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Akumal, Mexico

Akumal, Mexico – Day 1

I decided to get out of Tulum mainly because it was so expensive.  Once I decided to leave I had to figure out how to get to Akumal and was informed that a collectivo, which is a minivan used for transportation of the general population, was the cheapest option.   A cab sounded a helluva lot easier but I am forcing myself to be frugal and do things I am uncomfortable doing, so a collectivo it was.

I waited by the highway and a minivan slowed, the driver blinking the headlights to indicate a seat was available.  I jumped on and stumbled my way to the back like a turtle with my backpack still on and proceeded to hit people with the backpack inadvertently.  So, immediately I was popular.  Not knowing the procedure, I announced the name of my stop and sat – the only gringo in the bunch.  As we were speeding down the highway out of town, who do I see driving beside us but the harassing American guy from the beach.  Buh-bye!

I got off in the wrong place and had to cross the freeway and take another collectivo in the other direction to try and get off in the right place. Fail again.  I approached security guards at the nearest resort and they suggested I could get a “special deal” on a taxi of only $10 US to take me to my hotel.  They said it was 5 kilometers away.  I refused, stubborn as a mule, I wanted to succeed at this without acting like a spoiled American.

So I set off walking.  It was blazing hot. Sweat was dripping down my face and my sunburned back was stinging with pain from my heavy pack. In minutes I saw a sign and arrow for my hotel.  I walked down a deserted road.  Not a soul around for 10 minutes. ..and at the curve of the road I saw my hotel — a 15-minute walk at most.  I did it!

At last! My hotel!

At last! My hotel!

Hotel from the beach.

Hotel from the beach.

That evening I went to the Beach Bar next to my hotel and learned how to properly drink tequila: Lick the space between your thumb and forefinger, apply salt, lick salt, drink tequila, eat lime.  I had to try it three times to perfect it.

The bar customers included a 20-year-old from Ottowa (Twenty-year-olds are insufferable. But then I’m old and mean), an older woman from Oklahoma who was enjoying her first year living in Akumal, and a man who was getting married the next day to someone he met a month earlier. Great idea. Nothing could go wrong there.  The bartender, Bruce, explained he was from North Carolina and spends six months a year in Akumal where he has a home next to the Oklahoma woman.

Before long we were down to the 20-year-old, and myself.  The youngster explained to Bruce that he was a musician and before long Bruce produced a guitar and then I was treated, and I say that ironically, to a “manly” guitar duel with the guitar being passed back and forth between the two.  When the Led Zeppelin riffs started, I knew my night was over.  I was tired anyway.

Beach Bar - Akumal

Beach Bar – Akumal

Akumal, Mexico – Day 2

The next morning, I awoke to rain.  I decided to take a walk to town in search of cash and cigarettes, not knowing how far it was but figuring I could follow the beach to reach it.  On the way there, I got diverted by rocks and before long was walking on a jungle path and semi lost but knowing I was going in the right direction. Each sound from the jungle beside me was frightening.

After an hour and a half, I found my way to town.  I looked at the bay for which Akumal is famous.  It was full of people snorkeling and observing the turtles that swim there.  I didn’t go in myself.

On my return, there wasn’t a soul on the beach for miles and miles.  I walked for hours.  The beach here is full of coral, from tiny pieces to boulder size chunks.  It’s quite beautiful but not so easy on the feet, so flip flops were a necessity. Not to mention the garbage strewn about – so sad how much garbage is found in each rocky nook and cranny of the shore.  Where there should be tidepools, there is plastic.

When I reached the rocky shore I decided to go ahead and try to get through it rather than get lost again.  Each step was carefully planned as I climbed over huge rocks of jagged coral.  I made it through and it wasn’t long before I was back the hotel, tired from my 6-mile walk.

When I returned to the sandy beaches in the area of my hotel, I was relieved and tired.

Akumal, Mexico – Day 3

The weather was nice again and I basically did nothing but read on the beach.  I saw some turtles swimming in the surf. I watched the new pope be announced.

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