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
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!
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