fran | May 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Reply

    Friendly people, that is wonderful! Mid-60’s is ‘older’?? Please give me a break as I am past the mid-60’s. I’m glad I have friends in their 90’s because it makes me feel younger. Your blog is always pleasant, bringing joy to my day. Enjoy paradise!!

  18. Another great post! Thanks!

  19. Kathy Spencer | May 6, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Reply

    I love this story. What a humbling, lovely experience!

  20. So what are your favorite restaurants in Akumal? La Buena Vida and the other ?! Oh, great stories and people.

    • Q-Roo Paul | May 7, 2017 at 6:50 am | Reply

      I like La Buena Vida for the ambiance but I prefer others for the food. I may have to make this an article one day…lol.

  21. Others (not singular) !

  22. Awesome! That’s why I would make the jump to a different culture again!

  23. Where is the list of your favorite restaurants? We love la buena vida and haven’t had a bad meal yet but curious to hear your list and branch out a bit

  24. Paul, your experience with the people who live there is exactly why I want to move to Mexico. I want that relaxed, generous, warm sense of community and connection. I’ve been learning Spanish these last 4 years, and am in the process of taking exploratory trips to decide where to live. I’m just days away from a two month adventure in Central Mexico. Estoy muy emocionada!!

  25. Loved this one! Thanks so much for sharing.

  26. It is this warm, welcoming attitude that keeps us returning year after year. We love the people of the Yucatan penisula and appreciate their generosity and willingness to share their culture with us.
    Thank you for sharing this story AND all the others.
    I truly enjoy your blog.

  27. Another excellent posting. Thanks for sharing.

  28. When I hear the term ex-pat, it gives me a little shiver. I have an ex named Pat!

    I saw your bit about Eritrea being the only country besides the USA to tax its citizens for working in other countries. I’d like to point out that for all intents and purposes, Eritrea is a dictatorship!(Actually the government operation is referred to as a one-party system.)
    I spent a month there in ’97 and again in ’98, in business, and found very many similarities with my (and our) new life in Mexico. Friendly people, Mediterranean architecture, funny money, extremes of weather, and top-heavy government.

    My wife had lived many places in Mexico for many years,and we had come down to visit family, so it didn’t take much convincing to get me to agree to make the move! We moved to Bucerias near Puerto Vallarta in October of last year, and it’s GREAT!

    Thanks for your blog, Paul! It’s also as good as people say!

  29. What a wonderful story!! Love your posts and often jealous. Just returned home from 2 weeks in Puerto Morelos and already desperate to get back. Cheers!!

  30. Joan Dervin | May 7, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Reply

    The Mayan people are lovely. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.

  31. My husband and I live in Mexico City and one of the best parts is how friendly the people are! We have visited your area and agree, the people are nice and friendly there as well!

  32. I believe I would love to live in Akumal, but hubby only wants to live in Northern Baja , yet I always look forward to your blogs. Thanks again Paul.

  33. *Paul, why is it your story seems to start out referring to a supposedly list of your “favorite” restaurants (quote): “…These are the places that I visit at least once a week and I normally don’t even have to tell them what I want – it just magically appears before me.”

    Next paragraph (quote): “I feel at home when I visit these restaurants and I make it a point to get to know the employees….”

    Your story (after the “What’s App” plug) skews off into a tale about Mayan language??? Next sentence (quote: “…Anyway, whenever I see a new employee at one of my favorite places…”

    *My opinion/interpretation: It misleads a reader into expecting a restaurant-list. Did you realize this?

    • Q-Roo Paul | May 9, 2017 at 6:12 am | Reply

      No, I didn’t realize this. The title of the post would indicate a story, not a list. But because of this post, I’m making a list of my favorite restaurants and what I recommend at each. The title of the blog will be something very clear like: A List of Our Favorite Restaurants in Akumal.

  34. I LOVED this story. Thank you for sharing. I too have found the people of Mexico to be kind for the most part, and helpful. I often try to speak my limited vocabulary & order in Spanish when in Mexico & the waitstaff always want to help (even if they get a laugh out of it. ) Once I was trying to order the especial pescado of the day and my husband decided he wanted it too. I didn’t have the words for ‘both of us’ or ‘2 orders of the special’ and the waiter figured out what I was struggling with and told me the words. He then wrote it on a napkin and every time he would come back to or by our table he would point at the napkin and I had to recite it – to learn to say it properly. I absolutely adored him for it.

  35. Enjoyed reading this story (along with all the rest). I was in Cozumel for a week (got home Saturday) and had dinner with a pastor friend and his wife at their home. We talked about her speaking Mayan. I didn’t realize it was so different than Spanish. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Hi, Paul. Were just got back from a vacation in your area. Any chance that you can tell us what the English word for this fish is? bixx a beej I am guessing that it may be a Mayan name. The fish has beautiful blue stripes on its sides. My husband and I are reading you posts, because we are interested in the possibility of moving down there. Thank you for creating this blog! We have learned so much already!

    • Hi Sue. I’m not sute. That looks like a live Bix a Beel, which means “how are you” in Maya. We hear it a lot here.

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