In this journal
I commute to school via a business class flight
I waited for a sunrise over the Atlantic
I laugh at the state name of Quintana Roo
After my pleasant adventure in Mexico City for a weekend, I got my first sweet taste of weekend travels (no the Japan one does not count, that was drug-induced insanity). I was too tired of the southern Californian traffic jams, and figured any last-minute ticket somewhere else would beat a sad, lonely weekend in my tiny typical college student room. Well, on a Wednesday night when depression was 2 inches from reaching me, I found a cheap ticket to Cancún the next day. Saved by the sale, again! The overnight economy ticket was upgraded to business class quickly thanks to my American Airline’s status, well-done me!
Since Cancún is an extremely popular destination, and I bet a lot of you have even been there multiple times, so I will not embarrass myself with my limited knowledge. Instead, I opted to go for the tiny, yet still popular, village of Tulum, about 1 hour bus south of Cancún. I simply prefer a bike-able tiny village devoid of 2-AM-parties to a bustling touristy beach city. Since the trip is incredibly short, this journal will also be very succinct, but since you are reading Young’s blog, I promise it will still be longer than your typical travel blogger’s updates 😉
I think I was the only person ever to arrive in Cancún in business class, and then proceeds to wait 2 hours for the first morning public bus. However, I simply breathed in the good Atlantic sea breeze, which reminded myself everyone else in school was busy preparing for the midterms in libraries, likely with a tear in the corner of their eyes. In such a great mood, 2 hours felt like a blink of eye.
Cancún Airport, 5 a.m.
A bus hauled me to the city of Playa del Carmen, where I had to change bus to Tulum. Given the time, I spent some time walking along the beaches right next to the bus terminal, because I had no luggage, or any bag whatsoever, just my phone and passport in one pocket, wallet and charger in the other. This is truly the minimum one millenial can live on, and I had never felt more freedom in my veins.
Playa del Carmen
Before lunchtime, Tulum was already in my field of view. I walked around the tiny village, and eventually checked into my hostel downtown. Tulum was getting rapidly developed as well, where the strip of beaches was completely dominated by boutique hotels and 2000-dollar-a-week yoga resorts (I kid you not). Thus, downtown felt a bit more authentic, and cost much, much less.
I worked a bit in the hammock, since for me the garden of my hostel was my study. In fact, the world is my library, even until this day. However, the warm weather, the chirping birds, and the fact that I only slept 2 hours on my redeye flight, put me to sleep promptly.
By the time I woke up, it was almost sunset. So I took a walk and rented a bike. The 5km ride down to the coast was pleasant, except all the vacationers speeding past me in their rented Jeeps filled my lungs with diesel gas.
For the next day, I took an early morning to visit the best taco joint in town, which, bizarrely, opens only from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Oh wait, I get it, they do this so that they can avoid sharing those AWESOME tacos with those damn gringos!
juicy tacos, costing $1.75
Then it was a pleasant bike ride to the coast. I played some music, danced with the wind, and watched the sun slowly rise up from the horizon. I felt as light as the leaves, and this weekend, the wind of life blew me to the shores of the Yucatan…
sunrise in Tulum
Today was the day to check out the most famous sight Tulum has to offer: a national park and archaeological site sharing the same name. Distinctively Mayan, this walled city was the last city built by the pre-Columbians. It also is one of the very few Mayan cities built next to the coast.
On the above picture, one can see the prominent Temple of the Wind God to the left, and the Castillo (castle) to the right. The city likely survived the first wave of conquistadors, but just like the entire Native American populace, it died with the introduction of Old World diseases. They had no way to defend themselves against strains of viruses that they had no immune system response against. Population plummeted, probably resulting in the abandonment of the important fortress.
Temple of the Wind God overlooking the port entrance
All land and sea trade routes converged in Tulum, proving its status as the biggest trade hub in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican coast. It sometimes makes me sad that the biggest genocide is committed by a few people exploiting a new continent. What if they never brought the disease? Maybe Tulum now is a major port city just like Singapore, or Amsterdam.
I took the bus back to Cancún town, where I had no interest to explore. I do not know why, but I just am not turned on by beach parties with a bunch of strangers who just want to drink cheap alcohol before heading back to their dead-end jobs. I walked around my hostel a bit for dinner, and stumbled upon a plaza full of locals enjoying the Sunday afternoon.
will you dance with me, m’lady?
As you can see, the trip ended as quickly as it began. I took the early morning flight back to school. It had become some form of ridiculous commute for me, a broke college student clinically addicted to travel. Some people drive to school; some who think they are cool skateboard to school; but a real badass flies business class for 5 hours to school. Beat that, suckers!
breakfast on board
Some said I was wasting money, but hey, seeing Mayan ruins by the ocean sure as hell beats being bored to death by pedagogy written on dead trees, right?
(to my mom who may stumble upon this page in a few years: I still aced those exams, please do not scream to me via chat, thanks a lot.)