OR HAPPY LIFE AND HUGE IGUANAS AMONGST THE RUINS.
This is a random start of the pyramid and the archaeological sites I visited. Some were in 2019 and the rest this year. I have put them together as the Mexico list was getting very long! Enjoy and hopefully, you will see my enthusiasm about this neck of the woods and why I’m writing a book about the Mayans.
ALERT : After days of anxiety, improving day by day I ventured forth yesterday to the fabulous archaeological site in the Tulum. This had been my fifth day in Mexico and I had only be able to take baby steps such was the damage I felt after the lockdown in England and it’s general move away from democracy. This account brings you up to date with the mending of a broken old bird.
dAYS OF HEALING IN TULUM.
My first day in Tulum had been mostly in a state of constant mood swings and only venturing a few metres from my Central Station Hotel and Charlies Bar. Like a bird finally freed from her cage who sits at the open door not sure how to greet the liberty in case it should be snatched away, and so used to imprisonment, was confused by actual freedom.. Indeed I had flown but now was unsure of the liberty. Even this old bird can suffer a little Stockholm Syndrome.
Top Tip: If travelling in these times or when they allow free travel again, do remember you will feel different from before. I’m not exaggerating this time. Before it was a big challenge to travel alone whether old or young but now it’s a different kettle of fish. Get your big girl knickers on and go out there, if you don’t now you never will. I love my old birdies but I also feel for the younger women who have contacted me. Their fears are just as valid. Get fit and go out into this wonderful world. As usual gather your health and mental strength and go for it. Clearly if you need any encouragement contact me, it’s a rollercoaster but you will find out that all the things that stopped you from being you will dissolve and you will find freedom again.
Day two, I had walked up the main strip to the big supermarket on the beach highway. This became my safe place for the next two hours. I walked the isles checking prices and being much more frugal than normal, more hippy than princess. I purchased picnic food, and toiletries and checked out the incredible variety of stuff they had there. I bought tuna and white asparagus, fresh bread and sprouting seeds, salad and fruit, as much as I could carry for the long walk back for I had decided to actually walk the whole way back. These challenges seem to be small but they are important so you don’t cave into anxieties.
Cenote Al Dia Zama.
On day three I went to a tiny cenote which only the locals seem to know about. In my shell shocked condition the crystal waters and the Mexican family were perfect for my fractured soul. Just chatting and laughing with them was the maximum human contact I could indulge in, such was my post traumatic level of damage from the UK. So wallow I did, in that cold cleansing water and searched for fish with the eldest boy. These are the small pleasures that one can find if being cautious when feeling damaged, the things that won’t harm or alarm. This gentle, kind family welcomed me and made me feel safe, they enveloped me in kindness without being overbearing, they could easily have been hostile for they were enjoying this place without some dumb old bird floundering in, broken and overly grateful for the milk of human kindness. Writing this I see that this family actually restored my faith in the human race and set me off on a better journey. It was so quiet except for the children enjoying the merits of that clean cold water and their freedom to be children. Thank you my friends for helping me start my healing. Although I cannot explain adequately the primitive emotions I felt there, suffice it to say it felt I was transported back to ancient days when things were simpler and existence was about small groups of people who had care for their much smaller communities. A stranger had been welcomed in and acknowledged as no threat so included, for a short time, as one of the part of the group. We were literally cave people.
Day four at last I cut the apron strings and ventured forth to the famous Tulum Archaeological site. This was beyond daring as I decided to get the “collectivo” or local shuttle bus, a van in reality but a great form of cheap transport in Mexico and beyond. I got my instructions from the hotel and ventured out onto the main strip and over the road to the stop. After a quick squirt of the hands and a reminder about a mask, I was on the bus whizzing off to the ruins, passing the surprisingly long stretch I had walked the previous day and beyond. It’s a neat little system where if you ask the driver, he will drop you off where you want on the route, so this is an amazing way to get around without paying out for the very expensive cabs here.
I walked down the long avenue with loads of touts who immediately stopped pressing me for bloody tours when I spoke sharply to them in Spanish requesting only the entrance to the site. In the already searing sun I staggered down the long road full of cafes and stalls with brightly coloured tourist memorabilia and arrived at the ticket office. After a quick temperature check I was allowed through. For a mere 80 pesos, I bought my ticket then started the ascent to the ruins.
Upon getting to the top, the aquamarine sea view opened up to me suddenly and wonderfully, so fast, it caught my breath with wonder. Close to tears I reached the hilltop and the splendour of the vista and the first ruin. Sadly most stuff is cordoned off, because this first one was built on sandstone and had a central water ablution well, or a cenote of kinds, and it would have been great to go inside. However, I was buzzing to be in this sacred place. This citadel with its three walls to protect it, and the fourth being the sea and cliffside, was enclosed safely as a merchant port of huge significance. As a place where they worshipped the wind god, as indeed you should here it seems quite windy, they have remnants of a figure that is an image of a god who is upside down, the “diving god”, in a position of a person diving, clearly, haha. Where this all comes from who knows. I have researched but there seem to be many versions of this. More importantly. this place of worship was decimated by disease that was brought by the Spanish. This would be seen in most of the cultures of the Americas by the Spanish. Let’s just say that there was a lot of shit brought over by the greed and mercenary attitudes and ignorance of the Europeans.
I literally continued my walk around absorbing the history and the beauty of the location. This hilltop coastal walled town was so different to the other sites I have been to in Mexico that I delayed the beach just to keep revisiting the buildings. True they really are ruins but you can imagine how lovely this place would have been in its time stucco covered then painted with bright colours. There is what remains of their astronomical viewing platform where they lined up the solstices and built accordingly their “castle”. I absorbed the culture and history greedily after my withdrawal from England. Thirsty for more more more, I sat on the hilltop on a large boulder and opened my bag to slam together a big fat sandwich picnic with the fresh bread from the “panaderia” and the cream cheese and salad. Munching through this I gazed at the sea and finally could breathe again. This was what freedom felt like, I remembered this, freedom.
The experience was enhanced by the iguanas, I saw at least fifty but more and more came out for the real sizzling heat of the day. These dinosaur like creatures were the guardians of the ruins coming from all the nooks and crevices when the sun was strong enough, speeding up and leaping around nodding their heads in appreciation of the heat.These bad boys were so similar to the stone colours that I got a big shock when looking closely at the stone only then realising I was gazing into an iguanas eye, I confess I shrieked like a big girls blouse the first time, until I saw many of them, some of them grabbing a females neck with their very sharp teeth to mate. The females took it with what seemed to be a weary look in their reptilian eyes.
Walk to la playa
When I had sucked the marrow of the bones of this ancient place I was exhausted and boiling hot in desperate need of a swim. On leaving the site it was about a fifteen-minute walk from the exit so that last bit nearly did me in. I was very Robinson Crusoe on arrival and stripped my clothes off packing all my bits in my rucksack and after hanging it from a dead tree ran and threw myself into that magnificent aquamarine crashing water and began my spiritual cleansing of the sea having done my one of the cenote the day before.
This sounds a bit corny but this place brings together a lot of spiritual people in ways as does the history of this place. With sharing that ice cold clear water the day before with that lovely Mexican family, I had a little pray to the ancients and a cleansing of the soul in that protected cave with its limpid freshwater. In a similar way the sea was a mental cleansing but in an invigorating way, bubbling surf full of minerals returning some of my energy lost in misery in London. At last out! Thank you Mexico.
I have to add that it seems I am ungrateful to be here, it’s not that, it’s simply that the fear and tension of the life in England has broken my spirit a little and I am taking time to appreciate, that her, I am welcome and life is normal. I am not belittling people at “home” who can’t get out, but I have sold all I own to be here and I think it is worth it, even though eventually I will have to return. To all my friends in the UK who are planning their escapes I would highly recommend spending every last penny to get out. I won’t give names but you know who you are and I love you. Call me if you need. xxxx