Published: July 6th 2012July 4th 2012
Right then! Day one began with an emotional farewell at Gatwick Airport. Sad to say goodbye to the people I love but for all the negative emotions I was excited that Jim and I were on day one of a seriously exciting adventure.
I won't bore you with the details of the flight other than to say they don't do champagne in economy and they run out of beer in a couple of hours. On this basis, we soberly arrived in Mexico. Passing through immigration was no highlight but we didn't have any problems. It was humid and hot as expected but not overwhelming. We managed to follow the instructions on the printout from our pre-booked hostel and found a cheap bus into the centre of Cancun (I think it’s called Cancun Locale).
On arrival we were pleased we had managed the 1 hour journey for little more than a couple of pounds ($50mex). I mentioned that we arrived in Central Cancun earlier but it was not what I expected as I couldn't see a union jack or group of American’s adopting the dentist chair position anywhere along the modest dusty streets.
Our hostel was not far from
the bus station and our time in Thailand was useful because it meant we knew what we were in for. The hostel 'manager' was friendly and showed us to our room. He was local but had somehow adopted an American accent and was prefixing the word 'fucking' to every key word. So we settled into our 'fucking hostel' and thought we should go and check out the city. We didn't stray far but found a courtyard where they were holding a pretty tame demonstration. This courtyard or park seemed to be where the locals hung out and provided a spot to get hold of cheap street vendor food. Whilst we fully expect to be eating cheap from vendors we thought we would treat ourselves to a burrito or two instead so headed to a not so dashing restaurant. The food was good mind... I would happily dine on burritos for a week. Another thing I noticed was that the locals really appreciate you trying to use the language even if it takes 5 minutes to ask for the bill!...
We toyed with the idea of hitting 'the strip' but when we realised it was 5 am UK time and
going out would involve another 8 hours+ and another $50US+ we opted to head home. Having read through the guidebook and chatted to a guy we met from London (he looked gangster but was pretty sound) we decided to take the bus to Tulum early the next morning.
After a good night sleep we hopped on the bus south down the coast towards Tulum. 2.5 hour journey and $100Mex (that’s about £5) later and we had arrived. We heard that this was where most of the travellers hang out and that there were both Mayan ruins and a huge beach. Using Lonely Planet as a guide we opted to take a taxi to the beachside hostels/hotels. Oh, the weather I haven’t really mentioned... it is HOT HOT HOT and sunny. The taxi dropped us at the entrance of (the guy who runs it just said it means ‘universe shower’ in Mayan... OK!). Weirdly we stood waiting for someone to show up at the reception hut for a while, whilst people walked past us (not particularly friendly or maybe just tooooo chilled eh!). Finally a woman showed up so we sent the taxi on his way. Unfortunately the dorms had
burned down so they only had a $500MEX hut available, known as a Cabana. This was a slight blow as the taxi was on its way by the time we realised and we had no means of finding anywhere cheaper. Despite this, Xbalamque is the cheapest beachside accommodation for miles so we just went for it.
We hit the beach briefly and I can tell you it is beautiful... probably the nicest beach I have ever seen (see pictures). White sand, crystal clear turquoise water and barely a sole in sight. Given that we had only eaten a not so danish danish pastry for breakfast we cut the beach trip short and borrowed some bikes to go grab some food from the ONLY store (or la Tianda) for miles. Pretty cool that they offered us free bikes although I had a chopper whilst James rode a rather fetching battered red child’s bike with a rusty chain (still.. serves him right for taking the bigger beach towel). The store did not have the mountains of food and drink we were expecting. So we have just eaten... spam and tomato sandwiches (glad we brought a penknife!). Believe it or not Spam isn't to bad. I have to go anyway but just to summarise: I am sat under a hut in a hippy paradise. We are off back down the beach and may check out the lagoon later (Croc warning signs!!!!). Turtle Power!
Its the morning after and I have a bit of a story to tell. We got back from the beach last night and met a few pretty cool english people. We decided to head down to the lake (known as a Cenote) with two girls we met. They were a bit too chatty (if thats possible) but hey it was cool to meet some fellow english speaking travellers. One of the advantages of the place we are staying is that we were able to borrow kayaks which was pretty cool as we went and caught the sunset on the lake. A few beers and a spag-bol tuna ala jimmy later and we were into our 6th game of cards to decide who would wash up the dishes (fortunately I wasn't the loser on this occasion!). One of the girls mentioned that there were tutles laying eggs on the beach at night at this time of year. Apparently it is the end of the season so we had a slim chance of seeing one, particulalrly given that it was a full moon. We took a couple of torches and headed about 800metres down to the beach where we walked for about 20 minutes in the moonlight. To be honest we saw nothing and every rock we saw seemed to get us excited (sounds weird!). After a while and given that it was 1am we turned back reluctantly. On our way back across the beach (which is beautiful at night by the way) i noticed some sand flick across our path. I thought it didn't look natural so shone my torch and sure enough a giant tutle had craw right up the beach to lay its eggs. It was an amazing sight and pretty awesome when you think that they travel thousands of miles are hundreds of years old and weigh over 100Kg! We stood for ages as it dug the biggest hole it could. Labouring away and taking breaks. It was not bothered by our presence and just seemed to want to get the job done!... as it was so late and given that the turtle looked almost as tired as us we decided to leave it to do the business and headed back. What an amazing experience on our first day... something I won't forget in a hurry. Check out the pics.