Monday, January 21, 2013

The town of the one way streets. Valladolid

Having spent 3 1/2 hours walking the ruins at Chichen Itza, Barb and I were hankering for a massage.   It's kind of a tradition with Barbara on vacation, and why not?  It is a time to spoil yourself.  

There were two hotels with spas in Piste, one was cost prohibitive...120 for the cheapest - 360 USD for the most expensive almost stopped my heart.   Wow.   The second one had reasonable prices, but they couldn't find a masseuse available to come at that time.  We would have had to make an appointment for the next day.    There was nothing else obvious driving around, so we asked a woman in the street, who directed us to Valladolid.    It's an easy 1/2 hour  drive into the town of the one way streets, so off we went.

Our strategy was a simple one,  we would stop at a hotel and ask the concierge if they do massages and if not, if they would direct us somewhere that does.    I couldn't find anyone at the first hotel we came to, so I asked another woman in the streets who told us to go to Quetzal.   The directions she gave me (in Spanish, so...perhaps I misunderstood)  was to drive straight down the road until I came to the big Christmas Tree, then turn right and I would find it.   She wrote  Quetzal Calle 5th Ave on a piece of paper.  

We drove all the way through town and out the other side without seeing a big Christmas Tree, so we figured it was either taken down or we missed it.  I turned right.   After a while, I turned right again.   Suddenly, I realized I was on a one way street...and of course, I was not going in the right direction.   It was not a busy street.   I pulled into a driveway to turn around and to try to figure out where we were.   A very nice police officer walked up to us, smiling and speaking very fast Spanish.  We showed him the note, he called someone on his cellphone and gestured for us to follow him.   

Up the road (the right way), about a block was a small police station.   Within a minute or two, not one, not two, but three police cruisers stopped to help us out.    No one spoke English, but we figured out that they wanted us to follow them.   No doubt they figured the streets of Valladolid were safer without the crazy old blonde bimbos driving the wrong way down the streets.  (I wonder if they had caught wind that there was a smart car driving through Valladolid just two days previous going the wrong way on the main road???)

After turning left, then right, then left again, repeating possibly six or seven more times we were delivered to the front door of Quetzal.    I saved the GPS coordinates.      

N 20.68499  W 88.20993    Please be sure to watch out for one way streets.

They called two masseuses in for us, but we had to wait about 40 minutes.  

There was an old monastery across the street.   It cost 70 pesos for both of us to wander through it.

There was an old wheelhouse in the courtyard built above a cenote which they used to draw water.  (sorry no picture).    We ate fruit from the trees and suddenly our 40 minutes were up, so we headed back to Quetzal.   

The outside didn't look like much, but inside the courtyard was beautiful, very relaxing.   An hour later, after a much appreciated massage, my hangover was finally gone, I was rejuvenated and ready to tackle the city of one way streets to take us back to our hotel.   In my defense, Bertha the GPS was adamant that there were no one way streets in Valladolid.    I managed to ignore her micro instructions, pay attention to the hand painted one way signs on the buildings at the corner of each street and navigated our way back to Piste uneventfully.  

First thing Saturday morning (around 10:30 a.m.) we headed for Akumal.

I had forgotten completely about that unmarked tope on the way in to Piste, and after we found it for the second time, I do believe it reduced the effects of our one hour massages the night before in about 1 second.  

I was told there was a much faster route to Akumal than driving through Cancun and then down the coast.    That was a fact.   I was also told that the GPS did not know the route, so I would have to follow the signs.   That was also a fact.   However, while I believed the first fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Bertha did indeed know another route which was an hour shorter.    hmmmm......this road did not really seem to fit the description John had given me.    Well signed, good road????   Barb thinks it was a pathway through a farmers field.   I think it was a road through a small town, regardless who was right, we were easily a half hour out of way.   I turned around, ignored of Bertha and followed the signs, which led us directly to Tulum.

As we passed Coba, Bertha finally found the road we were on and directed us correctly the rest of the way.   

Hello Akumal.   What do you have in store for us?

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