Tequila

Trip Start Jun 12, 2011
1
68
124
Trip End Oct 22, 2012


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Where I stayed
mamas home

Flag of Mexico  , Yucatan Peninsula,
Sunday, February 19, 2012

We were completely exhausted by the time we got to Mexico as we had been on the go since we left Gili Air. So we headed straight to Puerto Morelos and checked into a nice gaff so we could figure out a plan for Mexico and have a break.  At this point we have no idea what there is to do in any of Latin America let alone a plan of how we get around so some travel admin (planning) was necessary.  Puerto Morelos was an ideal spot for this, a small sleepy fishing village with a huge sweep of white sand and the turquoise Caribbean Sea, where pelicans chill out in the tiny harbour and there is a distinctly laid back attitude.

We treated ourselves to some local food in between planning and I discovered that I like cerviche despite it containing raw fish.  We love the home made salsas and nacho chips that are served up in all the restaurants and the tacos too (made of flour or corn but both soft not like the crispy ones at home).  Mexico is quite expensive compared to Asia especially for accommodation and restaurant food so this treat was a short lived stop before our onward journey where we would be mainly self catering and having to opt for a lot more dorms rather than private rooms.  The Antojitos (snacks such as tacos, sopas, gorditas, tostadas, quesadillas etc) are quite cheap though and tasty.

Our next stop on the Riviera Maya was the small town of Tulum. On our first night we went to a local bar (Waye)  to take up their offer of 2 beers and nachos for 80 pesos (4) and just as we were thinking about calling it a night a band started to set up.  Half an hour later and the previously sleepy bar was full to the brim and pumping.  The band was like a Mexican reggae/salsa hybrid band and obviously popular with locals who were all up dancing and salsa-ing away.  It was an awesome unexpected introduction into the spirit of Mexican's lust for life.

There are some Mayan ruins in Tulum so we went to visit them, perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.  The Mayan city at Tulum was used as a trading post which is why there are no big temples there.  The Mayans were really short but they made the entrances to the buildings even smaller so that they had to bow to their gods / king when entering.  Unfortunately there is little information at the site unless you pay extortionate fees for a guide so we didn’t really learn much about these ruins other than what we could over hear by 'guide-jacking’.

We took a bus to Coba from Tulum for a day so we could visit the ruins there.  Here the ruins are spread out in the jungle and you have to hire a bike to get around them.  There is one that you can climb up and you can see for miles and miles.  Most of the other sites have now stopped tourists from climbing them to preserve them and I suspect the same will happen at this site too so it was nice to get the chance while you still can.  There was an example there of a sport stadium which was popular among the Mayans.  There are 2 stone hoops and teams use their hips, elbows and knees to hit the hard rubber ball.  Points were scored if they hit the hoop and the game ended either when one team got the ball through the hoop or on points if that never happened.  There is some debate as to what then happened to the team captain as the captain of one team would be sacrificed.  Some think it was the losing team however the popular belief among archaeologists is that it was in fact the winner as it was seen as an honour to be sacrificed to the gods.

Staying in the dorm at Mama’s Home in Tulum we met Levi from Minnesota, who was then followed by his lovely wife Heather.  Levi had been diving in the cenotes (underground flooded cave systems) so the 4 of us headed off on our bikes to one called the Temple of Doom and spent the day jumping into the crystal clear fresh water listening to music and drinking beer in the sun.  Natalie and Steve from Leicester then moved into our dorm and they had just come up via South and Central America and are heading to Asia so we were able to do some information swapping about tips for places to go and felt a lot more confident about where and what we wanted to do.

We realised that we were in Tulum in time for their carnival so the 6 of us went out to see the show and the parade and drank far too much tequila and margaritas.  I ended up with body paint on (as you do) and we all ended up dancing very badly with the locals in a salsa club – all in all a good night out.  Our 4 days in Tulum quickly turned into 8 and so it was time to head away from the Riviera Maya and so the 6 of us headed onwards to Valladolid.
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