We hadn’t properly thought through the logistics of the day ahead. There was some basic logic: we were at point A (a quiet seaside town) and needed to get to point C (Valladolid, a small city). Point B (Ek Balam, Mayan Ruins) was located somewhere in between, and so it seemed reasonable that we could just pop in en route back. Simples. No more planning needed. Right?
Well, sort of.
The extent of our disorganisation first dawned on us as we were speeding along the highway on a public bus, failing to identify any signposts indicating proximity to the ruins. (We later discovered that this was because we weren’t really that close by. Whoops.) After a brief conversation with a local traveller, we made the semi-spontaneous decision to ask the driver to drop us off at the side of the road. He nodded, expressionless – and carried on driving.
A couple of minutes passed, and we felt the bus pulling to a halt outside what looked like a small village. The driver mumbled something about taxis and waved us off the bus.
Instead of taxis, we discovered a tuk tuk driver who agreed to drive us: not for an insignificant fee, but I was pleased at the novelty – until the heavens opened moments after we stepped into the open-windowed vehicle.
Our next surprise was the music. Not just the gentle tunes that you would expect from a cab ride – but full on drum and bass from the enormous sub-woofer speakers stashed behind our seats: the world’s most souped-up tuk tuk. So there we were, rattling through the Mexican countryside in the pouring rain in a rickety tuk tuk with a sound system suitable for a London nightclub. Not exactly what I had expected from the day.
Normality restored as entered the site to walk around the ruins – just pyramids, a handful of visitors and an impressive view across some misty forest. As you can see, there wasn’t a local town or highway in sight…
As the day drew to a close, hunger struck and we decided against any further ambitious travel plans. A taxi was waiting to collect stragglers – and it had windows, a gentle radio and efficient suspension. Perfect.