Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Final stop... Mexico

We arrived in Mexico in the afternoon on Saturday 26th April. This was to be our last border crossing in Central America. The Mexican immigration was big and modern. We’d heard stories that it can get super busy however the place was virtually empty. Whilst the building was impressive, the entrance stamp certainly wasn’t. They had appeared to have run out of ink but were continuing to stamp passports producing the most faintest of marks. Over the last 8 months I have become increasingly proud of my stamps and enjoyed pouring over them every week or so. Border crossings excited me greatly with the prospect of getting a snazzy new entrance or exit stamp. You can therefore imagine my disappointment at this most pathetic of stamps and Kyle had to wrestle my passport off me to stop me from tracing over it. Not a good idea, he said.

We got back on the same chicken bus that had picked us up back in Belize City and drove another 20 minutes to Chetumal. We gazed out the window, somehow not really believing we were in Mexico! We noticed all the Spanish signs again and tried to get our brains back into gear. After a short taxi ride to another bus terminal we booked ourselves onto a 4 hour bus north east along the coast to Tulum. At the check in desk we realised that we had gone forward an hour – it would have been more useful to gain an hour on a travel day. We would now be arriving in Tulum later; we hadn’t booked a hostel so didn’t really want to be roaming the streets at night!
This bus was much more luxurious than that chicken bus we had been on. The air conditioning seemed to be set at about -5. Brrrr….
We finally arrived at The Weary Traveller hostel, very aptly named, not too late around 9pm. As we walked through the kitchen and common space area we spotted Anna, our lovely friend who we’d first met back in February in Panama and then more recently in Utila! What a small world! She was with some others who had also been in Utila with her. We had a Utila contingent and began preaching to all the other travellers who would listen about just how wonderful this little island was!

Kyle loved the 'walk in' freezer

We finished our long day off with a fabulous Thai from a restaurant round the corner where we drank Corona beer out of mugs and then had a cocktail on a swing whilst watching a folk/gipsy band. We had arrived. Bliss. 

Tulum sits on the east side of the Yucatan peninsula, which separates the Caribbean Sea  from the Gulf of Mexico . The Peninsula comprises a significant proportion of the ancient Maya sites.
The indigenous Maya make up a sizable portion of the region's population, and Mayan languages  are widely spoken there.
We went to visit the Tulum ruins on the first day.

Having recently visited the mighty Tikal in Guatemala, Tulum certainly didn’t have the same grandiose structures however the location is really quite special. The ruins sit right on the cliffside, looking out over the beautiful turquoise Caribbean sea. It is believed to have been an important port town during AD 1200 – 1521 and it was one of Mexico’s last ancient cities to be abandoned about 75 years after the Spanish conquest. It was fun to meet the only remaining inhabitants of these ruins; lots and lots of             iguanas, all shapes and sizes.

It was a baking hot day and all we wanted to do was dive into the very inviting looking water. Lucky for us there were steps down to a beach. The sea was jam packed with tourists so we joined the masses. Crowded but undeniably refreshing! There were some funny sights!

After visiting the park we headed down the road to the public beach. Tulum has a very long stretch of pristine white sandy beach. We bought a few Coronas and ended up listening to a fat American truck driver talk to us about his alternative theories of the Mayans; actually quite fascinating!
A police bike!
One of our favourite meals in a restaurant...

Our worst traditional breakfast in a hostel..
note the armpit tortilla wraps!!
Chillies and multiple Mojitos
That evening we had a delicious Mexican platter; enchiladas, quesadillas and the like… This made us excited to eat lots more authentic Mexican cuisine. Unfortunately though, our subsequent experiences of the local food throughout the country was not altogether positive. We actually grew to strongly dislike the Mexican tortillas. We both agreed that they smelt of armpits.. and tasted worse! We were most disappointed to discover that the shell for tacos aren’t actually crunchy chips, but these horrible limp armpit wraps. 
Additionally, maybe because we have seen and eaten enough refried beans in the last  3 months to sink a battleship, we felt we had really reached our limit!
The whole of the Yucat√°n Peninsula is an unconfined flat lying karst landscape made up almost entirely of limestone. There are many ‘cenotes’ which are natural fresh water sinkholes caused by the collapse of the limestone bedrock to expose the groundwater underneath. Certain cenotes were used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings. They also drank from other ones, not realizing that all the water was connected. They wondered why they got sick…

We visited a few of these stunning natural sinkholes one of which is probably one of the most famous; Cenote Ikil. This cenote is open to the sky with the water level about 26 metres below ground level. There is a carved stairway down to a swimming platform. The cenote is about 60 metres in diameter and about 40 metres deep. There are vines which reach from the opening all the way down to the water along with small waterfalls. We were swimming amongst lots of black catfish which we didn’t even realize until Kyle started taking underwater pictures. 

We swam around and treaded water for 15/20 minutes or so until we got really tired; it definitely wasn’t salt water! It certainly was beautiful; we just had to blank out all the other tourists there. It certainly was a popular stop for the tour bus companies. It was very tourist ready with lockers, showers and changing rooms, gift shop and restaurant; all this unfortunately spoilt it a bit. Ikil is perhaps even more well known in recent years due to the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in 2010 and 2011. That would have been spectacular to see!

Not only did we swim in a cenote but we wet scuba diving in one! We were joined by our Utila buddies; Anna and Sophie, who obviously because they went to Utila are mad keen on diving. What was really odd, before we even got into the water, was being driven to our dive location rather than getting on a boat! We were taken to ‘The Pit’; a cenote where we were to do a deep dive of 30m. 

Divers air bubbles rising to the surface... if you see big bubbles... don't jump! 

We all jumped into the water from a 6m platform; Anna, Sophie and myself all getting a bit panicky and hysterical in the anticipation of it but wanting to do it again as soon as we hit the water. Then we all geared up and got in again.
Our descent was crazy. From the surface, the water was crystal clear but when we hit about 10-15m, things started to get blurry. It felt like I was going blind. Kyle and I stayed close, watching each other and he just started to disappear from my vision. It was like my eyes had gone completely out of focus. I could see light but couldn’t distinguish shapes. I certainly wasn’t able to read my gauge for that period! This is called the 'Halocline' was where the fresh water met the salt water. Because they have different densities, the freshwater and saltwater layers stratify, much like olive oil and vinegar. Once a few more metres down and into the salt water; our vision cleared immediately! It felt like being sobered up very quickly! 
This 1min vid with David Attenborough describes and shows it very well...

We popped back out into crystal clear water. We had torches and gazed around at the amazing rock formations. There was no marine life at all apart from a few small fish. Below us, it was all hazy and smoky from the reaction of all the debris from outside. It looked very eerie and atmospheric with one lone branch poking up out of the smoke.  

Our next two dives were cave dives at a site called ‘Dos Ojos’ (Two Eyes). The natural light on the water made it incredibly blue. We entered the water, at the opening of the cave and from there, there were two directions you could go in. We followed the ‘Barbie Line’ – there for us not to get lost. 

Parts of the line were like a passageway; stalactites and stalagmites either side of us and looking up, you could see the roof; where the water went right up to it. No room for us to panic and come up to the surface…literally no room! It was a little bit of a tight squeeze in places.

These dives the water was a cooler 24 degrees, (sounds balmy but trust me, that’s fresh!) Kyle wore a very tight waterproof balaclava for the last dive and had us girls in fits because he couldn’t hear anything in our pre dive briefing at the surface.

During the last dive, we surfaced in a bat cave and just floated in silence for a while, gazing up at the sleeping bats.  
Once finished, our Dive Master led us around the site outside to show us our route; our bearings were thoroughly confused. It’s so hard to keep track of where you’ve been and where your heading under water; particularly in a cave!
As always after a dive, we were pretty hungry so we finished off our day eating plenty…Chinese food, ice cream, nachos and of course, drinking Coronas!

Another day we visited one of the new 7 Wonders of the World; Chichen Itza. When it’s a ‘wonder of the world’ you know it’s going to be touristy… We prepared ourselves. In fact we threw ourselves into the tourist spirit and opted to be part of a tour group. 8 months or so into travelling and we thought what the hell…none of this independence lark - lets jump on that tour bus!! Ok, a little bit of sarcasm there; we do generally hate all that. But it did prove to be a lot easier for ourselves; an air conditioned direct bus, being chivied around rather than having to organize our own way there and back.
Chichen Itza is a well restored large scale Mayan site and my word is it impressive. Our guide was great and it was interesting to gain a little more insight and background to the Mayas.
El Castillo was the highlight; the poster image- a striking castle pyramid. It was designed to represent the Mayan calendar in stone. The four stairways have 91 steps each, add the top platform and the total is 365, the number of days in a year. As a group we all stood directly in front of it and clapped our hands in unison. The acoustics were amazing; in between the claps we could hear the sound of a quetzal bird!  It’s also famous for the moving serpent illusion on the staircase which is visible during the Spring and Autumn equinoxes. The Mayans really were amazingly intelligent! 

We also saw the Great Ball Court; where they played an ancient form of basketball! We couldn’t really get our head around the practicalities though..for starters the ball apparently was concrete?! And the hoops were adjacent to the floor rather than parallel and it seemed you weren’t able to get that close to them. Hmm….

We were enlightened a bit more about the Mexican perception of death, which steamed from the Mayas but is still a modern belief now. Death is something to be celebrated rather than feared. We saw stone carvings in Chichen Itza and everywhere else we went in Mexico we saw skulls, smiling skulls, a symbol that is part of their national identity. One of their biggest national holidays is El Dia de Muertos -the Day of the Dead.

Our next stop was Merida, ‘the cultural capital of the Yucatan peninsula’. We arrived late afternoon to torrential rain, and in our relaxed traveler state, with no hostel booking. We finally checked in, drenched through, to more of a hotel then a hostel. We had a double bed each in our room!

In this city we met a few very friendly locals that had all the time in the world for us, wanting to show us around – not because they wanted our money, but because they just wanted to help us so we could experience their city and their country at its best (and practice their English a little bit too!) There was one guy who was flyering for a local restaurant and we got chatting. The next thing we know, he was guiding us to the main square, sitting us on a park bench discussing in detail our proposed plan and itinerary for the next few weeks and telling us what he thinks our best plan of action was....It was a really useful conversation actually!
Even though we had been travelling a long time, stereotypically, being British, we were still amazed at these welcoming and kind people. We felt ashamed that our immediate response was suspicion. I could not help but judge an old, disheveled toothless man that approached me… ‘is he drunk and being weird or is he just genuinely a friendly person that would like to engage in a bit of polite conversation…?! Hmmmm…. There were both cases of course so maybe it is safer to have your guard up still…!
Lovely hammocks

We timed our presence well in this city with a local holiday celebration. One evening we went along to a free outdoor concert, luckily the weather behaved itself. We watched some traditional Mayan dancing which was great. One number involved some men and women balancing trays with glasses of water on their heads whilst stamping, clapping and doing lots of twirling..pretty impressive! There was music and even a monologue which unfortunately we couldn’t understand but we enjoyed the dramatisation of it!

Mezcal - from the Oaxaca state

On the advice of our very friendly Yucatan man, we left Merida going South West and went via Uxmal to see the ruins there. Unlike the hugely popular, large scale Tikal and Chichen Itza, Uxmal is less famous and smaller so there were a lot less people and it was more relaxed. This was nice as you were able to explore a bit closer and lose yourself more; pretend you were an ancient Mayan person(!) or some ancient king and queen (maybe just us…)- it was still very impressive.

We then caught a bus, 3 hours further south to Campeche to spend the late afternoon and evening before a night bus. After storing our bags at a different bus terminal we head into the town to chill on the sea front, wander a bit, visit the main plaza and go inside the cathedral for a peek. We ate, drank, played Yatzee, battleships and Kyle photographed a few more VW’s for his Beetle project.

A very uncomfortable 13 hour night bus later we arrived in San Cristobal de las Casas (part of the Chiapas state). We found it instantly to be reminiscent of Cuzco, all those months back in Peru. Set in a gorgeous highland valley, with a cooler climate, this colonial city seemed bohemian with colourful buildings and narrow streets. We quickly liked it a lot, there was a buzz in the air; we could see why it was a popular backpackers stop. Typically we had no hostel sorted again but Kyle got chatting to a local pitching his hostel to backpackers and they would even pay for a cab there. We arrived and quickly checked into this cheap but nice hostel called Planet Hostel and then went out for food. We discovered a lovely restaurant which we were to subsequently return to over the next few days, working our way through the extensive and very reasonable menu! 




It was only in San Cristobal that we had our very first tequilas of Mexico. About time really and in celebration of our friend Lyle's birthday back home!

Unfortunately for Kyle, his experience of San Cristobal was pretty limited to this day and the next…by the end of the second day, he was bound to our room being extremely ill for around 10 hours, his muscles were  systematically cramping from his mouth and hands down to his ankles. Poor thing. He can never look at a Shawarma (a Lebanese wrap) in the same way again…(they weren’t from that nice restaurant I hasten to add!). 
San Cristobal is surrounded by dozens of traditional Tzotzil and Tzeltal villages; descendents from the ancient Maya culture. I went on a tour and visited the villages of San Lorenzo Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula. The inhabitants of these villages have a really interesting mix of Catholicism and more ancient traditions and customs. They even have their own laws; one of which was if you were to take a photograph inside their churches, you could go to prison! The camera stayed firmly in my pocket! The churches were quite a spectacle; there was a mixture of hundreds of beautiful bouquets of flowers and twinkling candles displayed all around the interior – it looked absolutely stunning but juxtaposed with vile tacky cheap statues and garish colourful Christmas lights. The locals take enormous pride in the up keep of the interior of the church. Apparently the flowers are always fresh, constantly being replaced; this is to keep the saints (represented by the statues) happy…If they were to get angry that could mean devastating repercussions... 

We learnt about the Mexican’s general view of ‘native’ people and the prejudices that they hold, even though many Mexicans actually have native roots! The guide used the example; if a native person entered a coffee shop, it would often be assumed by the Mexican owner that they wanted to sell you something rather than buy a coffee.

Probably one of the most bizarre experiences was visiting Chamula’s main church. As well as a church, it seemed to be also used as some kind of alternative hospital. People come with medical problems, having had no success with doctors or hospitals previous. They believe that the reason why they are sick therefore is because they have done something to displease the saints and their soul has been taken. What they must do is come to the church with lots of candles (different colours represent different things – I didn’t really understand but I got the gist that the more colours the worse and more complicated the case was!). They also need a whistle, drinks (better to have fizzy sugary drinks!?!), various plants, oh- and a live chicken… You know what’s coming don’t you?!...Yep – a chicken sacrifice. I witnessed it…
There was a mother and grandmother together with two children – one of which was the ‘sick’ child. They were all sat down in a group in the middle of the church, set up camp with their candles on the floor. There was a lot of chanting and brushing of some green plant on the child. I tried to be inconspicuous by the side, taking in the church whilst sneaking surreptitious glances. There were other groups of people, carrying out their own ceremonies, lots dressed in big black wooly coats and skirts. Luckily I think I missed the deed of them actually breaking the chicken’s neck so for a while I felt confused as to why the chicken was being hung upside down and making funny twitchy movements until eventually it stopped. Did it die from a sudden rush of blood to the head?? No Hannah…
The belief is that through this process, the illness is transferred to the chicken and then by killing the chicken, the illness is destroyed. 
Later, whilst reporting all this back to ill Kyle in bed, clutching his sick bin made me think; do I need to purchase a chicken..?!

Besides nursing the invalid, I experienced San Cristobal for the both of us; spending an extended period of time in the local markets (because I could!), browsing through the book exchange shop, climbing up to the view point and even going to a contemporary dance class. All of course, wasn’t the same without my beloved companion.
Climbing steps at altitude again...

Final afternoon in San Cristobal caught in the rain!

Just as Kyle was starting to feel better, we were leaving San Cristobal. Unfortunately we were on a tight time frame; with our flight out of Mexico City in one week, there was no time to extend our stay any further.  
It was another night bus to Potutla, 12 hours followed by a 20 minute collectivo to our final destination Mazunte. We were dumped in this small beach town on the Pacific coast in the state of Oaxaca around 7am. Again, with no accommodation booked, we found ourselves wondering the deserted streets, whilst I was semi stressing out about the fact that my Lonely Planet no longer covered the area of Mexico we were now in! We were on our own! Kyle thought that it would be a good idea to walk towards the beach… ‘there must be some hostels by the sea- that’s where we want to be after all’. Good plan.
As we were heading down the street leading to the beach we came across the first sign of life; a topless local man on a motorbike, riding towards us. He stopped for a chat. We told him we were English; he spoke good English. He introduced himself as Juan. We told him we were looking for a place to stay. Juan tells us that he is leaving later that day to head to a different state to see his mother (for Mother’s Day) – ‘you can stay at my house if you like..’ Easy as that. We love travelling, for moments exactly like this…
So that was that; for the equivalent of about £5 a night we were to stay in Juan’s home for 3 nights. Within a few minutes of meeting him, I handed over my heavy backpack which he put on his legs and in between his arms. He slowly drove off on his bike with us curiously following behind to his house ‘round the corner’. Sure enough, there it was; a little community of basic bungalows. His home was modest – a thatched hut, just one room, with a bed and little kitchen area consisting of a camping stove and a fridge, an outside area with hammocks. Perfect. A bucket flush toilet and water mains shower were separate and used by all the residents.   

He made us some tea and we met the gorgeous animals that lived in the community. Juan then showed us the beach and pointed out where was safe to swim. He went back to clean up the house and we had breakfast overlooking the crashing waves served by a crazy drunk waiter who had not been to sleep yet which was quite amusing, if not a little to much to handle given our mostly sleepless night also.

After a swim in the great Pacific (it had been a while – Nicaragua was the last time), we returned to Juan’s house, which he had spruced up and prepared delicious fresh watermelon for us. We chatted away on his porch getting to know each other. For a living, Juan works as a tour guide, both on the ocean doing wildlife eco tours, swimming and also in the mangroves – crocodile spotting. He offered for us to go on a free tour of the crocs that afternoon! We were utterly bowled over by his generosity and openness.

Around lunchtime we got picked up in Juan’s friends car and the three of us jumped in. Juan had invited some other new friends of his to come along too. We were driven along the coast to a stunning deserted beach that stretched as far as the eye could see. The reason why it was deserted was because the black sand was SO hot! It was also magnetic which was demonstrated to us by our guide with a magnet! Juan wasn’t working that day, he just came along for the ride.
No sandels... ops!!


After walking up the beach a short distance, with shoes definitely on(!) we headed inland to a lagoon area. Straight away we saw two crocodiles! Apparently one had buried her eggs close to where we were standing and she was guarding the area. She showed us her teeth and opened her mouth wide! Gulp!

We boarded a small paddle boat, which the guide steered. There had been a bad storm a few years previous and destroyed about 80% of this area. They are slowly still trying to clean up without disturbing the wildlife. We saw beautiful birds in their nests, more crocs lurking and an absolute ton of iguanas. We got seriously close to these fascinating dinosaur like creatures. Never again, do I think we will get this close…

We enjoyed a coconut after the tour, drinking the water and then mixing the coconut flesh with lime and eating it…mmmmm…

We were dropped back at Juan’s and he soon made tracks for Puebla – where his mother lives, leaving these 2 strangers in his home! To Kyle’s delight he said that we could use his motorbike…this is SERIOUS TRUST. Kyle picked up the bike from his mates with Juan and drove him back to test drive, Juan could tell he'd driven lots in the past and was not concerned at all. Would you offer this same level of kindness, generosity and above all trust to 2 foreign tourists you’d only just met?!! 

Juan leaving us in his home!
We were sad to see Juan go but we planned to meet up again in a few days time in Mexico City. In the mean time…we made ourselves at home! We spent the days chilling in the hammocks, playing with the resident kittens, reading, writing, playing cards, enjoying beach time and we even found a local Chinese restaurant! 
'Weeds' growing in the 'garden' behind our house

3 minute stroll to the beach 

Secretly taken... promise
We visited the Tortuga (turtle) Centre across the road, which had lots of different kinds of turtles. We had mixed feelings seeing the state of some of the pens and just the very fact of observing them in captivity made us uneasy. However it appeared that they were rescued…maybe there was more to their program than we knew.

One evening we explored the surrounding area on Juan’s motorbike. We ended up at Playa Zipotle; the only nudist beach in Mexico! We saw a fair few naked bodies but decided not to partake!! We sat at a posh restaurant on the beach admiring the sights(!) and had a great meal. There is no swimming on this beach due to the strong current. This didn’t stop one guy who had to be saved by the life guard. Our seats were in prime position for the action. Memories were flooding back of Kyle’s near death experience in Colombia…

Rum and Coconut!

It makes such a difference to your experience of a place when you have your own base. We loved Mazunte. It seems to be a lesser visited place with towns like Zipotle and Puerta Escondida close by that are much more popular spots with internationally renowned surfing chamionships held there. We felt like Mazunte was an undiscovered secret place and it is certainly on our list to come back to and visit, especially now that we have a friend who lives here!
We caught a long and windy shuttle onwards to the state of Oaxaca – Oaxaca City. We came here only to see one thing; a tree. About a month or so previous Kyle saw a picture shared on Facebook that caught his eye; it was the widest tree in the world! When looking at where it was, he discovered that it was just outside of Oaxaca City, sort of on route from Mazunte to Mexico City.... so typically he made it his mission that we would see it!
We found a hostel, dumped our bags and hopped in a taxi to see this tree! Typically we headed towards very dark clouds and by the time we stepped out of the car, the heavens opened. Shorts and a vest top were no longer sufficient! Luckily it didn’t last too long.
Look at the size of the tree compared to the church next to it!!
The tree was next to a church and was about 3 times the size of it! It was enormous! It was 42m tall and 15m wide. The circumference was 58m! It looked like 15 trees in 1! They say that it is over 2000 years old!!! The tree used to be worshiped back in the day... so what does religion do... builds a church right next to it. You could see goblins’ faces in the big knots. After 15 minutes we were satisfied with what we came for and headed back to the city for the night!
Lions and goblins!


The next day, after an early start, we arrived in Mexico City around lunchtime. Getting towards the end of our trip, we became very lax with planning. So much so that we arrived in MC with no plan, no guidebook, no details on places to stay…! There’s one thing arriving in a small beach side town like this but it’s a bit different when arriving in the capital of Mexico! The bus terminal was a little out of town. We had no idea the area we wanted to stay in. ‘El centro surely?’ says Kyle… We floated towards the metro and thank goodness there was a tourist information stand. The lady there provided us with a map (very important), a list of hostels and recommended areas. We settled on Zocalo, the historic centre.
On the way there we must have looked like lost sheep because a local guy asked us where we were heading. Turns out that this guy works at a hostel in Zocalo…??!!!!He escorted us all the way there … we are dead jammy sometimes!!

When walking up the steps out of the subway, we were instantly wowed. We found ourselves smack bang in the main square; everything was seriously large scale. The cathedral and surrounding buildings looked wonderful and the big empty square apparently holds concerts from time to time. Right in the middle was the biggest flag we have ever seen!!
The friendly guy who shamefully we can’t remember his name, led us to a really nice hostel; large with an amazing roof top bar with fantastic views of the city. It sat right behind the cathedral. ‘One double room please.’
We had just a day and a half to explore this capital city. 

That afternoon we visited the impressive cathedral; arguably the most impressive of our whole trip, took a buggy taxi tour around the sites and finished up going up to the top of the Torre Latina Americana. 

This building was reminiscent for me of the Centre Point building in Tottenham Court Road in London. It is a pretty old fashioned sky scraper but with fabulous views of the city. We spent ages up at the open air top because Kyle got carried away with taking photos. We then headed down one floor to the bar area, fancying something sparkling like Champers… ‘why not- it’s our penultimate night in Central America!’ No Champagne…Corana beers it was then!

Up the Torre...

View of the Torre Latina Americana from our hostel roof

It was such a change to be back in a big buzzy cosmopolitan capital city. The last place we were in like this was at Christmas time in Buenos Aries. 22 million people live in Mexico City!!

The following day we visited MC’s top museum; the Anthropology museum. This huge building is incredibly designed and it houses extensive information, artifacts and reconstructions. We had just 2 and a half hours to scratch the surface! It’s absolutely mind blowing how many different native tribes and groups there are in Mexico alone. Every single village is unique with their own dress, language and customs.

Outside the museum we caught an amazing practice by one of the native cultures; 4 men dressed in their colourful traditional clothes climb a really high totem pole and there’s another guy playing music perched at the very top! They wind themselves up with rope and then fall backwards(!) spinning round and round upside down until they reach the ground. It was a jaw dropping site!

That afternoon we met up with Juan from Mazunte. He took us to a place called Coyoacan on the outskirts where he used to live. 
Gum tree
Wall art in metro

We chatted for hours over a few pitchers of beer and nachos. Juan was fascinating; he had the most incredible set of skills, a trained lawyer, student of anthropology (he’s been to the museum over 200 times!), keen actor not to mention fisherman and tourist guide in Mazunte. He came across to us as such a humble and caring soul.
He took us to a clothes shop that have traditional Mexican designs and we helped him pick out a few tops for a friend; Rosie, that he met in Mazunte but lives in London. He asked us if we would meet up with her when we were back to give her his gift. I recently met her outside Brixton tube station!! She was lovely and very flattered by Juan’s thoughtful present :)
We finished our afternoon by sheltering in the rain in a locals’ spot for delicious cinnamon hot chocolates.

Juan headed back to the hostel with us and checked in for the night and we went up to the roof top bar to toast to our last night in Central America watching a spectacular lightening storm around us. We hope to stay in touch with Juan and that he comes and visits us in England. He suggested that we get married on the beach in Mazunte! Food for thought…! We’ll certainly be returning back to Mexico that’s for sure…

And so this is it. Our South and Central America adventure has come to an end…

We took a 10 day pit stop in Cuba on our way home and arrived back in Blighty on the evening of the 25th May.

The trip of our lifetime lasting nearly 9 months. We’ve blogged and blogged but really…words cannot describe how brilliant this trip has been and what better way to do it than sharing the experience together. x   

Hannah and Kyle over and out (‘til next time…)