First things first: waiting for my cousin Jorge is like waiting for Godot. Neither one of them show up. Instead then yesterday I hung out with Mariano and Bruno as we went to the beach (again) (or is there ever such a thing as too much beach?) and it was wonderful being at the beach even as it rained and rained hard like in the movies for the better part of an hour, leaving everything soaked.
Which, I guess if you are at the beach, is a little bit of a moot point.
It did make for some stellar waves however, and I had to be careful with the little ones because they only number 8 and 9 years old. Not that we weren’t jumping in and out of the water like a pod of dolphins. The water was as painted as ever, beautiful – have I mentioned that yet? – even as the sun peeked out through the sky. I know that I simply must make a return one more time (or two) before we leave next monday.
Today however, was a different sort of animal. We had originally meant to head out to Chichen Itza, but because we all are now operating on Mexican time – which is a very real phenomenon – we missed the bus by 10 minutes. This meant no Chichen Itza but Tulum.
And damn was it awesome! My aunt says that tonight we will fall asleep como changos viejos and I think she may be right. But if that isnt one of the funniest saying ever, I am not sure what is.
Tulum is a two hour bus ride away (which again beats out the NYC buses back home in luxury) to some Mayan ruins and – according to them – the second longest (largest?) coral reef system in the world. The first being Australia. But I may have to check my facts on that.
The sun and humidity were almost overbearing fatal, and we had brought an umbrella which frankly just about saved the day, and our 100 SPF sunblock.
The pathways between the ruins are TINY. And the locals there too, which are truly descendants of the people of the region. I had to duck to walk through the walkways of the ruins so small were they. I can only imagine about my brother who stands at 186cm.
The ruins are all temples and mosaics of sorts – which we weren’t allowed to enter – but they are restoring them to give a better idea of what they may have looked like.
Again there was so much ENGLISH I wasn’t quite sure what to do with all of it, because half the time it was spanish the other half english. And I even heard a french tour group, a bunch of italians, some russians, and a melange of other languages.
But things get interesting after the ruins. Because according to them Paradise Beach is 1km away, but that one kilometer feels an eternity under the noonday sun and an empty stomach. (I think it’s closer to 1.5km)
Ok, so when we arrived at the beach, we had bought a package that allowed us to go out on the ocean to see the ruins from the seaside and then snorkeling.
And to anyone who may know me, knows that this is exactly where my heart lies.
Because we didnt have plans to come to the beach, I did what any reasonable (really?) person would do in my position and jumped in clothes and all. And let me tell you, I don’t regret it for even half a second.
I quickly took off the life preserver, because if felt awkward trying to swim with it, and while I couldn’t coax my aunt to jump in with me, I did follow the guide out to some of the better parts of the reef. And I even got a little shell from the reef as a result. (The rest of the people we cowards and stuck to the boat, far from the REAL reefs)
I saw fish as big as a table for 4 in a fast food place, black fish with luminescent blue spots, yellow striped schools of fish, fish with blue stripes and fish with green stripes. I saw urchins in groups and a conch alive and well. I saw starfish, and the arc d’triumph was the mini – what I will call a – barracuda.
He was long, had a longer thing mouth with teeth, floating near the top of the water, and a mean eye watching me. I watched him back to let him know I wasn’t afraid of him, and he after a while of us looking at each other, swam off happily. Corals with highways all over them, and purple ones floating in the current.
To say it was rad wouldnt even cover it. I think we spent easily half an hour in the water, and I easily could have spent more in there.
Because I jumped in with my clothes, it meant that I spent the rest of the afternoon – and indeed half the bus ride back – in my underwear. My aunt had brought a shawl which had served as a blanket on the bus, a turban at the ruins, and now a skirt to half cover me.
But I guess if you think about it, what’s a bikini but underwear? And who was I to care about these strangers anyways?
It still was funny to see the people do double takes, though. (Totally worth it)
Filets of fish by the sea but in the shade and a backdrop of ocean make for an excellent lunch, and washing it down was a Pacifico beer light and mixed well with lemon. The filet was flaky and buttery, and I am wondering why I haven’t had one every day I have been here.
They didn’t bring the check though, and we were running against the clock. It was a 20ish minute walk back to the bus stop and my aunt was getting frantic. This is the effects of Mexican time.
When they finally did, we went at a better pace than getting there – by then the sun had gone down – and we made it to the bus but just barely. In that we were rounding the corner and the bus was pulling up to the stop.
And my aunt whistled to catch the attention of the bus driver, waving the umbrella like crazy.
While I ran holding my ”skirt” and waving my arm, while the bus driver waited patiently; asking to hold the bus while my aunt in her high wedges caught up.
And with that I boarded the bus still damp and in underwear laughing at the day because it almost reaches a level of surrealism. There was a documentary on chimps to take us back to Playa Del Carmen where we swtiched buses to take us back to Cancun.
Upon our return we did buy the tickets to Chichen Itza – ruins galore I hear – and that means waking up at 0700. I almost dont recognize myself with the tan I am getting here – and although it rained hard in Cancun, it was lovely in Tulum.
Even if the places we go I can barely pronounce with all the Xs and “ch ch ch” noises, I look forward to tomorrow’s adventure.
And still no word on Godot – I mean Jorge.