Magazine article The Spectator

Back to Nature

Magazine article The Spectator

Back to Nature

Article excerpt

High life

Back to nature

Tulum, Mexico

The Riviera Maya begins south of Cancun, a poor, honky-tonk Mexican resort on the eastern, or Caribbean part of the Gulf of Mexico. It is a coastal corridor threading its way for more than 60 miles of sandy beaches where beachfront shacks as well as folkloric hotels nestle amidst the jungle. The villages which form the Riviera Maya do not exactly resemble those of the other Riviera, in the south of France. They are extremely poor, but the denizens, unlike their Gallic cousins, are as friendly and hospitable as they are needy. There are three impressively beautiful natural parks, and one of the Mayan culture's most imposing archeological sites standing atop a sheer cliff facing the sea and constructed around 900-1200 AD.

The reason for my visit was the wedding of Michael Mailer, son of Norman, and Sasha Lazard, of Lazard banking fame. He is a film producer, she an opera singer. Both bride and groom are very good-looking and talented. The real star, of course, was mother nature. First, the coral sea, the lagoons, inlets and underground rivers, the multicoloured fish, dolphins and manatees, and the imposing jungle. Around 150 guests flew down for three days of non-stop partying, with a few solemn moments thrown in for good measure. I had been asked to read a poem, and for once I carried it off. No drinks before the ceremony despite my stage fright. Norman Mailer's presence dominated as usual. He now walks with the help of two canes, and at 81 years of age looks like the grand Jewish patriarch that he is. He has been married six times and has nine children. He had some pretty strong things to say about the war in Iraq, as did most of the guests.

Michael is a Harvard graduate, and his friends are East Coast liberals and opposed to Bush. When I produced the American Conservative, along with The Spectator, the booing and razzing almost drowned out the Mariachis and the pounding surf. The fact that the former has been against the war since before it began and had predicted that victory on the battlefield would spell defeat went unnoticed. Coupling it with the dear old Speccie was enough. Talk about guilt by association.

Never mind. It was not the first time I've come across illiberal liberals. …

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