Insiders know that my internet time has been very limited since I started building my jungle dwelling on the Ruta de los Cenotes in south-east Mexico, right after our Reiki Retreat in July 2012.
That said, it has been very quiet at this end, and I feel that I have to share the scoop with my new website visitors so that they don’t think that Project Mayan Encounter has been abandoned. I have to say though, that trying my talent as a construction worker and cultivating a fruit and veggie garden has been fulfilling – but challenging at the same time. I couldn’t have done it without my Mayan friends here on the Ruta de los Cenotes.
My house is located in a remote rural area, and there is still much work to do. I miss my astrological research online, spontaneous Skype calls to my family and friends abroad, and the ease of quick research in designing tour itineraries for my travelers – but in the end, living offline and semi-offgrid on the Ruta de los Cenotes is not that bad at all! Thanks to the library in Puerto Morelos I have a temporary office where I can work without limitation. I’m (still) in the process of setting up a home internet connection, and with that I will be able to report news from Mayan territories more frequently.
For a quick recap, I had my 70-year old father and my brother staying with me over Christmas and New Year, and they got the “whole enchilada” with pumping water by hand, pouring a cement foundation for the future electric meter, lots of forest work, bureaucratic challenges, facing scorpions, snakes and tarantulas. They were in the Mayan groove as they left – including receiving voluntary treatments from our local curandera, our Mayan healer who works with a combination of chiropractic skills, medicinal plants and nature laws/alchemy.
Then my friend Connie came for her Honeymoon. She stayed at a charming vacation rental in Soliman Bay south of Tulum. One day we took a tour to the beautiful Xcacel beach and its adjacent cenote. Xcacel is one of the many marine turtle sanctuaries in the state of Quintana Roo. Another evening we had a rustic barbecue in the jungle.
The next travelers were a couple from Switzerland. The two had a serious motorcycle accident 5 years earlier and as a result, he was forced a wheelchair while she was able to walk after a long rehab therapy. She still showed some impressive scars on her chest.
They booked through my associates AdaptA, where I rent my assistive technology for handicapped travelers (e-scooters, beach wheelchairs). These two were a little more adventurous than my average wheelchair travelers so far, and one of our tours took us to Isla Mujeres for a boat ride around the island. From their hotel in Cancun, they went to Isla Mujeres on their own before, and they liked the Island so much that they wanted to go again. The idea this time was to see birds, ocean creatures and Joysxee Island, a sustainable housing project that is built on re-used plastic bottles. The island is floating in the lagoon of Isla Mujeres. Just as we arrived at the Isla Mujeres ferry pier, rain god Chaac poured buckets of water on us! We were handed giant trash bags that we converted into rain coats and went ahead with our tour. The crew lifted my traveler with his wheelchair onto the motor boat. Despite our rain coats, the tropical rain soaked us and hit us in the face – so hard that we had trouble seeing anything else than water. The water was warm and looked nice and turquoise. The water surface looked even rather smooth, but the strong wind made us wish for better times. Needless to say, none of us felt like getting into the water. We had to pass on seeing the underwater exhibition at the Garrafon reef. By the time we entered the interior lagoon on our way back, the rain stopped. We got to see Joysxee Island from the water before heading for Tikin Xik (grilled fish) for lunch. Ironically, the sun came out. What I really liked is that my two travelers kept an optimistic attitude all along, maintaining their humor and cheerful spirit. We couldn’t switch off the rain anyway, so why making our day miserable! And we have a fun story to share now! Check out our pictures on Project Mayan Encounter’s Facebook page!
We took a tour to Chichen Itza also, and a visit to our community curandera (healer) in my tiny village of Central Vallarta, to re-adjust bones, bladder and muscle strings that had be dislocated in the traumatic accident 5 years ago. That alone will not make my traveler walk again – the most important part is his own will and diligent exercising. They stopped by my house on the Ruta de los Cenotes before heading back home.
The most recent travelers were a meanwhile 91-year old biology professor from Michigan and his 62-year old daughter. They had visited in February 2012, so this was their 2nd visit to this area. This time, “Don Enrique”, how people like to call him here, took it a little easier. We spend the greater part of our 6-day tour at the Rancho Encantado in beautiful Bacalar. The original owner of this cozy eco-resort was mobility-impaired himself, and the entire site is equipped with a nice path where Don Enrique could move about with the e-scooter that we rented for his stay. At least two cabanas are fully wheelchair accessible, and the staff is happy to build a ramp in no time for cabanas with a low step. Don Enrique’s daughter and I went on some excursions by ourselves, while he relaxed at the resort. We had one intense day of anthropology, where we visited Kohunlich, Dzibanche and Kininchna. Another day we had a spectacular sunset boat ride to the inner part of the Bacalar lagoon. The last excursion we did together: we visited the relatively accessible Museum of Mayan Culture in Chetumal. The parts that are not accessible by wheelchair (at this point) are the bathroom (has one step) and the Xibalba exhibition, the Mayan Underworld (has a whole flight of stairs down).
If you feel inspired to check out one of these places please get in touch!