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Published: November 12th 2018
Wed 7-Thurs 8 November - Day 12 to 13 - Playa del Carmen
Before going to Playa del Carmen, we travel to Chichén Itzá, an impressive Maya/Toltec site recently voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. The other 6 new wonders are Petra, Great Wall of China, Christo Redentor, Machu Pichu, Taj Mahal and Colosseum. Constructed between the 7th and 10th century AD, Chichén Itzá was a centre of pilgrimage for the Maya for over 1000 years. The most famous attraction is the great Pyramid of Kukulkan, dedicated to the feathered serpent god Kukulkan and built with such precision that a shadow serpent descends down the steps during the equinox.
Our guide around the site was knowledgeable, passionate and could speak the Mayan language. One of the areas he spoke about was the Ball Court where teams of 7 men played. The captain of the team was the only one who was allowed to score the goal. No hands were allowed. If hands were used they would be taken off the court and their hands cut off!!. The winning team captain who scored the goal was sacrificed. These men were
born to be eventually sacrificed as this was their honour in life!!!
After soaking up the beauty of Chichén Itzá and the gruesome stories, our minibus drove for approximately three hours to Playa del Carmen. This was after we had lunch at a traditional hacienda which had several 100chairs in the restaurant. The buffet included some entertainment from traditional Maya dancers as well as several ladies and a gentleman who danced with beer bottles balanced on their head!!! Different! The resort also had a little chapel for weddings.
Playa del Carmen is the perfect place for relaxation. The beaches are coated with sugar-white sand with shimmering turquoise waters to swim in. Alfredo showed us where all the main services were (ATM, laundry, bus stations ferry stops restaurants etc etc).
The best news was that Tom’s insulin had arrived at the hotel before we arrived. He was soooo pleased. The cool box packaging and postage (flying from Oaxaca to Mexico City down to Plaza del Carmen) cost 430MXP which was so cheap.
We all went to Karen’s restaurant which was on the main tourist drag of the town of
about 175,000 people. It was a fantastic meal and great company once again. There was a Mexican who was dressed in a Mexican sombrero and with empty bullet belts slung over each shoulder. We played tricks on us such as bringing our drinks to us and tripping over us. But instead of the real drinks he had plastic drinks attached to the serving tray and everyone got a shock to see the drinks toppling over …. But they didn’t as they were not real drinks.
He also sang happy birthday to one of our group members with a big cake that was covered with a silver lid. When the song was finished, he opened the silver lid only to expose a plastic snake. We all jumped. He was a real character.
The next day, we decided to visit the amazingly located Maya/Toltec ruins of Tulúm which is right on the very long beach. Catching a minibus for 45MXP the trip took 35 minutes passing many hotels along the way. The city and whole coastal strip was definitely set up for tourists. The ruins looked spectacular against the sea. We saw many lizards and iguanas
running around the site as well as a very colourful, orange and black bird. There was a 1 km walk from where the bus dropped us on the main road. It was very hot. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring our bathers which was silly of us, but we had a paddle in the sea, dodging a bit of seaweed on the edge of the water.
Returning to our hotel I then found a computer repair place as I was having problems connecting to the wifi and found the wifi driver was faulty. The way I got around this was to buy a USB wifi driver which the computer guy helped me with. All was good after that.
In the morning we had said our goodbyes to half of our group who were going back to work or home. We had formed a strong connecting with them all so it was sad to say our farewells to 10 of them. That night we welcomed 9 new travellers from Spain, NZ, Australia and China.
Alfredo, Tom & I and 2 of the new travellers from NZ went out to dinner and again, had an
excellent Mexican meal, making our own tacos and dotting it with more spicy salsa – yum! We were to be up and leaving the hotel by 6.00am so after buying some snacks for the next day, as we were off to Belize the next day, we returned to the hotel to pack.
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