Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February 19 - Tulum, Day 2

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.

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