Goodbyes are hard. After just four days in Tulum I was really enjoying the camaraderie in my band of fellow wanderers. The Weary Traveler has a lot of turnover, but there was a core group staying all weekend and we made the most of it. This morning, we all exchanged facebook info, shook hands for the last time, and parted ways. Some of them I’ll see again further down on the circuit, but most are just memories now… good ones.
Saturday Alex and I never really woke up. We got out of bed very late that set the tone for the day. Eventually mid-afternoon we did get the gumption to ride our bikes across the street for an oil change. We bought a five liter bottle of oil from a local shop and the owner let us use his backyard as a garage. He supplied the rags, oil basin, and he even took care of all the garbage including the black sludge that poured out of our bikes.
After that we managed to round up a couple of Germans named Phillip and Chris and hit the beach with them around 5:00pm. Two hours of rolling around in the surf and I was spent. We all went back to the hostel and the common area was just starting to heat up.
Just about the entire hostel ended up a couple blocks down at a bar called 317 that had flyers posted all over town for its Brazilian Bikini Party. The fliers were an absolute lie, but they were effective. The place was filled and not a single girl was strutting around in a bikini. Oh well, at least that way I could focus on the more important things: beer and pool. I played a few games with some Germans, Australians, and English on a very slanted table; all the balls always ended up in one corner. Imagine all the different pool rules that come out in an American bar… well it gets a lot more complicated on an international level.
At the party I made plans with a German named Dominik to go to a local cenote for more snorkeling on Sunday (so much for hitting the road). A cenote is a large underground cavern that opens up after its roof collapses. The result is a dark lagoon full of stalactites, stalagmites, and plenty of critters. We showed up at cenote Dos Ojos with a group of five (Alex and two other Germans had the same idea). Together we talked the price down from $40 to $30 for a two hour guided swim through the caverns with all the equipment.
Our tour guide wasn’t that into it, but our enthusiasm made up for it. We had fins, masks, snorkels, and flashlights. That was enough to explore every little crevice we wanted. There were some points when we had to swim under a wall to reach another room… one of them was full of bats! There were some fish hanging out in the cenote, but after the turtles and the reef, the wildlife was pretty underwhelming.
Aside from the tour, not much else happened. I ended up at the beach again with Phillip and a new English roommate named Sam. I decided to walk the beach toward the legendary Tulum ruins and got a pretty good view. Off in the distance I could see a huge rock structure jutting out towards the beach. It would have been a great spot to make a human sacrifice back in the day. I could have paid $5 to enter the grounds, but it was 100F degrees out and I didn’t have my camera. Plus, we will be touring Tikal and hopefully El Mirador in the next couple weeks.
Tikal is by far the most popular Mayan ruins, but I’m more excited for El Mirador. El Mirador is home to the largest Mayan pyramid and it is completely untouched. The reason is that everyone has to hike in thirty miles with guides and mules to see the place. Once there, you can climb to the top, look out over the jungle, and see all the other surround ruins poking out covered in vines. From what I hear, it’s about as Indy as it gets. I’m getting ahead of myself though, Guatemala is a ways away.
Today Al and I left Tulum and went back to Chetumal. We wanted to cross into Belize today, but we never researched the border crossing and the Tulum hangover had us very unmotivated. We are back in the same hostel as last Wednesday. Tomorrow we have a route planned for Belize City. That’s it in a very tired nutshell.