27th to 30th June

Friday 27 June

We arrive around 9h at Tulum. Wow! It’s totally different from Palenque. Here we feel like in a beach city, organised for the tourists. There is one main streets with shops and restaurants on both sides, a lot of white-skinned tourists in swimming suit and flip-flops, people are calm, in holiday. And of courses, the prices are higher than usual.

Since we have the bicycle with us today, we can move easily, but we cannot enter the archaeological site of Tulum. So we see it from outside, or from the beach. Well, the site is pretty small, and full of tourists.

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Then we decide spend the afternoon on the best beach I have seen for ages: white sand, turquoise water, the waves breaking far away on a coral reef, and if you look backwards, you have a Maya pyramid. In addition, Tulum is only 2h drive from CancĂșn, or 1h drive from Playa del Carmen, two of the most important beach destinations of the American tourists here in Mexico. So of course, Tulum lives for the tourism, and as the tourists come only for one day, it does not have many resorts.

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We take the bus in the evening for Cancun. Like this, we have 3 days to prepare our bicycle for the big travel. Ara, our couchsurfer in Cancun, comes to pick us up at the bus station. She lives nearby.

Saturday 28 June

After a nice sleep, we needed it after a chaotic night in the bus, we start to move around in the city. Ara and her son Arath lead us, and we are all by bicycle. It is complicated to find boxes for the bicycle. We check in many bike shops and supermarkets, but no one has. It seems one company in the city has the business of collecting all the boxes, and then selling them. We finally find a shop, where the owner can order two boxes for us. We’ll collect them in the evening. Unfortunately, they are very small. Maybe Julien’s bike can fit, but Mick’s cannot. The chase starts again! I go from one shop, where the owner does not have boxes, to the other, advised by the owner. Finally, there is a box, slightly bigger. And now, how to come back? Imagine carrying a big card-box, 140x80x25cm, some 3-4kg, you cannot pedal! so just walk, and use the bike as trolley. It takes 1h to arrive home like this! trust me, Cancun by night does not have any charm (at least the part I was walking in).

The dinner is more than welcome!

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Sunday 29 June

Today is a big day for the Mexicans: their football national team plays against Holland for a place in quarters. If we hear many commentators saying that Mexico is the only team with Brazil and Germany that always passed to the round of 16 since 1994, they are not so eager to remind that Mexico has not arrived to quarters since 1970.

We go to watch the match in a bar, with Ara and Arath. There are many families, dressed up in green, to support Mexico. The ambience is very nice, most of the people are also couchsurfers, who use to meet in this bar on Tuesdays. As Mexico wins, everyone is rejoicing. But the two goals of Holland in the very end of the match are like a cold shower. We feel the sadness of the Mexicans, however, they do not get angry. Some cheer up their team, other applause for the good game they showed, and they recognise that Holland was better. Wow, it’s unexpected to see football supporters react so well!

In the afternoon, we pack the bikes in the boxes. It is hard, but it fits. Finally, we are getting ready for the flights.

Monday 30 June

It is our last full day in Mexico. We enjoy to taste some local specialties: for breakfast, cochinita pibil. And then, we go to the Isla de las Mujeres, the island in front of Cancun. It is a long tongue of sand, on which many hotels have been built. The ferry to go there (from Punta Sam) crosses incredible waters. It changes suddenly from dark blue to turquoise, or green, with totally transparent water. It is really hard to resist the temptation of jumping to the water from the boat.

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On the island, we are disappointed. Even if it is 5km long for a few hundred metres wide, and it has only one road, the cars are omnipresent (along with the golf carts). Was it so complicated to ban the car, by putting a few buses or a little more golf carts? Of course here, everyone is a tourist, with the schedule of getting toasted during the day (or reaped off to see the aquatic life) and party at night. But we have to admit that the water is absolutely delicious, and the rare spots where we can snorkel freely are interesting.

We come back to Cancun through the touristic shuttle, directly to Puerto Juarez. The travel is appalling, in an overcrowded room, filled of tourists, no air from the outside. When we arrive at Ara’s house, Ju has just the time for packing up his things, and leave to take the last shuttle to the airport.

We had time to try some typical food these last days. Will you recognize the Chilaquiles, pechuga rellena, fajitas de Arrachera, pescado a la veracruzana, quesadillas and cochinita pibil?

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We are going to spend two weeks of holidays. Julien will go to Boston, to be with his girlfriend, while Mick goes to see his family in France. After this rest, we will fly to Africa! We both arrive at Johannesburg on 17th July in the afternoon. The last stage of the adventure starts then.

Sorry guys, there is no video this time.