Beaching it @ Tulum Carribean Sea Dreaming

Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2010

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Friday, October 12, 2007

It is the rainy season and mosquitos are plentiful however this didn't stop us loving the Carribean, less tourists and still some sweet weather. The lemon and eucalyptus blend rub with no DEET is good and aloe vera is also a good repellant. We took a cab to leave Rancho Tranquillo who tried to pull a swifty on us by kidnapping our laundry we had put in to be washed and wouldn't give it back until we agreed to stay another evening. They wanted us to stay another night because it's the low season and it's tough business. After much haggling we hijacked the laundry and got it washed down the street instead by a mother and daughter team at a small house for $2.20 a kilo "urgent service".We had time to kill so i burned a CD of photos, found a cybercafe (plentiful all over), drank a litre of naranja juice and stocked up on Bohemia Beer.

We cabbed it to the beach for 45 pesos. The cabanas we intended to stay at have been renovated with electricity between 7pm and 6am (fans, lights) and a mosquito net plus bedding. It was called Zazil Kin, formerly Don Armandos. There was a good bar, a primo Mexican restaurant next door called Don's Cafe and it was right on the beach with a thatched roof. Security wasn't an issue as we scored a cement floor and we had security guards 24 hours a day. These guys were gold and even raked up our footprints in the sand when we walked around. Joy. So for the poor man's Carribbean for US$40 per nite between us, we were laughing. There were only 12 others staying there, it's a hippies on holidays extravaganza.

Three hurricanes have smashed this region this season already however, the weather was good for us and only a little debris remained. Dean was the last one to hit. The first thing we noticed at the beach was the turqouise aquamarine water which we had glimpsed from our flight into Cancun. There are small waves here and a very much alive reef, the second biggest in the world we are told. There was a gentle, pleasant breeze and the sand was white, velvety, super fine and was easily sculpted when wet. There are gorgeous red and white wooden boats too. After throwing ourselves in for a dip we sculpted an Earth ball out of the sand in honour of our journey around the planet.

I played some Australian psytrance on my ipod speakers which unknowingly attracted the attention of the boys next door who ran the "Aquatic Tulum Dive School". These Mexican guys (all named Pancho we think) were friendly and immediately befriended us wanting us to play them all our music, take us snorkelling and inviting us to share their lunch of chicken and vegetables in vine leaves. They had caught a large, crayfish, lobster type crustacean with their bare hands from the ocean floor which they sliced open with a machete and then went in to town to buy garlic and supplies to cook it with. many people carry machetes around here and this took a bit of getting used to without us thinking we were about to get mugged everytime someone pulled our their knife.

The beach bars are groovy town, some are just an esky with a few select spirits, beer, water and coca-cola plus tequila of course, others are full kit and caboodle spaces with massage, cabana boys serving mainly European tourists lazing on banana lounges, giant mattress cushions and chilling under white umbrellas with smooth reggae and loungey tunes.There are funky little swings hanging from thatched roof bars on which you can sit and swing in the breeze. We frequented a place called "El Paraiso" which had friendly mixologists getting their cocktails and dreams on.

We met the most beautiful young Mexican guy with sparkling eyes, a huge white smile, long dreadlocks and happy feet. Gorgeous. He asked us to dance salsa with him then invited us to smoke some ganja. The darker skin of the coastal people is striking against the backdrop of white sand, blue water and palm trees.

One day we saw a rainbow form over the Carribbean Sea.... nature's painting in the sky... a surreal extraordinary moment. Locals walk the beach selling hand-made jewellery and fruit like papaya, mango, coconut and pineapples.  Our stomachs are holding up well even though we go with the local flow and mainly eat at hole-in-the-wall kitchens. We trekked around the restaurants and came across a very glamorous brick and thatched roof party house being built. This one was ingeniously powered by a system af wind mills and solar panels.... fantastic design and we immediately thought of flying all our friends over for a party here. Deluxe location. We watched large sea birds spread their wings and fly high then swiftly dive into the ocean for a catch of fish stealing them from the fishermen.

The scuba boys harassed us the whole time we were there looking for us in the mornings trying to get us to go diving with them. We couldn't keep up with the Mexican party every night drinking margaritas, caprinhas and beer. Both nites we ate at Don's Cafe next door. We had mole poblano (spicy chocolate sauce and chicken), beef tacos (getting a bit over them now), a dish called peppitos (beef steak, cheese and bean sandwich) and i had my first cerviche which i had been waiting to try. This dish was raw fish, shrimp, octopus, coriander, tomato, onion, chilli and vinegar all cooked in it's own citrus juices. Tops!  We also got into the Mexican eggs which was basically eggs on tortillas (again). We're obsessed with food and need to eat lots because we walk alot. The dish of the day is the Tamarindo Margarita. Ace!

We visited Tulum Mayan ruins which are located on the ocean. There is an incredible amount of planning and design gone into this site with watchtowers and strategic access to the land and sea.  This was a walled city with another internal wall with a central space where magic and religious rituals were held. Tulum was dedicted to the planet Venus, the Mayans here worshipped the morning and evening star. It was also known as Zaci which i think translates to "dawn". This is one of the first places to see the magnificent Carribbean sunrise. Again rain was very important here and being in the hurricane zone, they would not have wanted to disrespect the rain god Chac. The tourists here were just as interesting as the ruins and we had a good laugh watching them. The Mayan culture gets more and more interesting everyday and we've starting meeting more genuine Mayan people who readily share their stories.

We spent the last nite chatting with an Austrian musician with a mop of curly hair who was living in Tulum in a dodge van whilst waiting for his band to arrive after having spent months getting into the mushrooms in Oaxaca. This guy was very wised up on the areas we are travelling to and we spent some time chatting about ways to get around.

We'll leave for Belize early tomorrow morning and arrive in the daylight. We heard their are no foreign ATMs in Belize so we must stock up and carry cash.

Although it is a bit edgy, we haven't felt scared of a mugging yet mainly because we are on the gringo trail and don't go too far off the beaten track......yet. You still have to guard your gear though and keep your precious stuff on your body. 
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