They say you can see 7 shades of blue in the carribean sea off the Yucutan coast. From the veranda of our beach cabana we practise counting them. The sky is clear, the sun merciless. The sea so warm its like taking a bath. The sand, soft, white coral. Our hammocks swing in the slight breeze, just enough to cool the sweat from our glowing bodies.
Yep, I’m miserable. Tulum is beautiful sure but it’s also a tourist resort and there is nowhere that isn’t controlled and gated, nowhere that the prices aren’t hiked up. Even the street tacos are twice the price you pay in mexico city and our accomodation, although fantastically situated with its own little beach is expensive and very basic. The breakfast that supposedly included in the price doesn’t materialise because there’s no one to cook it apparently. The room price also mysteriously increases by 100 pesos when it came time to pay. This happens at two different places. It’s not my Spanish but it might be their English.
The truth is I’m missing that sense of connection we had back in Zacatecas. The warm welcome of Ernesto and Fellipe; the lovely Fabiola. I’m missing Raul and the gang back in Mexico city and that sense that I’m learning something about Mexico and Mexicans.
A double expresso sets me back two pounds fifty. Walking along the beach my rucksac falls open and I loose my audio recorder and mp3 player. I find it again but the sea has claimed it and when I open it up a layer of soft white sand covers the printed circuit board. I can cope with the lose of it, it’s just a machine but my SD card with all my photos on it also seems to be broken.
Don’t get me wrong. Martin and I have some great moments. After settling in to the cabana we head to the local pescateria and pay next to nothing for a huge tilapia and a handful of kings size shrimp. With these safely stored for dinner we take our hire bikes on the road, check out the ruins and then cycle ten kilometers in the blistering heat to a place we can go snorkelling in one of the cenotes- the underground caverns that carry the network of rivers to the sea. The cenotes are amazing but the tour is short and we are shuffled on to the back of a party of eight americans.
More swimming follows but later when we get round to cooking our fish we find that fires are prohibited and they won’t let us use the kitchen. Some bad spanish persuades the night porter to go cook the fish himself. It’s bloody delicious when it arrives and we wolf it down african style, crunching the bones and sucking the flesh off the head with much relish. I tell the porter its better than the food we ate at a restaurant the previous night and ply him with a shot of tequila. Suddenly that connection is there again. He comes and sits with us, sharing a beer, talking about the resort, how quiet it is now; working in mexico; mexican girls! He gives us a couple more beers and then leaves us with a bottle of mexican cider.
Under the light of a waxing moon we dive into the sea and body surf the waves; or just float looking up at the moon and stars. All the little frustrations seem to melt away in this moment. It’s all been worth it.
This morning we pack up and head into town. We’re staying in the Weary Traveller for the next couple of days and Claire and Damian are joining us tomorrow. After two days in the sun my SD card has dried out and is now working! Things are looking up!
My bicycle has a puncture. I have to walk it 45 minutes in the midday heat with a rucksac on my back. When we deliver it back, the owner of the Iguana bicycle hire shop finds a spurious reason to charge us an extra 50 pesos. Sod it. I pay it for an easy life and then Omha from the weary traveller shows us to our clean twin room with on suite shower. Relieved I step into the cool water, lathering up, ready to wash the sticky sweat from my body.
The shower slows to a trickle, a drip and then stops. Bollocks.