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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: 20.4161, -87.3043
I've been (Liz talkng here) meaning to say something about colour. Mexico is full of vibrant colours, not the subdued and pastel shades found in the northern hempishere, but shocking pinks, reds, yellows that shimmer in the sun. Flowers, clothes and even buildings are painted in shocking pinks, orange, bright blue and yellow. Churches are decorated with great flower arrangments, sometimes over 20 displays in a church for a wedding or festival. Bright red Poinsettias, native to Mexico, are everywhere,growing like weeds, or planted on borders in public gardens. Geraniums and pink Bourganvillia decorate courtyards, white calla lillies, gladdioli and agapanthus proliforate and one tree is blossoming with a bright yellow flower the size of chrysanthumums. No wonder the women embroider their clothes with these flowers and their crafts and pots.I (Liz again)was looking forward to a few days without driving by the beach, but our first impressions of Costa Esmerlda, on the Gulf of Mexico, weren't good, after a long drive ending up on a very busy Coast Rd, with huge trucks, buses and cars and only one lane each way, with massive holes in the road, along with more high bumps ( calmers), making overtaking
lethal. It was getting dark when we arrived at our hotel,one of many alongside the road, fronting down to the beach. But they didn't sem to expect us and the place was very empty so we weren't thrilled at first. And then we had to get back on the road the way we'd come to find something to eat, though it did turn out to be a restaurant serving fish and seafood at very good prices. So for 2 days we seemed to be the only guests, with the unheated pool and heated indoor pool to ourselves, then at the beginning of a long public holiday weekend families descended and filled up the place. We eat lots of fried fish and prawns for 3 days and enjoyed sunny weather, happily, except for finding a lake in the living room from a leaking toilet on the first night and no hot water. We decided this coast need considerable investment.
We made a day trip to another ruin, El Tajin, and booked into a hotel in Mexico City after we returned the car to the airport. Just as well we didn't do this 4 hour drive on the way to
our flight to Palenque, given how long it took us to find the aiport. Instead we had an evening in Mexico City and caught up with The Theory of Everything - in English with Spanish subtitles
A 90 minute flight took us south to Palenque, a manageable small town in the jungle, just right for an overnight stay. We spent the afternoon and early evening watching the crowds assemble in the main square for a performance, for the Festival Naranjas ( oranges). Everything was delayed until dusk by the late arrival of a female political figure who then proceeded to kiss and greet everyone before the kids could start their ballet performances on the unlit stage. All very traditional and quite bizarre trying the audience's patience to the extreme.We enjoyed the Palenque ruins, much of it covered by jungle, keeping our distance from the large coach groups and chatting to other lone visitors in passing, one guy from Shanghai. sat around throughout the evening waiting for our night bus to leave at 10.30 from the bus station. After a long night (13 hours) in the front seats - the best on the bus we
were told - we arrived at Cancun on the Yucatan coast and hired another car from the airport. We arrived late in the afternoon at our quiet beach resort of Akumal and were ready for lunch just by the sea - now the Carribean.
It's a quiet part of the Yucatan coast - away from the all-inclusive resorts of Yucatan and Playa del Carmen. A simple hotel right on the beach with a restaurant nearby and a better beach, with turtles (and a better restaurant) 15 minutes walk away. Fine when the sun is out but not so great when the wind blows hard, the sky turns grey and the rain comes down in buckets - as it did today but not before Liz did her swim with the turtles.
I saw eight turtles yesterday, eating the weed fro the shallow sandy sea bed, but only one today. We swam together for some time as he swam up to the surface to take air and then down to sea bed again, untill some plonker came splashing along with a camera. But the best is the Coral Reef, which comes alive when the sun shines, full of fish , maybe 40 different
species, large and small, scaly and translucent, yellow, bright blue, stripey red and blue, very thin with a huge yellow eye marking, etc. And 2 huge Rays were flapping around in the sandy bed. There is also a huge variety of Coral moving round with the force of the waves. A wonderful alternative world beneath the ocean.
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