Day 2 of 9 days on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Day 2 and I am anxious to experience more of what the Yucatán has to offer. After a quick breakfast of coffee, mangoes and bananas, we say goodbye to the Hacienda Cobá in search of spider monkeys and nearby Mayan ruins. Dr. Laura Vick is an amazing guide! She provides an historical depiction of the Mayan culture here in Cobá, and its idiosyncrasies.
By mid-morning we are headed to Punta Laguna. Dr. Vick is well-known here by the villagers. She has worked with the endangered spider monkey population here for well over twenty years. As we make our way to the Reserve, I have the good fortune to meet Betsy and Lucy. They are going into the Reserve to see the long-armed swingers, cenotes, and other inhabitants of this lush environment. In addition, Betsy invites me to join her writing group, the Caribbean Scribblers,the next time I am in town, and I tell her I will.
Juan, our guide, takes us into the jungle which is apparently something rare due to the inherent dangers in a place like this. Furthermore, I am told that getting a good picture of a spider monkey is rather difficult because they don’t sit still for very long, and they apparently make it a point to avoid people. Not for me. I take a number of wonderful photographs.
We leave the monkeys behind and head for Valladolid, a lovely city founded in the 1500’s. We stop at Laura’s favorite hotel restaurant, El Meson del Marques, for dinner. A beautiful fountain graces the center of an open air courtyard. Then the chef prepares our meal right before us. The seafood soup is out of this world.
As we leave the hotel, a heavy rain bids us farewell. The lack of storm drains becomes painfully obvious in a matter of minutes. The next half hour or so is a bob-and-weave event with the rising waters on the streets. The rain finally lets up just as we make our way onto a highway that will take us to the back roads, eventually leading to our next destination.
This is my first time on the Yucatán Peninsula. Why am I the designated driver? Picture this. I am driving without the aid of a GPS, we have no cell service, only a tourist map of the Cancún vicinity. I grew up with paper maps so this is not an issue, right? Right, until I notice that only the major roadways are clearly marked on the map. Especially relevant is the fact that the village of Abalá is nowhere to be found on this piece of paper. Laura, who spends lots of time here, is unsure how to reach our destination. Since her last visit, highway construction has changed some of the exits and cut off other roads familiar to the good doctor.
We stop when we can to ask for directions. All I can do is laugh. I am sure we look like an episode of Vacation as we race up and down this newly tarred highway making one U-turn after another, attempting to find that elusive off-ramp. Also, the daylight is fading and I am still unsure as to how long a trek we have left. We finally locate the new exit we need to take to reach our next stop. Yay! It is dark now and the only light we have as we traverse down this barely traveled secondary road is that of the headlights on our vehicle. The roads are winding and I drop my speed down to 25 km/h, roughly 15 mph. I hope all animals are in bed by now.
The village of Abalá is home to approximately 350 people. Dogs and horses litter the roads. The local beekeeper has a thriving business and we will be visiting him within the next day or so. As we near the end of the village, a gravel drive with a strip of grass at its center presents itself and I waste no time in accepting its invitation. Hacienda Yunkú awaits us as we pass through the archway that leads to a most beautiful building. Our room is quite lovely. All luggage, bags, shoes, etc. must be kept off the floors. OK, don’t freak out–this suggested protocol is a common practice. It eliminates the possibility of finding scorpions or tarantulas in your personal things. Therefore, this is a wise practice anywhere in these parts. After all, we are in a jungle of sorts.
Now, exhaustion takes over. The bed beckons to me. However, I grab my bottled water and head for the bathroom to brush my teeth. Too tired to take a shower tonight, I ignore the day’s odor on me. The night breeze is a welcome relief. Lastly, the sound of cicadas in the distance is much more appealing than that of an automobile air conditioning unit. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Shine Your Light — Annie M