Into a primal paradise - January 13
The watery depths
Place of mystery
Coba - Stairway to Heaven
From the moment the plane touched down in Mexico's Yucatan, Jo and I were captivated by the area. There was something about that massive expanse of jungle stretching into infinity, inviting you in to its dark, mysterious interior...
We enjoyed a couple of days relaxing at our hotel beside the Caribbean Sea, acquainting ourselves with stray iguanas, monkeys and other exotic creatures roaming freely, amidst local ruins built for Mayan pilgrims who once travelled to nearby island Cozumel to worship their all important goddess Ixchel. It was fab to drink in the sunshine as well as the tequila and welcome in the New Year with fiery Mexican festivities, matched by their warm hospitality.
Venturing forth into the wild was quite something. We travelled by jeep to a beautiful lagoon, where a speedboat took us to see dolphins and turtles, on through entangled mangroves and then out to sea. Nature beckoned us on. You really felt the pure air and flashing colours quickening mind and spirit.
Equally amazing were the ancient Mayan ruins of Coba in the midst of the jungle, their literal paradise on earth Tulum overlooking the sea, and Chichen Itza with its majestic, mysterious structures, acknowledged now as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Mayan civilization was both enigmatic and inspiring. It's confusing because the Mayans had a priest led culture whilst the Toltecs who followed were a military regime with a thirst for human sacrifice. Mayan people still live in the area, have their own language and a lot of them remain in the heart of the jungle. It's sad that so many live in poverty. You can see their tiny dwellings along the roadside and through the trees. We really liked all the Mayans we met who were friendly, gentle and helpful in every way.
Musical ideas kept flooding in. Even the stars seem brighter and closer. The drumbeat of life is all pervasive... Just beyond the towns and the roadside is the wild darkness with its strange sounds, inhabited by a myriad of creatures such as monkeys, jaguars and deadly reptiles. Buried beneath the undergrowth are thousands of pyramids still hidden from view, whilst below ground a labyrinth of limestone caves, subterranean rivers and sink holes pepper the unseen undervalleys. We caught a close-up glimpse of one, a favourite haunt of swimmers and visitors. From the blazing night sky in the Yucatan's unchartered firmament to the hidden treasures of its wild interior and secret chambers of its underworld, it's truly an extraordinary place to inspire the most amazing ideas and dreams.
Chichen Itza - Touching the skies
New Year festivities
Iguana on the loose
Tulum - Ancient paradise