BootsnAll Travel Network

A Big Update: Paranoia, Obsession, A REAL Blog and more

It’s hotter than Orcish hell down here, but it’s better than rowing a slave galley.

This is really the first time I’ve had in a long time to post an update as to my whereabouts and what I’ve been up to…I’m hoping that this very very slow Internet connection that I’m dealing with won’t drive me too mad and up the wall!  For the past 10 days I’ve been mostly hiding out, hanging out, keeping a low profile…I need to somehow convince the US Embassy that I had no involvement with the CIA sting operation that I stumbled upon while taking a stroll through (unbeknownest to me) a major drug trafficking operation in the jungles of Monteguenox.  My hired guide was quick as lightening and we were able to get away, but the next day I found myself being questioned by Mexican authorities (I just played my “No hablo Español” gimmick–actually, it can’t be called a gimmick because I really don’t speak Spanish!–) at any rate, I then found myself in the company of our own US government officials trying to coax out of me things I didn’t see or hear.  And they let me go.  And I’ve been on the run ever since, keeping to my business, knowing that I am being followed and I know deep down inside that they will read this blog and hopefully know that I really have no idea what has transpired.

Paranoid?  Sure am. 

But not for the CIA conspiracy theory.  Guess I’ve been reading too much of late, which I’ll get to in a minute.  Nah, my paranoia stems from being attacked, attacked by invisible forces every sleepless night that now plague my waking hours.  I am in a fully heightened state of awareness that brinks on the paranoid, as my body burns, swells and throbs with the poisons of the hundreds of needles that prick the outlayer of my skin, leaving scarred marks for the rest of my life to remind me of my travels here in the Yucatan.

Mosquitos.  Ticks.  Fleas.  Bugs.  Insects.  Little unseen critters that attack me every single night!  I can’t see them.  But I hear them.  Buzzing and whirring, playing with my senses and freaking me out.  It’s like Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell- Tale Heart.  Am I going mad???  No, I have the proof.  All over my wrists and arms, and now my legs.  Little round protrusions on my skin, reddened, glowing, pulsating.  Yes I’m paranoid.  I’ve slept the last few nights fully clothed–socks, pants, long sleeved REI buttond-down trekker shirt, 99 cent gloves, a banana covering my neck, and a mosquito/insect net fully covering my head, which rests underneath my ballcap hat.  Did I mention that it is hotter than Orcish hell down here?  But ah, thinking of the luxuries of home make this current state a temporary one, one that will pass and one that I can laugh off at a later time. 

Obsession.  Not with some great food dish or drink I’ve discovered (good thing I haven’t found a Sarita ice cream shop down here).  Not with another extreme jungle hike or hardcore , must-do outdoor activity.  Nor obsession with a woman I met.  Nope.  The last 10 days I have been obsessed with devouring everything I can find written in English.  With reading.  In Merida, I came across a bookstore with paperback novels.  And left with 6 books.  Since then I’ve scored 4 more.  I’m now finishing my 7th book.  I’ve read Sci-Fi, Fantasy, international thrillers, fiction, an autobiography, travel memoirs, even a chick book.  I’m obsessed, what can I say?  But the setting is sooo perfect for just wasting the time away while lazing on a hammock, or propping my feet up by the sand while the water laps the sandy shore…

Before I forget, Happy May Day to you all!  It totally didn’t occur to me until, as I was walking to this super slow connection internet cafe, a police convoy stopped traffic in the street as a large parade of workers with signs swept by.  May Day, aka International Workers Day, unofficially recognized in the U.S., and as I recall a few years back, sometimes a spectacle when you get the more vocal demonstrators out there.




Oh, and also, if you haven’t had a chance to read some of the comments posted by my friend Mike, please take a look.  Because my so-called adventures pale in comparison to our beloved pall Dank, who seriously needs his own Blog, because his stories and experiences are not only unbelieveably true, they are Legendary.  This guy will be famous one day, and I think it is up to Mike and myself to see to it that his stories are published and known the world over.  Pure, utter entertainment, in the sense that this can’t be true, cannot be remotely possible, but Alas, it surely is.  I can’t wait to get home to hear the latest! 

This super slow connection is starting to get on my nerves, so I’ll try to make the rest of this update free of any further ramblings.  Below you will find how I’ve spent the last 10 days since my last post, when I was waiting for my 10pm bus to get me into Campeche at 3 in the morning.  Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how one looks at it, the bus was delayed and I didn’t get into Campeche until 5am.  I waited around until 7, then made the 45 minute hike to my hostel, and then fell in love with my surroundings…




The view from the balcony of Monkey Hostel, which overlooks the Parque Principal and the church.  Saturday and Sunday they block off the streets surrounding the square, and vendors come in selling pastries, food, gifts, etc. 



A similar view from the balcony in the evening.



Close to the square is this fountain that has cued music playing to the rise and fall of the waters.  And behind this, two clowns were entertaining kids and their parents with their balloon animals and tricks and jokes.



Another view of the church, Catedral de la Concepcion Inmaculada.



Campeche is a Unesco World Heritage site, located right on the Gulf of Mexico.  About an hour’s walk from the Parque Principal, is the Fuerte de San Miguel (colonial fortress), which houses a archaeological museum and has views of the city and the Gulf.


Another view from the Fort.  Campeche used to be a walled city, and some sections of the wall and bastions still exist today.  The best part was just hanging out in the Parque, or people watching from above on my balcony perch of the youth hostel.  This is also where I began my book reading obsession.




Another great colonial city, their Parque Principal is called Plaza Grande, about 3 times larger than the one in Campeche, with probably 10 times more people hanging out.  Surrounding by colonical buildings with park benches, trees and a serenade of hundreds of chirping birds, this place was just hopping, especially on the “Ciudad Domingo”, when the adjoining streets were all closed off and it was one big party of music, dancing, vendors, food and so many families and people.



The crowd gathers around this traditional Yucatan dancing troup and their live band.



Live music plays, the sounds drifting all the way to the Catedral de San Ildefonso on the other side of the park.


The Paseo de Montejo is a major car and walking boulevard that mimicks Paris’ Champs-Elysees.  This monument is one of many along the wide boulevard.





I took a day trip to Progresso, and spent my day reading my book in the shade of a palm tree.  Most of the palapas and beach side restaurants were filled with tourists off of a Carnival Cruise ship that was in port.



Another view of the beach.  Of course I was envious of those cruise ship passengers…couldn’t get my mind off of those lavish buffets!  Fortunately I had a small sandwich to keep my hunger pangs at bay.



There is absolutely nothing to do in Celestun.  Except read and relax and enjoy the beach, which is exactly what I did.  I was practically the only person in my hostel, and my days would consist of getting up for a bowl of granola and yogurt, then walking across the street to the beach to a lounge chair and basically staying there all day.



When I needed to rest my eyes from all my reading, when I looked up, this is what I would see.



Of course I’d put my book down to enjoy the last light of the fading day, before returning to my hammock at the hostel and the artificial light of a lamp.



A speedboat tour of the wildlife sanctuary, primarily of a large flamingo colony.



Our boat.  It was me and a guy from Germany, two guys from Denmark, and our guide.



This is about as close as we could get to take pictures of the flamingos…if only I had a better zoom!  Still, it was pretty cool to capture the scene.



We continued our tour to a mangrove area, where the tree roots somehow seem to float above the water.



We moor our boat to the dock, then walk down this pathway to clear water swimming hole.



The swimming hole amongst the mangrove trees.



Afterwards, Steffen and I treated ourselves to a beautiful seafood meal a fabulous beachside restaurant.



For the last 4 days I have been hanging out in this small town, using it as a base for doing daytrips around the area.  It’s not quite as lovely as Campeche or Merida, but the hostel is exceptional and very comfortable for my low energy activities of doing nothing.



 The main plaza.  Just like in Campeche and Merida, this is the central place to people watch, take a stroll, or buy that ice cream from the bicycle vendor.  Last night was the day for Children, so the park was all dressed up for kids activities — games, music, an art area, etc.  What is truly hard for me to believe is how late people stay out.  On a Sunday night, at 11pm, the place was till packed with families and kids.  No school today or something??



Mayan ruins, very well preserved.  The highlight is El Castillo, 25 meters high and actually the Mayan calendar formed in stone.  Hard to explain, just take my word for it.



El Castillo.  The pyramid is closed off, so no climbing atop those steps.  During the equinox, the lights and shadows of the sun reflect off the pyramid to create an effect of a creeping serpent.  They recreate this show every evening with artificial lights. 



Grupo De Las Mil Columnas.  These ruinds was pretty cool, as the columns contain carvings of warriors.  Another structure nearby “The Platform of Skulls”, is adorned with carved skulls and eagles tearing open the chests of men to eat their hearts.  Chichen Itza ruins are amazing because these people were so into serpents and warriors and human sacrifice, and there are hints and traces of this in almost every structure.







I rented a mountain bike and biked out to this cenote, which is an underground limestone cave filled with water.  When I arrived, it was just me and 6 other people to enjoy the cool, refreshing waters.  45 minutes later, and we had 30 more people join in.  I was still haunted from my swimming experience from Semuc Champey, so I didn’t stray too far into the outer reaches of the cave, prefering to dabble close to the rocks where I could actually stand. 


– COBA –

 All ruins have their own flavor and uniqueness, and this was certainly no different.  The site is large.  So large in fact, that it necessitates the use of renting a bicycle.  Sure, you can walk through the scorching heat with the mosquitoes, 1 km between each of the major sites, or you can rent a bike and pedal yourself.  Or you can go a step further, and hire someone to bike you around.  I elected to pedal myself.


Templo 10.



Nohoch Mul (Big Mound), this pyramid rises 42 meters and is the tallest Mayan structure on the Yucatan Peninsula.



Catching my breath at the top.  Below in the left hand corner you can see Templo 10.  The ruins of Coba are not fully unearthed like those in Chichen Itza, so you really get the sense of how the jungle can take over the ruins before they are discovered and restored.



On the bike, I could not even imagine trying to walk the great distances between each major group of ruins.



A map of Coba.



So now it is Monday late morning, and I think I shall be heading off to Cancun this afternoon.  I’ve heard a lot about how ugly it is, so I may just be there a day before heading off to the beaches north and south of there.  Or I could stay here for another day and do what I have been doing, which again, has been keeping a low profile and just reading.  It is hotter than Orcish hell down here, but at least it’s better than rowing a slave galley (ie see for more info).



One final look at my hostel’s garden with hammocks….maybe I should stay another day…


3 responses to “A Big Update: Paranoia, Obsession, A REAL Blog and more”

  1. Mike says:

    Chichen Itza rocked. I was lucky enough to go up to the top of the pyriamid. You see everyone holding on to a rope while climbing but I thought it was funny. But the steps were so steep it throws you off. I found myself leaning back as if I was going up normal steps and I freaked thinking I would fall. Then quickly grabbed the rope like everyone else.

  2. Jonas says:

    I can empathize with the misery that comes with mosquito bites.

    Here are some tips I found online to prevent mosquito bites:

    1. Don’t eat bananas during mosquito season–mosquitoes love bananas! There is something about how your body processes the banana oil that attracts these female sugar-loving insects.

    2. Use Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets on yourself. Apparently they ward off mosquitos. I don’t know if this tip was generated by the Bounce company though.

    3. Avoid perfumes when outside. Using hand creams and lotions with a sweet scent can also increase your risk of attracting mosquitoes, so go for the unscented varieties during mosquito season. Try using unscented soaps when showering, too. Even though they’re rinsed off, the scent remains on your skin and attracts bugs.

    4. Eat more garlic. Repels both mosquitos and the ladies.

  3. Joven says:

    Paranoia you say? Now you’re getting us worried back home! Mosquito bites are nothing compared to being followed by goons under the cloak of the uniform (or vice versa). Take care, be well, keep your chin up, and try to stay out of trouble…

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