Sunday, March 15, 2009

Playa del Carmen

March 15

Today is my last full day in Tulum. The past few days have been gloriously calm and I feel that I’ve come full circle in my journey. I am no longer afraid, though I am perhaps a bit more cautious. I am connected to the warmth and beauty of the people here once again and for that very gift, I am grateful.

Yesterday, I made another attempt at motorized transportation; however, I went with a car this time. I drove up to Playa to run some errands for Karen. Who knew Walmart could be so popular in Mexico? It was an adventure as most things are in Mexico, although there were no ambulances or hospitals this time.

I had a few tasks to complete for Karen while I was here one of which included purchasing bicycles. Early on in my trip, I had scoured Tulum for bikes and was disappointed to find there were no cruiser bikes for sale. I had heard from others that Playa sold these bikes, so part of my mission yesterday was to find at least one of them to buy.

After driving around and a conversation with a very nice woman in the dive shop, I found the bike store in Playa. I purchased two bikes, one mountain and one cruiser. I was supposed to have rented a small SUV for the day, but in true Mexican style, there was only a large sedan available when I arrived to the car rental place in Tulum.

Initially, I was supposed to drive to Playa and pick up cushions for Karen’s furniture. The glitch in that mission was that I forgot my ATM card in Tulum and only realized it when I went to the bank to get money out to pay the balance. At the cushion store, Roberto offered to drop them off in Tulum since he and his family were traveling to the beach on Sunday. I obliged and was grateful because I had no idea there were so many cushions and frankly, with the car, all of them wouldn’t have fit!

The empty car gave me the option of possibly buying two bikes. I discussed this notion with the bike shop owner who spoke English fairly well, though I realized later, his favorite phrase was, “No Problem.” We assessed the size of the trunk and he assured me both bikes will fit.

One hour, two bikes, three Mexicans and a little string later, I was on my way back to Tulum. The cruiser didn’t quite fit due to the handle bars, so my three amigos rigged the trunk door with some string and secured the bike inside. Hopefully. They also tied a red rag to the bike wheel which was sticking out of the trunk, - I suppose to indicate to others that I had a large load. I don’t know for sure about this, but I thought it was a nice touch.

Off I went on what might prove to be another adventure. My two fears on the journey were getting pulled over by the cops and ultimately robbed of the bicycles or the string giving way, the trunk flying open and the shiny new, blue bicycle flying out of the trunk onto the highway.

Thankfully, the ride was smooth. I arrived in Tulum with a half hour to spare before the Temezcal ceremony at 6pm. More on that later.

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