Enchiladas verdes - Mexico 2005

Travel time: October / November 2005  |  by Daniela Dohmen

View from a hammock 28.10.05

Celestún, Yucatán

Our plans to go to Tulum, 150 km south of Cancun, did not pan out. The hurrican had destroyed parts of the main road and we were told by our hotel in Chichen Itza and also by the Swiss women we had met earlier that it would be not a good idea to go in that direction at the present time. (Of course, if we had listened to everything who´d told us that travelling through Mexico by car was dangerous, we wouldn´t be here at all.) Still, we watched the news and it did not look good.

So, we ended up on the westside of the Yucatan peninsula in Celestun (where we watched the flamingos the other day). It is a fishing village and the restaurant we went to yesterday evening closed at 7 p.m.! Still, Celestun has its charme and we like it there, especially since the beach is just below our balcony. We arrived here yesterday afternoon and discovered a brand-new hotel on the "main road", Calle 12. Actually, there is only one road. They had an introductory offer, which sounded good enough for us. 600 pesos, which is about 30 Euro for each of us. The rooms are huge with a bathroom (and bath tub!). Everything still smells so new and fresh. Even the pillows are still fluffy.

The best thing is though that there not so many tourists. Before, in Chichen Itza and actually all of Yucatan so far, there had been so many tourists and for some reason it bugged me. Certainly, we are tourists, too, but somehow I could not really deal with the "assembly line" routine in some places. As I said the other day the quality of the food has plummeted. Spices are *gone* as soon as one tourist shows up. Am I complaining? Yes . I want my eggs scrambled with red chili again. I want the burning in my mouth back. <bawl>

However, the restaurants in Celestun seem to be good and Mexican. I had calamari in garlic sauce yesterday and the taste came back. At breakfast this morning - in another restaurant - there were four tables occupied with tourists and it looked as if we overwhelmed the waiter a bit. I noticed him sending one employee over the street to buy some toast. Very cute.

Did I tell you that we saw real vultures? Not here but when we were still in Chiapas. What an awesome sight! They even had found some road kill to chew on.

Every journey should expand one´s horizon and this trip has really provided us with so many wonderful sights as well as sad and depressing views on life. There are a few images that keep showing up in front of my mental eye every now and then. Like the poor woman in San Cristobal de las Casas who sat on the pavement hoping that some people would give her some pesos. I think I won´t forget her look when I gave her some coins which I had in the pocket of my pants. Or... the view from my hammock in our hotel in Chichen Itza. Actually I only saw a bit of my legs and then Silke in the next hammock and bit of the pool and palms. Still, it was a touch of paradise just lying there, doing absolutely nothing.

Which reminds me... I haven´t told you yet about our adventure in Chichen Itza. Grab a chair and pour some coffee...

First of all, we both had thought before arriving in Mexico at all that "after the third pyramid" you´d probably get sick of it. Chichen Itza was our seventh archeological site and, no, it did not get boring at all. Each site is different and has its own beauty and treasures.

Chichen Itza has a light and sound show in the evenings and although we wanted to explore the whole area in style the next day, we decided to go into the park and watch the light show at 8 p.m. last Tuesday. There were only about fifty to one hundred people and we got seats in the front row. It got dark very soon and the stars above us were already worth the entry fee (which we actually did NOT have to pay because we told them we would come back the next day). During the 45 minutes show I caught myself staring that the velvet black night sky and its thousands of sparkling little dots and points. The show itself was nice but not overwhelming. They illuminated a few buildings and the big pyramid. I took some very nice photos though (thanks to my tripod!). I must say that the "dark sight" of the shawdow of a pyramid in front of us was actually more impressive. You could only see its shape and that it was something real big. Very impressive indeed.

We visited the archeological site the next day and, as always, got up at 7 a.m. (No worries, we *are* getting enough sleep. 9 to 10 hours should suffice, right?) There were not many tourists around just yet and we had the main pyramid almost to ourselves. I was told before that this one was one of the steepest pyramids but, honestly, I got up and down rather swiftly and without any problems. Not even my fear of heights kicked in this time.

The sun burned down although it was not too warm. I´m so grateful for my big hat and hiking boots. That´s all I needed any time of day. (Well, I had *clothes* on, too. <g>. We explored the site, gasped at the huge size of the ballgame field and admired the observatory. It´s rather difficult to get your head around the fact that the Maya built *this* such a long time ago without the knowledge of modern technology. Where does that leave us? Simple-minded? Sometimes it felt that way.

There were lots of vendors of arts and crafts and I ended up buying a wooden sculpure of a Mayan god for Marcel´s wall. It´s made of cedar wood and so heavy. I´m already look forward to packing my suitcase and get everything I bought inside - NOT! Silke bought a hammock, negotiating like mad to get the price she wanted. As a matter of fact, she bought two already. I would love to get one too, but where to put it? I need a balcony or two trees...

At our hotel we met the ladies from Switzerland again who had just arrived and checked it. At the same time I spoke to a guy who was reading "Long Way Round" - so was I and we chatted a bit about the book. He hadn´t seen the documentary yet and I strongly recommended it to him. He sounded British and I asked him if he came from Britian but he replied, "No, I´m English." Nice lad actually and it was so refreshing to talk a bit English again.

Before we went back to Celestun we checked out the Northern coast of Yucatan, about 30 km north of Merida. We had read that it was not really a tourist spot but much to our surprise we spotted many beautiful hotels by the road. We stopped somewhere (after driving through the main gate and driving down a looooooooong road) and had to find out that this was not a hotel but a private mansion! So was the next and the next and the one after that. Can you imagine us just driving up there and ask for a room? Trust me, we giggled quite a lot. Not discovering one single hotel we turned around and headed to Celestun, which reminds me, btw, a bit of Key West, Florida. It´s not a beautiful (and does not even have a bank or ATM) but there is only one road from Merida and if you drive a bit more to the West you´ll end up in the Gulf of Mexico.

Life is good.

© Daniela Dohmen, 2007
You are here : Overview The Americas Mexico View from a hammock 28.10.05
The trip
2 girls, 1 car, 4 weeks and 5000 kilometres
Start of journey: Oct 09, 2005
Duration: 4 weeks
End of journey: Nov 05, 2005
Travelled countries: Mexico
The Author
Daniela Dohmen is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 14 years.