So we spent 3 hot nights in mexico, playa del carmen, a nice beach area so full of gleaming white tourists, its like a town full of John Travoltas in Saturday Night Fever… my kinda place, for those who have seen my one dance move.
The first cool thing about mexico is the free internet at the airport, and the airport in general. Much less hassle than anywhere in the states, very pleasant after the “We know youre a stinking terrorist, we dont have to prove it, so we´re going to treat you like youre guilty, stinking terrorist scum” attitude in the states.
The carribean coast is hot. As we got off the bus, I started … sweating like I was in a bath. Gisela refused to carry my bag, despite me having legitimate health reasons (it was really hot, and I was a bit tired), and we wandered in that aimless, naive way that travellers do when they get to a new place (mostly aimless, it seemed to get pretty aimed whenever Gisela spotted something that someone at home might like…). Once we´d got to our lodgings, and I´d sluiced off the sweat and changed into something kinda more or less cleanish, and Gisela had straightened the single out of place hair, we headed out into the sultry night. Within a block, I was soaked again, and so we headed to the nearest restaurant. Playa del Carmen is full of tourist restaurants, which seem to alternate between overpriced rubbish, and less overpriced good food.
My uncanny traveller instincts, honed by years of travel, lead us unerringly to one of the overpriced rubbish ones. But we were there for the margaritas anyway, which were appropriately large.
As the next day dawned, Gisela had picked up a cold, and was a bit tired. Like a pouncing cheetah, I took advantage of this, and rented a car and bundled her into the passenger seat before she realised what was happening.
“Drive on the right”, I told myself, and in a crazed show of flashing indicators and swishing windscreen wipers reminiscent of the best of Vegas, we lurched off south, towards Tulum.
The roads in mexico have some pretty crazy lane lines, helpfully drawn in white on the pale brown road, so it was pretty hard to tell where to go. The fact that I had thoroughly smeared my glasses with sunscreen might also have been a contributing factor. Doing my best, which generally meant swerving randomly over the road, following any slight discoloration that might be, or might one day grow up to be a road marking, we continued south.
It was an enlightening journey. I had to swerve several times to avoid tarantulas, and once an oversized but speedy caterpillar. Other times I just swerved for the practice, and a few trying to clean my glasses while still looking calm and collected for Gisela.
In any case, we arrived unscathed in Tulum, which was an ancient mayan port on the coast. It is a small beach nestled in rocks, with the ruins of the small town around. It was very pretty, although Gisela wasnt so impressed with the quality of restauration, which involved large slaps of cement. But I loved it. We had a swim in the turquoise waters of the carribean, and looked at the ruins from the sea, how they would have looked to the approaching canoes. very nice.
Carribean beaches are pretty spectacular in general, but this was one of the coolest I have seen. We then squelched back to the car, and swerved our way to Coba, another site, but not before I took a picture of some impressive rainclouds.
After another zillion (2) hours driving, and a zillion beautiful, individually unique mexican marvels of evolution had splatted themselves to oblivion on my windscreen, we arrived at Coba. Coba is very cool, much bigger than Tulum, evidentally it was an important city way back when, and the structures are much bigger. But least cleared, more… indiana jones! which obviously was perfect for me!
It even had a ball court, which is where the maya played their dodgy volley basket ball thing, hitting a hard rubber ball through distant small stone hoops, using only elbows and knees and shoulders. In typical mayan fashion, one of the losing players gets sacrificed at the end, presumably to the same god that looks after the new zealand soccer team.
As we wandered, previously mentioned rainclouds pounce, like a soaking wet jaguar, and saturated everything. Most importantly, my cool indiana jones hat. We huddled, soaked but still very chic, in a little hut, along with half a dozen others. Until saved by a mexican on a bicycle built for two…