As I am writing this, I am sweaty and hot. Tomorrow, I’ll be frozen. I am not looking forward to it.
Forget everything you know about Tex-Mex food—sure, you can always find nachos, burritos and quesadillas in Mexico but this is not what Mexican food is about.
There were more people outside, on the street, drinking and smoking, than dancing, but a couple was having the time of their life. She was maybe five-foot tall, 170 pounds. Her heels were too high, her black leggings to tight and her red shirt barely covered her breasts.
When you are in Yucatán, you have to stop at Chichén Itzá, the most famous Mayan archeological site. It’s emblematic pyramid , El Castillo, is pictured everywhere, from souvenirs to the state’s license plates, and it has recently been named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Sometimes, you have to take a chance and you may get lucky. We weren’t in Puerto Aventuras, but Progreso was a nice surprise.
We rested a bit and spotted the last pyramid, from afar, a high structure peeking out. “I wish we could climb it,” Feng sighed. “Let’s go!” I replied. “We can take turns.”
We are now in Mérida, a city we’ve stopped in twice (in 2001 and 2003) and of which, strangely, we have no memory of. I usually remember places very well but Mérida is a blank. So we’ve decided to explore it again.
Mark’s new game is chasing pigeons with the same fierce determination as if he was hunting for food. Unfortunately, the pigeons fly and my son doesn’t (phew, running after him is tiring enough!) and Mark gets frustrated after a while.
Feng felt sick with the plague—or more likely a common and benign cold—and it soon became obviously he was out of service. I might have complained that I had given birth without painkiller and that he’d better drag his ass out of the bed (with a few expletives thrown in) but it didn’t work. “Alright Mark, let’s go explore the city.”
We left Tulum, the coast and the state of Quintana Roo for the state of Yucatán, once a powerful Mayan centre. Our first stop: Valladolid.
A bunch of cenotes (limestone sinkholes) dot the Quintana Roo peninsula and there are quite a few around Tulum. The only cenote we had visited was the one in Valladolid and while it was very nice, it wasn’t so impressive. Gran Cenote was.
The weather was colder than we expected it. For some reason, it’s always colder in Tulum than in Cancun or Playa—the wind, maybe. After sunset, jeans and a sweater were needed (it was around 15-17°C I think). During the day it was warm enough, but still a bit chillier than you’d think.
We’ve climbed many pyramids over the years, in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala so I knew what to expect. First, structures are steeper than they seem. The steps are tiny and slippery and, of course, these pyramids are somewhat restored but they are still “ruinas” so it’s not a smooth climb.
It was a cloudy day, but we took a chance and decided to head to the “ruinas”, the Mayan archaeological site close to Tulum Pueblo. These are not the most amazing ruinas (there are no tall pyramids and the site is fairly compact) these ones are very scenic as they are set on a steep cliff overlooking the ocean.
Walmart, Mega, Chedraui… by now, we’ve visited quite a few supermarkets in Mexico, mostly (and officially) to get some supplies for Mark—diapers, wipes, food—but also because I am addicted to their bakeries.
Puerto Aventuras. Just the name is enticing. We couldn’t find much info about it but surely, it was worth the drive.
After Porto Morelos, the next logical stop was Playa Del Carmen, a 30-minute drive South.…
Porto Morelos felt like a very small town—well, it is—after Cancun. I was expecting something more touristic, with resorts and tacky souvenirs. Instead, it felt like being on an island like Caye Calke or Utila.
Cancún Centro is fairly chaotic. Sidewalks are roads are bumpy and full of potholes, there is a lot of traffic and some areas are very crowded. Yet this chaos is fun and lively. Music blasts from unexpected places, such as farmacias, the hot and humid air smells of a mix of fresh tortillas, bread, beans and whatever street food is sold around.
We woke up somewhat refreshed and headed to Chedraoui, the local supermarket, to grab some breakfast. The selection of fresh pastries at the panadería is pretty amazing… better than in France (and food is cheaper too!)!
No more freezing to death, no more slipping on patches of black ice, no more…
We’ve barely unpacked from the French Christmas and we are back to packing—lighter this time because hopefully, we won’t need sweaters.
We are heading home. The trip is over. Winter is starting… for us. Am I sad to leave? Always. A little bit. But to be honest, I don’t mind it that much.