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Tulum.jpg (20979 bytes)Playa De Carmen

April 24th, 2001


We were heading to Cozumel the next morning.  Before that, though, I took another little excursion to Tulum, an ancient Mayan ruin.  Tulum is fairly unique in that 1) it is built close to water, and 2) it was used as a trading post even after the Spanish Conquistadors showed up.

Again I had to make an early start: Tulum is located on mainland Mexico.   The Jubilee makes a quick stop at Playa De Carmen to let people off, then proceeds on to Cozumel.  Breakfast? check.   Bottled water? check.  Off we go!

This trip was going to take a little longer: after getting off the ship, we had a long bus ride to the ruins.  There was one pit stop at an open-air market that had lots of fascinating stuff on sale: Mayan calendars, rugs, jewelry.  I'm sure everyone could have spent hours just in there, but we had to push on!

It was quite hot when we reached the ruins:  good thing they tell you to bring water!  Our guide showed us around, describing the history of the place, how it used to be a major trading center.  Mayan civilization had existed for about three thousand years:  Tulum had actually been built  towards the end of Mayan civilization and was discovered by Spanish Conquistadors in 1518.  Carved on the corners of the gallery are masks of Chac, or perhaps of the creator God Itzamna (no one is quite certain).

He also showed the platforms where human sacrifices were performed (and naturally everyone was taking pictures of that!).  Personally, I thought he went a bit overboard into P.C. jargon sometimes: he talked about respecting other cultures and not judging them: after all, the Spanish had done some quite terrible things to the Mayan people after they arrived.  But quite frankly, the Mayans weren't all sweetness and light, either: I have issues with a people that would yank a guy's heart out as a matter of public policy!

Still, it was a wonder to behold (although it seemed as if the Mayans were in severe need of a good plumb line, but that was probably just due to age).  The ruins were covered with large lizards that scattered as you approached: they appeared to be some type of iguana.  Just behind the main temple was a small beach, with waves lapping on the shore from the turquoise ocean.  Beautiful!

Finally, we had to head back.  Unfortunately, we didn't stop at that earlier market: I had hoped to pick up a few items.  Drat!

Playa De Carmen Playa De Carmen Tulun! Long view of the Castle and sacrifical altar Living quarters.  A bit drafty.
Corner Masks Possibly a funeral parlor Smile! Rear view of the Castle Temple of the Decending God
Beautiful beaches! Hey! Where'd the people go... Temple of the Wind, overlooking the beach

Ferry Rides

To catch up to the ship, we had to take an hour-long ferry ride back to Cozumel.  Now the Jubilee rocked a little as it traveled, but I was quite used to that.  The ferry, though: whoa!  I was really starting to feel queasy by the time we reached Cozumel!

I managed to get some shopping done after all: I found some quite nice items in Cozumel's shops (although I still wished that I had had more time on the Mainland).  I had to head back to the ship for two reasons, though: first off, I was starving and wanted to grab some grub.  Secondly, I had to clean up and get changed: we were all going out for the evening!

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2001  William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Saturday, November 02, 2002