A Travellerspoint blog

September 2011

Adios Mexico...you better Belize it :o)

Boarder crossing

sunny 30 °F

So I had managed to stay awake until our last ADO bus, which was leaving at 00.45 from Tulum and going to Guatemala via Belize. So 1st boarder crossing should be a breeze right?

We had envisaged to arrive in Belize City at 7am and from there we were going to get a bus to Punta Gorda, then to get on a boat to the boarder for Guatemala - Livingston. Obviously this did not go to plan. After 3 hours on the bus and surprisingly fast asleep we were woken up to the bright lights and 'vamos, vamos'. Woke up to wtf, finally we realised by one of the passengers that we had already arrived in Belize and that we had to go through customs. So we had to take all our bags to this massive warehouse with loads of security and yes 'Akon' was being played in the background lol. Got our passports stamped then our bags were checked. We then kind of followed the rest of the travellers (as we had no idea of what was happening - lack of the Spanish Language!) outside, I felt like I was in a epsiode of Prison Break with my bags in the middle of an area that was barbed wire everywhere and tall gates. After being mauled by mosquitos our bus came through and got back on....assuming that we were going to Belize City right? Wrong! The funny thing that I saw as soon we passed the gates was a Casino and a gentlemans club literally after the boarder.

Being again interupted by the lights after 2hrs we were told to get off as it was the last stop. Consfued as this was suppose to be at least 4 hours we had no choice but to get out. We were greeted by a nice local guy who told us that we could get a bus to the boarder from the bus station. So we hopped on the bus hoping to get to Punta Gordo. The drive through Belize had a load of nice but also disturbing sights. In such a short drive (2hrs is short) I came across 4 graveyards which we planted almost anyway some were even on the side of the main road. The homes were more and less make shift. Some were built on stilts, some boarded up, quite a few police cars were driving around at 7am still. An hour in to the drive the scenery changed with the homes a lot bigger and cleaner. On the bus was okay only because we got seats but everyone was so cooperative and nice unlike in London esp on the Great Eastern line lol.

We worked out that we should arrive at the boarder in another 4 odd hours but instead we arrived quite quickly...we in fact arrived at 1 of the 2 boarder crossings - Benque Viejo del Carmen not Punta Gorda....more confused lol. No point in turning back we carried on trying to get to Guatemala. We had to go through another boarder crossing...so from Belize to Guatemala (whereas before it was from Mexico to Belize) - same kind of procedure, passport check, bag check and then we had to pay an entry fee. Out on the other side. Not knowing where we were on the map tired and hungry we ended up taking a cab to a place called Flores (which was not far about 2hrs). Arrived in Flores around lunch time (15hrs after we had left Mexico!!!), checked in a nice little hotel.

Flores is a island in the Lago de Peten Itza area. A very small island which we walked in like 34-40mins. It has an amazing view of the surrounding water. We didn't do much other then to shower and RELAX! We walked around, saw brightly painted facades, a lot of the locals were chilling indoors because it was bloody hot!!! The breakfast that the hostels/hotels were really expensive in comparsion to the pervious places that we stayed at as they were included in the rent. We went to check out a hostel and the rooms were cheaper then the breakfast and even more ridiculous was the sew-on-badges were more expensive then a breakfast! So I thought food or badge ermm....FOOD! We treated ourselves to slap up meal steak and chips lol. After an early dinner we headed back to our hotel and watched tele for the 1st time in 2wks! We watched Goodfellas :o)

The local newsagents gave us jokes coz they had labled a bottle of water for 3quetzals but charged us 5quetzals lol. To be honest most of the shops here in Central America so far do not have the prices of any of the products. So I guess they just make up the prices for the goods esp bump up the prices for us travellers how lucky are we?!?!? lol

Posted by jasdeep_virdee 20:27 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

Tulum

15 hour coach ride...was it worth it?!?!?!?!

sunny 36 °F

After a 15hour gruesome journey from San Cristobal to Tulum was it worth it? Hell yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay so after a back breaking journey with little kids - thank god they were actually well behaved :o) One actually reminded me of my little adorable nephew Vihr - boy do I miss him :o(
As we didn't book any hotel we were told just to take a right from the bus station and a few blocks away you will find a place called 'The Weary traveller' and thank god it was like a few minutes away. Done all the ritual, check in, sort out room and bag etc.

I feel like I have been travelling for longer then 1 week and 3 days more like 3 months or so....is this a bad thing? All I wanted to do was chill and do nothing! So I am glad that I heard that this place Tulum had a beach. We got the hostel bus to this beach called Playa las Palmas

As I walked towards these palm trees on the white sand l just got over whelmed of what I saw. You know when you see an article or when your flicking thru travel magz and they have da most amazing beaches but when you get there its nothing compared to what you originally saw...as in you were disappointed? Well all I can say if I could describe what heaven looks like then this is the place to come to. If I was to get married I would so love to come here again for court marriage or even the honeymoon. The skies were bluer than blue, the water was so pristine clean, cleaner then the swimming pools back at home, the white sand was whiter then Daz ultra lol. No seriously this beach was mind blowing. So you can imagine all I done today was spent form 12 till 5pm was chilling in the beach - I guess this was needed after the 15hr coach journey.

I actually went swimming in the Carribean sea baby woo hoo - amazing place. I just wish I had my family and my friends to be here to enjoy what I saw and felt. No doubt the pictures will NOT give this place any justice.

Back at the hostel - a very chilled out place, lovely james brown music and the outdoor kitchen is wicked :o) I will be back at the beach tomorrow and poss go and see some ruins.

25.09.2011
Had a good nights sleep. Woke up not so early and had breakfast today I thought I’d give pancakes a go lol. After breakfast we got on the 12pm bus service to the beach again. We decided to go and see some ruins which are actually on the beach front. One of the guides mentioned that it was free on Sunday so we thought whoopee…went thru the 1st entrance no payment. Then we got to the main entrance and we were asked to pay 50 pesos we thought allow this – to be honest you’ve seen one ruin you’ve seen them all. So we headed back to the beach. Along the way we bumped in to our friend the iguana lol. So yeah the beach from 1pm till 5pm was very nice and no doubt relaxing.

As I walked on the white soft sand towards the sea, the sun was beaming on my back, approaching the warm pristine clean water was just out of this world. I don’t wanna make you guys jel or anything I’m just trying to capture the moment coz looking back the pictures they don’t do any justice to he beach. Oh yes I saw the Mexican version of Bay Watch and wow ladies you will NOT be disappointed lol. Having so much time on my hands is kinda hard to deal with but I think I’m getting used to it.

This evening was spent more and less chilling, showered up – made lentils for dinner. Yes mum and Roop, if your reading this your recipe was used. Obviously not as nice but I’m cooking lol. After dinner we strolled in the evening and came across a really cool sq which was kinda hidden away. Loads of small ‘funfair’ like stalls. I’m still surprised that we couldn’t hear anything from our hostel. This sq was a combinations of an outdoor mini football ground, an outdoor public gym, food and random brick’n’brac stalls. Went in to a few stalls as I’m trying to find a Mexican stitch on flag but I’m finding it very hard to find this! It’s weird because every where you go in Mexican they have their flags everywhere but when it comes to your standard touristy memorabilia there is nothing with the flag on it…it’s like they are saying you can come visit Mexico but you can’t take away our flag lol. I actually did find a wrist band that was made out of material and it had the flag. I was like yeah sorted…found out it was 100 pesos wtf lol. Allow that. The search still goes on.

26.09.2011
This morning I woke up got on my running trainers on and went for a mini run and I actually went to use the public outdoor weight machines lol. Had egg on toast on my return and more and less have been chilling so I am actually working on this blog and uploading more pictures. This evening I will be heading off to Belize just so I can get into Guatemala. So this should be interesting esp when I get to customs lol. Dinner plans for tonight I am gonna make some rice with vegetables….mmmm well we will see. Another weird thing that I have experienced…the local way of advertisement is thru big loud speakers attached to a moving vehicle blasting the adverts thru a mic lol I’m gonna sign off my blog from Mexico next time you will hear from me will prob be in Guatemala. Hasta Luego Amigo.

Posted by jasdeep_virdee 11:19 Archived in Mexico Tagged beach Comments (2)

San Cristobal

all seasons in one day

We ended up taking a luxurious coach (this was like £27) for this trip as it was gonna be like 11/12 hours from Oaxcaca to San Cristobal. Was it worth it????... No bcz I did not get any sleep lol.

We had arrived in San Cristobal another small village kinda reminded me of Bicester Village....small, dinky, brightly coloured facades and it had a very mayfair kinda atmosphere is a weird way. I say weird because there were - the rich locals who drove very nice cars, looked very smart. Then you would have the traditional locals who wore brightly coloured woven tops and skirts (for the women) and the men wore these kind of sleeveless overall tops that looked hairy lol - pls refer to the pics.

So far in each place a lot of the people have mobile shops, so wherever they move they take their goods - from clothers, to a juice maker, carts of diff type of nuts....get the picture?

We stayed at the Las Igunas hostel - nice people very laid back and thank god the showers were warm! Several of the people staying here actually work there to because they love the place so much that they don't wanna go home or just are broke and need to raise funds! As soon as we arrived they checked us in (7.30am) which is very rare as they only do this at midday plus we also got breakfast so double :o))

The hostel was located near a small sq with mini shops around and a primary school but very peacefull! A lot of the locals here wore Hollister and Ferrari tops...weird. I also liked that some of the men actually wore cowboy hats lol

I'd must admit today after the bus journey I was tired, shattered and missing home...I know it's not even been a month hahaha. As we walked from the bus station to the hostel I got to see more and less the town So I decided that I was not gonna do anything today apart from chilling. The guys at the hostel were more welcoming which was a bonus.

I actually went out with them to a local bar called 'Revloution Bar' they had a live reggae set for an hour. I tried a local beer here which was an experience because the pitcher was filled to the top with the beer itself and shit loads of....yep you guessed it Tabasco chilli. On the rim of the glasses they were coated with salt....weird taste hahah cz the beer was actually fizzy. The set was amazing very laid back and I do get the feeling the music that the locals love is reggae and salsa but I do hear the odd Akon or Pitbull blasting from car radios or even in the markets!

The second venue that I went to was a Salsa place - this is were I was learnt how to salsa with the locals hahahah very funny. I had a blast met a guy called Paul from sunny Highbury and Islington :o)
Got back to the hostel at 3am...not good because I had to get up by 5.30am as we were going to be picked up by the mini bus for our guided tour for 6am!

I did get up, had the most quickest shower and was ready by 6am-ish. We headed towards a place called Palanque but on the way we stopped off at our 1st waterfall which was called Agua Azul and the second one was called Misol. Dispite the 5 hrs trek here both the waterfalls were amazing!!!!!!!!!!! The 1st one Agua Azul was okay very, extremley powerfull but the colour of the water was very murky which was disapointing - I can only imagine that this was because of the soil being dragged. I went dwn to this big rock thing which was infront of the waterfall just so I can take a picture....did I get wet? Helllll yeah - I was soaked! But by the time we headed back to the coach I was dry :o)

Misol was a lot smaller but needless to say it was also very amazing to look at and the water was vert pristine blue and clean....I was eager to go behind the waterfall but even some of the stronger looking peeps felt the pressure...I thought I'd probably get dragged in it and I wud have got drenched....nothing more annoying is sitting in your wet uddes hahahah.

We finally reached Palanque. This place has the most mind-blowing ruins I have seen so far! Massive....huge....big! If you look at the pictures I look so small compared to them. Palanque is also surrounded amongst a jungle - which we went to seek. We had 2hrs here to explore. There was also a hidden waterfall which was so sublime - again I can not describe the view that I saw. We had to go on a wooden bridge to cross over and I could not help but to actually jump off the bridge and to go towards the waterfall. I managed to get a picture taken before I got whistled by the warden heheheh.

Today I was surrouded by my 2 favourite colours blue and green :o) This trip was amazing and well worth the money that we paid for but boy was it tryring! We did not get home until 11pm and that's when we had dinner. On the way back we experienced the most heavy rain, the sourrounding trees/jungles were all misty/foggy. I saw people just walking alongside the roads from no way going towards no way. Some locals just chillin on the edge of a massive drop and a majority of then were carrying machette knives...litte kids were playing in the rain get all dirty awwww. This pituresque view was wiped away when I saw the reality of where these people live. A big coach had some how just skidded off the main road with people on board. I did think there is no way to get help but at least 10mintues later we did hear sirens - thank god. I was way too scared to sleep on the journey back home.

Last day in San Cristobal and we spent it in the local market, got out bus ticket for our next destination - went back to the hostel for some lunch and then headed to the bus station for our 15.15pm bus to Tulum - did I mention it is going to be a 15hour journey! Oh boy....hope to see you guys over the other side. x

Posted by jasdeep_virdee 17:35 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Adios Mexico City, Hola Oaxaca :o)

Oaxaca pronouced Waahakka

semi-overcast

A bus ticket from Autobuses del Norte station, Mexico City to Oxacaca (located in the south-western ends of Mexico) cost us $426.00 pesos which is about £20.00.

Our bus left at 23.59pm and arrived in Oxacaca at 07.30am this morning! My 1st overnight bus...erm it was not scary at all but it was not a comfortable journey - very bumpy and the fact my phone battery died on my was not helpful as I didn't have Brian McKnight to put me to sleep hahaha.

I woke up to the sun rise over looking Oxacaca. A place which is built up by loads of small, colourful, small buildings that have been sorrounded by mountains - very picturesque! I got off our bus looking like shite for once I actually felt embarressed lol - people really take pride on the appearance here also in Oxacaca! I was wearing my scrubs, with black socks overlapping them.

We could only check in our stuff at the hostel and only move in at 12pm - so we decided to look around familarise ourselves of the area - again did I mention what the hell I was wearing lol.

Once settled in the hostel, showered and all - I actually washed my clothes in the sink - how lovely. The town is very small so I reckon 1 night 2 days or 2 nights 3 day should be enuff but there are stuff to do outside Oxacaca more ruins, the oldest tree (if that tickles your fancy lol) and horse riding. So our stay was short but sweet.

I did go for a lonely walk towards this 'very modern looking building' which stood out like a sore thumb. The closer I got to it (300 steps lol) I realised it was an outdoor stadium - which looked awesome!

I also went to the local market which was also great and I tried its delicacy of Mole - ok it's actually suppose to sound like Molaay. It is a dark chocolate sauce that is poured over anything but popular with Pollo (chicken - my Spanish is getting slightly stronger hahaha). It does sound sickly and it was ok but coz I was starving I dived in straight away - so I did feel kinda sick - weird taste....not as in bad just....bland but chilli. On the way back to the hostel I was confronted by a butt naked guy - from head to toe....ewk So had to cross the road - this didn't help after the fact I had the mole lol.

At the end of the 1st day I went upstairs to look at the view and to gather some thoughts...I did meet my 1st backpacker by the name of Dimitris from Holland. A very nice chap and no I was not interested. He gave me some pointers on how I should do this trip as it very hand physically and mentally. Me and him shared my 1st bottle of Mexican beer....it was ok.

For my early morning run I went around the little village that smelt of freshly baked bread mmmmm nice! I obvioulsy got lost and I thought....'Shit i'm gonna miss my breakfast...' lol found my way back by going to another hotel and asking for a map and directions hahahaha.

My stay in Oaxcaca was short but sweet. The designer brand in this village is Hollister guys :o)

Next destination San Cristobal....

Posted by jasdeep_virdee 17:13 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Mexcio in a Tequila Shot

sunny 75 °F

After 3 days in Mexico City I can truly say it is NOT a city full of crime, drugs and gangs ;o( lol. The people are SO friendly and also mahussive. I would recommend that you would need like 2 / 3 weeks to visit whole city! There are a few similarities such as tall skyscrapers, all familiar shops like Starbucks, Mango, GNC (my favourite lol), flashy cars, etc Mexicans ALWAYS look their best when it come to their appearance unlike me hahahaha but I was also surprised to se some of the locals wearing polo neck jumpers, winter boots in blazing hot heat...I thought I as bad hahahah

What makes Mexico special then other cities is that they have an amazing history, with amazing sites such as the pyramids...Yes Mexico does have pyramids it’s not only Egypt lol - Mexico has loads to see but you do need time as buses are the only mean of good public transport and they do take a min of couple of hours to historical sites.

Mexico in a nut shell for me would be Chilli, dogs, a happy nation and TACOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not including the amount of people that live in this city exceeds over 20 million!!! So you can also imagine the amount of traffic you can get in too but there is no road rage - weird!

Posted by jasdeep_virdee 18:45 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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