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Thank you to Fiona.
My Hols: Rolando Villazon
My parents were big fans of America, so our holidays, when my sister Jessica and I were children, were almost always spent there. We visited family in Arizona and went to New York a couple of times, and to Los Angeles and Florida. I remember sitting in the back of the car, driving to hotels and motels, but the actual cities are not very clear in my mind- apart, of course, from visits to Disneyland. We went twice to California and once to Orlando.
I met my wife, Lucia, when I was 16. She was a year younger than me. Before we started going everywhere together, I went on holiday with three of my closest firends to Itxapa, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. We had an amazing time riding enormous waves and relaxing on the most beautiful beaches. I had ever seen. We stayed in a little hotel run by a man and his two sisters. the three of them did everything - reception, cleaning and cooking.
Lucia properly introduced me to Mexico. I’m really glad that I came to know my own country as an adult. of course I would have loved it if I’d travelled there with my parents, but I wouldn’t have understood the mix of cultures and what’s so difficult, yet so fantastic, about Mexico. I never fail to be amazed and thrilled by its beauty and diversity.
I became a happy tourist in my own country, breathing in the smells of Veracruz, which i remember as a mixture of coffee and the sea. We spent our honeymoon in San Miquel de Allende, a beautiful town in central Mexico. It’s full of artist and writers. We’ve also explored Cancun, which has stunning beaches, but is really Mexico for Americans, and Cozumel, and island off the Yucatan peninsula, where I took Lucia on a motorbike tour, stopping off to go snorkelling. The seascapes and wildlife are amazing.
Our kids love Mexico, too. We’ve taken them to see a lot of the country, but also wanted them to experience different parts of the world. I schedule four or five weeks off during the summer so I can be free to play with the kids and to explore. We’ve had wonderful times in Thailand. Besides looking at temples, which I love - especially when there’s a ceremony taking place, with lots of chanting- we’ve been by tuk-tuk in Bangkok, eaten street food and visited markets. We travelled to Chiang Mai, where we rode elephants, saw crocodiles, visited the zoo and watched monkey shows. Sometimes we stay in luxurious hotels, but often we’ll take a chance on serendipity and go somewhere simple. When we were in Cambodia, we found a small, basic hotel that was perfect.
I leave our holiday plans to Lucia. She never fails to come up with something magical. we’ve driven to the Cervantino music festival, in Guajanato, one of the greatest in the world. Everyone is out eating and drinking in the street, dancing and enjoying the music. just to be there is to experience a wonderful happiness.
Lucia took me to my two favourite places in the world. One is Oaxaca, in the most diverse state in Mexico. It has mountains, beaches, hidden jungles and the friendliest people. The colours of the alebrijes - folk-art sculptures of fantastical creatures - are gorgeous. They’re green and orange, red and yellow: every combination you could imagine.
The second is Minorca, my real holiday paradise. I’ve visited many times. It’s small and peaceful, with no big hotel chains. Until recently, Internet access was difficult. for me that was perfect. We ride horses, walk in the woods, discover prehistoric sites, collect extraordinary flowers ans spend days on the beach. it’s the one place in the world where I recharge my batteries. the rhythm of life on the island is something I look forward to. We’ve been there at New Year. Even though it was cold, walking to the lighthouse with my family was one of the best holiday experiences i can remember.