A Celebration in Mexico

Traveler: Kezban Arca Batıbeki – Artist

I love travelling, we travel frequently with my husband and I almost always return home with amazing memories and full of energy. It’s so difficult for me to talk about “favourites”, though our Mexico trip was unlike any other.

The reason for our trip to Playa del Carmen, in the South of Mexico, near Cancun, was the 50th birthday of our friend Colin Cowie which falls on New Year’s. 3 days of our trip was filled with birthday celebrations and the rest with Mexico City, Frida, Diego and Aztec Empire.

My husband Koray and I, we took off from Istanbul. After exploring Mexico City and its surroundings we met with other 148 people Colin invited from all over the world in Playa del Carmen.

We stayed at Habita Hotel in Mexico City which has an amazing location and in Playa del Carmen we stayed at Playacar Palace with all the birthday team.

Mexico is a huge country, however even the part we were lucky to see opened us the doors to a different universe. The part that influenced me the most was the house Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Trotsky used to live together. I have always loved Frida and I found myself in tears when I entered her house. Moreover, the memorial building Diego made for himself was a must-see.


As one of the United States’ well-known wedding and party planners, Colin has worked like magic for his own birthday that lasted for 3 days. Although I believe the most interesting part was on the beach in the morning of 31 December. It was “Welcoming the New Year”  ceremony leaded by Dr. Linda Garbett, who is the “spiritual guide” -I still have no idea what this actually means- of Colin for 25 years now. We started with preparing a list of New Year’s resolutions in the envelopes we found in our room the day before, with a “Letting Go” note on it. On the beach, there were 3 rows of wickers in the shape of half moon (It was 40 degrees and I didn’t have a hat!.) Then, two Jack Sparrow looking alike guys, with dreadlocks and instruments like bongo came along and the ceremony began. Colin with her yellow “sari,” walking in the middle on the carpet met Linda and in the direction of the script Linda’s reading, Colin placed rocks in 4 different pots with different colors and each representing a different element. After long conversations and burning our “Letting Go” envelopes, the fun began. We were expected to hold hands with other 100 guests and jump in the sea, however the thougt of getting wet with my clothes on didn’t motivate me much. I already have concentration issues since my childhood, this kind of things are a bit out of my league. 🙂


Turns out, I didn’t realize before how glorious were the Aztec and Mayan empires. Teotihuacan, Tenochtitlan, Taxco, San Miguel de Allende and Chicken Itza were breathtaking.

I can say that Mexican food isn’t for me so I don’t have any restaurants in mind. But there are pretty good international restaurants everywhere.If you like historical ruins and old cities, I’d advise you to go as soon as you can. Visit the Aztec cities and old palaces. The rest is left to your touristic preferences.

The Cafe/Restaurant of the boutique hotel Condesa D.F, where artists usually hang out; the factory building of La Colleccion Jumex featuring a special art collection; as an art-deco hotel from 1940s famous for its parties Hotel Virreyes; Museo Soumayo and its weird architecture; Diego’s amazing murals at Palacio Nacional; finally if you’re interested in crazy furniture designs, Pirwi…

If it wasn’t that far, I’d love to go frequently. There are so many things we couldn’t see…

Their culture merged with skeletons and death… They embraced these pessimist subjects, that every one of us are trying to avoid, as colorful and fun, integrated them into paintings, sculptures, they even celebrate their existence with festivals. I returned to Istanbul with a skeleton sculpture wearing a wedding gown.

They told us that it’s not very safe in Mexico anyway, as we were normal looking tourists, we didn’t encounter with any negative situations. We were also advised only to take cabs from the taxi stops (we didn’t pay attention to this either.) If you are planning to rent a car for trips around the city, I advise you to rent it with a driver because the roads are very complicated, but the prices are very affordable.

If you are going to the Playa del Carmen, sit in the local cafes on the beach and listen to live music…

We are going to my favourite Greek island Spetses.

mexico sea