5th April Mexico 15

There is another cenote at Dzitnup just over the road from the one where I parked for the night, I looked at both. Both were much the same, superb huge caverns with a hole in the top where some of the roof had fallen in, with roots of trees dropping down into the water.

I guess unless some of the roof falls in it's pretty hard to find them. The area may be dotted with such caverns, but no way to get in or to find them.

I reached Chechen Itza and decided it would be useful to have a guide but at 480 pesos decided it was too expensive just for me so I hung around for a few more people to make up a party, 4 seemed to be the best number. A couple of American rolled up, but first to arrive was Rob, from Bournemouth which is only 20 miles from Romsey where I lived and worked for 35 years. Rob has been travelling just over a year, he's been all over the place, Australia, Fiji, Pearl Harbour, Cuba, I remember he mentioned. He finished university, worked in merchant banking for 18 months, and saved enough for the trip. After here he moves slowly down to Honduras where he has a diving job for 3 months. How did he get job that I asked? Seems he's got an aunt out there with contacts. She's actually the British Ambassor so I should jolly well hope she has some contacts! We had a few beers together then dinner, a pleasant evening.

Next morning, while failing to get my computer to work in an internet cafe, I spoke to a young couple from Newcastle, They started out in November, been to Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, and worked their way up. These sort of travels, mostly by bus, make my journeys seem to be only scratching the surface in comparison.

Of course Chechen Itza was great. This is from the top of the pyramid.

You're not allowed to climb on much there, too many people. I though the cemetery was fun, lots of skulls carved on the wall.

I learned a little more about the ball game. It's probably the winning captain who has his head chopped off, by the losing captain no less. It was presumably considered a great honour to sacrifice yourself in this way, would put you in good standing with the gods in the next world. I'll hang out on this world as long as I can, thanks.

Just before going to Chechen Itza I'd driven through the nearby town and been hailed by someone, was I looking for a trailer park. Not really I said, but how much? 150 Pesos. Far too much I said. How much would you pay he asked. 50 I said. I can do 80 he said. I'll maybe come back after I've been to the ruins I said, and wandered off back to my van. I didn't realise, but I was also wandering off in the direction of the competing, and cheaper, trailer park. I heard him say 60 so I went back. Do you have hot showers I asked? Yes he said. I'll come back I said!

So next morning I was back at the ruins until about lunchtime, then headed back to Valladolid where the heavens opened and it poured down. I was parked in the town square and planned to check emails. But I couldn't get there! The road was flooded. I eventually spotted some stepping stones and got over to check email. The rains stopped, and I decided to go to the next small town to park up, Valladolid was too busy in the centre. I'd just left when the storm started again. With the wipers on full speed I could barely see where I was going. Fortunately the oncoming traffic was in the same state, so was just crawling too. There's nowhere to pull off on Mexican roads, so I continued the 28 kms to the next town, where I stopped on the square, in front of the police station. The road here was flooded too, right across, about 6 inches deep.

I headed off to the ruins at Coba. I won't bother you with photos of the ruins, they're not special but I enjoyed the visit. The site is very spread about though, with lots of jungle paths, so I took a taxi.

I had a look at another cenote, chatted with a couple in the nearby Club Med hotel, and continued to Cancun. I needed a copy of my passport authenticating by the British consul, I finally located his office, I had been given an incorrect address, I checked that the office opened at 9am Monday - today is Saturday - and went to look for a quiet spot for the night. I found a smart cul-de-sac with a nice park and stopped opposite a house for sale. I think I maybe know why they moved. The neighbour has 3 of those little yappy dogs, one of them yapped incessantly all evening. About every 10 seconds for 3 hours apart from a short period when it was presumably feeding. In the morning I found another road access to the park with, hopefully, no yappy little dogs.

Later I did the laundromat stuff while taking a leisurely breakfast, keeping an eye on the guy washing my van. Every time you stop in a town, almost, somebody descends on you wanting to wash the car. I've resisted before, thinking a scrubby old van might deter the bandits but here there are almost no bandits and every car is spotless so mine was standing out too much. I then did Sam's Club and Wal-Mart and decided to take a trip on a glass bottomed boat. I got there in good time before the last sailing of the day at 3 pm so I thought. The clocks changed last night, it was actually nearly 4 pm. No problem, I'll go in the morning.

Cancun tourist area is amazing. 2 million visitors a year come to here play on the white soft sands and swim in the Caribbean seas and have a good time. I'm sure they do. There is everything they could need. Loads of super high class hotels lining the beach for nearly 20 Km. Huge hotels. Vast luxurious hotels, covering the whole range of cost from just expensive all the way up to unbelievably expensive. There is scuba diving, jet ski ing, parasending, jungle tours, big game fishing, golf, a hectic night life, Dallas type shopping malls,a vast choice of restaurants. Everything you could want on a package holiday. Even day trips to Chechen Itza.

In the 1970's Mexico's tourism planners decided they needed another resort to equal Acapulco. The chose Cancun, then near a small fishing village of 120 inhabitants. It seems they chose well. The town today has almost half a million population, all there to support the tourists. Rather sadly, although the Maya image is everywhere, the Maya themselves don't seem to have profited. They are still out there in the jungle eking out an existence in their peasant huts, growing maize and making trinkets for tourists.

I quickly checked email at Wal-Mart. The internet operator told me that the service on the peninsula was all run by one ISP and that DSL was fairly new here. He outlined the coverage area, and that's where I have been having problems. Aha! I couldn't get my lap top to work, again. Just to give an idea of the randomness of problems, today, using their computer, I could check hotmail. I could not access my webmail directly at earthlink nor at club-internet. The sites were just not available. But I could access my mail using an intermediary, mail2web.com So I could read, but not send, mail. Well, not quite correct. I could have sent using my hotmail account.

So I am now parked near one of the free beaches. Great, until a bus arrived a while ago, with it's engine running full blast to keep the air conditioning going and disgorging it's occupants to shout about and presumably rush down to the sea. Well, I'll have a drink of wine in the new wine glass I bought today. It being Mexico you can buy things in 1's. Suits me. Yesterday I bought 1 toilet roll, normally you would buy them in 48's!

Best regards

David Barker

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