Welcome to the Jungle

We made it to Tulum — iPhone blaring Tom Petty and delicious jamón torta downed along the route — and found Maison Tulum, an utterly charming, budget-friendly option, operated by one of Mexico’s finest wingnuts, and, being a bit psycho myself, I mean that in the best possible way.

He told us that Guantanamo Bay is just a farce, and that the USA operates a clandestine naval base underneath the island of Cozumel. He also revealed the truth about secret Mayan ruins in the area, and knew the hidden sexual proclivities of Mexico ex-president Vicente Fox, who apparently prefers the company of eunuchs.

Deliriously puzzled, we laid our beaten bones down for the night, save for the exception of a pilgrimage for delicious seafood stew and a few Coronas, natch. We needed our rest — we were headed to the jungle ruins of Coba the next day.

But of course fate — my body! — had other plans.

I confess, I had a touch of the Montezuma come morning. I had a touch of something. But navigating the uncharted waters of gastrointestinal distress while sharing a hotel room with your lover is never comfortable, and the anxiety probably added to the problem. After countless trips to the loo, I had to come clean.

“I can’t stop pooping,” I admitted. Just like that.

With a laugh we headed to the drug store, where my lover grinned to the pharmacy girl that I needed something to stop diarrhea. (Savvy ladies, behold: always carry a secret stash of Imodium while traveling in Mexico.)

Now that that’s out of the way … Coba!

We hit the road — surrounded always by thick jungle with hand-painted wooden signs poking from the brush, advertising land for sale. The area of and outside Tulum is definitely on the make, and Tulum even has plans to build an airport. With gentrification imminent, I was grateful to experience it all in glorious low season, dusty back roads and grit in my rear-view.

Not to mention the side-road vendors hawking wooden lanterns and dreamcatchers and pitaya, a fruit I’d never seen before in my life, but which is best eaten cold, with a spoon. It’s milder than kiwi, and addictive.

It's me!

The highlight of Coba was scaling the Nohoch Mul pyramid, the tallest in the Yucatan. It’s 138 feet tall with a rope threading down the center, to assist frightful climbers, like me. I climbed, knees wobbling, and mid-way looked down. Big mistake. The chicken in me wanted to turn back, but I proudly kept on.

I’m the type of girl who can get to the top, but needs a team of firefighters to get me down.

Getting down is the hardest part, for some reason. But the view was spectacular! Nothing but trees, forever.

I sat and scooted down each step of the pyramid until I was on land again. With sweat pouring from us, we hired the amazing services of a bicycle taxista to usher us out and onto the next adventure. Stay tuned!