Here is the previous part from Mexico.
We had a few days left to our time in Mexico together. The Caribbean coat, despite it’s beauty, had not managed to entice us enough to stay on. So we decided to head back to the town that we had liked the most during our stay in Mexico.
Another luxurious ferry plied us back to Playa del Carmen from the island of Cozumel. Since we did not do much on the island, we could have stayed in Playa del Carmen and booked our dives out here. But then none of this was planned much. We went to the ADO bus stand and were told that the next bus to Valladolid departed from another stand a couple of kilometers away. We walked the way and got two tickets to the Valladolid.
We had found another beautiful AirBnB on Los Frailes and this one had really comfortable common areas.
This time we were in no rush to see things in or around Valladolid. We decided to take it easy and end our time in Mexico at ease rather than exhausted. This involved various things - the primary being food. We invested our time and money into hunting for good and local food. Since we also had a full fledged kitchen, we stocked up the fridge and cooked our breakfast.
On one of the evenings we decided to use the bluetooth speaker on the mezzanine to our benefit. After some setup it started blasting music that we played from our iPad. It was all a mix of our favourite tunes - oldies back from college days to the latest party songs. The Xtanbentun that had survived the round trip to Valladolid in my backpack served us well. We also got a cigarillo to see if we’d like it; neither of us enjoyed it though 😂
I finished the book I was reading - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, went for a jog every other day and worked on completing some pending blogs. We also walked around the town a bit. Mostly on the Los Frailes since it was right outside our doors and our lazy selves were not too bothered 😛
One of the afternoons, on our way to La Tia, we got caught in an unexpected and unending shower. The streets of Valladolid flooded with water but we somehow made it. The warm food was a blessing that afternoon.
The same evening, there was some anniversary celebration (probably for the town of Valladolid). It was a small fete arranged next to the Convent of San Bernardino. There was food being sold and a lot of merchandise.
There were also some performances, the most significant one being the one depicting Mayan culture.
The festival ended, like most in Mexico (I guess), with salsa! Everyone there seemed to know how to dance to the tune - young and old, thick and thin, men and women 😆 It was a pleasure to be a part of it, even though I knew jack about salsa 😛
Another evening and night was hopping bars in the town. The Mexican version of cheap bars is a cantina. These are basic, no-frills-attached places that serve drinks and snacks. I wonder how and why we had not discovered these yet! There were curious eyeballs that followed us and smiles that greeted us all the way through.
Eventually it was time for me to end the romance with Valladolid. Parul got to keep it going for a few more days as I packed my bags and left for Cancun where my yearly ADK meetup with Arjun and Deva was to take place.
My first impression of Cancun was not too favourable. But then perhaps it was because we were staying in the Hotel Zone rather than the city center. Bad call, since this was a resort area that was built for the vacationers (mostly USA tourists). There was a beautiful beach access (which was the main reason I had booked this place) and we did enjoy it but I abruptly felt a Mexican touch lacking to the place. No wonder I urged the guys to go back to Valladolid and we did just that after hiring a car just two days into the trip 😂
There were a couple of funny episodes with the cops stopping us to check for drugs and then a desi guy asking us for some local currency for the toll booth; but then those stories are for us to share and not for me to blog 😛 We reached Valladolid that afternoon and spent some time in Cenote Zaci, a cenote right in the middle of the town. I was pleasantly surprised at how uncommercial it was. But it was a lot of fun all the same. Parul joined us for the cenote and some late lunch.
The night was spent in Valladolid, hopping some bars till the wee hours and smoking the remainder of cigarillo near La Aurora while discussing deep philosophy that only drunk minds are capable of indulging in. The next morning we continued on the trail that I had in mind and headed north, to Las Coloradas. While the boys did a guided tour of the pink lake, I stood with some jobless guides and learnt about the Mayan language. Then we headed to the beach and this time, I was prepared 😎
We drove back to Cancun that evening and then went to Coba the next day. While it was too late to check out the ruins, we did have a gala time at two nearby cenotes - Choo Ha and Tamcach Ha. Of these I liked Tamcach Ha better because of it’s crystal clear water. So clear that you could clearly see the bottom which was almost 16 meters deep!
We had some delicious and very local food while exiting the town and then drove back to Cancun. Meanwhile, it was time for Parul to leave the country but she would spend a lot of time revelling in the Mexican afterglow by listening to the music we had collected on the road and by saying “Si” when asked as question 😛
We spent a couple of more days in Cancun and headed to the city center mostly. Cancun, at the heart of it, was much like any other Mexican town. Not too bad if you got to know it up close.
Eventually the ADK ended and Arjun returned to India. Deva planned to stay on for a few more days so we shifted to Playa del Carmen. This was a more fun tourist town to be in and we spent our days lazing in the hostel’s swimming pool or walking the town’s street aimlessly.
One of the more memorable things that I did during this time was diving in cenotes Angelita and Dos Ojos. These were a totally unique experience and though I am still to decide whether I like them or not, they certainly made for interesting experiences. There were the haloclines which temporarily inhibited visibility, the clouds of hydrogen sulphide in Angelita, the open cave in Angelita versus the tunnel like system in Dos Ojos, the darkness and the limited light streaming from above, the weird buoyancy of fresh water as compared to saline water. All these were new and exciting experiences for me. Of course I missed the lack of marine life but cenotes had enough to offer for themselves. As I sat eating enchiladas with my diving instructor, I realised that I had done 9 dives in Mexico. I had also gotten much better at diving and fallen in love with it more than ever. Perhaps this will lead to good things in the future.
Eventually it was time to end the Mexican romance for me as well. I packed my bags and headed to the airport where a flight would take me to the east coast of USA. I would stay a couple of days with Di, do a trip to Niarga & Liberty State Park with Parul and her family and then we would return to India where the future was then uncertain for us. Mexico, however, had managed to etch itself in our hearts in those two months. We still find ourselves humming Mexican tunes and occasionally responding to each other in broken Spanish. Something tells me that the romance is not over just yet!