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Oregon to the Yucatan Peninsula & Back Again 6

Updated on March 15, 2012
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Part 6 of 6: The journal of a road trip through the Yucatan Peninsula

Second Wednesday

D and I really want to spend our last day snorkeling, either at the Hidden Worlds Cenotes Park (as featured in IMAX film) or at Xel-Ha a nature park that offers snorkeling, sea turtles, dolphin swimming, cenotes, and lots of other features. Punky will have none of that! We decided we’ll just have to come back to Mexico so I can do everything on my list. Instead we opted for a few hours at the beach, of course! Then lunched back at the hotel room with plenty of fixings left over from our trip to Mega. After a short rest we headed off to Tulum.

It was breathtaking! We could see why it was still inhabited as recently as 500 years ago. The architecture was similar to that of Coba but it’s amazing how each and every one of these complexes is SO different from each other. Well, they each had a different planner and architect. This one is so beautiful. It feels very special here. There is no place of “power” but it has a pleasant feeling. Only one of the buildings has carvings that we could see, but because of the heavy traffic into this particular site we couldn’t get that close to the big structure. We arrived late in the day but since this site isn’t that expansive we didn’t need that much time to see it all.

Interestingly, this site had the largest shopping center and food court around it – it was like a mall! I guess it is because of its proximity to the “Riviera Maya” and its potential for having far more visitors than the more rural inland sites.

Out of all of them, I liked Chichen Itza for its class and splendor but Uxmal for its size and ability to explore, but I’m glad we saw Coba. I wouldn’t have missed any of them!

More observations about Playa del Carmen and the people: the guests vacationing here are from all over, Hawaii, Japan, Canada, South America, it’s amazing. I’ve heard so many languages! I can’t help but to look and see the native Mayan’s as worker bees caring for the rich vacationer’s. It doesn’t seem fair. They’re not getting rich on us. They just have jobs and live in shacks, some without electricity, barely making a living. Sure some of us tip well and can bring their station in life up a little but many of them will continue in the lowest class. Is it their choice? How do they feel about it? Do they care about what we do here and whether or not we live excessively? I don’t believe I live excessively, but certainly many of the faces I see pass me on the street seem to be. Then again, compared to locals here, perhaps I do. Do they want more? A nicer house? Electricity? Maybe it’s pompous of me to put my standard of living on someone else. It still seems like a caste system is still in place here. Something just feels wrong. Is there such thing as karmic retribution on an entire race of people for the thousands of years they performed brutal ritual sacrifices and worshipped false gods? Hmm.

We decide to have a snack while I try to repack us from three checked luggage pieces down to two. It looks like it’s going to work! Yay. We meander out for the evening and decide on Italian for supper. What a supper it is! We re-rate our meals and have decided that this has notched its way to the top. D has mahi-mahi prepared to delicate perfection; I have homemade pasta with lobster; and Jakeb has giant shrimp with lemon sauce. It was all spectacular. Some locals showed up across the way and drummed for a while. After they left a salsa band showed up with dancers and performed on the avenue. We had an outside table, so we watched all of this and people watched at the same time. It was spectacular.

We then sauntered to J’s favorite gelato shop and back to the hotel for our nightly struggle to get the baby to sleep.

Second Thursday - Departure Day

None of us slept well. D finally came down with what appeared to be Montezuma’s Revenge or last night’s supper didn’t agree with him. J and I felt fine but both of us had bad dreams. Mine were so bad that I had to keep waking myself up every hour or so throughout the night. They were about strange cults. I wasn’t haven’t full on night terrors like I sometimes do but I felt like I was being pulled into a distant memory of something past. Maybe I finally picked up on something at one of these ruins, though the people in these dreams were modern. We think there was mold in the A/C ducts that has been making my allergies act up over the past several days, maybe it was a little hallucinogenic.

We leave for the airport and after speaking to the hotel clerk (owner?) he tells us there is a big meeting being held in Cancun today with President Bush, the President of Canada and the President of Mexico, so it would be best if we didn’t do the sightseeing along the hotel strip in Cancun where we had planned. That explains the moving of all the Mexican troupes we saw the previous day.

We end up checking in early enough to catch an earlier flight to Houston. Yay! We’ll try to see if there’s an earlier flight to PDX. The baggage clerk was an idiot. He told us we could give him our bags and still get a different flight – he was wrong! We’ll have to stay in Houston until the later flight, oh well. We have supper in the airport and W-A-I-T. J is a fantastic traveler but he does get a little impatient and punchy now and then. He ends up sleeping the whole flight. We arrive in PDX without incident, but don’t make it home and in bed until 3:30 a.m.

A most excellent trip…Can’t wait til the next one!!!

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