I spent a nice relaxing two days at the Travel in’ establishment in Mahahual, Quintana Roo. Albert has a bunch of books on the Maya so I spent the better part of an evening absorbing material. Justa is an excellent chef. While there I had two breakfasts, each the same: a tomato, grilled onion and white cheese omelet with French press coffee, cream, oven baked bread, strawberry marmalade and a cup of fresh fruit of mango, papaya and bananas. Oh, and fresh squeezed orange juice. For my only dinner I had chili relleno with white rice, which was also excellent. Cold beers and even 12 year whiskey are on the menu.
Yesterday when I said it felt off the grid here little did I know they are off the grid. Literally. Last night Albert informed me he has a series of solar panels on the roof and these feed into deep cell batteries. A voltage converter does the rest. This morning he took me to the roof to see the equipment. Very cool… even the Internet comes in via a small dish pointed north towards town three miles away. They do use propane for the oven and stove, but that’s it. This place is very eco-friendly and unless informed, you’d never guess they’re mostly independent with their energy needs.
After the rooftop tour, I bid farewell to my hosts and headed north for Tulum. After three weeks of travel in Mexico I’ve finally found the Americans and they’re all in Tulum. With their shorts, goofy gym shoes, cameras and stupid looking t-shirts, they glow like traffic flares. With the influx of Yanks come other imports from the north: Subway sandwiches, 7-Eleven, Häagen Dazs, a huge supermarket playing She’s a Maniac over the speaker system. And the prices on everything is up. That’s OK, I’m only here for a day.
I checked into the el punto hostel and took a cabin with a real palapa roof and mosquito netting around the bed – another first! They have dorms here but those are female only. Once settled, I asked a gentleman where I could get laundry done and he suggested a place a short distance down the road. Once there, I was informed my clothes wouldn’t be done until tomorrow afternoon. That won’t do so I took my smelly pile and left. Then things got ugly.
I left the laundry parking lot and merged into traffic but once my tires hit the road the bike’s rear wheel went right while the front went left. Whoo! The concrete was smooth as it was but with a fine talcum layer of sand over the surface, it was slick as ice. Letting off the gas the bike straightened out but then I was coming up on a big white pick-up paused at a speed bump. I hit the brakes and the bike just slid. I could either slide forward and hope the truck cleared my way. If it didn’t I’d hit his bumper and risk bending my forks or worse. Or I could lay the bike down. In the split second those two choices were presented to me I didn’t even think about it, I immediately laid it down on its right side. I was moving so slow, it’s as if the bike simply fell over. But down I went and with a huge expletive, I jumped to my feet and stared at my Tiger laying on her side. I previously thought my bike was a bit heavy. Not today. I hoisted her back on two wheels like nothing, fired her up and rode back to my room. There I assessed the damage. Remarkably lucky really: a broken front directional plastic lense and a scuff in the yellow paint on the right pannier. As for me? Not a scratch, bruise or bump. Funny really. I survived the harrowing mountainous roads of Chiapas unscathed and then drop on a dry sunny day moving less than five miles per hour. Ya never know…
Unhindered by my mishap, I slung the 35MM Nikon over my shoulder to wander the ruins of Tulum. Where else can you pay more to park compared to the ticket to the attraction itself? Tulum is unique amongst Mayan ruins in that it was a sea port used for trade, it had a fortification in the form of a wall on the north, south and western perimeters, and it was an inhabited functional city when the Spaniards began their conquests in the 1500s. It’s a small site that’s brimming with tourists and their guides. Crushed limestone walks with adjacent low slung ropes to keep you off the sprinklered lawns makes this place look like a Disney World attraction. I’ve entered an area of Mexico that doesn’t feel anything like Mexico. But it’s makin’ money.
Well, I’ve been on the road exactly a month now and I believe I’ll be cutting this trip a bit short. So tomorrow morning, I’ll set myself west and north for the trek back to the United States. Distance covered will be my primary objective each day so posts will be less frequent. In closing for tonight I’ll leave you with another Lanza Romanza observation from the road: After three weeks here, I’ve become quite intimate with the local product used to make the sphincter sparkle after crouched bouts in the plop plop room. I have been to many hotels, restaurants, service stations, and museums and they all have one thing in common – the toilet paper. It’s always the same, never varies. Just as Pemex has a national monopoly on fuel sales, somebody is enjoying bountiful profits by wiping every ass in this country.