So, after my rowing trip on the Danube, I went to chillout at the beach in Spain for a few weeks. Ahh, it was nice. But then, I felt like going somewhere new, somewhere hot with awesome beaches filled with palm trees and loads of fishes. Oh yes, and somewhere cheap! So I went online and found and booked a flight to Cancun, Mexico baby, 16th September! And… man that was a good choice!
I’m loving every second around here, so I’ll keep this short and go back to the fun!
Getting to Cancun I had a good start. I decided to get lost walking around the city until well past dark. When I was sure that I was completely lost, I had to go find the hostel that I had booked. But, I was in the middle of nowhere LOL. I asked for directions to two girls that were talking to each other at of them’s house’s entrance. I ended up getting driven all the way to the door of my hostel! That was cool! Oh, the hostel was the Quetzal hostel. Definitely recommend. It is the perfect place for meeting other backpackers and it’s just one of the best hostels I’ve been in so far! The next morning, I went with a friend to the beach, and WOW. The water was crystal clear and sky blue. I was running towards it while drinking a coconut on one hand and trying to film with the other one when I stumbled across a HUGE iguana! (After a while I got used to them because they are everywhere, but it was such a surprise at first!). Later, while playing frisbee on the beach I got approached by this girl in bikini, who asked me to come to a party that night. I said that I was with 3 other friends, and she gave me 4 open bar tickets for one of the coolest places in Cancun, just in front of Coco-Bongo! Surely enough I did go there, and wow. There was a queue at the entrance of people waiting to get tickets. By the way, each of them was over 60US $. I think it was 70-75US $ but I’m not sure. Haha that was a fun and random evening, with loads of mini shows throughout the night. Ah man, here I am, wanting to write a summary and going on about everything… Ok, speed up! The next morning I met Brad (www.odonnellrules.com), a really cool, clever, … (…happy Brad? 🙂 ), traveller kind of guy with who I ended up spending over a month!
We took a fast boat to Isla Mujeres, and stayed at Poc-Na, which is again, one of the best hostels ever! It’s by the beach, with a huge garden full of hammocks and palm trees, white sand, and a superchill atmosphere. It was soo nice to snorkel around corals, spider-fishes picking up loads of sea stars, looking at shooting stars, climbing up a tree to pick up and open my first coconut, and meeting some interesting people such as Hannah or the dozens of Israelis staying there. And I bet I forgot a few stuff along the way like the dozens of free toasts with marmalade for breakfast, or those intimidating electric storms that we watched at night on those hammocks on the silent beach.
Valladolid & Chichen Itza
After a few days of paradise, we got the news that the equinox was about to take place (22nd September), and that Chichen Itza would undoubtedly be the best place possible to experience it. Why you ask. Well, Chichen Itza is one of the 7 World Wonders. It is an ancient Mayan built ”pyramid” like building, which displays a sort of snake shadow built in a way that it can only be seen twice a year on the equinox, for a few minutes. But what really made it special, is that this time it had a very strong symbolism, as is would be the last one before the “END” of the Mayan Calendar. Anyhow, it was awesome seeing it, even though it was only for a few seconds before the clouds covered the sky. Back to our hostel in Valladolid, it was back to again one of the best hostels I’ve been in. Hostel La Candelaria. Hahah Seriously, I did get really lucky with the hostels! But all that ended up with leaving Mexico, a few weeks down the line…(other story).
The next day we rented some bikes and went for a 35km ride around some Mexican roads, villages, landscapes, fields, but more importantly: The Cenotes. A cenote is a kind of underground cave half filled with water. Apparently they got formed when the big meteorite crashed against the earth, ages ago. We went in one of them and had a good laugh with some locals, as the women were getting crazy about us hahahhah Saying stuff like: Let’s show them our “cenotes”. Haha. They were in their 40′s-50′s 😛 . Soon they left and we were alone in this ball-shaped large cave, swimming and climbing on the walls. But then, Brad suggested some backflips. I’d never done one before (and I had been waiting for the perfect occasion for some time), and I told him that if he’d do one, I’d do one myself. Fuck. Too late, he did it. It must have been his backflip number 2000. Lol. But now, it was my turn, the perfect occasion, perfect place, perfect audience (Sebastian, César and Brad). Hahahahah I remember shouting: “Do you know why I’ll do this? Because I am Superjesussssss…” Splusshhh . Alright alright, it was not perfect, but not too bad either! hahah I was the happiest man on earth. I know that this was almost nothing, but I was just so proud! (During the next few weeks I kept practicing and improving… mastering the backflip, and succeeding a “gainer”!). We kept cycling under the rain, eating some tacos, discovering the then very wet city by bike. It was so much fun. Next step was: Playa del Carmen, but before getting the bus, I sprinted to a costume shop where I got 2 scary masks for Brad and me. Random I know.
Playa del Carmen
Hahahh, that was a curious experience, being at a party city , but without many people to party. The touristy season had just ended, and with the rain and bad weather, no one was really in the mood. However, the beach was really nice to do sport or to chill out. I remember spending ages a few meters deep underwater looking up to the beautiful shapes created on the water’s surface from the rain drops falling onto it. And I could also hear the splashing noise, which was a sort of rhythmical melody. I must have gotten high or something, but I wasn’t. We met some more Israelis and two Danish girls. Hahah, I remember one night going up to the bar by the swimming pool with my newly acquired horror mask to chill out and meet some people. In the night, there was a very loud bar just under our room, which curiously had no clients whatsoever. And early in the morning, it seemed like an earthquake, but it was really some road works. Lol, even so, I went into my first Walmart, a kind of american supermarket chain that I’d read so much about in Europe. And the squid was sooo cheap! like 1.3 euro/kg. Love it.
We knew the rutine: Straight to the hostel (“Weary Traveller Hostel”) and off we were to go round the place to get to know it. The beach from Tulum was amazing, well worth the 5km ride, to find shadow in the palm trees, run on the cotton soft sand and swim in the warm waters of the Caribean sea, which had a fantastic coral reef, and some old Mayan ruins in the background. Hahah, I remember building an improvised “sun shelter” with a few chunks of wood and palm leaves… I was so proud of it! And then I went snorkelling around and when I got hungry I just picked up some coconuts from the ground. Opening them was the tricky part! My favourite technique was the rock drop, crushing the coconut open, it often still would allow to drink part of the milk without much hassle, and if some sand would get on it, then you just had to rinse it to give it an extra salty taste kick.
We were quite a cool small group, and after going jogging with Anne in the morning (her idea, promised!), we rented some bikes and went to look for some more cool Cenotes! And we found just the perfect one, with 3 holes from which we could dive into the underground cave, with bats flying around, and 16 meter deep caves (to which I of course snorkeled! 🙂 ). Brad started once more the backflip competition, and I had no choice but to follow! 🙂 Hahahahh It was so scary but so awesome at the same time. But then, we started talking about gainers, which involve doing a backflip while running forward. I’d never ever dreamed of doing one, and that was the same for Brad. Anyway, you know when you get that tinkly feeling in your stomach, expanding through the rest of the body, a sort of “I cannot wait to do it” feeling? Well, it’s more like, “I must do it” kinda sensation.Anyhow: “Brad, if you do it, I’ll do it too”. Sure enough, the biggest barrier to overcome was the mental barrier. I remember saying to the camera that there are two types of people: Those who give it an honest try (who may succeed or fail, but who cares), and those who don’t (who have already failed). And then throwing myself in XD hahah After a few good tries, Brad and me we both made it at the 5th attempt, our officially “fucking awesome” first gainer. That night, with everyone drunk, I told one of the german girls that I’d join her for paintball the next morning. The morning came around, and fuck me, no one had forgotten that, so off we were to play paintball, the 6 or 7(~) of us. My first paintball experience. On the first 2 rounds my gun got stuck. I guess it was because of that the guy (secretly) accepted to jacking up my gun to a much higher pressure, for the last round, the only one that counted, as far as I’m concerned. I had saved many more bullets from the past rounds, so this was my chance. Man, I annihilated everyone! The only way to send someone out was with a head shot. Hahahha I sneaked from the behind and headshot two people hahahahha. And the I got some other guy, but he came back in later. Anyway, at the end, it was only Brad against me. Hahaha He was hiding behind some car tires, that had some small gaps between them. I got him a few times around the body. And then it was like free shooting. hahahahhah Sorry Brad man, but I destroyed you. 🙂 Jesus, paintball winner! At the aftermath of the match, after looking for my flip flops for a while (I’d lost them while running and didn’t even notice Akka. adrenaline), I saw the results of my jacked up gun. I’d done a massive bruise of one of the girl’s leg, I had cut open Brad’s neck, and I’d given him tennis ball sized bruises on both arms. Yes my gun was jacked! 🙂 After that they all took the bus to isla Mujeres, to each do some stuff there. But i felt like looking for a challenge. I felt like saying goodbye to that comfort of being in known places with friends that you are comfortable with. apart from that, I wanted to find some bicycles to to a bike trip around Central America, and to look for a GoPro. I took the bus and got to Chetumal an hour before dusk. I wandered about through the streets, looking at how local mexicans live, opening my eyes and mind to the world. I also went around looking for a Go Pro and some quality bicycles that would be fit for purpose. Hahaha, I found nothing at all, only an inn/groundsel (a kind of guest house), that looked just like those in american movies. I had to sleep there! The next morning, it was sunday, and after looking around some more through a dirty square and homogeneous but vibrant city, I could not wait to go chill out somewhere nice… who knows, maybe a lake..? 🙂
Oh wow. I think that this is my number 1 or 2 place from this trip. I mean, just imagine it. There is an incredibly beautiful and colorful lake (called the 7 blue’s lake), and you walk into an open air hostel in which you are the only guest, by the lake’s shore, with a dock that goes into she lake, with 2 deck chairs and a sun-umbrella, from which you can admire the unspoiled vivid wildlife, and the mysterious island in front where mayan pottery remains can be found. You can either sleep in a tent on the vast surface of green grass, or inside a mosquito net in a very cool dorm with a nice kitchen where you can eat coconuts and…. aww I loved it. The day after 2 more people came to the hostel, Magic Bacalar: Danny, an american guy that I knew already from Tulum who was looking for an alternative way of living, and Sergi, a spanish youngster who’d bought a red Beetle and travelled with it around Mexico. We woke up early and watched the sunrise appearing above the stillness of the lake. What a moment. Sergi and me go hungry one night and decided try out something we’d never tried before. I caught a gecko (sort of lizard), chopped off it’s head and fried it on the pan. I had half and so had Sergi. hahahhah It tasted just like chicken! I know its kinda a psycho thing to do but objectively, it is really no worse that fishing something and eating it.
Another day we went in his car for a ride the Cenote Azul (Blue). We inaugurated the “Tree Games”, which were our own version of acrobatics from the Olympic games, and had the time of our lives. We ended up doing front flips, back flips from a few meters high, crazy jumps and generally whatever we felt like trying. Sergi taught me an important lesson: the worse that could happen while trying that out, is that I would fall to the water. Lol, and the Cenote was 90 meters deep. Yes, Ninety. He won the wood medal with a front flip from the top of the tree dodging and jumping over a few branches while I only got the gold one.
After a few days, more people came around the hostel, in the middle of the night. It was so funny waking up at 1am with dozens of people walking around where it used to be only us 3. Brad came around one of those days, and we decided to go swimming to the island to try out his GoPro. The thing is that, I’d already done it in the morning with Anush, a polish girl, and it was now almost dark. Fuck it, we invited along an english girl and all 4 of us went swimming to the island. Yes, we got there by dark, after a 40 min swim. Lol. Hahahaha it was funny, because there we were, stranded on the dark island looking at the thunderstorm coming our way. But, we made it back in the night, swimming using a light from the shore as our only waypoint to follow. Fun times!
A few days later Brad and me left to Chetumal, to buy and start our bike trip through Central America.