Friday, June 12, 2009

6/12/09 Leaving Belize, Back to Mexico. 260 Miles, 7 hours

I ended up leaving Belize City at 9:30am with my sights set on the Mayan Ruins at Tulum on the Carribean coast of Mexico. I enjoy my last couple of hours in Belize riding up the Northern Highway and enjoying the warm weather, smooth running bike and scenery which reminds me of the southern Mississippi and Louisiana. I reflect on my short time in this tiny country, into which I packed a hell of a lot of things. To be honest, it's a pretty run down place and coupled with the fact that it is so expensive (relatively), made me pretty happy to be moving on. Caye Caulker was fantastic and I definitely want to experience more of Belize in the future. At the border, I go to check out of Belize. No line at all. I purposely have almost no cash on me becuse I know i am going to need new currency on the other side which I plan on getting at a Mexican ATM. There is a $40(!) fee to exit Belize and I was told I could use a VISA but the guy tells me cash only. I still have that ripped $20 bill nobody down here will take and some Belizian dollars. I'm a few bucks short. I'm about to get pissed when the cool-ass border guy says it's on the house. Really good of the guy. Then over to check out my bike. Again, no line and it's done in 2 minutes. Total time to check out of Belize, 10 minutes. I then go through a duty-free zone with all kinds of shops and a couple of broke-ass looking casinos. I'm about to head into Mexico but there is some confusion when I think I have to re-enter myself and my bike while proving I don't need to pay again because my original tourist card for me and my bike is for 6 months. Turns out I didn't need to do anything except drive right through and I'm soon off into the state of Quintana Roo and headed north to Tulum, about 2 hours south of Cancun (which I plan to avoid completely.) I'm cruising on a straight, well-paved highway and enjoying cruising at a restrained 65mph and marvelling at the fact that although it's the middle of the rainy season for this part of the world, I haven't hit rain since I left Antigua. I'll take hot and humid over cold and wet any day (on a bike anyway). I get to Tulum in the late afternoon, find a really nice place with AC, Wi-Fi, free water and breakfast, book exchange, and a large chill-out room with a TV for 8 bucks a night. I take a walk into the town of Tulum and although it is obviously catered to tourists, it's not too over the top. It's got just enough amenities to keep me really happy (sandwiches instead of those fucking corn tortillas, gelato, pizza, VISA accepted, air-conditioned stores and a 7-11 on the corner. I may sound like a weak-ass bitch right now, but I'm loving all this stuff after a few months without. It's shocking to me how much more developed this part of Mexico is than where I've been for a couple of months. It's the reverse of how I've felt in the past when entering Mexico (from the U.S.) After a walk around town I come back to the hostel and am now chilling in the open-air TV lounge writing this. Tomorrow I'll check out the ruins at Tulum and head off to probably the most famous and well-preserved of the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza a couple of hours away.

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