Tulum....bye bye Mexico!!!
Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
12Trip End Ongoing
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Right, as it is our last day in Mexico, I (Mark) thought it fitting to finally post another blog! We have done an awful lot in the past 10days, and travelled an awful lot of miles too, so please relax, get a cup of tea, and settle down.
Starting from where the last post was left: Oaxaca. A lot has been written about Oaxaca...granted it is a pretty town/city, with some superb craft work, but its not the sort of place you could spend a week in. Still....we did have a bit of a coup on arrival....the bloke who checked us in to our hostel was blind drunk when we got there, and ended up giving us ALL of our money back and a little bit more! We only stayed for 2 evenings, as we wanted to catch the overnight bus to San Cristobal on the Friday evening in order to meet Beccas pals on Saturday. The first day we decided to go on a tour at the last minute...and it was really fun (apart from our Israeli friend, who insisted on having pictures taken of himself by everyone all day). First port of call was to see the worlds biggest (when we got there we found out that that meant FATTEST) tree. Anyway, the tree was called Tula(?), and it was cool, something like 58metres in diameter, but we were more excited by the fact that there were some testicular looking plants, aptly named Bishops Balls! When we get more piccies up you will have the pleasure of this! Next port of call was a weaving factory ran by the Zapatita people. Was more interesting than I thought, id never go to anything like that off my own back, so i was pleased it was put upon me. They had some lovely things, showed us how it was made, but once again we couldnt afford any of it! After this we headed to the place we really wanted to head to....Hievre el Agua (water of boil). It is set 5000m above sea level, in the Oaxaca mountains, and is a natural bathing pool. It was absolutely freezing, but because of the setting it always looked like you were about to fall of the edge of a mountain...which made it all better! Was a really stunning place, hopefully our pictures can give it some sort of justice. Last port of call for that day was a Mezcal making factory. Mezcal is the Mexican tipple, coming from the Agave plant, and has many flavours. It was great, imagine us...free bar with some deathly strong spirits!
So, after coming home, we went out and watched the fireworks display in the Zocalo (main square), which was pretty cool. The next day we both nursed some more diarrhoea, and mooched about in the oppresively hot sun. We departed for San Cristobal in good spirits, even though for the first 3hours of the trip we had to concentrate on not being sick! We arrived bright and early, and after walking through the town to find our hostel we decided that it was a nice place! Lots of small shops, narrow cobbled streets, and a fantastic market. I confess to being a little bit dubios, as our ever-so-delightful Lonely Planet guide book has a habit of spouting turd, when all it does is harp on about how the indigenous people are ever-presents, and that the Mexican rebel group of the Zapatistas are based there, I get a bit worried that they are raising my expectations too high. However, it was a really nice place! There was a great tea house, must of had 60different teas, plus cakes, but the best thing was that you could go to a cinema, for two people, and decide exactly what film you wanted to watch! So we did that a couple of times, and i enjoyed exploring the plethora of styles of chai tea! We met up with Beccas buddies from Seville, who showed us a few places (including a great Cuban bar with live music every day), and was a nice wee reunion.
We ended up spending 3nights there, as we thought it was a nice place to recharge, plus the hostel was great fun.
We caught a morning bus on the Tuesday to begin our 5hour 150kilometre journey up more mountains towards the jungle in Palenque. After arriving, finding the place where you can rent cabanas in the jungle(!), and securing a cabana for the evening, that was pretty much the day! Had a little walk in the jungle in the dark just to whet our appetites a little bit, and listend for the howler monkeys that live there!
We got up bright and early the following morning for a monstrous brekkie, and began our trek (to the minivan) to get to the ruins. The ruins were cool, looked a bit special with a jungle as a backdrop, but i must admit to preferring seeing the waterfalls within the jungle. I think that is partly due to the fact that we have seen three sets of ruins in a short space of time, and the novelty factor has started to wear a bit thing (hence we decided not to visit the most famous - and most expensive - ruins of Chichen Itza). We realxed in our pleasant jungle setting for the rest of the day.
We had planned to take an overnight bus to Merida the following night, and had purchased our tickets upon arrival in Palenque (proving to be a masterful idea from Becca, as the one we initially wanted was already sold out!), so we decided to do a tour of the local waterfalls during the day, conveniently getting dropped off at the bus station with all our stuff afterwards. The first place the combi took us to was a singular waterfall in a place called Misol-Ha. Standing at 35metres tall, it was really very impressive. The coolest thing was that you could follow a path around to the back of the waterfall, and watch it from the other side...albeit getting drenched in the process. From there we drove for an hour or so to another town called Agua Azul. This was a series of waterfalls that you could walk around. We certainly did not need the two and a half hours to walk around it, but it was very pleasant indeed, although sadly there had been a lot of rain in the area recently, so the water was a bit murky to say the least, but it wasn´t so bad as to distort our minds of what it would look like on a nice day. So, after the drive back, i received a pleasant email from Air New Zealand stating that my refund will be 20% less than i expected, so we boarded the bus, with myself in a particularly foul mood! We were due to arrive in Merida at 5am, but fortunately the bus was a couple of hours late, which was a welcome piece of extra sleep.
So we arrived in Merida...and it was very hot indeed! Decided within about an hour of being there that it was a bit of an error as it was a really nothing place! So we did very little that day, and went to watch a very poor band in the evening. The guidebook really loved stating how Merida was a cultural and colonial capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, and so we should learn from our mistakes! We decided to make it just the one night, and head to the caribbean coast....so here we are! Having never been to this coast before, i was hoping that it would entail soft white sandy beaches, palm trees, and sunshine...and its just like it is on the postcards! Tulum is a small town with some ancient ruins on the beach (but we skipped this option), and is very hot. Today we´ve just been sunning ourselves at the beach, remarking about the blue-ness of the water and how nice the sand was/is!
Still, good things must come to an end, and so this evening we are travelling overnight to Belize City. We both feel like we need a change of country, we have been here for four weeks, and its great, but still a change is exciting! We must come back some time and do the rest, as there is a lot to see! I will miss the friendliness of the people, the taste of the bananas, and the abundance of colourful buildings to name but a few things.
And so the next part of our journey begins, i expect Becca shall fill in you once the curtain has been drawn on our time in Belize....
love to you all xx
p.s Becca is dyspraxic in her bones undoubtedly, i have never known such a clumsy being
p.p.s she also believes it suitable behaviour to wake one at 5am on the bus to tell them they have bad breath!