Welcome to the Jungle

April 30, 2013

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Yesterday morning Claire grabbed some oranges, papayas, lime and waters while I arranged a Jeep rental in an unconditioned Hertz speaking broken Spanish to a man who spoke broken English. Before I knew it we were on an unpaved road filled with crater-sized potholes barreling our way through the jungle. The view was mostly the same – jungle to the left and jungle to the right. I was hoping we could get some elevation to see over the expansive jungle but the road was entirely too flat.

At one point we came across a beach and resourcefully ate the fruit Claire had packed for our adventure. She scraped out the papaya seeds with an orange peel and simply dug her thumb into a lime to marinate the papaya with. We didn’t have any utensils and ate the papaya in a way that managed to get it all over our hands, down our arms, dripping on our legs and all over our faces. It was a simple moment but one I never want to forget. We rinsed off in the ocean and headed back to our Jeep to continue driving south.

We listened to Ethiopian jazz on Claire’s iPhone and were giddy to be on an adventure. We had to pause frequently for iguanas and every time laughed at their little legs as they ran out of harms way. After about 1.5 hours of driving we came across a small fishing village called Punta Allen. It was such a sleepy little town whose main economy comes from guided dolphin watching and fly fishing tours. We stopped for coconuts being sold for $30 pesos a piece by two sweet women (who could wield a machete like a pro) on the side of the road. We tried to go further South on a one-way sandy road but eventually gave up and turned around.

As we were heading back through the jungle we saw two hippie girls and a tanned boy hitchhiking back towards Tulum. We picked them up – the girls, Malena and Maria, were from Germany and the boy, Jeff, was from Santa Barbara, California. They had all met at a rainbow gathering in Tulum last December and pretty much decided to stay. They fund their travels selling jewelry with feathers and gemstones they collect from around the world. Claire and I probably easily funded the next week or two of their bohemian adventure with the feathered earrings, necklaces and hand pieces we bought from them.

And of course, we ended our day with a whole fish, a couple glasses of white wine, more Ethiopian jazz, and a conversation that went into the early morning with a local friend. Tulum is treating us well, I have to say.

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