We made a long and bumpy bus ride down the country, but up in the mountains to St. Cristobal de las Casas (SCC). After a couple of short stops in Campeche and Palenque, I was ready for a week in one place again.
The bus ride was long and winding, and I had a lot of time to think. Although we had only been away for three weeks, it is very different to being on holiday. Knowing you are not going home anytime soon and that this is your life, at least for the next half a year, makes for a very different experience.
Before I came away I had written about my anxieties about leaving friends and particularly my sons. I miss them, but chatting on Messenger and Skype is actually ok and it doesn’t hurt like I thought it would. However, the biggest surprise is the feelings I have around helplessness. A strong word, but I can’t even ask for directions to the bus stop yet, let alone find my own way from point A to point B. Not knowing local customs and practice is a difficult thing to manage and heightens anxiety and lowers confidence. I went to a public loo the other day and someone gave me some loo roll as I went in, everyone else gave her 5 pesos, so so did I, but I really wasn’t sure if it was for before, during or after later, with wet hands, think it was for after!
So, although I am loving Mexico, it’s not easy getting tongue tied when someone rattles off some Spanish and waits for an answer, or being given magazines in the hairdressers and only being able to look at the pictures! You kind of forget all of the things you had to do and achieve, in order to experience this adventure. Continue reading Dreadlocks and Dreamcatchers
While we were in Merida we decided to hire a car and drive the Ruta Puuc, which was immediately, and quite undeservedly, rechristened The Puke Route. We were fortunate as Montejo Car Hire were just 100 meters from our front door and we were able to hire a small saloon at 400 pesos (less than £20) for the day. I’d bought an International Driving Permit from the post office before we left, but they were utterly unconcerned about seeing it.
When we went to pick up the car I was relieved to see that it had been well worn in. The car hire fella made an attempt at noting the biggest of the bumps and scratches, but it was obvious that unless we came back missing a door or having driven into another vehicle, we weren’t going to get stung for any extra charges. Best of all, it had air-con. Continue reading Driving the Ruta Puuc
When we set out on this trip we didn’t want to have too many concrete plans. In fact, when we landed in Mexico we only had the first two nights accommodation booked and weren’t even certain where our next town was going to be.
What we did know is that we need to be in Mexico City by the start of September, for our flight to Guatemala City, and that we then want to spend a month on Lake Atitlan, studying in a language school. So, these first five weeks have been a process of us finding our feet and stitching together our route with those targets in mind
By now we have got into a rhythm of looking ahead for the next week or two, and making sure we are on top of travel and accommodation booking and that we are, generally, en route to Mexico City.
Since we’ve started the blog, we’ve had quite a few people ask us what our plans are and now seemed to be a good time to plot out our itinerary on here.
So, we’ve set up a new page, called Route, which shows where we think we are aiming for. As our plans evolve we will update the map.
We are travelling around on the bus, it seems quite grown up to be able to pull together a route from the internet and then actually do it. I really enjoy planning the route, researching, aka Googling, to see how long we might stop somewhere and finding places to stay. At the moment I love Airbnb and ADO buses, they make everything possible.
We found a lovely looking old colonial house in Merida, just off the Paseo Montejo. The pictures looked amazing and so we decided to book a week there. At just over £30 per night, it seemed affordable, although as time goes on I think we will reduce what is affordable! For now though, it looked perfect.
After a very basic stay in Valladolid, a pleasant enough apartment, but with none of the windows looking onto the outside, I was looking forward to more pleasant surroundings. We bought bus tickets and a couple of hours later, Ygnacio was showing us around Casa Mango and we were settling in for the week.
The house looked tiny from the outside and after a bumpy taxi ride down many, many side streets we lugged our cases in. Only then were we able to appreciate the hidden depths of the house, the high ceilings and thick walls, together with the tiny garden and the mini swimming pool under the avocado tree.
After so much planning and preparation, so many emotions and such anticipation, this was the perfect time to relax and take stock. So we took it slow, relatively. Continue reading A week in Merida
After the hustle and bustle of Cancun, the dusty sleepiness of Valladoild was a welcome relief. We chose it as a centre as it is close to the Chichen Itza archeological site and about half way to our next stop of Merida.
The apartments we booked were a significant shift down from the splendour of El Rey Del Caribe, but were perfectly decent, airy and clean. We were never going to cook much using the microwave and coffee machine that was provided, but the latter was useful to heat the water for my morning shave.
One of the things we are going to be looking for while we travel is accommodation that gives us somewhere comfortable to sit together, chat, plan and keep each other company. It’s not been too bumpy a landing in Mexico and the start of our travels has been easy enough, but we are each of us needing to find some equilibrium in our new lives and with each other. Having a pleasant shared space will be essential for us to keep going and support each other. Continue reading Valladolid, Chitzen Itza and Cenote Ik-Il
Well we are here, finally. After months, possibly years, of preparation we are finally here. I can’t explain how difficult the exit was, leaving everything felt really hard, especially leaving J,J,& T but someone said to me,” it’s only the mothers that feel it not the children”and that really really helped how I was feeling.
So we landed in Cancun, it’s a bit of a dive, I knew it was going to be and we’re only here for two days, so instead of fighting it, might as well jump right in!.
Within about 2 hours of landing, I was lying in a small pool surrounded by palm trees with the sun shining and for the first time I thought, it’s going to be ok.
The hotel is a little like the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, it’s not crumbling, but the rooms are like little bungalows off twisty staircases and rickety landings. When I walked across the landing before my room an old lady was watering her plants with a watering can, and couple were chatting as they lay in their hammocks and the stress began to fall away. After a swim I sat at the table in my room and started to write my travel journal (on paper with a pen!) and I felt like I really had started an adventure. This is in stark contrast to how I had been feeling over the last couple of days, when I felt like I was going to do 6 months in prison before being allowed home.
So this trip will be an adventure. Feelings will turn on a sixpence and in order to win the battle of emotions I need to learn how to ride the waves.
The evening was perfect, after a fairly long walk, we went into downtown Cancun (which seems to centre around a giant bus station) and found a restaurant that contained all of Mexico. We sat at a table where a Mariachi band played right in our ears, we ate fajitas, I drank margaritas. It was over the top and cheesy – but sometimes you’ve got to jump right in!
I keep one of those time-capsule diaries, you write a couple of lines each night and there are five years to each page. Since I booked my flight, what I write seems more important, because who knows where I’ll be when I write today’s entry next year.
It’s the funny thing about craving spontaneity and adventure, you spend a lot of time wanting to know what it will be like. I try to imagine where I will live, how I will feel, what a typical day will look like, will there ever be a ‘typical day’
When I look back at this, in six months time I wonder ,where will I be writing it from, where will I have slept, how will I be feeling.
Sometimes your brain is at odds with your heart. My heart says ” I’m leaving my children” My brain says ” my children are no longer children”. Both are right and it’s a daily (hourly) fight.
My three boys are in their twenties now, living independent lives, being good, grown up people. I have a good and healthy relationship with all three. Mostly our interactions are typed through Facebook Messenger, but we keep in touch, we chat occasionally on the phone and I see them to varying degrees from once a week to every couple of months. I pride myself on my ability to let them be adults and my resulting ability to be an independent person at the age of 50. Continue reading You can’t hug on the internet
The planning over the last year is all really falling into place. Nearly completed my training as an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher, told my family, seen the estate agents, sold my car and started the packing.
When I started to push around the idea of leaving my job, renting my house out and living in another country, I don’t think I really believed I was actually going to do it. I talked about it wistfully, maybe endlessly, but I still didn’t have to do anything.
I remember having two steep learning curves in my life, neither took place at school. The first was when I had my first child, goodness knows how I kept him alive, by the third I knew what I was doing. They all, thankfully, turned out very well. The second was when I set up a company, which grew quickly and is going today; I learnt a huge amount in a short space of time.
What I have discovered is that when I stop learning I get bored. So in the last twelve months I have started to learn two new things, Spanish and Teaching English.