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Published: April 22nd 2009
The cab drove along the highway toward Cobá and dropped us, (Kane, Karol, and me), off at the Gran Cenote and we walked in to this privately owned wonder, passing by some small buildings caged chickens, then down the stairs to a lowered dock to pick up our snorkeling gear. The sight of the cenote was wonderful - crystal clear blue and green water in underground caves, with tropical roots hanging down the sides of the rocks. My friends got in first, off the side of a wooden platform right next to a ladder. When I jumped in I felt that I hit my leg on something, pretty hard. I swam away a little bit and could see that I had a hole in my calf, a little larger around than a quarter. I knew it was deep and bleeding, but I figured that staying in the the clean cold water that had already filled it couldn't make it any worse, so I swam around and explored.
Swimming through here was an other worldly experience. It was possible to see enormous caverns, accessible with scuba gear. There were rocks, plants, and a few little fish. In one
direction, I swam through and came out in a beautiful cove where the water became just a few inches deep. In another I encountered more deep caves that seemed magical somehow.
After exploring as much as I could I got out and tended to my leg. There was a first aid kit there with alcohol and bandaids, but I knew I needed stitches, so I did the best I could with the first aid kit and planned to see a doctor back in Playa del Carmen. Now we needed to figure out how to get to the highway with colectivos to get back! For some reason the people running the cenote were unable to get a cab to come for us and suggested we try to hail one. This wasn't going to be easy. After a little while we decided to start walking - it wasn't very far, but it wasn't a short walk. The road was more of a highway and had no sidewalks. Lucky for us (at the point of contemplating hitchhiking anyways), a bright red jeep stopped and backed up to pick us up. The driver turned out to be a Polish tourist, so Karol was
happy to speak his native language to him! He dropped us off where we could pick up the collectivo, and we made it back to Playa.
I packed up my things and left with my suitcase to find the Cruz Roja clinic in town to have my leg looked at, knowing that I had to catch the only bus of the day to Palenque a few hours later. Not knowing what the clinic would be like, and worried it would be busy and crowded like an American emergency room, I was worried about catching my bus later on. Once I got to the clinic I realized that there would be no trouble at all. The small, clean waiting room only had one other family in it, and a medic looked at my leg right away, then asked me to wait a few minutes for the doctor. I went into the doctor's office (there was only one doctor, and only one office), and the nurse flushed my cut. The doctor (who didn't speak English) asked me about the surgery scars on my knees and was interested to finally meet his first patient with my stretchy collagen syndrome (he knew about
it but had never seen anyone with it). We talked a little, about my work and plans back home, about his trouble learning English with little time outside of family and work. He numbed the needed area of my leg and put in three stitches, tightening the skin around the hole quite a bit. He gave my prescriptions and instructions and I went to pay the $170 pesos (maybe around $15 US) for treatment to the clerk, then went next door to the pharmacy for my antibiotics and painkillers. I had no trouble buying my bus ticket, then walking to a second bus terminal to wait for the next part of my journey to begin - Chiapas!
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