On the recommendation of the lady who directed us to our bicycles, we returned to La Llorona for a night of Flamenco dancing from a local troupe. We found a table near the front, under a loft decadently decorated in the style of a Moroccan salon. The lights were low and crimson, with the occasional car or bicycle light breaking the warmth of the ambiance. We ordered enchiladas—his with green chili and mine with mole, both flavorful and spicy—and beers and settled in.
The man in the back with the guitar, his eyes shaded with a straw Panama hat, hummed along with each strum, and the woman next to him used an old apple crate to provide the pulse of the music.
And they circled around, the sprightly dancers…
swirling skirts and stomping heels.
Claps of hands and flicks of wrists kept time, each passionate step outlining a sad story of longing and unfulfilled desire.
The dances of Flamenco tell stories of yearning and love and adventure and tragedy,
each step made with absolute precision
each sensual movement an expression of duende…
The Search for Bicycles, Beaches and Booze!
The sign was rickety and swung loosely on rusty chains. Chips of paint flittered down here and there, littering a sidewalk already dotted with cigarette butts and broken bottles. It was old, surely, but it still said clearly in green paint “Iguana Bicycles.”
We stood there, our heads cocked curiously, chewing on our lips with perplexity, muttering “huh” under our breaths. We had passed it no fewer than three times and would have sworn that the small bicycle shop, tucked into the side streets of Tulum Pueblo, didn’t exist. But there it was, right where the friendly locals said it would be. “Huh.”
We started the morning with fruit, yogurt and thick coffee at our hotel, Cabanas Copal, a tired resort of rustic cabanas with an unequaled location on the white-sand shores of the Caribbean Sea. No electricity, rickety walls and a thatched roof of palm fronds, but the ocean purrs all night long and the sun rises between swaying palm trees and above a glittering, pulsing sea right outside the bedroom window.
The view of the sunrise and sea from our cabana…
After breakfast, we decide to make the (by most counts) 3km hike into town to find a bike rental. The weather was perfect, sunny and 80 with that constant, salty breeze that one can find only in the Caribbean’s wintery season. Though shorter than the hike into town from our home in Lander, and despite the fantastic weather and tropical scenery, it seemed MUCH longer. But the bike path from the mini-village on the beach and the town proper was brand new and very fine, and very crowded with bikers ranging from locals going to work to tourists out for a morning cruise to hardcore bikers out to get in shape for triathlons.
Our goal was to find our own bikes to rent, and rumor had it there was a great place in town that kept its beach cruisers in good condition. But after walking there and muddling around unsuccessfully to find the Iguana bicycle shop, we decided it was time for a beer and a bathroom.
We stopped at La Llorona, a fairly new restaurant with a more-established Mexican handicraft store and a bungalow hotel on the beach. There, we ate some of the best sauces on homemade tortilla chips, drank some cold beers, chatted up the owner and asked a local about the bicycle shop. She pointed us in the right direction with more detail than our wayward rumors, and we set off.
After securing transportation, we headed back for an afternoon on the beach at Mezzanine, a posh beach hotel near the Tulum ruins that features a swanky Thai restaurant and 2-for-1 margaritas during happy hour(s). We sat and relaxed in the sun and watched the extreme kite boarders play in the opaline seas before heading back to our own Cabanas Copal and lounging on the beach with Coronas.
To get to Mexico from Wyoming, one must endure no fewer than three plane rides of varying lengths. For us, we drove two hours to Casper, WY, then from Casper to Salt Lake City, UT to Los Angeles, CA (definitely in my top 5 Worst Airports of All Time) to Cancun, at which time we hopped in a van for the two-hour ride to our Cabana in Tulum. When we checked in, the guy at the desk 1) heard me say that our name was “Pardo” and immediately began speaking Spanish (after he had greeted us in English) and 2) asked us how long we had been traveling, to which we paused awkwardly, counting the hours, and came up with something like 12 hours of travel time, not counting our layover in LA that including margaritas along with an exuberant and happily drunk chic on her way to Buenos Aires.
But once at our destination, we were greeted with a candle-lit cabana, cool ocean breezes, and a bottle of wine. We found some grub (and yes, we ate the vegetables, cooked or not; hmmm…) at a local dive down the street, which was also fated to have no electricity this time of night. Candles lit the tables and the bar, and tiki torches led the way to hammocks should you feel the need for a sleep.
We spent the night of the full moon outside in the warmth and humidity, listening to waves and wind and the rustle of palm fronds, and watching thick, heavy Caribbean clouds roll in from the sea and careen over and around us. Every once in a while, we could feel a spit of rain from rainstorms that were destined for somewhere else…
We just wanted to drop a note saying that we KNOW we haven’t posted in while, and we assure you we have TONS of awesome photos to post from Philadelphia and around Wyoming, and from our recent trip to Tulum, Mexico. While out of the country for the last week, we had ZERO access to internet (not to mention no electricity!), and it was ridiculously awesome. We love being unplugged, even if it means being total slackers.
So until we get all of our photos up and running, we leave you with my first shot from Tulum: a long exposure night shot, with the help of the full moon over the Caribbean Sea, taken by Kat from just in front of our beach bungalow!
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