Chichen Itza, diving from great heights and hitching a ride with Mexican police

Our day began early - 4.30am - racing through the pouring rain to Tulum town to get the 5.00am bus to Valladoid. We got there just before 7.00am and wandered the beautiful streets then sat in the main square drinking coffee and watching families take their children to school while waiting for a tour operator - anyone - to open and take us to Chichen Itza. A friendly local told us our best bet was to just take another ADO bus there - we did, practising our Spanish on the way.

Chichen Itza is magnificient and as we were there so early, we had the place largely to ourselves. We wandered about, taking pictures and imagining how the ancient people had lived and used the grounds, particularly mesmerised by the rituals involving virgin sacrifices.

It was approaching the middle of the day and it was getting so hot, so we took a taxi to the Cenote Ik-Kil, an amazing limestone sink hole with deep deep blue water and little waterfalls falling from great hole through which you could see the sky. There were ledges around it, high ledges, for people to jump in from and I immediately ran to the top and once I got over my momentary panic of diving from high into seemingly bottomless water, I dove and it was glorious. I floated upside down looking at the cenote’s ceiling and the heavens above. Glorious. Anita needed a little convincing but then jumped too - and loved it. How wonderful it is to face a fear and realise, actually, the reality is fine, just fine, and quite special. We spent hours there and then made our way back to Chichen Itza, hitching a ride with some friendly police officers and jumping into the back of their open paddy wagon. A day of firsts.

On our way back to Valladoid, we chatted with William, a lovely Londoner who had given up his job as a lawyer to follow his passion of working in performing arts. He’d since been in a film with Keanu Reeves, played at the Old Vic and the National Theatre and was in the middle of writing a play which I can’t wait to see. So inspiring and it feels like all we meet here have a fascinating tale to tell - and we’re here just at the right time to hear it. He was in Mexico for just a week but had been to this part of the world before and told us about an incredible beach in Brazil - Ilha Grande - that we had to get to. And we will.

So here we are on the way back to Tulum, where we’ll go to La Chiapeneca again for some more tacos a pastor. And as I sit here, with Anita whispering “cuanta cuesta aqui a la estsacion” over and over again as that’s her sentence to remember for the day and me writing this while half watching, half sobbing over Les Miserables which is playing on the bus’s entertainment system, I am so incredibly delighted to be here and feel so very very lucky. Every day is a new adventure - and tomorrow’s will involve Bacalar…

Pictures to follow…