Sunday, January 4, 2015


I've wanted to visit Tulum since the first time I saw photos of the Mayan ruins clinging to the coastline above a turquoise sea. The actual experience, however, was disappointing.
At 6:40 that morning, I met the driver of a shuttle van who would take me to meet the larger bus, not realizing I'd spend much of the next 3 hours stopping to pick up tourists at other hotels, arriving at the ruins just when the hot sun and tourist crowds were at their peak.
I'd met this driver the night before, and disliked him ever since I pointed out my hotel and he said "Let me drop off the other couple, and then I'll take you to your hotel". After they were gone, he asked me why I was traveling alone. "Are you married? Do you have a boyfriend? Why don't you have a boyfriend? Don't you believe in love?" he asked. In answer to his questions, I said "I just haven't found the right guy yet." His reply was "You found me now! Wanna get a beer?"

"I'm tired, and not interested." I said, and he finally took me to my hotel. So I was disappointed to see him again the next morning. The conversation was not a happy one. He showed me a photo of his very beautiful wife and two young sons, and then told me about how he cheated on her every chance he could get. His cheating earned him more friends and was fun for him, he said. When we met the larger bus, he was frustrated with how the transfer went, so he taught all the tourists in the bus a swear word that he wanted us to yell at the other guide.

I'm no psychologist, but his total disregard for the hurt he caused others leads me to diagnose him as a sociopath. He didn't show up to meet the bus at the end of the day, causing disruptions for many people. His coworkers adapted as best they could, eventually meeting up with him at another hotel. He later explained to me that he was so busy reading a book that he hadn't noticed the time. I started getting in the back of the van with all the other tourists..."No, please come sit in front with front with me", he said.

"Privilege! You get extra privileges!" a kind tourist from Spain joked as I climbed in the front, but it felt more like a punishment than a privilege. Again, I was the last person he dropped off, and the conversation was miserable, but nothing more serious than that happened.

But, back to talking about Tulum. It's surrounded by coral reefs and very wide walls, so only invited guests could enter.

It has one of the first lighthouses in the world, which the Mayans would light to guide the safe way through the coral reefs. It also has sacrificial altars and buildings that are exactly aligned with the directions of the compass, allowing the leaders to use the light at the solstices to claim that God was directing them..."this is the only way you can control such a large group of people" claimed the guide.

The part I enjoyed the most was seeing lots of iguanas sunning themselves on and around the ruins.


Colleen Caldwell said...

Too many scumbags in this world. Sorry you went through that. I wonder if he was Catholic and knew the 10 commandments??

Why didn't you like about the ruins themselves? Not enough freedom to explore?

cindyc said...

I think I would have enjoyed the ruins themselves if it were not for the heat and the crowds. Next time, I'll definitely go independently and not on a tour so I can go in the early morning or evening when the climate is more comfortable and fewer people are around.
Thanks for taking the time to comment on my posts Colleen!