3rd Gap Year travel blog













Chetumal. 6/7/11

Mayan Museum and manatees.

We left Tulum heading south for the border after a lazy morning sat in the hammocks waiting for the bus to leave. It was a 3hr trip to Chetumal, and we were on the ADO buses. The first class buses. It had extra cold air con, as well as flip down screens. It was all in Spanish, but the cartoon, with hamsters and moles was easy enough to guess what was going on. 007 actions scenes with cartoon animals and real people.

We found a taxi to take us to the Hotel Ucum, which was just around the corner from the Maya cultural and learning centre. They didn’t speak any English here but we managed, just about, to communicate. The hotel was painted green, a very bright green with a shining star on the top at night. It also came equipped with a pool, the main pool wasn’t too bad, only a few large creatures floating at one end, but the learner pool looked a bit suspect.

After a dip in the pool, we headed out into town to see what the place had to offer. After checking out what time the museum opened the next morning we headed for the sea front, passing on the way plenty of shops with distorted music blaring out at full volume.

There were a few groups of locals looking at something in the water. These turned out to be Manatees/Dugongs, only about 2m away, feeding on the sea weed clinging to the rocks just below the surface. They didn’t seem to be to put off by the people there watching them eat. We headed along the sea front, and found a few more dotted along the sea wall, and also watched a tropical storm brewing in the bay. It was time to head back into town for dinner before the rain hit, we didn’t walk fast enough and had to run between the shelter of the trees and the overhang from buildings. The Habaneros in the sauce and mixed in with the veg of our meals that night certainly had some kick to them.

It was an early start in the morning to find some breakfast before the Museo de la Cultura Maya, Mayan Museum, opened. It was well equipped with replica models and history of the rise and fall of the Mayan empire. It talked about their astronomy and counting, as well as marking the bodies and faces with knifes and sting rays spines and creating disfigured heads by attaching wooden cradles and splints to the sides of the young babies heads to force the skull to grow upwards and backwards.

After lunch it was time to head for a bus that would take us to the border just a few miles away. It was a pretty easy border crossing, apart from the unexpected $20USD we had to pay to get out of Mexico. We made our way to the town of Corozal in Belize.

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