Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Vacation: Exploring on Sunday

Sunday morning we got up and packed our things and checked out of the hotel. It had been a nice stay, but now it was time to go. The conference was over, and we had other plans for the rest of our trip.

But, before we left Cozumel, we wanted to check out the rest of our temporary home. So, we left our bags with the bellman, jumped on our trusty scooter, and headed out to explore the rest of the island. We drove to the south point of the island, and walked around for a bit, but that eastern side was the nicest part, and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

We stopped at one point where the reef rock shoreline was home to a wave-land blowhole. I'm not exactly sure how the phenomenon works, but every time a wave crashed into the shore, the pressure built up under certain rocks further inland, and the water shot straight up one to three meters into the air. It was kind of like a cyclical geyser, but mostly reminded me of the blowhole on a whale or a dolphin. Very nifty little oddity in nature.

We stopped a little further up the coast and enjoyed a pristine piece of beach where you could look forever and see no footprints in the sand or buildings on the beach -- just the untouched, natural beauty of the ocean meeting the island. The vegetation was stunning. I noticed how bright the greens and yellows and oranges and red and purples were. Nothing pastel here, only bold colors that indicate a world that is proud and strong.

We continued on, stopping periodically to take a stroll or a picture. We stopped at the San Gervasio ruins, but the guy in the booth talked us out of going to see them. "It's six more kilometers in, and then it'll take an hour to walk through it, and there's not even much to see there -- these are not the good ruins." How can you argue with a salesman like that? So we went on to complete our circumnavigation of the main island road, ending with the experience of getting gas for the scooter. Did you know we went all around that island for two bucks in gas? I've gotta get me a scooter. But I think a sidecar would make it more stable and less likely to skin my knee.

Once we got back to the hotel, my husband took a taxi with our luggage, and I took the scooter in to be returned. We met at the ferry there to go over to the mainland. It rained while we waited to be loaded onto the ferry, which wouldn't have been a big deal, but it was actually a bit cold and windy. We should have realized that standing in the cold rain wouldn't be the worst of it. The ferry ride started out fine, but I noticed that we were pitching back and forth with the waves quite a bit. After ten minutes or so, I remembered that my husband gets seasick very easily. I located the restroom, and then braced myself for how he'd handle the ride. As it turned out, I needn't have worried about him. He leaned his head forward and fell asleep for most of the 45-minute boat ride. Other passengers didn't fare so well. The crew handed out lots and lots of seasickness bags, and one poor girl spent the whole ride in the bathroom. She did emerge at one point for about twenty seconds before she dashed back in the door. But my husband was a champ -- he didn't even get woozy!

Once we arrived in Playa del Carmen, we dragged our stuff to the bus station and took the bus to the Cancun airport. There, we got the rental car my husband had reserved for us for the mainland part of our trip. Once all was settled, we began the three-hour drive to Chichen Itza, home of the most famous Mayan ruins.

We arrived after dark, and settled into our room with its carved mahogany doors and bedframes. The window shutters were most interesting. The windows were just screens on the inside and outside, the shutters were like four-centimeter-wide venetian blinds. But, rather than a string to raise and lower them, there was a lever to twist them open or sealed shut. Once the lever was in place, the knob at the end of the lever turned to lock the shutters in place. They are hard to explain, but they were a nifty little simple machine.

Throughout the day, we experienced quite the variety in modes of transportation: on foot, scooter, taxi, ferry, bus, car. By the end of it, we weren't sure it was still Sunday, but we went to sleep, and slept well.

No comments: