Now we are on the Caribbean Coast and it is just as beautiful as the ads show - turquoise clear water that is just the right temperature! Enjoyed a morning on the beach today, but it is not as simple as going to the beach in Oz......first you have to show a ticket from your hotel, then choose a vacant cabana under (if you want) a grass umbrella, then after you settle you will be asked for some pesos and issued with a colour-coded wrist band. We were given blue - not sure whether to match my togs or to classify us as gringo tourists, fair game for the hawkers and likely to drown.
Yesterday we took a day tour to the interior, to Chitzen Itza, an ancient village and pyramids of the Mayas. Fascinating to learn a little of their history and culture, the down side to a tour being herded like sheep, always via souvenir shops. We went in a van with 14 people, our driver Filipe drove at 120-130 kph, one hand loosely on the wheel, the other mostly using his mobile phone, and changing CDs. And I was the one passenger without a seatbelt! The American women were petrified, me only slightly less so.... I was actually more concerned about the return journey, when we all (inc. Filipe) would be tired. Our entry today proves we survived!
It was great to pass thru some small Mayan villages and see the people going about their business, and to drive through the jungle (roads small too - see above).
We were taken to a beautiful cenote - a limestone sinkhole - where Esteban swam and dived with about 100 other sweaty daytrippers - David and I couldn't be bothered.
We have also been to Cancun where the rich and famous holiday.....fun day taking local buses and paddling in the lovely water, explored La Isla shopping mall and had lunch at HOOTERS which really was a hoot. Esteban fell in love with our pretty waitress, and we just couldn't stop giggling at the tackiness of it (but the lunch was nice!)
Weather is hot and humid and we are having quite a lot of rain - but very lucky, it is not all the time (and none so far today). Our hotel is delightful, and the staff friendly and helpful and seem to appreciate our pathetic attempts to speak the lingo.
Every place we go there is a woman with a mop, and in many toilets every time you leave the cubicle, she will go in to check and clean before the next person can enter. She will then miraculously have the paper towel ready for you. For a few pesos of course.
Tonight we will go to the Blue Parrot where you sit on perches instead of on chairs, the bar opens to the beach and there is a fire-twirling show which sent Esteban into raptures a couple of nights ago. He is staying at a nearby hostel to save $$$s and is partying pretty hard. We haven't seen him today as he went to a beach party last night at Tulum(65k south) to watch a meteor shower - great to be young.
Tomorrow we will bus it to Chetumal on the Belize border (about 5 hours) then Sat to Belize City. So the next episode from another country.