Gosh, where to start?! I’ve been painfully lax in keeping the blog up-to-date this trip. Partially I guess due to the busted netbook. Thought about using a net cafe this afternoon but the couple I saw were packed so back to ye olde iPhone.
The ride from Palenque to Merida was rough. You don’t really appreciate the distances we’ve covered until you’re becoming one with a bus seat all day long.
Merida was as nice as I remembered. There’s just something about the city I like in spite of the million requests that I stop to buy a hammock or a panama hat!
We arrived in late afternoon and after putting my stuff in the room, I set out to re-orient myself. I quickly found the square. It took a bit to notice some changes. The main square has wifi and they’ve fixed up the cathedral a bit. The night lights are amazing but I couldn’t help a little nostalgia for the old look. A fence across the front replaced the rows of street peddlers and their lighted booths. No question, though, it makes a better first impression now.
Second day was a first as there are a wealth of options and the group really splintered into separate directions. For myself, I’d done the things I wanted to last time, so I spent my day wandering the city, literally walking about 5 hours! I even got myself a great farmer’s tan to show for it. Ha!
The next morning, we were on the road one last time as a group. Our first stop was Chichen Itza. I felt so close to heat stroke the time before I welcomed another chance to see the ruins and this time with a guide rather than trying to sort out what I was seeing on my own. Well worth it, but a long day.
After 5 hours at the site, we were bound for Cancun. And it was pitch black when we got there! I still can’t comment much on the place. We ate dinner near the hotel that night. The next morning I woke up with an unhappy tummy and bid adieu to my plans to join some of the others for a ferry to Isla Mujeres. I spent the day in the room but felt up to a last dinner in the hotel restaurant that night.
I have been lucky that my small group trips have all been great groups so it was a sad farewell.
The next day around noon I checked out and walked over to the bus station to head down to Playa del Carmen.
The ride here was only a couple of hours, but the cumulative effect from all these bus journeys is debilitating. I definitely bit off more than I can chew. Going on to Belize would have wiped me out.
The city of Playa del Carmen is okay. Pretty much every western amenity down to a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The town core is contrived I’m afraid. Nice but not in my opinion photogenic – unless you like photos full of western brands and logos. The beach, however, more than makes up for it – simply gorgeous.
The funny thing is I’ve never been one to lay on the beach. I watch others do it and marvel. I just don’t have it in me so far. But I love to walk the beach. I have spent hours with damp sand beneath my toes while clear cool Caribbean water washes over my feet. Just what the doctor ordered. If only that bliss could be bottled!
A few more days here with my only concrete plan to see Tulum on Thursday. Then back to Cancun a few nights before returning to winter. Brrrrrrrrr!