I have a nagging suspicion, soon to be confirmed. I turn the tap—cold water. That’s what I thought. That’s what I feared.
There is no way around it. I’m sweaty, covered with sand and mosquito repellent.
I need a shower.
The wind is chilly and I have goose bumps. Okay, what’s the best way to make this as painless as possible?
I take off the towel wrapped around me. No one around. I hang it outside the shower and step in. I turn the tap all the way to the right but there is only a trickle of water. This is a Chinese torture: I want to get it over with as fast as I can but since there is almost no water pressure, I have to linger under the shower to rinse my hair, luckily short but unfortunately very thick. On the other side of the wall, Feng is going through the same process.
We meet outside.
“Wasn’t that bad.”
This morning, we were still in Cancún. Boringly beautiful Cancún, safe, predictable and convenient. We are now in Tulum. I’m typing this article lying on the bed, under a mosquito net on which we already killed two huge cockroaches. We are hoping it won’t rain because even though I’m pretty sure the roof of the cabaña, made of palm tree, is waterproof, I don’t want to test it. The mattress is set on a concrete raised edge and the floor is made of concrete too. There are two small chairs and a table. And a single light bulb—there is power between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The communal bathrooms and showers are metres away, outside.
We are only about 50 metres from the ocean and a beach of white sand with tall coconuts. Tomorrow morning, the view will be gorgeous. For Now, it’s pitch dark and cloudy so we can’t even rely on the moonlight.
Tulum is a two-hour bus ride from Cancún. We somehow caught the 10:30 a.m. bus by buying tickets at 10:25. Of course, the two-hour ride turned into a 3.5 hours ride—más o menos as they say. Once in Tulum, we took a taxi to the zona archeologica and walked on the beach to find a hotel, or rather a cabaña, one of these little rustic houses right on the beach. The ones we stayed in ten years ago don’t exist anymore, probably destroyed by a hurricane.
The first thing we did was to walk to the ruinas, the Mayan site built on a cliff overlooking the ocean. “Location, location, location”—the Mayans got that right. While the ruins are less impressive than in other sites, the view on the turquoise sea is incredible.
By the time it was sunset, we hadn’t eaten anything since our quick breakfast in Cancún. We stopped by a small restaurant on the way out of the ruinas and had a quick dinner. The walk back to the beach and the cabaña was interesting: a 1.5 kilometre walk on an empty stretch of road cutting through the jungle in complete darkness. Freaky. We were almost expecting to see jaguar crossing in front of us, which would have been a shame because there was no way I could have captured the scene with my camera—too dark.
Traveling has begun.