Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mexico Part IV: Valladolid

Valladolid

Day I: Tulum to Valladolid. Took a cab from our hotel in the Tulum hotel zone to the bus station (50 pesos). Tulum bus stations is nice and organized. I took money out of the ATM and got an “incomplete” 500 peso note that had a corner torn off. Had a hell of time getting rid of this bill. One of those “I’m in Mexico” situations. Missed the ADO bus to Valladolid so we ended up on the Mayasomething Bus. (58 pesos each) Half the ADO price…but no seats available. Not really a big deal. It rained very hard the whole way there and the windows leaked and most people sitting in seats got wet, though they didn’t seem to care. Arrived in a flooded Valladolid in the rain and went to Squimoz next door to the bus station for good sandwiches and coffee (120 pesos). Stayed until the rain stopped. Walked 10 minutes to the Hotel San Clemente on the main town square.
Hotel Notes: 490 pesos a night for a large double room with AC and fan. Heaven compared to our Tulum room. Cool colonial style hotel with a garden and pool. Clean but old. Very worn sheets and hard beds, but fine. Nice people running the place. They gave us an adapter for our computer cord. They also let us change rooms when we realized our door didn’t close properly. Free wifi that only worked if you sat outside the room or by the pool. We had a great view of the old cathedral from our 3rd story room. They provided free purified water. They wouldn’t accept my ripped 500 peso bill (it was really just a very small tear). On-site Dominoes Pizza, which we skipped. Lots of mosquitoes around the hotel and the town, but not in the room.
Short walk to the Cenote Zaci in town. Didn’t swim because it was still overcast and rainy. Sat in the nice restaurant and drank a couple of beers. Had a great server who might have been 12 years old. He told us all about the town, with a lot of pride, and spoke a Spanish I could somehow understand very easily. He brought us samples of 3 local liqueurs which were all delicious, especially the Licor de Nance de Valladolid. I would have bought a bottle if we were heading home soon. Walked around the town square reading historical plaques that told a fascinating story about the Caste War, which I’d never heard about. Had another drink at an outdoor cafĂ© in an old historical building. Watched the town. Fascinating place. Had dinner at Las Campanas which was just okay. Very busy and had live music and karaoke. My wife’s contacts started itching…


Day 2: The plan was to take collectivos to Chichen Itza and the Cenote Dzitnup. But unfortunately my wife was awake all night with some kind of pink eye “Ojo rojo” and was unable to function in the morning. Not sure where she picked it up, maybe our Tulum hotel with shared bath and sweat soaked bed, maybe the Grande Cenote’s peeing children, maybe the bus. Doesn’t matter. She was miserable. I spent the day online trying to make sure she wouldn’t have to have her eye removed, which she was certain would happen. Then I went to farmacias and demonstrated our need for eye drops. Found a place that sold beer and bought a lot of it. We spent the day in the hotel room. I read her Ender’s Game out loud since she couldn’t read or watch TV. I made a food run to the food court area on the main square. Lots of options. One of the craziest things I’ve seen on this trip was the balls-out aggressive menu hawking from the food stalls. These guys are totally out of their minds, just screaming the names of menu items over each other. Very funny experience. Got the food to go, which was a good idea because the food court was infested with flies. The food was just okay. Of note, Sundays in Valladolid are very happening. The church bells ringing all day, choirs singing in the morning, music coming from all directions, evening food stalls in the park. A really interesting town and I wish we could have followed our intended itinerary. Couldn’t stay another day since we had reservations at a hotel in Playa del Carmen.

Day 3: Pink eye improving, thank god. Checked out, walked back to the bus station. Bought tickets and once again went next door for coffee. The bus to Playa del Carmen was an hour late, though we didn’t really know what was happening and panicked the whole time thinking we’d missed our bus. Eventually everything worked out and we had a smooth ride to PDC.
Hope this was helpful.

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