Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tulum Trip, Dos

We didn't just lay around, though quite honestly, that was the bulk of what we did and I am so very grateful for it. One day, we visited the ruins in Tulum which were about 10 minutes by car from where we stayed. These ruins were restored and felt "touristy"- in fact, that very feeling is what drove us to pack it in early. Boisterous crowds of tourists does not a pleasant day make- at least not in my book but I hate crowds. I am not one to take tours. Who knew I was such a snobby loner? (Please don't answer that.)

At this particular ruin site you had to pay $4 to park, $4 to get in and another $4 each way to ride a tram to and from the ruins. We opted out of the tram and hoofed it. As we made our way back down the dusty road in the beating sun, we stopped to check out the vendors selling their wares. A pretty woman spoke to me in broken English, attempting to entice me with her woven tablecloths. I tried to speak to her in broken Spanish but for some reason I get all tongue tied. Especially with numbers in Spanish. They will not stick in my head. I got so far as "Cuanto cuesto esto?" and then had to resort back to English to talk dollars/pesos. Why on earth can I recall lame ass commercial jingles from my childhood or remember inconsequential 80's trivia tidbits at the drop of a hat but for the life of me I can't retain what the hell cincuenta means? Aye Dios Mio!

I learned, after purchasing two hand-painted bowls from her for $30 (USD) that a) I suck at bartering, b) my Spanish blows and c) if you speak English, you will get screwed (and I don't mean by a papi chulo cabana boy). When I asked the senorita if she had made the bowls herself she told me her mother had. When I talked to my mom, she informed me that at the same booth a fella had told her that his uncle had painted the bowls. Hmmm, very fishy. Turns out these are very common bowls, pretty as they are, and that woman's mother is one busy lady. Everywhere we went, there were these bowls. I couldn't resist remarking, "Wow, that woman's mom really works hard!" (Ahem!)

Later in the week we made our way down a very long stretch of road to Coba where there were more ruins but these promised to be less touristy and more authentic. You could climb on them and really experience them authentically. Miles of jungle flanked either side of the road with intermitten dilapidated houses, some with thatched roofs, some without any windows or doors, just open holes in the concrete frame. Occasionally there'd be some stores grouped together, a restaurant, a fence drapped in bright colorful blankets or dangling hammocks for sale to passersby. The town of Coba is a far cry different than Tulum- very rural, further inland, and on a lake. The road that led to the entrance of the ruins was lined with trash, kids laughing and playing, wandering turkeys, dogs and cats. At the entrance aggressive salesmen hawked their wares. We pecked our way down a very rocky road through jungle trees and plants, amidst a thick, muggy air occasionally ripe with the stink of sewage. When we got to the site we were told it was closed but they let us wander around for a bit though we only got to see one part of the ruins site. The ground was alive with tiny jumping frogs, so small I thought they were spiders at first. The crumbling ruins were formerly a church- impressive in its magnitude and history. Even though they were both ruins, the ones in Tulum were like the Disneyland equivalent- polished and well-kept, while the ruins in Coba seemed more alive. I suppose that is an odd choice of words to describe an ancient city but it seems the most appropriate.

I would be remiss if I didn't show you the pictures of the falling guys. I don't technically know what they are called but I call them CRAZY. Sweating in their bright costumes, they climbed, one by one to the tip top of a pole. A yellow rope was wound around one of their ankles and as the circled, perched high in the sky they fell slowly, circularly while lowering themselves to the ground while one kept on playing his flute-like instrument. It pretty awesome even though it scared the bejesus out of me. Heights = AaaaAaaaCcccKkkk! (That'd be my internal scream of fear.)


Mr_Rodacre said...

You can even tell by your pics that Tulum ruins are more touristy. Very cool though. My favorite shot is the one out the car window at the lake.

Where's all the pics of you lounging on the beach in that cute swimsuit? ;-)

alissa said...

Your pictures are causing me to long for sun! I was just told that we haven't seen the sun here in Detroit for 16 days. How horrible is it that I didn't notice? Someone had to tell me?!?

Paul said...

Glad you had a great trip! I've been to Tulum before when I was shooting a TV show and had some time to enjoy the sites -- man how clear is the water down there?


Moonchild said...

Hey, how are your two coworkers doing, health wise. Can you give us an update. Thanks. Glad you had a great vacation. Peace, inky

Bill said...

For some reason, the first set of ruins (Tulum?) make me think of an episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation. I dunno ... just seems like somewhere they'd show up.

As for the pole guys ... what in the world do they put on applications under "occupation?" Seems a peculiar way to make a buck. But hey! If it pays ...

Sizzle said...

To answer you question Inky, my friend with pnuemonia is still in the hospital but is hanging in there. When I visited him yesterday he was in good spirits but anxious to get out and get back to work (crazy!).

My other friend is still waiting a change at her girlfriend's bedside as far as know.

Thanks to everyone for keeping them in your thoughts/prayers.