Friday, January 11, 2013

Down the back roads


The day started with a visit from our friendly neighbourhood woodpecker.

A shrimper came into the campground selling jumbo shrimp.   They were 200 pesos per kilo.   We bought half a kilo, cleaned them, butterflied them and broiled them with bacon.   Wow...they were without a doubt the best shrimp I have ever prepared.   I will be buying more of these. 

Gerry and I were both feeling pretty good today, so we decided to go exploring.    Sara's guide in Tulum told her that there are more ruins in this area that people don't know about, and said one of the nicest ones was at a place called "Ak something or another".  Ok, so the guide probably didn't say exactly that, but that was about all I can remember of what Sara could remember.   lol

There are a couple of places along the road with signs that say Ak - something or another, so we pulled into Aktun Chen.   After driving about 4 kilometers into the bush we arrived at a cenote/zip lining place called Indiana Joe's.   It didn't have any ruins, and was far too expensive for what it seemed to have to offer so we turned around and left.

Gerry saw a monkey on the road.   I didn't see it, but we pulled over and tried to be very quiet to see if it would come out of the woods again.   No such luck.  There were a few little roads that led further back into the bush, so we decided to follow a couple of them.

 One road led to a garbage dump.   We frightened this vulture away.    

Another road led to a walking path that was full of really big nasty man eating ants.   A couple of these got on Gerry's foot and bit him.   They were everywhere, so we got back into the car and went off looking for another spot.

Driving down another little road this fox came out of the bush.

It sat down.

Scratched his butt.

Then headed back into the bush.  
Think about that the next time you drop some food and invoke the 5 second rule.   :)

A little bit further down the road we came upon what looked to be a huge greenhouse.   I'm not sure what they are called.   It is almost the opposite to a greenhouse, the roof above diffuses the suns rays and the walls are open.   

The worker saw us, said hola and invited us in for a tour.   You don't have to ask us twice, so we parked Albert and went inside.   I think this place is the nursery for the Bahia Principe resort.       

After proudly showing us all his plants (nope, none were marijuana), our new Mayan friend, Pedro asked us if we liked Cenotes.   We said that we did, and he gestured for us to follow him.   Into the forest we went.  Of course his English was not very good, and our Spanish is much worse, so what we think he said and and what he said, may or may not be exactly the same thing. 

 As we passed these showers, he told us that he had a friend who flies to America and we got the impression this friend was in the processing of repairing the dilapidated showers, bar and staircase going down into the Cenote.      

It was beautiful.   He didn't suggest we go for a dip, and we didn't ask.   We were happy just to be experiencing finding this oasis in the jungle.   There was a little cave under the Cenote, but our pictures of it didn't come out very good.

As Pedro was naming different trees for us (I can't remember any of them!), he picked up a stone and threw it at the tree he was naming so we would know which one was which.   Gerry and I were very impressed with his aim!    

With much pantomimes, Pedro explained that his plant, Anturio, is a medicine.   You put it in boiling water, after it cools you drink it.  2 or 3 weeks later your kidney stones will be gone. 

Pedro, proudly explaining to us how he used a lever to place this huge rock on top of the even larger rock.
Art?    Pedro rents an apartment in Tulum and works for Bahia Principe (I think), but his home is 180 kilometers away, in a town called Xocchel.    He gave us his address, his cell phone number and his wife, Eelsa's cell phone number and invited us to visit anytime.   He said that whether or not he is home, just tell his wife that we are friends of Pedro's and she will welcome us in.

I don't know if we will be going in that direction, but I most certainly will look them up if we do.  

Being Friday night, it was Pizza night at the campgrounds.   A bunch of us headed to Leo's Pizzeria in Chemuyil.   Dinner was awesome as usual, but the interesting part of the evening happened after dinner.

We went for a walk and John and Peggy spotted some action at the end of one of the streets.   Off we went to check it out.   It turned out to be a state sponsored recycling program.

This event takes place 3 times a month, in Chemuyil, (and probably all over Quintana Roo).
Folks bring in their recyclables, sorted into plastics, paper, metal and others, and they are weighed.     

They are given points corresponding to the weight and type of recyclable.   

They then trade those points for food.

  The people were lined up down the street and around the corner bringing their recyclables in to trade.

The children were very much involved.  

   They do not collect recyclables at our campground, but starting tomorrow I will be sorting my garbage and doing my best to make sure mine are donated to this program, even if I have to save it up and take it down to Chemuyil myself.

   I am very impressed with this program and encourage everyone who is visiting Quintana Roo (the Mayan Riviera and surrounding area) to encourage the resort and campground owners to partake in this program.


  1. Pedro may have been referring to the ruins at Ek Balam...which is a bit north of Valladolid. A nice drive and interesting ruins. Here is a blog with a bit of information. If I remember correctly we went there in 2005.

  2. What an excellent recycling program. Did a little research today on the "Brigada del Bienestar". It appears to be a program started by Governor Roberto Borge Angulo aimed up cleaning up Q. Roo state. AWESOME! this is a complete win - win for everyone. We were always disappointed to see all the garbage lying around. You could be driving some back road path in the jungle and find piles of garbage just lying on the side as if it was dumped out of the truck. To say nothing of the locals just throwing all plastics and cans around without regard....not sure how it's funded...need to do more research/translation. Excellent....just excellent!! (can you tell I like this!!! lol)

    1. I am so excited about this program. This is pretty cool too.