A Yucatán post(card)

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Coati Bill, shooting the breeze with his buddy, Dr Death. Tulum, Mexico.

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Coati Joe and the Missus, distant relations of Bill’s, at the ruins of Coba, Yucatán peninsula.

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Yucatán postcard 1. View from breakfast. This past end-of-year, we decided to spend the holidays with the whole family near Tulum, on the Yucatán peninsula, near Tulum. We rented a house near the beach. Airbnb is definitely a great option. (Note: this was not the view from the house) 🙂

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One flew over the Pelican’s nest.

(Note: all pelican pix (c)ourtesy my daughters. I never seemed to be able to grab my phone on time to take a decent shot)

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The ball game at Cobá. The Maya had developed a very elaborate ball game where players of opposing teams had to hit the “hule” (rubber) ball through the ring at the top (centre right on the picha). Only shoulders, elbows and knees could be used. No hands. Obviously it was difficult to put the ball through the ring. When it happened, spectators fled the scene as the winning team could claim all their possessions… Cobá was one of the most important Maya cities in Yucatán, dating back to the Late Classic period (600-900 AD).

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The Nohoch Mul pyramid at Cobá. Reported by Stephens in the mid 19th century, Cobá welcomes over 700,000 visitors a year. Go early. 🙂 A time quirk happens on the way: from Tulum or Akumal, the time changes, as you drive West, though the distance is only 70 kms, Cobá is one hour earlier… We arrived practically at the time we had left the house.

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Postcard 2. Lie down on the beach, look up, and voilà… (Why are palm trees so evocative?)

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There was a young lady of Niger

Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;

They returned from the ride

With the lady inside

And the smile on the face of the tiger.

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(The only limerick I remember). Very appropriate for this entire bridge of street art set across the highway. The minute I saw it I knew I had to come back, stop, get off the car, watch out for other cars coming from behind and take all four sides of the bridge. Akumal means “The place of the turtles” in Maya. They supposedly still come to the beaches to lay down their eggs. Not sure how long it will last. Too many humans. But the murals are great.

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Construction has been somewhat controlled on the coast. In height in particular, still, I guess most of the mangrove has been built on from Cancún to Chetumal on the Belize border. Decks like the one above, are  many and built on the coral reef…

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Tulum craft beer on the lower terrace of the house.

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That bridge! Oh, that bridge! (The Goddess of the blue corn?) (There is blue corn in Mexico. Makes for tasty blue tortillas)

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Beyond the shadow of a bird.

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A modern roof at a restaurant. The technique is the same as a thousand years ago. Just palm fibers attached tight. Not a drop of rain comes through. No plastic.

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Postcard 3. From the terrace. I generally don’t “do” sunset pix. The result is so far from the carnival of colours one sees in the actual sunset… But, hey! This is a post(card).

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This little fella was quite ready to defend itself.

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“You made my brown eyes blue”… Akumal, Quintana Roo.

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Flocks and flocks of birds on the beach. Cute little “thangs”.

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The head of an ancient God on the path along the beach.

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“Bridge art”, Akumal.

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Loos of the world series. Tulum.

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A dead coral branch on the beach.

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Live coral in the sea. Taken from one of the decks. The coral branches are like tree branches swinging and swaying with the tide. Very delicate. They can be broken by strong waves or swimmers.

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Inside the forest where the ruins of Cobá are. Reminded  me of Angkor. (Prelude to a “root series”)

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Tulum is a unique Maya site, the only one built by the sea. As far as I know all sites are inland. It is one of the last cities built by the Maya around the 13th-15th century AD. ‘Seems to have functioned as a fishing centre. We’d gone there 25 years ago, and looked forward to going back but TBH, the crowds were daunting. We made the mistake of going in the afternoon, the place was literally swarming with people. “People” like us I guess, just too many thousands. It is one of the most popular archeological sites in the Yucatán peninsula. If you go, go in the very early morning.

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A view of Tulum from the beach. The temple of the God of Wind, I believe.

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Street art Tulum. I only later realized that this is Ixchel, the Goddess of  the waning moon. (The clue is the serpent rolled on her head) She is also the mother of all Maya gods.

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Thank you for flying with Equinoxio’s Pelican 316 Squadron… A very happy new year 2020 to all.

 

 

 

 

95 thoughts on “A Yucatán post(card)

    • LOL. It may be a sign. Our (relative) cold season is almost over. Only turn the radiators on a few hours a day. It should be nice and warm in a fortnight. Now, the coast? And Yucatán in particular is always warm. I think you would like Yucatan, not Cancún, Mérida, Progreso, Akumal, Bacalar. Plus there wouldn’t be nearly as many tourists now as in December… 🙂

      • I´ve been to Tulum twice. 🙂 Cancun I found horrible. Same for Playa. Merida was a lovely. I still need to get to Akumal and Bacalar. Always got to comfortable in Tulum and then flew straight up to DF from there. I am currently working on my escape plan 🙂 Had another snow storm this week. Good fun 😛

      • Agree on Cancun. Totally artificial. Tulum was nice, but is now overrun by tourists. Akumal is nice where we were but the main beach is crowded too…
        An escape plan sounds good… 🙂
        Tschüss.

    • Grazie mille. Those pelican flights were a sight to behold. But since I kept my phone inside a bag to avoid the sand… All I could do is watch. And then my daughters each got very good shots… Buon anno novo Flavia.

      • Gracias amigo. I imagine it must have been breathtaking to see them fly all together like that. You might not have all the shots that you wanted but I am sure it has been far better to retain that feeling while you were watching at their show!

      • Oh absolutely. They toured above the beach and back every hour or so. I had never seen so many pelicans flying together. Quite beautiful. And also nice to think that they still find enough food to thrive, and probably no pesticides to affect the babies. There was quite a bit of wildlife actually. Iguanas, a moray eel, lots of birds, coatis, even a raccoon visited us at the house one evening… 🙂

      • A piece of haven then! We have steal so much to their natural habitat that I always find amazing when they find a way to share it with us. If only we would be more generous towards the other species…

      • The houses (and hotels) on the beach have actually been built on mangrove. Not too good for the environment but it’s done. The interesting thing is that I saw several animals that normally live on the mangrove, “pushing” to the sea: herons for instance. They normally live in marsh, mangrove, lakes, rivers, not on the sea, yet many were fishing on the beach and low sea water. I’d never seen that before. Then there were coatis and raccoons, also more inlanders.

  1. A gorgeous destination and beautiful photographs mon ami Brian. I was sent off googling and discover the disaster in Talum in 2015. What happened there? You always send my imagination off on vacation Brian, such a beautiful and intriguing post!

    • Tulum 2015? Hmmm. I think there was a major hurricane… lemme check. Not exactly. Hurricanes come and hit the place but in 2015 was the beginning of seaweed invasion. Another example of the imbalance of the weather… This time the beaches were mostly free of sea weed. But there is another problem: plastic debris… The line at high tide is littered with plastic. A shame. I will document it in a next post. Still the place is a good destination… Take care Holly.

    • Akumal, where we stayed is very pleasant. about 30 kms away from Tulum. Tulum is wayyy too crowded… And yes looking at the sky and pelicans is very soothing.
      The limerick’s author I don’t know. It’s the only limerick I know by heart… And a decent one at that. I think it comes from a book of limericks my father had that is now on my shelves… lemme see.

    • Glad you liked it Gigi. Part of the idea was to send a bit of Sun and Sand to all of you up North… 🙂
      (And the street art was Wow! I still have more to post. That bridge was wonderful. Resa would have loved it) Cheers.

  2. Looks like you had a tranquil holiday, despite the crowds at the site. I’ve heard that Tulum is so popular right now. How did the location compare to your usual Colombia? I hope you returned home well-rested and ready to take on the year. Bises.

  3. I was thinking about you just yesterday, wondering when we would see a new post. And here it is! These are all great shots as usual, but I have to say that the pelicans are my favorite.

    • Hi Liz, I have been slow in blogging again. Bought a new Mac, which takes time in transfering and updating files… The pelicans were great. they’d fly right over the beach every hour or so. Which is not usual, normally you see them flying off the shore, so the perspective is different. A good thing my daughters got good pix, I messed all my pelican shots.

      • I’ve chugging along. I did get to spend some time with my late brother’s family, which was good. Speaking of the new year, I was in a webinar today hosted by a colleague I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, and on one of her PowerPoint slides was the factoid that people born before 1960 are closer to the 1800s than to 2020. Well, says I, that’s a fine how-do-you-do!

  4. Wonderful. A great year to you too! Whenever I see Tulum, I think of the meaning of the word in Croatian. It means “party” or “binge”. I guess it goes well with the atmosphere there. 😀 Lovely street art and the limerick. And surprisingly few people (except on the pyramid photo). I see that you can see through the people too.

    • Tulum! I will remember that. Now that I know one word I can add Crotian to the languages I “speak”! 😉
      I try to avoid people in the pictures. But the fact is that aside from Tulum and Coba, there was very few people where we were. The beach was small and away from the big centres, so we could relax. Which, having a 3 year old little boy and a 2 month old little girl was good.
      Cheers

  5. I’ve been writing a lot, lately, with mixtapes as my companion: the best ones come from Tulum (check them out on Youtube, the one from El Buho or Nicola Cruz in Ritmos del Sur). Great to see the place where they “come” from. Those murales are so damn magnificient: a building site near old street, steps from my office in London, has something like this but they pale in comparison to your photos from Mexico, Colombia and elsewhere…

    • Just put “The owl” on. (El buho) Sounds cool and relaxing. Don’t know whether I will listen to the 48′ though) 🙂
      The street art I found in Tulum and Akumal was indeed magnificent. I have found that the topics and themes vary form country to country. And the light of the country. Think Banksy…. And I was lucky to have good light, 10AM-ish.
      Hope your end-of-year was pleasant, friends family and all. Did you go home?

    • Corn was “invented” by the Mexicans, sort of. and there are many varieties. One almost black, others with yellow and black… Quite pretty. tastes nice too. Not like your regular standard industrial yellow corn. Hope you had a pleasant end-of-year. (Bonne année<)

      • Yes, they look incredibly pretty. Of course. Corn is so Mexican. I’d love to taste a blue corn. And others too. The past year is now in the past. I didn’t do much. But let’s see what 2020 holds.

      • I don’t think the FDA would let blue corn through the border… You’ll have to come to Mexico for that. And you don’t find it everywhere…
        Let’s see what 2020 holds. World rulers coming to their senses? 😉

    • Yes, that Limerick is a safe one. (Most aren’t) 🙂
      The area we were at is supposedly a turtle sanctuary. Akumal, between Playa del Carmen and Tulum means the Turtle place. I am a bit concerned at the number of human beings. on some beaches. Not good for turtles…
      Happy new year. Feliz año

    • Pleasure Jill. That view from the breakfast was quite good. Possibly because it was one floor above the ground? But the view from the beach was nice. Lots of pelicans! Take care

      • I’ve been to Cancún on the Yucatan Peninsula, and to Veracruz, not too far away, but it has been more than 50 years ago, and I barely remember. Your pics were beautiful, though.

      • In 1970? Wow. You wouldn’t recognize the place… 🙂 I first went to Mexico in 1979, to Mérida. I was on a summer course of Maya Anthropology, on site with the U of A (Roll Tide!). A great experience.
        The pix show you how it is now.
        Be good

      • I can imagine. I first went to Yucatán 10 years later, in ’78, on a summer course from the University. I don’t think it had changed much from when you were there. Now it has… 🙂

    • My pleasure my dear. This was an unusual holiday for us. Just doing nothing on the beach. Playing chess, tarot, and games on the beach and at night with the family. Soft and peaceful.
      And the sea and pelicans to share with E-Friends.

  6. The tree roots are amazing! And I’d never seen a Coati before so had to look them up (and got stuck for a while watching them on Youtube) but my faves of your photos here are of the sea and sand. Love them!

    • Glad you liked the post my dear. Coatis are very common here. One kind of wildlife that has adapted to human very well, like raccoons in the North, or even in Yucatan. Saw one at night…
      Sea and sand are the prefect recipe for cleansing the mind. I hope you had a pleasant end-of-.year.
      Happy 2020.

  7. What a fun place to get together with family – love the pelican photos your daughter(s) grabbed – there are so many in a line.
    And the rock with the face reminds me of “giving rock” on a trail in Los Gatos CA –

  8. A wonderful reminder of a special place, thanks Brian. I have fond memories of Tulum, and the Yucatan, from a trip back in 2003. It was magical, staying close to the nature reserve entrance in a traditional cabana, eating fresh fish, the road along the beach was just a potholed dirt track, electricity rarely worked and the night was the darkest dark I’d ever experienced. The stars were utterly extraordinary.
    Great street art, but that pelican squadron is a long way from Warsaw. Can’t blame them for wanting some sun!

    • Glad it brought back good memories. 2003 was certainly much wilder. I came to Yucatán for the first time in 1978 at a summer course in Maya Anthropology from the U of A. 🙂
      And one thing that struck me this time, was the wonderful nights. Hadn’t seen such dark skies since Africa. No light pollution at all. One forgets living in the city how a real night sky looks like.
      Hope the year is off to a good start?

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