Cancùn didn`t look too spectacular, to quote a friend ´like Los Angeles without the golden facades´. I never bothered the short cheap bus trip down to the hotel beach-front, might do it on the way back. Hostel was a wannabe cabaña, but for the shit-all €14 I paid for a private room (and free toast/coffee) I have no complaints. The mosquitoes ate me alive, but I soon found that is the case everywhere.
Early next morning I began the day with a pretty piss poor attempt to get myself a SIM card with Internet. The vendors in the many mobile phone shops blasting out dance-trance hits at max volume barely knew what a SIM card was, let-alone that they can come with Internet. Maybe if i`d enquired about coloured mobile cases they`d have jumped to the rescue.
I grabbed my 1 hour trip to Playa del Carmen for about €4 (what the shit??), and was pretty proud of myself finding the cheap backstreet hostel I booked in under 10 minutes. Places don`t have numbers in Mexico, they just describe locations as being ´between such and such a street corner´. I have no idea how you send mail. As it turns out the hostel was pretty decent, just the usual colourful crusty save-the-world brigade who seem to run the coolest hostels all over the world these days. Ok that`s a little unfair. The main dude who seems to own or manage the place warmed up a lot after a few days. In fact he just passed me a free tequila on his way back from the kitchen, I take everything back, I just made a new best friend. Albeit he does call me ¨London Boy¨, which can fuck right off frankly.
La Ley Seca (The Dry Law)Then came the horrendous news that I had arrived on election weekend when no-where sells alcohol in the province until Monday morning. I`m over it now, but at the time I was like ¨WHATTT THE UNHOLY SHIT IS THIS????¨
As it turned out, restaurants would give a limited number of beers with a meal. I`ve never felt the continual craving to drink beer so strong before in my live; and ended up getting hammered on my own in a restaurant. Prohibition does not work for shit folks.
I also paid for the teeth for it when the bill came, and the fucking enterprising bastards expected a tip on top of the €40 price tag (which they didn`t get). Maybe I`m being a little unfair considering I got completely bolloxed on their behalf, but it`s Mexico, I want cheap, and fuck them for taking advantage of a law which is complete bullshit. Down with anti-consumerist pricing!
Swimming with turtlesSo I imagine this is the kind of shit people normally harp on about in travel blogs, so I`ll try to keep it brief. I was recommended the beach of Akumal for a virgin beach where you can go swimming with Sea Turtles. It`s about 35 minutes drive from Playa del Carmen and there`s no bus service there. So you gots three options: a communal van, a taxi, an over-priced bullshit tour (avoid!), or hire a car. I chose the cheapest and most awesome option, the communal van.
These bad-boys are basically just dudes in vans who plow up and down the coast picking up and dropping people off at every stop. They are awesomely cheap (round trip cost me about €4) and way cooler than the luxury Ado bus service. There`s not too many European tourists hopping on and off, but the locals are the friendly cooler type around here. I think some Paraguayans made a disparaging comment about a limey European getting on when I first got on the bus, but when I tried to put them straight (guess they didn`t realise I spoke Spanish) they claimed to have no idea what I was talking about. Yeah right... watch it kids, I`m on your case.
So anyway... Akumel is about as much of a tropical Paradise as I could ever imagine. White sand, clear water, lizards, turtles, canañas... awesomeness.
Yes I went snorkeling, yes I saw turtles, yes I saw a sting-ray, no I didn`t touch anything. I bought a cheap snorkel mask from the shop, but didn`t have any flippers so I wasn`t quite fast enough to get a touch of turtle-mc-turtle. It was still bloody brilliant.
I did everything on the cheap for this little jaunt and it worked out great. The same can`t be said for the day-trip to Cozumel and the snorkeling I did there the day before on a package tour. Now I have no complaints at all about the service, but that cost me a damn fortune and was far inferior to my own spurt out to Akumal. Moral of the story, avoid marketing and salesmen and make up your own plan.
Sorry for the shit editing, but I don`t fancy spending hours blogging right now because this place is frankly too awesome. Catch ya soon!