For every day of the trip Heather and I sat down and took notes on what had happened during the day. I had originally intended to type it all up right when I got home; however, we all know how those kinds of plans usually work out. So here I am a month later writing things up. The days go backwards so you’ll need to read the posts from the bottom to the top if you want to read it chronologically. I have 3 of the 7 days written and more coming.
Heather and I woke up at 4am to drive to Coba. When we left, the bellhop asked where we were going. When we told him he got our room number. It seemed ominous at the time but it all ended up okay. For the first hour on the road I was incredibly paranoid about getting pulled over. We were the only tourists that appeared to be out and about and I felt very out-of-place. I followed the speed limit to the number. I was actually the only person in Mexico that obeyed the speed limit from what I could tell. We drove about 40 minutes on the highway before we encountered the first of what would be many jarring obstacles.
In Mexico they like to take standard things that we have in America and use them slightly differently. One of the most jarring items used is the speed bump. Mexicans put them everywhere, regardless of traffic speed or road application. Some have a sign, some don’t. Some are painted, some blend in with the road. It keeps you on your toes. The first time you hit one going 70km/h though you don’t forget it. We hit the first one we came in contact with so hard it hurt my back. It was insane. I started following other cars so I could see when it was going to happen. Heather and I later developed a theory that explained the old roads and random speed bumps. I will go into that later.
We arrived in Coba at about 8am. We were the third car in the lot. We rented bikes and rode halfway to Nohoch Mul before I had to turn around and get a bike that didn’t have two flat tires. My leg muscles were burning and Heather was just coasting along. Once I got a bike that didn’t suck we were able to ride back to Nohock Mul and climb it. There was a Guatamalan family there just before us and they were as tired as we were. Being on a ruin that sticks out above the jungle is difficult to describe. I took a lot of pictures which you can check out here. Coba is fairly remote and is a relatively new find as far as Mexian ruins go. Most of it is un-excavated and there are parts of it that you really could get into trouble in the jungle if you wandered too far. You can still feel ghosts in Coba. If you get there at 8am or so and get a bike you can get through it in about 2 hours and be leaving when all the tour groups show up. We didn’t hire a guide although in hindsight I wish we had. Either do your homework before you go or hire a guide, otherwise you’ll have no idea what you’re looking at. The animals are noisier in the morning and the place has a mood to it earlier in the morning. Once all the tour groups show up though it’s not as fun. When they show up you can head to a cenote or go find some food or something.
Heather and I saw a sign for a Cenote. We drove all the way out to it but we didn’t go swim because Heather didn’t want to. Later I found out she didn’t want to go because she didn’t know what one was. We spent many hours later on trying to find a good one to swim in. Afterwards we headed back towards Coba and found a little place that served lunch and had fresh homemade corn torillas.
After Coba we drove to Tulum. There are two different Tulums. One is a modern village, one is an ancient one. We were in the actual town. There were stray dogs everywhere and there were no streets that went directly to the ocean. This was a problem for us because we wanted to stay in Cabanas on the ocean. We were able to get some help from some guys at a hostel which we seriously considered staying at because the people were so cool; however, I can stay at a hostel anywhere. I can’t sleep in a Cabana next to the ocean anywhere. The guy who gave us directions had a big tattoo of Ganesha on his arm. Ganesha has a special meaning to me as I have a tendency to see him at the end of personally troubling times and the beginning of new better ones. It’s irrational, but when I see him it usually means things are about to get better for me so it makes me feel good. We made it down to a road that ran along the ocean and quickly found a place to stay.
It cost us $80 a night for a Cabana on the beach with running water and no electricity. It was sublime. It was far and away my favorite part of the trip. We just sat around and did nothing for the rest of the day. They had a restaurant nearby that had internet access, chill downtempo music, and good food. There was no one trying to sell anything there either. We set with the sun and slept to the sounds of the ocean. I really can’t imagine anything better.