Treking the Mayan World

Yucatan Travel Blog

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I had just done about eight weeks travelling around Alaska, Canada and staying with friends in Utah before I began this two week trek with a mini-bus load of tourists around the Yucatan. I travelled with a company called Trek America. I'd already done two treks with this company and liked the way they conducted their trips. I can't say this one was conducted so well as the tour guide didn't really know too much about the region and it was his first trip there. I knew more about the Yucatan than he did. And for some reason, I took a disliking to most of the travellers in this group, unlike my other two treks. There was just too much whining about things, whereas I just went with the flow and took things however they came. I had done a bit of travelling by then and knew to relax and not let things worry me.

As a result, I often strayed away from the rest of the group and found my own fun.

Although I was happy to finish the two weeks in Mexico when it ended, I did find some of the aspects very enjoyable. Exploring the Mayan ruins in various locations around the peninsula like Uxmal, Palenque and Tulum was truly enlightening. I really enjoy ruins. Learning about the ancient civilization's way of life was awe inspiring. I rather enjoyed the small villages and the simple lifestyles of the local people. They had so little, but seemed to be happy with their lot in life. It makes one appreciate more of what one has. Anyway, although I didn't starve and my palate is quite extensive, I did find the food rather bland. There seemed to be no end to the tortillas being offered with every meal.

To me, the real Mexican tortillas tasted like platters of cardboard. I did manage to eat some bugs of some sort, beetles maybe, I can't remember now. I'm trying to recall this trip from 17 years earlier.

I bought a sisal hammock. Yes, I slept in it several times. There was one night I snuggled comfortably in my mosquito-repellant hammock when I had to go take a pee. I tip-toed through the jungle some 50 metres to the urinal, where a single light bulb attracted a plethora of bugs from miles around. As I peed in the trough, it was like watching a David Attenborough documentary on killer insects lol. I also recall seeing dozens of sparkling little jade objects on the ground that my headtorch lit up. Upon closer inspection I came to realise the objects were the eyes of many spiders.

There were several military check points en route. The Mexican government were trying to crack down on the drug problem. We were warned not to make jokes or be troublesome for the inspectors because we could end up waiting for hours to be "processed" and have our mini-bus thoroughly pulled apart and left for us to rebuild. No drams though, all went fine. I managed to sneek a photo at one of the check points. Talking about security, there are issues at times with safety to tourists. We had been told of a robbery on a train the week before where a western tourist was shot dead because he refused to hand over twenty dollars. I observed early one morning in San Cristobal de las Casas outside a farmacia a shotgun weilding security guard. I asked him why he had a shotgun.

He answered only with the word, "Bandits." He was happy enough for me to take his photo. I find that as long as you are nice and friendly, most of the time people will be the same way with you, and often they enjoy being the centre of attention.

Something else I liked about the Mayan culture that has carried on throughout the generations is the celebration of color. Houses and shops and walls and banners and so on are always so colorful. It's like a party atmosphere year round in Mexico. It was at midnight one night when we were woken to what we thought was a new rebellion. Loud explosions filled the night and yelling was heard. It was a good half hour before we came to learn that it was the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the area in which we were staying and our hotel was on the intersection of two streets named after the leader of the rebellion.

Warning; never buy Mexican fireworks lol. Those things are crazy man!

Mexico is full of wonder. I was totally amazed by my experience of diving in the underwater caves of Dos Oyos. The water is so clear that is appears invisible. People swimming in front of you look as though they are floating in air. With hundreds of miles of such underwaters caves, the experience is nothing short of spectacular. Another wonder that I liked were the round sunken water-filled depressions called Cenotes. Very jungle like. It's like you were back in time. Talking about water, the beach at Playa del Carmen was devine. Not only did I mellow out in the prestine water, but I was joined by one of the only member of the trek that I actually liked, a female that made the trip quite memorable - if you get my drift.

The tour started and finished in Cancun. Apparantly a favourite destination for many Americans I found it dull and boring and glad my time there was short. When I look at the map, I see how close I was to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. All places that in themselves would be interesting to visit.

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photo by: travelgrrl