Heaven is stepping off a collectivo on an empty piece of highway and trudging down a path to a deserted stretch of Carribean; creeping down rocky path to swim in my first cenote, a deserted, mangrove circled peace and quiet; alone save for brush breaking wildlife sneaking closer (the dirty perves) and little fish that nibble my ankles in a pleasing food chain reversal.
It is returning to the beach to snack on carrots while I read then wading into the Carribean, sea blinding clear and shallow turquoise. Palm fringed sands like a dream, but barely another in sight. It’s knowing that there are no trees like this in Cancun, where the tourists pay big for their piece of behemoth Hilton. Schadenfreude.
It is hopping off the bus at Cenote Dos Ojos and wandering up to the dive centre, splashing out on a snorkel so as to tour the cave depths of this mammoth network of tunnels and towers, shining fish and deep passageways I can’t reach; scooting under the surface when an American afraid of bats declares ‘you know the best part will be telling people I did this.’ Knowing how wrong she is. Holding my breath to forge deep through a tunnel and emerge triumphant, only to realise I narrowly missed smashing my skull on the cave roof. Laughing.
It is fending off Decision Panic when the cabanas I head for are closed, only to land on another stretch of perfect sand. Diving under the blue so I can hear nothing and emerging to watch the thunder clouds roll in, fascinated by this pale turquoise ocean and indigo sky, like a house paint sampler; colours I have never seen side by side.
Heaven is tucking into an overpriced salad and beer at a candle lit, sand floor restaurant, while the black outside takes shape only beneath a lightening strike, and thinking that my most stressful day at work paid for this.