Wednesday was travelling day. It began with a leak in the bathroom (no sniggers, you know what I mean). I was in there with SG when she pointed out dripping water. I had a look and yup, a leak that we couldn’t fix. Landlady clearly wasn’t thrilled, it being a holiday so plumbers not being easy to find. She came with her own spanner and by the time she’d finished, the hole in the pipe was worse and the leak had gone from small to serious. Luckily her husband managed to track down someone to help. We merrily moved our packed bags from the bedroom to the living room (well out of the path of any water should the worst happen!) and went out for a farewell breakfast.
We returned to our favourite breakfast spot where we’d had a few happy mornings talking to the lovely owner (?) – a guy who speaks perfect English following a few years in the USA. We were thrilled to find it open since it was, after all, a holiday. Our excitement was short lived. We ordered waffles and hotcakes to share, a watermelon juice for the kids and coffee for us.
Eventually we got the hotcakes, well, one of them. When we pointed out we’d had two the last few times we’d been in, the woman looked annoyed and went and got us the other one from the kitchen. By the time we’d eaten these the waffles arrived. We chased our coffees, got a blank look and then one mug of coffee. We chased the second. The waiter disappeared, came back with a second mug, dumped it on a waiting bench, wondered around for a while and then bought it to me. Weird. The kids’ drink eventually came too. This certainly wasn’t the experience we’d been wanting to repeat one last time. Ah well.
After a brief play in zocolo and a final packing session it was time to go to the airport. So far so good. We got there, ditched our bags immediately and then while Col went off to the loo, SG decided to play her usual tricks. I asked the kids not to touch any of the sculptures dotted around the place so she didn’t, at least, not with her hands. I realised she was standing awfully close to one particular sculpture so I went to see what she was doing (I’d been at least three metres away from her) and she was standing there with her tongue on it waiting for me to come and see what she was doing. That kid is a defiant little beast right now!
For once, we made the right decision as to where we ate lunch. Normally whichever side of passport control we choose, it’s the wrong one. Today, I asked a security guard about options on both sides and actually picked the right one! We had a really expensive (550 pesos, just over £20) but incredibly delicious and enormous lunch. SB had a mountain of pesto pasta, which he had been missing since leaving home, SG had the biggest quesedilla plate, I had a club sandwich and salad and Col had a chicken salad. We also ordered a plate of guacamole, because, you know, we could. Pre our order arriving we were given a mountain of nachos and salsa too, and bread. Oh my. SB polished off his mountain but the rest of us were pretty defeated by our delicious meals.Of course, in the middle of the meal I had to take the kids to the loo, and of course, they had to try and unlock the door while I was peeing. But it wouldn’t be a meal without that wonderful experience, right?
Once on the other side of the line, we realised our plane was delayed for 45 minutes. Awesome. Weirdly, Oaxaca seems to have all its flights within a couple of hours of each other. I guess it’s good for saving costs but it’s annoying to be in a packed departure lounge when you know there’s no need and your kids are behaving like little shits (sensing a theme here? More in the next post, I assure you).
Flight was actually smooth and easy. I sat with SG, Col with SB. No arguments, no wet pants, no spilt drinks, nothing. We flew to Mexico City and then had to transfer to Merida. Mexico City was smooth too – we played on the travelators, mum, you’d have been so proud of the kids! They were running up and down in the wrong direction for ages. SB was in his element. He was being a cheetah, or Buzz Lightyear, or something, I can’t remember and zooming all over the place.
(Oooh, Col just brought me a suero – a beer with lemon juice and salt, yummy. We’re sitting outside by the pool and the kids are finally asleep)
The next plane ride was fine, mainly because the airline had given us three seats together and one in front. They’d actually given the seat alone to SG but we decided that perhaps that wasn’t wise, what with her being two and all. So I took it! Yeah, I had two hours pretty much ignoring the kids! I was sitting next to a really nice Mexican guy who clearly wanted to chat but I had a book and time to myself so I didn’t chat much, shame because actually he was really lovely but my book…
So then we landed and got a cab to the hostel. Yeah, hostel. Error. I booked a hostel. The interweb deceived me. Reviews said it was the best hostel in Merida, that it was super quiet, that rooms were lovely etc etc. Well. Um. No. We were given a room right on the patio area, as in the door of our room opened and would hit people sitting at the tables on said patio. So it was noisy and smokey and not really what I’d want for me, let alone my kids. I went and asked for another room. The staff were really lovely about sorting things out but did try first to fob me off by telling me the noise stopped at 1130pm. So we found ourselves in a dingy room with no real window and no bathroom. It was damp, hot and horrid. The kids continued to be total shits – wouldn’t stop yelling and bouncing on the beds – I sort of got it, we had two doubles and a single all in a row so it was very enticing for a quick bounce, but not appropriate, obviously. They were tired and excited but just would not listen to us or do anything we asked them to do. Eventually we got them to sleep and passed out ourselves.
The early morning wake up (no curtains) didn’t help the moods of the adults and SB in particular was wearing his defiant hat. After breakfast we tried to figure out how to leave Merida early. We had booked three nights there before moving to Tulum but figured that since we’re moving back to Merida in December there was no real need to spend three days being miserable in a shitty hostel. Cabs were too expensive so we headed to the bus station to try and get a bus last minute. We couldn’t get the first bus but did manage to get the second bus. We had to wait three hours but it was worth it to get out of the hostel. Merida itself seems fine, if extremely humid (I’ve never seen a two year old sweat before!) but the hostel was just gross and full of a large group of 15 year olds too.
The bus journey was amazing. We did what we’ve never done before and simply handed both kids an ipad and their headphones. We sat them together too for the first time. And you know what? It was the easiest four hour journey we’ve ever done! I read my book (after taking an anti-sickness pill!) the whole way and we arrived with no arguments.
Our apartment is small but fine: two bedrooms, bathroom, decent kitchen-living room and a shared pool. It’s in a compound with maybe nine or ten flats in it but only three including ours are being used. The family above us have out-awesomed us: they’ve been travelling for 22 months with their kids, homeschooling them along the way. Their kids are in school here while they try and find jobs to get them home.
Tulum is odd. The guidebook says it’s odd and I think it’s right. It’s basically a long four-lane road with shops and restaurants on either side.I get the impression there is more just behind the highway but probably not much. We live on a dirt road with no lights (we went out for supper last night and it reminded me of Rwanda having to walk in the dark with stray dogs around). We haven’t been to the beach yet because the kids begged to stay at the pool today but it’s meant to be the best in Mexico so I’m pretty excited for tomorrow’s trip.This morning we swam, dropped of laundry (yeah, no washing machine here, grrr), went to the supermarket to spend a fortune on um, pool toys and beer for my sueros. We got a good stash of food too but mainly bought pool toys: a giant killer whale thing, a lilo, floats and a rubber ring. Yay.
Entertainingly, in this massive supermarket they had quite a lot of things to try: whole slices of delicious bread, slices of beef, whole slices of cake…so after we’d tried all these yummy things we carried on our way until we turned around to find SB munching on a breadroll he’d picked up. We told him off and, of course, bought it then, but I can totally see why a four year old might then assume he could eat anything just sitting around.
Not much else to tell yet except to complain about kids not listening, which I think I’ll do in a new post.