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MEXICO-Tulum and the Ruins

Ruins of the old castle and its wall at Tulum

all seasons in one day 34 °C
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]Last night it was very hot, mosquitos were going full blast, the noise of their wings in my ears was most annoying and shuffling from one side to another, trying to swat them with my hands, did not ditter them from their attacks. There was no mosquito net over the bed, I think it was because of its large size, and I wished I were a zebra with my own unique stripes to confound the buzzing brutes. Although I was suffering from a cold and fever, we got ready to go and visit the ruins.

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We went out and had a breakfast of oranges and fresh juice, I had a coffee to perk me up and then walked up to the main road and caught a taxi. The fare was 40 pesos and it left us at some distance from the ticket booth. It was early, but there already was a line of tourists before the ticket window, mostly Americans in their loud clothes and with their loud voices, complaining about the delay in opening the ticket window as it was past 8 a.m. The entrance fee was 45 pesos, at Chichen-Itza we had paid 48 pesos.

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At the entrance were the kiosks selling mineral water and sweets and potato, souvenirs and jewelry etc, and walking inside towards the ruins, we saw the map of Tulum, as the strategic and important trade route to the Caribbean sea and the ruins of the castle and the wall surrounding it, like a fortress, which were the only things of interest to see. From the perched up on the hill, you could look down at the turquoise sea and the beach and palm trees, but it was nothing to write home about. We had already seen the ruins in Mexico city and Merida and were not so very keen on visiting any more ruins, ancient or modern. The whole area was full with iguanas, huge animals, sitting under scanty shade or sunning themselves. Like the Mexican people, they were totally unconcerned and uninterested in the tourists. And not scared at all.

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The heat was intense and although Alex lingered some time, I came back to the entrance and sat down, my head was throbbing and I desperately needed shade and rest. After half an hour or so, we decided to take the path which goes down to the beach, through the Hotelera Zone. The distance was about one kilometre. That part of the beach where the villas are, we could see the well appointed bungalows and cabins, surrounded by tall hedges and wooden fences, some had large verandas with swimming pools. The zona hotelera are self contained villas and apartments, where the tourists pass most of their time, eat lunch and dinner and have drinks, they do not venture out and visit the village and do not help the local economy.

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We reached the far end of the beach where we had been the day before and spread our towels on the powdery white sand. The sea was rough, a brisk wind was blowing, a few swimmers were splashing in the water near the shore. No surfer, no boat or yatch in sight. The heat was intense and since swimming was out of the question, we also splashed in the sea and picked up our towels and walked to the restaurant where we each had a cold beer. And took a taxi which left us in the avenida Tulum.
Alex did not want to have any Mexican food, he bought a bread roll with some fillings at the Subway outlet and I had a portion of fried chicken with guacamole and onion salad at a nearby small restaurant, where the locals were eating. Every where they give you cold cooked rice, frijoles, cabbage, guacamole and onion salad. But I said "no gracias señora" to the lady who served me.
BE3675752219AC68172CDFA0FB29BA99.jpg</p><p>Afterwards we went to one of the restaurants and had mojitos. All drinks, be it beer, rum with coke, mojito, cost 50 pesos, which I found expensive. But Mexico is not cheap when it comes to eating in a restaurant.<br />It was past five in the evening when we went back to the apartment and were soon asleep. There were few mosquitoes buzzing around and had to take advantage of the situation. In the evening the fever returned and I could not get up for next two days. On 18th October, we left for Cancun. Alex had missed his appointment there. I was so sorry.DSC05645.jpg

Posted by The Islander 08:47 Archived in Mexico Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains lakes beaches churches landscape bus monuments backpacking air-travel Comments (0)

Mexico - Tulum (Quintana Roo)

The ancient Commercial Route

sunny 33 °C
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The apartment had been cleaned and fresh bed sheet and pillow cases put on the bed, two thin towels were laid on a chair in the corner. The small cooking area was not altogether so clean as we had expected, so I took a dish cloth and wash up liquid and thoroughly washed the long stone slab on which the cups and saucers, plates and glasses stood, and properly washed & cleaned theDSC05633.jpg

Iguanas every where
We shaved and showered and lay down on the big bed and soon were asleep. When we awoke, it was afternoon and after freshening up, went out to see the town. There were fruit and vegetable stalls in the street in which was the apartment, and two kiosks selling bottled water, soft drinks and sweets and sundry snacks. So it was easy for us to buy water etc, on our return. As we turned the corner to enter the main street, Avenida Tulum, Alex saw a Subway outlet, the fast food company shop. We had missed seeing it when we went to have a look at the apartment. So he knew where to have vegetarian snacks.
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Tulum was a small place, with just one main street, shops and small eating places and hotels and hostels on both sides of the road. It reminded me of those windblown hick towns you see in spaghetti western movies, where a gun totting gringo would suddenly appear to be downed by the sheriff. We walked on and passed the bus station where we had alighted earlier and enquired if there was any market or supermarket. We were told that there was a super at the walking distance of about ten minutes, which turned out to be nearly one kilo meter and was called Super Mar Carib. A small place where we bought some beer, a small bottle of rum and soft drinks. A sign in the window informed us that sale of alcoholic drinks was open from 8-22hrs, monday to friday, from 8-14hrs. on saturdays and no alcohol was sold on sundays. Mexican authorities control the sale so that the consumption is restricted. In bars and restaurants there was no such restriction.

On our way back, we stopped at El Mariachi restaurant where we had grilled fish with cold beer and Mexican coffee. I was not feeling so good, so we decided to call it a day and on our way back, we bought two bottles of mineral water and went to the apartment.

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In the evening I was feeling better so we decided to go to the beach and have look around. We took a taxi to the beach, where the wooden cabins were and were surprised at the dissolute dark cabins sitting in the heat on stilted thin poles. Not a tree was around them. On enquiring we found out that many were without toilets and rent varied between 550-700 pesos per night. That there were some self contained bungalow types, which were near the ruins, in the Hotelera Zone, but the rent was from 1500 pesos and upwards per night.

There was only one restaurant at quite some distance on the beach and walking there on the powdery white hot sand, was not very pleasant. As we walked on, the wind stirred up and suddenly it started raining. There was no shelter so we started running, wet and full of sand, to the taxi stand, took a taxi and went back to the apartment.

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A view of the beach at Tulum from the Zona Hotelera

Posted by The Islander 04:05 Archived in Mexico Tagged landscapes lakes beaches churches bus monuments backpacking air_travel air-travel Comments (0)

Mexico- Tulum The City of Dawn (Quintana Roo)

Tulum, the walled city on the east coast of Mexico

rain 33 °C
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It was our plan, after visiting the ruins of Chichen-Itza, to stay in Merida for a day or two and enjoy its cosmopolitan ambience, then visit Tulum, Playa de Carmen and the island of Cozumel and then reach Cancun. The evening was cooler, the park was full of people, families with children, young couples sitting or strolling, a musical bandplaying. There were many bars and restaurants with terraces and we enjoyed a carefree evening, drinking tall cool drinks. However, we also had to be in Cancun by 16th October, so it was decided that we should first go to Tulum and see what to do next.
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In the evening it rained and strolling the streets of Merida, we got very wet and at night I got a chill. In the morning we took a taxi to the bus station and bought our tickets for Tulum. The bus journey lasted more than four hours, the airconditioning in the bus gave me the chills and by the time we reached Tulum, I was running a fever. It was afternoon when we reached Tulum and walking down the main street, to find a suitable hotel/hostel, we came across two young ladies and a local man, walking towards us. Alex said Hi guys, can you please suggest a place to stay? The ladies who were American teachers on holiday, told us that the man who was with them, had just rented them a cabin at the beach and if we wished, we could stay with them. We declined and the man told us that he had another apartment nearby where he himslef was staying and which he could vacate and give to us for our stay of a day or two. But they would like to eat first, and then the man would take us to have a look at the apartment.

The ladies, in their early forties, one slim and the other stout, knew Mexico and the slim one had often visited Mexico in her holidays. She said that she liked the country and its food. The local man was swarthy, with a pot belly and sweating in his half sleeved white shirt and crumpled white trousers, which needed a wash. He was over fifty, with matted hair which also needed washing, and looked like a cross between El Zorba but not the Greek and a Mexican Peón. After they had some food and Alex and me had a beer each, we left the ladies at the restaurant and accompanied the man to have a look at his apartment.
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The apartment was at a distance of ten minutes walk from the main street, Avenida Tulum, it was one large room with a huge double bed, with a kitchen in one corner and attached bathroom, all filthy. Food lying in dirty plates and soiled bedsheets and towels. The man told us that if we liked the place, it will take him half and hour to clean it and change the sheets and towels. The rent was 350 pesos per day. I was not feeling very well, so we decided to take it and while the man remained in his apartment, we left our backpacks there and went back to the restaurant and had a drink with the American ladies until the man came back and gave us the key. So we said goodbye to the two ladies and promised to visit them at their cabin on the beach the next day and again walked back to the apartment. We were tired, it had stopped raining and we wanted to shower and rest first, before venturing out again and see the town and find some place to eat.
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Posted by The Islander 00:28 Archived in Mexico Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains lakes beaches churches bus monuments backpacking air-travel Comments (0)

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