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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    Akumal Mexico, Nov. 7-14: Day 3 Comment
    Beth Morris, 12/7/05 11:04:07 am
    I awoke this morning around 7:30 and walked out to find Greg already on the balcony. He had woken up at 5:30 am to watch the sun rise. He got pictures of the sun coming up over the ocean. We showered and dressed and packed up to go to Tulum for the day. First we went back to Turtle Bay Café (TBC) for breakfast. Greg got an omelet, potatoes, toast, and bacon. I got scrambled eggs and the rest as well. The bread and eggs and everything else are so fresh.

    We then headed off to Tulum. It’s about fifteen minutes away, but those were the only directions we had. Just go south on 307. We drove for a while and ended up in the main part of town. Good to find however, but at the time we were looking for the ruins. We had somehow missed them. We took a left off the main street and drove through the pueblo area. We passed a square with children playing and women sitting together talking. I felt like we caught a glimpse of how these local people spent their days. It was fairly run down, mostly shacks and old buildings. It seemed harsh, but everywhere we went people were smiling. The Mayan people always seem to be having a good time, playing, and enjoying the moment. After some more turning around we were back at the beginning of town. We headed north a little ways thinking we’d passed the ruins on the way into town. We had. We drove into the parking area, and paid $5 to get in to the parking lot. We were immediately approached by a man asking if we wanted to go book a trip to snorkel in the cenotes (sink holes.) “Do you want to see cenote?” is the Riviera Maya equivalent to New York’s “Wanna buy a watch?” After dodging the eager tour guide, we went in search of how to get to see the ruins. After some more dodging of junk sellers, a guy who wanted to take us on the train to the site, and some yells from blanket sellers about their sisters, we found the road to the ruins. It was about a half mile down a road with the jungle on each side that seemed to be going nowhere, but then we looked up and saw the stone structures rising up before us. There aren’t many signs in this place, so some more guessing and we found the place to buy tickets. It was a pretty walk up to the site. Tulum is one of the only Mayan ruins sites that sit directly on the ocean and it is an impressive sight. We walked through a stone doorway and a huge open area lay before us. We wandered around taking pictures and looking at the ancient buildings. We walked up to one pyramid type structure. It sat on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Amazing to think how all this was made so long ago with out modern tools. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a guide and there weren’t a lot of signs, so we didn’t learn very much about what each of the buildings were. I did a ruins tour in the Yucatan about 5 years ago, so I knew the basics. Next time we’ll have to get a guide. It was really hot, so after completing the main loop, we decided to head back.

    We walked down the road and back to the jeep to go in search of two important things: Gas and cash. We drove back to downtown Tulum, because there isn’t a bank in Akumal. We didn’t see one on the first drive through, but had been told there was one. We made another pass at it and eventually I yell out the window, “Señor, Donde esta el banco?” After some pointing, we found it. After finding the ATM and Greg assuring me that the amount he was taking out was in 3000 MP, not 3000 USD, we went looking at shops. All of the stores carry pretty much the same things and they are all over priced. Of course, you can always negotiate that marked price down. Basically there are hammocks, blankets, dresses in bright colors, ceramic suns, glass and stone sculptures of animals, painted wooden sculptures of animals, a variety of items with the Mayan calendar on it, jewelry that’s kind of cheapy, and sculptures of people in an impressive variety of sexual positions. We didn’t buy anything. We tend to hold off for really unique things. It was beginning to rain a little so we thought we’d better get going. Mexico has only one (national) gas station chain called Pemex. We found the closest Pemex station and pulled in. Again we were pointing and gesturing to the man to fill her up. I’m still getting used to the currency exchange rates, so paying three hundred and seventy something for a tank of gas seemed a little strange. As soon as we pulled out it started to pour down rain!

    There is a man from DC staying next to us. He and his wife had rented a jeep on a previous trip down. When they went to pick it up, to their surprise, the jeep had no top. They asked the rental agent, “What happens if it rains?” To that they replied, “Well, you get wet!” Funny enough the same thing was told to us when I asked where the windows to the jeep were. Thank God, we had driver and passenger side ones thought, or else the trip back from Tulum would have been interesting. It was interesting enough driving through a torrential down pour with a hole in the roof right above Greg’s head.

    We made it back to Akumal laughing and went to TBC for lunch. We had sandwiches and bought a loaf of their bread to take back with us. We then went to the grocery store and bought peanut butter, cheese, Sol beer and other necessities. I also found some really interesting statues. I bought one of a wooden turtle with its front flippers up like it is flying (which is what they look like when they swim.) We came back and relaxed for a while. I started reading On the Road and just took it easy. We’re relaxed travelers and really love spending time just sitting and watching the waves. Eventually we decided to take a walk to town. We’d driven every other time, so it was nice to see everything up close and personal view. The clean up is progressing great. Things are starting to look so much better. Behind out condo there is a pool that was filled with chairs and dirt and debris when we had arrived. There was also a wall that had been torn down after the hurricane. Now the pool is empty and scrubbed clean and the wall behind it is being rebuilt in only 3 days. We continue our walk downtown and go to Lol Ha to have a drink and some fruit. We just sat and watched the water and a kitty crawled in Greg’s lap. We walked back to the condo holding hands (awwww, how cute.) We came back and I went outside to begin to write today’s adventures. I wrote for a while and it started to get really dark. The guys were still at work below me working on the pool around 7:00pm, when the lights flickered on and off and the entire bay became totally dark.

    At home the power will flicker and come back on quickly, yet in Akumal, this time it stayed dark. I yelled to Greg to grab the red cellophane covered “turtle safe” flashlight and to come outside. I then grabbed two tea light candles and brought them out. The working men had found flashlights from somewhere, set them up, and were continuing to work. Things happen, these people don’t freak out about it like Americans. They just return to what they were doing and do what needs to be done. I was so impressed with that, that I did the same. I took the candles out and set them up around the journal and finished writing about today. It’s a good way to live. Less thoughts, less worry, easier life. I’ll keep working on that. Well tomorrow should be a fun day. Four hours of fishing and snorkeling at 8am. It’s still fairly early compared to my normal standards (sleeping in till around 9pm) but we’ve kind of gotten into an “up with the sun”, “early to bed” pattern that feels very nice. I took a writing break to lay outside in the hammock. I’m happy that there is no power. The only light outside is moonlight. It’s beautiful and Orion is positioned in a way that looks like he is diving into the ocean. Bedtime now, but truly an amazing day.

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

    < "Akumal Mexico, Nov. 7-14: Day 2"
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