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The Valladolid Time Mystery in a Timeless City

“I lost an hour [insert time-consuming mundane matter here]!” or “where did the time go?” is the kind of thing I say… well, all the time.

But on January 1, we gained an hour, and I spent the day wondering how and why.

I can tell you where and when it happened, that much I know—in Valladolid, of all places, and it must have been around 3:30 p.m.

Or 2:30 p.m.

See, this is what I’m talking about.

Either way, before 1 p.m., things were more or less making sense in a predictable travel madness kind of way.

No water,” Feng warned me when he woke me up. “Gonna go fill up the car.”

“Can I finish the water bottle to brush my teeth and wash my face?”I asked with a sigh.

“Go ahead, I’m done.”

I sighed again because I had many reasons to sigh. First, it was morning, and I’m not a morning person (none of us are, really). Second, as usual, I hadn’t slept enough—we’re not morning people because we go to sleep way too late. And third, starting the year without water is a pain in the ass.

Twenty minutes later, we were on our way to Valladolid because apparently, we were starting the year in Valladolid, our next stop.

The road cut straight through the jungle. It was a short 90-minute drive from Tulum so we arrived around 1 p.m.

The official check-in time was 3 p.m. but we rang the doorbell anyway. Sometimes, the Airbnb is ready if no one stayed there the night before.

“I’m sorry, still cleaning,” the host said.

“No worries! We’re just going to go to the supermarket, we will be back later.”

The good news was, the Chedraui supermarket was open. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Valladolid on January 1, on a Sunday to boot. In Playa del Carmen and Tulum, it’s (almost) business as usual because there are so many tourists to feed and entertain, but Valladolid is slightly off the beaten path.

But apparently, even Mexicans need to refill on groceries on January 1.

We eventually checked in around 2 p.m.

Water pressure was normal in the apartment—I checked.

Feng and Mark were slow to get ready and I really needed coffee, so we agreed to meet at the zocalo, the central plaza.

I got my coffee, walked around looking for a bakery—all closed on January 1—and at one point, I checked my phone. It said 2:30. “That’s impossible,” I thought. “We checked in at 2:30!”

I assumed it was one of these belated Y2K issues—maybe my phone was showing the wrong time for mysterious Android January 1 update reasons.

We spent the day exploring Valladolid. The sun-baked streets reminded me of Santiago, Chile, and the colourful buildings reminded me of Antigua, Guatemala.

The city is no longer off the beaten track because it’s a convenient stop for anyone visiting Chichén Itzá, Mexico’s most famous archeological site. There are tons of fancy restaurants and boutique hotels, upscale clothing brands, and pricey concept stores. Yet, gringos tend to stick to the zocalo and the rest of the city is a fascinating mix of colonial architecture, Yucatán history, and Maya culture.

We marvelled at how peaceful and timeless Valladolid was until I realized it was really timeless glancing at the time on my computer. The clock was saying midnight, and I was 100% sure that about an hour ago, I had told Mark it was almost midnight and it was time to sleep since we were going to Chichén Itzá in the morning.

I Googled “time in Valladolid.”

Midnight.

“Okay, Feng, we really gained an hour somehow.”

“So our phones were right?”

“I guess so.”

“But how? Mexico doesn’t change time on January 1, does it?”

Well, it turned out that Quintana Roo, including Tulum and Playa del Carmen, is on Eastern Standard Time. But Valladolid, in Yucatán—so basically next door—, is on Central Standard Time.

I had no idea!

And this is pretty much the most eventful thing that happened for us in Valladolid because guess what, we couldn’t visit Chichén Itzá—a protest started on January 2 and access was blocked.

We ended up at a cenote, then we tried visiting the Ek’ Balam site but it was also the plan B for dozens of tour buses and we left after queuing for tickets for an hour.

No regrets about spending a couple of days in Valladolid—it was a very relaxing stop.

Now, back to Tulum for another three days…

Calle 31, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 31, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 42, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 42, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Convento de San Bernardino de Siena, Calle 50, Valladolid, Yucatán
Convento de San Bernardino de Siena, Calle 50, Valladolid, Yucatán
Convento de San Bernardino de Siena, Calle 50, Valladolid, Yucatán
Convento de San Bernardino de Siena, Calle 50, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 51, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 51, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 54a, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 54a, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 42, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 42, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 42, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 42, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 37, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 37, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado, Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 41, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 39, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calle 39, Valladolid, Yucatán
Cenote Saamal, Selva Maya, Valladolid, Yucatán
Cenote Saamal, Selva Maya, Valladolid, Yucatán
Cenote Saamal, Selva Maya, Valladolid, Yucatán
Cenote Saamal, Selva Maya, Valladolid, Yucatán
Cenote Saamal, Selva Maya, Valladolid, Yucatán
Cenote Saamal, Selva Maya, Valladolid, Yucatán
Iglesia San Juan, Calle 49, Valladolid, Yucatán
Iglesia San Juan, Calle 49, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Calz. de Los Frailes, Valladolid, Yucatán
Convento de San Bernardino de Siena, Calle 50, Valladolid, Yucatán
Convento de San Bernardino de Siena, Calle 50, Valladolid, Yucatán

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