Monday, October 26, 2009

Gracias, no

I have never sweat so much on a regular basis in my life. The shade is alright, but the moment you move or step into the sun (which is most of the time), rivulets of sweat running between my boobs. I´m sure I smell fantastic. Hot.

After spending a couple of beach days in Cancun, Sar and I said farewell to our generous Portland friend, Adam, and headed out of tourist central into another one. I was glad to say adios to Cancun, touristy isn´t really my cup of tea. And to be honset, the beach gave me too much time to think. I started missing NYC and my people there a lot. I knew I would feel that, but I was surprised it was so soon. I mean leaving a cold, stressed city for a tropical beach and aqua waters is a pretty good trade off. You´d think I could just let go and appreciate it for two days. Well, lying there, as Sarah was cracking open coconuts like the little monkey she is, I couldn´t stop thinking about all of those people who´d wished me a bon voyage days before. I really can´t stop thinking about all of them, every day.

But here I am and every day I resolve anew to celebrate and take advantage of the time I have here. Getting out of Cancun helped. We arrived at Chichen Itza and had our first cultural experience. To be honest Chichen Itza itself kind of disappointed me. You can no longer climb to the top of El Castillo, due to some American tourist who got themselves hurt. And it´s not IN the jungle like I imagined. Everything had been cleared out. Nevertheless, I have a special affinity for ruins and nothing can conquer that. I just wanted to be AMONGST them. So Sar and I crossed the ropes and snuck into some Mayan ruins. That´s right, we´re rascals. They didn´t have any guards around, they were far too trusting.

That night we ended up in Valladolid, a smallish town about 40 km from Chichen Itza. And surprise, surprise, the one and only hostel has vanished since the Lonely Planet Guide was published. A helpful Californian turned Mexican told us to seek out Antonio Aguilar (former baseball legend?) who owned a lot of rooms in town. We saw another backpacker headed towards the hostel, scooped him up, and we all three ended up sharing a sketchy room a few blocks away. I liked Valladolid, much more than Cancun! We had our first authentic Mexican food, did not get sick, and learned something about Poland from Milosz (fellow backpacker), as well as Guatemala, where he´d been living for 4 months. I´ve got to say, very unusual day. And very pretty town.

Sar and I have been sticking with bread and cheese and apple for lunch, something else simple from the grocery store for dinner. And trail mix. I can´t wait to get out of Mexico, which is kind of expensive for our budget, to start eating more authentic food. And more interesting food.

Yesterday we ended up in Tulum for more ruins. SO GORGEOUS. The ruins are right on the ocean, it was a trade city and a fortress, and the setting is seriously unbelievable. That may be the most beautiful beach I ever see. We headed towards the Cabanas for our sleeping arrangements, Cabanas are those grass huts on the beach. Um, I really can´t believe how beautiful and peaceful those arrangements were. We had bought a couple of hammocks to hang, and since it was cheaper we decided to just hang them from the trees on the beach and keep our packs in reception. Sleeping under the trees and stars while being lulled by aqua waves? DREAMY. A chill wind and rain during the night? Not so much. But man was that beach beautiful. The sand around here is PERFECT sand. Sar and I went nightswimming and laid beneath the stars with a couple of friends she had picked up, playing the drums and conch. And then we crashed that friend´s cabana in the middle of the night when the cold and rain started. Well, it was good while it lasted. I could have stayed there another day, but circumstances as they were we had to head out this morning. We were fighting almost the whole time there so I didn´t take any pictures, which is kind of stupid, but I didnt want to remember this as the place the shit hit the fan.

We were going to take an overnight bus to Palenque tonight, some ruins I think I would FALL IN LOVE WITH. But the night bus is $50, a little steep, so I think we´re going to have to skip it. I´m pretty disappointed.

So far things have been up and down. We´re both pretty tan from all of our sunbathing, we´ve seen some unbelievable sights and taken some great pictures. And we`ve had a couple of fights. Yup, inevitable, though I didn´t expect it quite so soon. Some fundamental differences in our natures. But we´ll get over it, we have to.

I still can´t quite believe I´m here, that we actually pulled it off. And I forgot how lonely traveling can be.

Everyone´s really friendly, and I really wish I spoke spanish.

On to Belize!


Sven said...

Sounds awesome. I look forward to every post. Keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

On Night Buses:
You need to view them as transportation and accommodations combined. It makes them more palatable.

On Lonely Planet:
You should have asked me--I could have saved you. I guarantee that will happen again. Maybe the third time LP steers you wrong you will think about ditching it for a better guide.

On Breaking Rules, Crossing Boundaries, and Trespassing on other People's National Treasures:
This is likely a moral dilemma you will face frequently. This time you put yourself over society, but I would encourage you to consider, ponder, and pray about flaunting your American individualism like that. The ONLY reason people put up with that kind of anti-social behavior is because it comes with tourists who spend money. Believe me, if they didn't want your money, you wouldn't even have heard of the ruins. Tourists do real damage. I can name many many natural resources that have been destroyed and will be destroyed soon because of tourists who don't follow rules. It only begins with extinct Ugandan gorillas, but that should be enough for you. They are dying from human diseases because tourists felt entitled to getting so close to the gorillas that they could pass on their germs.

That is only one of my problems with the kind of tourism in which you are engaged, but think about it. Do you want your behavior to devalue the resource of such real (not only economic) value to the community in which you are a guest?

Sarah said...

Awesome. Way to put a crappy spin on a harmless indulgence. Please refrain from negative input on our blog. It is Adventures of a Jew and an Ex-Mo, not Critical Input of An Ex-Mo's Sister. Though you are welcome to use that name and begin a blog with said commentary, as it seems to be an inexhaustible source of pleasure for you.


Rebecca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca said...

Sounds amazing! The ups sound high and the downs don't sound too bad, so it seems like it's been pretty positive so far. I know it's only the beginning, but beginnings are often the hardest for me - getting used to things is difficult.

I LOVELOVELOVE that you slept in hammocks under the stars! (Though that's too bad about the rain - but still! Hammocks!)

Of course you two will fight - what two people wouldn't in that situation? I hope Sarah's finally getting some sleep - if not, that could be a contributing factor to the squabbles (I am a BIIIIITCH when I don't sleep, especially if it lasts longer than one night).

Anyway, I'm glad you're posting, and I hope we get more pictures!

I love you both tons.

Anonymous said...


What a lovely introduction. Your characterization of trespassing in ancient ruins as a "harmless indulgence" perfectly illustrates the attitude I was trying to describe.


Sarah said...

I judge you unworthy of my time or energy. Stop corrupting our blog with your emotional vomit, or I will block you.

Catherine Elizabeth said...

Why have a blog with open comments if you're not actually interested in hearing people's honest opinions? If you're only interested in having a vanity blog, I suggest disabling the comments altogether. Of course, you'll probably lose some viewers, but then you won't have to deal with any opposing viewpoints. Then again, I thought this was part of what this trip was about - to see how people live and think and feel differently than what you've already experienced yourself. If I'm correct in that, hearing things you don't like is a great part of that experience.
I thought Emily's advice about night busses and lonely planet were both good and useful, and I certainly think her advice and comments about disregarding rules and guidelines in the places you visit are worthy of thought AND discussion. While she may be blunt, she also may be right; so why not consider what she has to say, make your own personal choice, and move on, rather than fight about it?
Food for thought: If you reject everyone who has a different opinion than you, you end up with a much smaller pool of friends - and those friends who agree on everything with you are not the ones that help you grow.

Rebecca said...

Catherine Elizabeth - I don't think it was so much Emily's advice that got people upset as it was the way it was presented. As you say, it's certainly a positive to have people in our lives who don't always agree with us, and who will help us get a broader sense of the world. However, if we present advice and opinions in a derogatory and condescending manner, people are not likely to want to hear what we say. And, in my opinion, rightly so. No matter how good or bad the advice is, there is no need to surround ourselves with people who feed us negativity.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca--I'd love to hear your definitions for "derogatory and condescending" that include my comments but not Sarahs.