Next morning I went to see the Tullum ruins. Some people say they are the most beautiful of all, being beside the seaside, beside the sea. As the song goes.

They are beautiful but I wasn't so impressed with the ruins. Maybe I'm getting blase.

Then I headed off to Punta Allen. It's only 30 miles (48 km) along a peninsula but about he worst road you could imagine, or so all the guide books say. They did say allow about 3 hours, depending on road conditions. David Tanzer told me he did it in 2 hours. Bully for him. It took me 25 hours (for 30 miles). Mind you I did stop a few times on the way. There were beaches to see, coconuts to collect, a bridge to stop and admire, potholes like you never saw in your life before, craters more like, many right across the road, about 1000 of these, at a guess, mostly full of water so of unknown depth. I met a couple of convoys of hired jeeps, having the time of their lives on this adventure journey. I noted some driver's faces drop remarkably when they realised an aged driver in an aged motor home was undergoing the same perilous route that they were fighting along with their 4WD vehicles. (I got 4WD but all 4 are at the back!) I doubt I hit the tow bar hitch, the receiver, on the ground any more than about 50 times, and I only got stuck once, and then I had less than an hour to wait before a truck came along and pulled me out. The tow bar hitch was grounded on a rock, holding the van in the air so to speak, and the puddle was so deep that one pair of back wheels were in free water, I could just spin them around by my hand! There's not a lot of traffic on this road even though it's the only way into and out of Punta Allen. Except by sea of course.

On the way I noticed an abandoned house and parked behind it for the night. There were 3 old hammocks in the house, one was bust, there was a half bag of maize flour and half a bag of beans on a shelf, and some empty tuna tins around. Nothing else. Looked as though someone had been there, and gone. I opened some of my coconuts and managed to drink the milk, then consumed the coconut as aperitif with margaritas. It's great to pick a coconut off a tree then open it up yourself.

In the morning I heard some voices and noticed a soldier standing outside. Hi I said, and signaled hang on a tick. When I got out the soldier said hi, no problem. I finished dressing, gave them all a coffee, and discovered they were camping in this house. I've noticed several small groups of soldiers along the route, I think know what they are watching for, it's drugs being smuggled ashore on this long coastline. I though at first it's a pretty primitive sort of life but then I guess we would give our guys a tent and expect them to do a similar thing. We'd probably give them a bit better support, one of them asked me if I had a spare battery, their torch had run out, but it's the local style. Maybe he should have been more frugal with his torch! Another asked me if I had anything to read, all he had was a brochure for Mexican telephones but of course all my stuff is English.

On the way next day I noticed a Mayan temple by the road.

It's quite small, maybe 12 ft by 10 ft, but inside it has a true Mayan arch. It's not been restored. Just here, all on it's own.

There are loads of beautiful, deserted, beaches

There might be 10 people on this 30 miles of beach but I only saw 2 of them.

Of course you can get problems with deserted beaches. Nobody cleans them.

But what a place to live. You could tidy that lot in about a couple of hours.

I've just noticed the size of this email. Over 1 Mb. Ooopps! Hotmail I think has a limit of 2 Mb so it only needs 2 messages this size to bounce an account. I'll send it in 3 goes.

I went for a walk in Punta Allen, then had dinner, then got bought lots of beers by some local fishermen. Well, two. So I'll just have to stay tomorrow so I can buy them some beers back. (The bar closed before I realised all accounts had been settled.) That's going to be tough. Staying another day that is, not buying some beers. Now just what can I find to do to keep myself occupied tomorrow?

Maybe I'll go talk again to the German guy with the non tourist restaurant in Cancun who was fishing off the pier, or the couple back packing looking for somewhere to stay. There lots of mosquitoes around. My (Mayan) fisherman friends reckon mosquitoes prefer white blood because it will make them grow bigger. The mosquitoes that is. Me, I'm realising that you seem to develop antitoxins or something in the blood, these bites which used to affect me badly now just cause a temporary irritation, gone in about 30 minutes.

Best regards

David Barker


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