Thursday, August 02, 2007

Gringos in Mexico - Tulum and a cenote (at last!)

Sunrise on the day we visited Tulum was all pinks and soft clouds.
This is the view of the dining room during sunrise - look how close the water is. That's a result of hurricanes.
I found these conch shells (and the cool red scallop) washed up on the beach that morning. First time I've ever found conch shells. I was thrilled with my haul!
This is typical breakfast at Lafitte. The watermelon was particularly sweet. Don't you love their place mats?

They say three is the charm, and it seems that is the case. Tulum is only about 45 minutes south of Capitan Lafitte, but I had not gotten my sorry butt down there until this third trip.

Gary really wanted to see Chichen Itza, but I had gone on my first visit to Mexico and knew that it was a serious side trip, which was not the real deterrent. What is a deterrent is that it is completely inland. That means no shade, no ocean breezes, Mexico in July. I did my best to dissuade him. I was so happy when, after a couple of hours in the sun at Tulum (which is on the water) he was able to agree for himself that Chichen Itza would have been unbearably hot. Because Tulum was crazy hot! And whether or not he actually believes me, having seen both places: Tulum is by far more beautiful. But one day I'm sure we'll go back and see Chichen Itza - in a cooler month!

There may be more history at Chichen Itza, but Tulum... oh my god. It's simply breathtaking. No photograph I could take would ever do it justice. The brilliance of the colors around you - the blue of the sky, the green of the trees and plants, the pops of pinks, purples and reds that are the flowers - are enough to leave you with your mouth hanging open, wondering how in the world anything can be so beautiful and still be real.

As in Chichen Itza, Tulum is home to many fat and sassy iguanas. These happy lizards bask in the sun and give the tourists bored, "oh, hello, yes we live here and you don't. Sucks to be you, huh?" looks that make you wonder who is really the one with the larger brain?
"Hola, Gringos. Now move along. I tire of you and your cameras!"

We had gotten a private driver through the tour desk at Lafitte. We were told he would be "English speaking, special for you" Well. Not so special. Not a word of English, and between Gary and I we had maybe 6 words of Spanish. But it was fine. The only thing about it that was a problem was that he was clearly a really nice kid and I would have loved to have been able to really converse with him. Though considering our mutual language barriers we did alright.
He's the one who took the shots of Gary and I together - but honestly, why didn't he blur the focus on me? ACK!! If ONLY I had more Spanish! That'll teach me to study more before I return to Mexico!

While we were driving back from our visit in the ruins of Tulum he asked us if we wanted to see a cenote. Well HELL, YES! We hadn't discussed a cenote with the tour director simply because we were pretty much pooped (yes, laying around napping will make you exhausted!) so we didn't want to schedule ourselves too much. But our guide suggested it and it seemed like a great idea to just make a quick stop on the drive back. I had never seen a cenote (yes, I too wonder what I did on those previous two trips) so I was really excited.

He pulled off the main highway onto an unmarked dirt road, made a right and pulled up next to a bus that was already there and parked. We got out of the car and were, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere. No other signs of life besides us and the bus.

We walked about 10 feet to an inauspicious clump of rocks that turned out to be a cave. We bravely followed our guide and this is was our reward:

The green rope you see near the left is a swing that people who swim here have set up.
The people from the bus were swimming, well not so much swimming as wading. But still, so nice.

The water was so clear it was invisible. This is a shot through the water. Maybe 3-4 feet deep.
Gary stepped in and the water barely made it to his knee. So of course I was also going in. You can see him if you blow it up. The shadows in the cave were not conducive to fine portraiture.

Did I mention the water was nearly invisible? Yeah. I had no depth perception whatsoever. I stepped in and *plunk* went in to the waist. Ah well... it gave everyone a good laugh. A pratfall will always transcend language barriers, so it was worth it. You see, Gary was smart enough to step onto a rock ledge. I was a few feet over and ... well. I have a gift for grace.

Later that night after a nap, and some ping-pong, Gary caught this sunset while I floated in the pool. That's looking back towards the entrance of Lafitte. Could it be prettier??

A beautiful end to our beautiful day in Tulum.


Gary said...

You put me to shame with your detailed description of our Mexican excursion with films and clever ways to present pictures.
You know, I did not even realize that that was me at the cenote in the water until you wrote it and I enlarged it to see the outline of the hat. You were just snapping away. Glad that when you fell in the water the camera didn't get wet, although you sure did. LOL.

Is there more in this series?

Joy said...

Oh laugh Gringo, laugh. :)

Of COURSE there is more to the series! And thank you for asking!

Upcoming: Mayan Sacrifice!
and Playa Del Carmen!

Junk Thief said...

Nice shots. It sort of reminds me of Monte Alban in Oaxaca, though no palm trees or water there.

Iguanas always make me laugh and resort to corny puns, as in "Iguana take a picture of that big ugly lizard."

Joy said...

JT - there's just something about an iguana that requires corny puns. I think it's their badass attitude. :)