Posts Tagged ‘Mayan Ruins’

Go Slow

Author: Kyle

Caye Caulker - Go SlowThis part of my journey has been purely about slowing down in this speed obsessed world.  No pressure mon!

Tulum Beach

Once all my papers were in order and bank accounts restored I headed down to Tulum, Mexico via Valladolid.

Tulum has beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters that are just made to look that much more exquisite by the  ancient Mayan temples in the background.  Here I spent a few days soaking up sun and piña coladas.  It’s a hard life, luckily no sun burn 🙂

From there me and a few travel companions headed south to Belize with the goal of going straight to Caye Caulker.  Instead the bus arrived late to pick us up, and had many long stops along the way and arrived half an hour later then the last water taxi to the islands.  With our late arrival in Belize City and having heard nothing but horror stories about the city we quickly got ourselves to a hostel.  Now given the state of Belize City tourism and the general apprehension even the most experienced travelers had about even going in the first place to Belize City you would think that the prices for the hostel would be less then American prices, but such was not the case and we shelled out more then our fair share for the beds.  The city itself was pretty nice, though the poverty was quite apparent.  We went out for a traditional Belizian dinner and enjoyed a bit of their nightlife.  Country karaoke anyone?

Ragga Queen

First thing in the morning we had breakfast and took an early water taxi to Caye Caulker.  The moment I saw it, I loved it.  The first thing I noticed was that there were no paved roads, only white sand roads.  The only cars were those of the police and if you really felt the need to motor around you could take golf cart style taxis to get from one side of the island to the other.  Prices were back to normal and the people were friendly.  As soon as I checked into the hostel I found my way to Raggamuffin Tours where I got the last spot on a snorkeling sailboat out to the barrier reef.   I wish I had an underwater camera with me.  I saw fish of all sorts of amazing variety, pet a nurse shark and a sting ray, free dove to see in underwater caves, and witnessed endangered turtles in a marine reserve swimming around.  Breathtaking and beautiful.

Nurse SharkSlightly tipsy from the rum-punch they served on our way back I went out for dinner.  Later me and a few friends went to a bar/restaurant called Herbal Tribe where we had a few drinks and talked with some amazing local characters.  I had a long philosophical discussion with a gentleman called ManDingo, a self proclaimed prophet and generally interesting person.  I look forward to seeing him again.

Herbal Tribe ProphetI spent the next day just lounging and exploring the island and left the next day for Flores, Guatemala.

Bridge To Flores

Flores is a small town on an island in a lake surrounded by Santa Elena a town of slightly larger population.  It is about an hour from the famous Mayan ruins of Tikal.  I explored the island, had some down time and visited the ruins.

Tikal TempleWhat set these ruins apart was the jungle backdrop.  With howler and spider monkeys around as well as birds of all types, crocodiles and other fun wildlife chasing after me.

This guy was chasing me.Also just the sheer area that the multiple ruins covered.  It was certainly an impressive site.

So now I am in Quetzaltenango(aka Xela), Guatemala for the next month to focus on language learning and business.  So probably less excitement and relaxing and more self development stuff for the next little while.


Chichen Itza

It is harder then it seems to drag yourself away from hammocks, ancient temples and crazy hitchhiking trips on the back of pickup trucks in South Eastern Mexico, so bear with me as I try to catch you up on my adventures.

Hammock And Wall

Having lost my wallet at the Tijuana Airport was and continues to be quite the hassle as I finally just had to head to the Merida airport and it had arrived for me that day.  What luck… But as fate would have it, none of the pin codes worked.  (The bank had no reason why) so I am now having to wait for a new code to be sent to me… Still waiting.  In the meantime my Visa works for most non-pin requiring actions and a combination of eChecks and Western Union is taking care of my cash needs.  Besides that, I think the wallet and cash problems are merely stressful and time consuming for me, but otherwise relatively uninteresting.  Needless to say it is all working out, albeit slower then I would like.

So where to start…. Merida is a small city in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula a few hours away from Cancun and about an hour from Chichen Itza.  It is quiet, safe, festive, and has lots to do.  Not a bad place to be stuck for a while.  The hostel that I am staying at is close to the Historical Center and has a pool and hammocks all over the place.

Day of the Dead Parade

With El Día de los Muertos coming up the city was in full festive gear.  Alters to deceased loved ones were erected all over the city and in the main square.  Dance, buskers, and generally lots of local involvement in making it a fun time for all.

Day of the Dead AltersI visited several Mayan Ruins and pyramidal sites which were all fascinating in their own ways.  Some, like in Izamal were part of the towns themselves, incorporated into buildings and used as structures to hang their clothing from.

Pyramid in Uxmal

In Uxmal it was quite separate from the nearest town and as me and a few other traveling companions arrived fairly late so we had to run through the site and take photos as it started to rain.  At 5pm the park closed and we went to catch the bus that was set to arrive at 5:30.  By this time the rain had turned into a downpour and we were informed that the bus usually came between 5 and 5:30… We may be too late.  At 5:45 it was beginning to get dark out, along with the rain at the side of a highway.  At about 5:55 a truck rolled up and talked with a local woman who was sitting at the bus stop with us.  She hopped in and told us that we could come too for 10 pesos — same price as the bus.  Given the scenario we decided that it was better for the four of us to take the truck ride into the nearest town and wait for another bus there.

Rainy truck ride into townAbout half an hour later, standing under a tree in a small town at an intersection where a different buses might be caught heading to Merida, the bus we were supposed to originally catch pulled up to the curb.

Four Girls from Crowd

Almost every night there is a local busker/clown show.  I have made it a point to go every night and do my best to understand what he is saying and with any luck pick up some Spanish.  He has a set of shows that he usually does, including getting volunteers/victims from the crowd and making them do silly things.  One is an intelligence contest, one pictured above where he gets some girls to essentially hold each other up, and then wait till they all fall down, and another where he selects a girl and a couple guys to compete to kiss the girl, and vice versa, and a few others.

Me and the ClownThere is a huge market nearby where all the locals go.  It’s like the Granville Island market only bigger, more hectic, fewer sanitation rules, and way more stuff.  I usually will buy my produce from here and cook it up at the hostel.

Local MarketBeyond waiting for my stuff, enjoying the local culture and nearby activities I have of course been enjoying the food for which there as been no lacking in good quality 🙂

Mayan Chocolate Brownie with Raspberry Coulis I’m sure there will be more to come, so I’ll sign off for now.