Post Mexico fill-in Update #1

January 10, 2010

– – I do intend to finish the travel journal, and without too much delay.  There will be some other content mixed in, and hopefully I will be too busy with the job hunt and the work of my new job to spend much time on this each day.

I am trying to adjust to being back in the states, back in the cold, back at my parents’ house, and back at my parents’ house while my grandpa is here too.  When my grandpa is here, he gets the suite we (my grandpa, dad, and I) built in the basement and I “move into” the living room.  I am trying to channel the feelings i have about this situation into motivation for the job search instead of – other places.

There are good and bad elements of being “home”.  Being with my dog Lucas is nice.  Having a kitchen and creating good vegetarian food is nice. I made potato soup, stir fry, beans and rice with two uncommon red beans, a giant green salad, and a variety of lovely breakfasts.  Seeing my family again is also nice.  Having to drive again is not as nice.  I miss the Collectivo and may look into the bus schedules around here.

Being around a vast sea of Americans is not as nice, and I am back to spending 70-90% of my waking hours with the headphones on.  This actually started on the 5th in Tulum before I even left there for Cancun…

January 5th – Tulum

I woke up at 6, read for an hour, then packed and cleaned up my room.  I walked to the ruins and got there just as they opened at 8 AM.  It was nice to get to see them.  They are less visually impressive as buildings than some other sites, but if you take in the complex as a whole, the remaining jungle, the protected beaches, the view from the cliffs, and think back on what life would or could have been like here hundreds or thousands of years ago – it was pretty cool.

Iguana Worshiping the Sun

By the time I was done and getting ready to leave, the first buses had arrived and while most of these tourists were poorly behaved (I guess it is a form of mob mentality) the Americans were the worst of the bunch.  (We’re #1!)  At almost every temple site, tourists look casually around, then step over the ropes indicating where we are not supposed to go, then they go there.  They climb the steps and jump on the roofs.  They mount the sacred shrines as well.  Once the guards see them and ask them to stop, most people do, but a few groups of people argue with and then yell at the guards.  Who are these people?  In every case, my country-men and women – Americans.  “We were not the only ones doing it, why don’t you yell at them?”  “There are not even any signs!  How were we supposed to know?”  Of course there are signs.  There are signs everywhere.  The entrance path is about ¾ of a kilometer for the sole purpose of hoping that you will read all the signs (it is really just two signs repeated many times – in several languages).  And, in addition to all the signs and warnings, there is a very clear path one is supposed to walk on.  The boundary of this path is a suspended rope.  What nimrod that managed to successfully board a plane and make it through customs and immigration without getting shot does not understand what these frackin‘ ropes mean?!  Guess what genius?  You and your kind are the reason we cannot climb the steps to the top of Chichen Itza anymore.  Thanks a lot for that.

– So, I resorted back to headphones before leaving the ruins in an attempt to keep old-cantankerous-bitter-“Get off my lawn you damn kids”-Nick in dormancy at least until the end of my vacation.  Those people were much less annoying doing the tourist ballet to ‘Kind of Blue’.

I left the ruins by an alternate route and found Santa Fe Beach.  This is one of the Northern beaches that my new friend Yuri liked as well as the beach recommended by one of the great people from Mama’s House, Ilana.  I walked along the beach awhile and enjoyed listening to the surf and just digging the different vibe of being on more of a locals’ and backpackers’ beach instead of the packed tourist beach to the south.  When it looked like the beach was about to turn rocky, I headed back to the jungle road and made my way back to Mama’s House.  I got back about 10:30 and had plenty of time to shower and change.  Ilana let me put my bags in the house while i went to the bus station to investigate going to Cancun.

I got a first class bus (these have a bathroom!) to Cancun for about 90 pesos.  It takes almost three hours to get to the ADO stop in Centro, so I bought a ticket on the 2:30 bus, hoping that would leave me time to catch R1 to the Hotel Zone and get set-up before dark.

Traveling Equipment Part 2 –

Footwear – I wore my super light running shoes on the plane and carried my crocs in the suitcase.  Having both of these was awesome.  At the Barcelo Maya! I was not sure that I could have gotten in to all the various restaurants if crocs were my only footwear.  Outside of the Barcelo Maya! I had some seriously long walks that were much nicer in a more supportive shoe.

Velcro – I bought a pack of 5 or 6, 5 inch velcro strips from Wal-Mart for various uses in backpacking.  I brought two of these with me and used them to carry my crocs around.  It was simple and quick to lash the crocs to my shoulder bag, freeing my hands while walking barefoot on the beach/in the surf.  This also worked as a nice means of bringing my crocs along on all day missions to the beach/town several miles from the hotel.

Clothes – here I did well.  I travelled in jeans and brought one pair of Dockers (again for the restaurant/night-life options) and used both of these to great effect.  I had one pair of  zip-off hiking pants along and they too worked out well (though I only zipped the pant legs on one time).  I had two long-sleeved shirts: one walking shirt with roll-up sleeves and one standard blue button-up.  Both of these were good choices.  There were enough cool-cold nights that having more than one long-sleeved shirt was nice.  I did bring too many handkerchiefs and socks.  Two of each would have been fine instead of the 4 or 5 of each I had along.  The four quick-dry shirts I brought were fantastic.  The area that needed the most improvement was shorts.  I had one swimsuit/running shorts combo, one pair of golf shorts, the aforementioned hiking zip-offs, and one pair of cargo shorts along.  I found the swimsuit/running shorts for 12 bucks at the nike factory outlet near my house before I left.  I wish I had bought 3 pairs and left the other shorts at home.  The nike shorts are super light and dry very quickly.  That would have been a nice improvement.

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