OR HOW THIS PLACE HAS SAVED ME FROM A BREAKDOWN.
I now have rented an apartment and am cooking at home mostly. To have my little pad is very reassuring and makes me feel more permanent in Tulum. I will use it as a base because I still intend to bus it to to many sites further afield. Palenque, Xel-Ha, Zone Muyil, Kabah, Uxmal and Chicanna to name a few. It might seem foolhardy to rent a flat but having a base means that journeys are easier with less luggage and you can return to a home when you’re done with your visit. It’s a security blanket and you can save money cooking at home.
Everything has been more difficult even for this seasoned old bird because of the terrible mental health issues and the stress of escaping England. Things that were a breeze before are now viewed with suspicion and small hiccups become massive problems.
Last night I was so confident. I had friends here and was just checking out a slightly more rustic neighborhood. I had bought provisions from the local shops. The first I went into was tiny but perfect shop and bought eggs, but they had no fresh bread so I wandered on. A silly place called Willy lived up to its name, mask half on I thought of going back to the main strip. I stopped being a baby and I was so glad. I found a local ‘panaderia’ and bought a lovely fresh loaf then carried on around the rather rough but lovely area. Now bear in mind I’m a tough old bird but I do know where it becomes more dodgy. This area is fine for the day but no go at night. While looking around I found a roast chicken place and bought half a chicken with all its trimmings for 95 pesos or £3.
Home at my new fabulous slightly hippy place I settled for my roast chicken and, thank you god, some roast potatoes. This came with sauces, salads, rice and all sorts . Gimme a break it lasted for two meals that day. Previously I had bought mayo so basically was a pig in shit. Happy and sated I lay on my bed luxuriantly and then I saw I had a visitor.
La cucaracha….fear of Cockroaches, a history
Here I start with one of my terrible phobias. A cockroach. Now I had walked to the sink to wash out my wine glass and I saw first, some big ants, I checked I had no food out and was satisfied I hadn’t left some yummy food aromas for insects to be attracted to when a big shiny cockroach ran up the wall by my cooker, They are so fast, all my fear from knowing them so well from Ibiza, when I was a child came to a stricken and vomitty fear. When travelling these sort of deep seated fears knock you sideways. Just when I felt safe all traumas leapt up to me and shattered all my complacency.I tucked in my mosquito net until I was hermetically sealed in a capsule, or tent if you will as I didn’t know where that bastard had gone.
Ibiza and old memories.
In Ibiza my dad had bought a cheap but wonderful place in the old town, an ancient citadel there. It was cut into the rock and literally had no windows except at the front and they were tiny. The living room and main bedroom were at the front further back was a tiny coffin like single room. Going on further was a kitchen where there was a simple oven and old dividing shelves for amenities, all these had more or less been there for many years. Now my dad had added a loo and shower room within the kitchen area with very temporary walls. When turning to your right there was a primitive step to the caves. The first had a ‘cisterna’ to the left and after, another step to the final enclosed cave. If you think this is an overly embellished childish memory it’s not.
In D’Alt Vila the houses at the top were just cut into the bedrock of the hill. These places were lived in and used in a normal way. The fact that my dads place had the well made it simple and practical house and the chimney just rose up to the next street, however a very scary abode. Not one local from the street had a good word to say about it.
Now cockroaches were a major feature of this primitive dwelling. Every member of the family had anecdotes about them and all were true. Mum had had one fall on her forehead and it felt like something hard, she would tell us later, maybe a bit of wood-wormed rafter never dreaming that they hung around on the ceilings as well. She had been lying on the bed reading a book trying to get a siesta. She only realised what it was after it scuttled off at lightening speed as did she.
When we arrived one time from England late at night and exhausted, Dad opened the chest with the bed linen in it and there was a huge exodus of baby bastards, all delighted at their freedom. They had been living on the rat poison also stored in there. (not sure why Dad did that thinking about it, highly dangerous. Mind you he used to test mushrooms on me that he wasn’t a hundred per cent sure of. Life was a lot more casual in those days) I was about eight and leapt screaming from the room turning on lights in each room and as I went only to see more running into their filthy holes as the lights exposed them. It really was a terrible start to the holiday for though Dad smashed his way around them leaving a trail of corpses I knew there were many more hiding. A constant sense of unease while doing anything in that house made for a rather tense feeling each time re-entering the house. A cockroach sweep was vital or you simply couldn’t even vaguely relax. One time Mum had sent me a doll from England I had lusted after. She and my father had divorced by then and she believed it would be some comfort to me if I got homesick. Dad and I had just got in from the beach and I rushed to my dolly which I had left on the sofa bench. One big fat fucker was sat on her pristine face. You can’t love a doll after that.
The stories go on and they never end well. We had a rat fall down the chimney once and disappear off into the caves. My Dad didn’t want to frighten us so didn’t mention it thinking he would get it the next day or the rat poison would. My step sister was sleeping on the same bench that my dolly had been on and I saw her from my room getting up and rubbing her face. Mr Ratty was trying to escape by the window above her head. She had had a rat on her face ffs. We would later joke about it but it wasn’t that funny at the time. The poison for that rat had be the food for the baby cockroaches, I’m sure you’ll see the irony of that.
The Day After.
In the morning making my scrambled eggs, tomatoes and remaining sausage from my roast, I searched for a hole, a portal for Mr Cucaracha, and there I espied the entering gas pipe had a massive gap around it. I stuffed with toilet paper from the outside. It was a shame because I had seen my lizard leaving through it so my pal wouldn’t be able to regain access. Oh well anything to stop Mr Cucaracha from freaking me out and possibly other creepy crawlies. Mission accomplished I carefully went down my spiral staircase and approached the new day with my new happy mind, finally freeing itself from self doubt and fear. In the heat of that glorious sun the possibilities for the new day were endless.