Six of us were piled in a cab, drinking beers, the hot breeze blowing in our face and Mexican music blaring on the radio. We were driving through the endless jungle as the air freshener swung wildly from the rear view mirror.
I was dirty. I was sweaty. I was in heaven.
We were lost in the Yucatan.
Maybe we weren’t exactly lost. Our driver led us to believe he knew where our desired destination, Cenote Maya was but instead led us to a vacant hotel. That’s when we advised him to take us to infamous Ek Baklam centoe instead. Chuck rode up front and teasingly offered the cabby a beer after jumping in the car with two six-packs of sweaty beers.
I had been to Ek Balam once before to gawk at the amazing “art”chitecture, pointing my camera everywhere as if I was a fashion photographer at a runway show. The Ek Balam centoe water was dark and eerie with an occasional bubble lifting to the surface from the abyss. We swung from ropes and lounged on inner tubes. Everyone in the group except me jumped from cliffs. A group of girls zip lined over our heads.
On our way out, a man served whole pineapples with the guts cubed, sprinkled with hot chili. It burned my throat but I couldn’t stop eating it, and hoarded it to myself in the backseat. If this wasn’t living I didn’t know what was. To the right, my son slept on my husband. We headed back to Valladolid.
Valladolid is exactly how you would think authentic Mexico looks, if you’ve actually ventured off of your resort or tourist bubble. The hustle and bustle of people on foot. The tiny white cabs that drive around the center square. Old architecture with giant wood doors. There are no vendors or anyone to bother you about buying something. The food is authentic and the lima sopa to die for.
This was my second trip to Valladolid, which I admired so much I wrote about my first visit.
It was hotter than usual that day our group of five arrived on the ADO bus. I staggered past a guy in the street he asked for a drink of my water. I gave him the whole thing and walked away waterless as my husband scolded me for giving away our only water. My son’s sweat drenched blonde hair was pasted to the side of his face and his cheeks flushed pink from the heat, walked behind me consistently begging me to pick him up and carry him. I cheered him on and reminding him how strong his legs were going to be.
We arrived at the glorious market that displayed an array of fruits and vegetables, bouquets of flowers, grains and pastries. There was a whole building dedicated to carne where cow heads sat on the counter and pig ribs hung from hooks. One butcher liked the idea of having his picture taken and offered Meg and I a fresh pork rind which I gladly accepted.
We chomped on huayas as the sour, sweet pulp filled our mouth. We discarded the big pit on the street.
Back at Casa Tia Micha we were served dates soaked in local rum as we lounged by the pool. Hayes soaked anyone who came near the Jacuzzi with a pressurized waterspout.
Day turned into night and soon it was time to go out on the town. We went to the same restaurant I went to last time I was in Valladolid. We feasted on seafood for very little money. I wished this were the case in America and shuttered at the thought of the money I would have to spend once back in the states.
We walked around the square and admired Cathedral San Gervasioxz where a wedding was taking place. The back of black haired men and woman who sat in pews, all focused on the woman in the puffy white dress. I nibbled on a marquesita on the way back to the bed and breakfast.
Our room wasn’t ice cold so I dipped into the swimming pool before sliding into the sheets next to my slumbering family and fell asleep. I knew a glorious breakfast awaited me the next morning.