Sweating all the way in the Yucatán. February 22, 2019
Just finished a great dinner across the street from the city hall and Plaza Major in Playa del Carmen. The menu was Spanish with a heavy emphasis on Catalan (Barcelona) cuisine. The Serrano ham and the Rioja were Spanish and the seafood was local. One of my best meals ever. It was needed after today.
We connected with our tour guide at 8am after a quick hotel breakfast. There were seven in our group and the tour guide. The air condoned van rambled down to Tulum for our first stop. I had just finished reading an article about how big of a mess has been created on this part of the “Mayan Riviera” by rapid overdevelopment. Fortunately, the Archeological site was separated and insulated from the city that stretches for miles along the coast.
We spent two hours prowling this former Mayan coastal trading center. The setting was magnificent but the archeological remains derived from an era when Mayan architecture was in decline. The masonry was crude, especially compared to the Inca, but the place had its magic. Our guide spent a great deal of time explaining in simple terms the Mayan calendar and debunking Aliens did it theories. We were amused by the coatis looking for dinner and the numerous Iguanas avoiding becoming tacos. They stayed behind the roped areas and made huffing fun of us sweating tourists.
Next stop was a Cenote or pond in the limestone that abounds in the area. Despite this being the dry season, the Cenotes have plenty of water and tourists. We arrived at ours prior to the crowds and enjoyed the clear waters that soon became obscured with the arrival of a bus load or two of tourists. Peggy and I just rested as we knew the day was young. Upon leaving the spring fed pond, we headed to Coba. We had a nice buffet and a floor show of Mayan dancers dressed in lots of feathers and not much else.
We boarded a Mayan tuck tuck and was peddled through the sights of Coba. It was one of the largest Mayan cities. Only a few of the some six thousand buildings have been excavated. The city was connected with other Mayan cities by an extensive road system. The one from Coba to Chichen Itza was almost a hundred miles long. We walked on a bit to just like we stomped along Roman roads in Spain a few years ago. We got the best guesses on who really won the competitions in the ball court. It wasn’t a visit to the White House.
The high light of the visit was the climb and descent from the top of the local temple with 118 irregular steps up and down. Peggy loves these. I go along to support her or at least that what I tell myself. We made it and sweated at least another gallon. By the way, no mosquitos in the dry season. We are still prepared but quite happy to avoid seeing and feeling the little buggers. We thought we we done for the day but no.
We stopped at a village of Mayans who still speak the ancient tongue. The local Shaman performed a service of welcome in Mayan of course. There was plenty of burning incense and pleasant vibes. Our guide thanked us for being respectful of a group of people who are trying to save some of their culture. I enjoyed the hand made tortillas she cooked for us.
We managed to get back to our hotel by seven and immediately headed for or wonderful dinner. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.