Mexico 18, 11th April

I moved on down the coast a touch to Paamal. The beach was OK.

At Xpu-Ha I'd been recommended to the Bonanza camping site, it seemed fine and at 40 pesos a night was incredibly cheap. I'd been paying all of 100 pesos in the parking lot at Playa del Carmen! Anyway, here's the beach at Xpu-Ha.

You maybe notice a certain similarity in these beaches on the edge of the Caribbean Sea. Beautiful white sandy beaches, blue sky with puffy clouds, deep blue sea, palm trees lining the beach. I guess if you are into beaches that makes them sort of, well, ideal. Talking palm trees here's a coconut palm I am parked next to. Note, for obvious reasons, next to, not under. I took the photo out of the van window looking, almost, straight up.

You can see other things from the van window. Here's a land crab.

He's about 6 metres away from my window so I had to zoom in a bit. I would guess those claws are about 5" (12cms) long. He's no real danger, just rustle something and he's down his hole in a flash. There's another 8 or 10 crabs in the area, he's the biggest.

And you know, palm trees really do grow from coconuts!

I picked a bad weekend to be here, in a way, it's Easter and I think everyone on the Yucatan peninsula who has a tent has brought it here. There are tents everywhere, around the car park, on the beach, everywhere!

Trouble is this is about the only bay on this coast, the Riviera Maya, where you can pitch a tent. Whilst the beaches are all state owned, and free to everyone, the big hotels and condominiums own most of the property behind the beaches so you just can't get to the beach without going through their property, which they generally don't allow. Well, I can usually get through, I don't look remotely like a local, I'm about a foot and a half taller for a start, so I could be a client or a potential client. I also doubt most of these hotels would enthuse about a stack of tents - there are 97 someone counted just in this small area - pitched around their main entrance.

I keep meeting nice people as I move around. It always makes leaving a trifle sad, in a way. I probably won't see them again. Here I met a bunch of English girls who live here, girls, well I suppose they are late 20's or early 30's, I'm no judge, Vicki has been living here 9 years, she and her husband are building a huge beautiful house just off the beach. She's making some mirrors and frames to sell. Since that's something I know about I passed on a few suggestions but they probably weren't needed. Another guy, an American, with a German girl friend, he's been living here or another similar park, for 12 years. He spent 9 years as a tour guide and gave me some ideas of places to see. There's Giovanna from Milan who flies paramotors, runs the local shop here in the winter and goes back home to Italy in the summer. I met Pierre and Lise Doyon from Quebec - they invited me to dinner. Nice of them. They've been here since December, they go home next week.

Time for me to move on too. It's Easter Sunday. The camp is emptying, most people are back to work tomorrow. I've been here a couple of days, and idyllic though it may be I quickly get bored with sun sand and sea. Even if the water is warm enough even for me to swim in.

Best regards

David Barker

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