Sunday 29 October 2023

1987 Travel Journal: Tulum

    That next bus trip was even more boring than the last.  The country is flat, with a solid “wall” of 20 foot high brush creating a hedge-like obstacle on both sides of the highway.  I was distracted by the boredom of the ride by rain showers that then began to pour.  That filled me with indecision as to what I was going to do.  I had planed to stay 2 nights in Tulum, so I could visit both the  famous Mayan Ruins on the seashore and also go to Xel Ha (shell hah) which is described as a beautiful white sand beach.

    Fortunately, he rain was beginning to let up as I got off of the bus in Tulum.  I found myself a hotel room, and it looks like I am back to slumming again.  The old proprietor showed me the room and took me over to point out the two live wires that protruded through the wall.  He then demonstrated how I could turn on the ceiling fan by touch the ends of the two bare wires.

    Another rather quaint feature of the room is the toilet.  The toilet tank has no lid and to flush it you simply pull the piece of scrap metal that is suspended cross the front and back edges of the tank.  I remembered Fred telling me that you can measure civilizations by their plumbing.   The toilet obviously needs repair, but it seems to function.

    After a rest in my unique hotel room, I went down to the restaurant for supper.  The restaurant looks like a real dive from the outside, but the meal I got was quite tasty and attractive.  I had shrimp which was served with garlic and a spicy chili sauce.  The plate was garnished with a twisted slice of orange, a radish cut like a flower, and a lime quarter.

    The meal cost me $3.70 (US) and the room was $7.00.  It was a First Class Bus with comfortable seats and air conditioning that brought me to Tulum.  I cost me $6.50 I think.

    I was awakened the next day at 5:00 AM, not by a dog or a bus, but by a dog wining and trying to get out of wherever it was.  After being awakened, I tried during a seemingly endless time trying to go back to sleep, but finally gave up and got out of bed at 7:20.  I wasn’t too sure about what kind of weather to expect today, but the rain seemed to have stopped overnight.  

    I have a cold.  I am very congested and have a low voice.  My guide book says that the Tulum ruins don’t open up until 8:00, so I tried to do all of my morning ablutions and dressing slowly to kill time, so I wouldn’t have to wait at the gate of the site.  It is just half a mile down the road.

    The sky was overcast, but didn’t look threatening.  As I started my walk down the road to the Tulum Ruins, I said “Buenos Dias” to the road crew who were out trimming the weeds along the side of the road with machetes.  As I got to the entrance of the site, the shop keepers were just beginning to remove the grates, gates, and rolling up the grills from the front of their stores. 

    After a five minute wait by the gate and a $1.30 entrance fee, I and five other tourists entered the walled area of Tulum.  I was surprised to see the Mayan limestone structures and foundations on a neatly trimmed lawn, adorned with flowers.  As I worked my way toward the Main Temple, I saw the ocean, and I couldn’t help but say, “Wow, this is beautiful.”

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