January 3rd 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Tulum, the temple on the cliffs

“Nine pipers piping”  Up early , breakfasted, said farewell to our  Mormon friends, + out to the road.  It was our intention to hitch-hike – if things turned out well, to an island called Holbox, off the north-eastern corner of the Yucatan peninsula; or to Tulum, an archaeological site-cum-resort on the east coast.  Our efforts at hitch-hiking were somewhat hampered by a lack of cars, but ultimately our perseverance proved profitable.  First of all, we had to walk to the other end of Chichen Itza ruins, to catch any traffic leaving from there, + in that we were helped, more spiritually than physically, by an unsolicited tho’ extremely short lift – a few hundred yards.  A fair wait then, at a deserted junction, but eventually, s I have said, successful – a guy travelling to Chetumal, on the Belize border.  We immediately abandoned the Holbox plan, since he could get us closer to Tulum, to a town called Carillo Puerto.  He was very friendly – bought us coke + crisps – + with my limited Spanish I was able to hold  fair conversation with him, tho’ not on anything profound.  Then, at Carillo Puerto, instead of just dropping us off, he took us first to a lagoon, where I had a quick swim, + then bought us coconuts, 2 each (at least one too many for me – coconut water is much too rich for me.)  Finally, we said farewell, tho’ he first gave us his work address in Chetumal.

Next came to worst part of day – a long hot wait, trying to raise the energy to keep hitching, despite there being less traffic than before.  We were about to give up, when a tourist office pick-up turned up, towing a caravan.  Val asked the guys if we might have a ride, + after some messing about, either because of indecision or their Mexican-ness, they agreed.  We ended up with just one of them, + fortunately he spoke English… my Spanish was tired.  Quite a fast ride to Tulum, where he dropped us a short walk from the ruins.  There, fortunately we encountered some Americans, who were able to guide us down a rocky trail to a campsite.  Pitched tent in the moonlight.

There seems to be a bit of weariness, of ticking off another site because it is there, rather than anything approaching enthusiasm. I can still identify with the fatigue of trying to converse in another language; for me, it is inevitably a perpetual process of translation, never having reached the proficiency to think in another language.

Our good fortune in attracting the good intentions – and deeds! – of others, continues. The kindness of strangers, however loaded a term, could be an alternative title for this journey.

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