Wednesday, February 10, 2010

yoel in yucatan

Forgive me, not many things start with Y and it's so much fun to alliterate! The weather may be nasty here in the states, but our neighboring country is balmy and pleasant, even when it rains. The bulk of the recent trip was in Tulum, which is about a 2 hour bus ride south of Cancun. A quick aside about Mexican buses. Holy mole are they nice! You can purchase an actual numbered seat on a bus, which arrives and departs on time, is clean, comfy, and offers coffee on board! And plays fun movies which are double extra fun because they're dubbed in Spanish. It was such an unexpected and efficient (among my highest praises) treat, and it put the greyhound/public-transportation-in-general in the US to utter shame. Oh, and it was super-cheap, even for the "first class" ADO bus. I'd move to Mexico for the buses alone.

We stayed in the town of Tulum, rather than Tulum beach, because the beach places are either all-inclusive dealios where you don't leave the Compound (plus all-inclusive is a big ole rip-off for vegetarians), or "eco-friendly" (cough cough) cabanas on the beach with 'squitos and vagrants a-hovering. The big draw of the town are the Mayan ruins, which are built right on the beach (see last post for pic too).

These are very well-maintained, but unfortunately one can't go inside the buildings. Unless one is an iguana.

You can walk straight down from the ruins down some steps to the beach. We decided to walk 5-10 minutes south to a less crowded beach. The beach in Tulum is wonderful. There are no crowds, no icky seaweed/crustaceans (there is a reef closeby), no rocks--just lots of clean sand and shallow warm water for a long wade out. Random games of football (soccer) pop up between apparently semi-professional players on the beach. I don't know who made this gigantic sand city, but isn't it awesome? It's like 6 feet tall!

Just kidding, it's a foot or so. Heh heh.

There weren't any knitting stores or indie bookshops (usually top priorities on vacation), so the bulk of the focus was on food. I heart breakfast, if it's like this, and eaten at brunchtime! Yummy huevos rancheros.

The food was surprisingly unspicy, but apparently that is the Yucatec style. Lunch was always bread and fruit. It's all nonorganic-white-bread-with-refined-sugar crapola, but man oh man that was some good stuff at the bakery (The dollar sign is pesos, not dollars, btw).

The fruit was excellent too, although I forgot to take a picture of all the sweet little fruit/veggie shops. The juices are freshly-squeezed, and the jugos and various juice-based beverages were all fab. The only exception is margaritas, which are made out of hideous bottled mix, except at one place called Balche. The bartender squeezed 4-5 limes in front of me for this one (margarita on the left; mojito on the right).

We took a day trip (by bus of course) to Coba, which are more Mayan ruins, but in the jungle. It's actually dozens of settlements spread through a huge jungly area. The highlight was El Castillo, which is the highest Mayan building in the Yucatan (including Chichen Itza). People look like little ants climbing up.

Here I am almost at the top.

Hopefully this video of the view from the top will play. It got kinda blurry in compression, but if you look carefully you can see random other Mayan buildings peeking through the jungle canopy. Do NOT play if you are afraid of heights.

It's cool happening upon ancient buildings hidden amongst crazy jungle trees.

We didn't have enough time to go to the Sian Kaan biosphere reserve, which one enters by boat along canals dug by the Mayans, or to Cenotes, which are freshwater springs/lakes inside caves. That's for next time!

The last night was spent in Cancun, which was embarrassingly touristy and tacky, and just like Vegas except on the beach. DH ordered coffee with dinner here which unexpectedly came with a whole fire-pouring extravaganza, which, despite my usual desire to avoid anything of the sort, was actually pretty enjoyable.

I am not a morning person, and never get to see the sunrise, particularly over the ocean from a hotel room balcony, unless I have to catch a flight (and get my knitting needles ravaged in the process). Yay for vacations.


orata said...

wow, your trip looks fantastic! I like the iguana photo :)
once i met a woman in the emergency room who had fallen down one of those steep Mayan pyramids as she was climbing the steps, broken her ankle, and refused to be treated in Mexico so had to be airlifted home.

mooncalf said...

Oh it looks so hot and sunny and fantastic. I cannot express how jealous I am.

It is 2 degrees here in the UK and the boiler has broken in my office. So I'm really really quite jealous :)

And I'd quite like a mojito too!

Julie said...

oh wow, I wish I was there!! Looks utterly amazing.

emicat said...

What an amazing trip you had! Thanks for sharing the experience with us.