Brodie was feeling poorly overnight. By morning he had come down with whatever ailment last manifested itself on the way home from Mauritius. It always seems to swoop in just at the end of a holiday. I left him to try and sleep in and went for a last stroll along Tulum beach. It was quiet, but I was far from being the only one out and about so early. The staff of each hotel or club were out raking the sand and carting away wheelbarrows piled high with green and brown strands of seaweed. The sand would soon be pristine until the next morning, when a new harvest of seaweed would be ready for collection again. Joggers puffed past at varying speeds. Other walkers dotted the beach here and there looking out towards the horizon where the waves sparkled in the early morning sunlight. Birds circled overhead and the sea revealed twisted shapes of logs – scattered along the shore like strategically placed pieces of art. Further south of Tulum the accommodation was less like resorts and more like hippy communes. People sat on the sand facing the sea, eyes closed, trying hard to commune with nature. The more hardcore individuals were contorted into complicated yoga poses that rivalled the wooden debris. By the time I returned to familiar parts the sun was high overhead and swiftly warming up the wind.
We had the usual half-hearted breakfast and then stretched out on loungers in the shade. The brisk oncoming wind was providing great fun for the kiters, but constantly sprayed us with an unwelcome face full of sand. By the time we’d finished an unappetising lunch Brodie was ready to go back and sleep off some more of his fever. I persevered with my reading. Happily the breeze died down and was more pleasant for sitting out during the afternoon. Brodie’s fever was much improved by dinner time, so we made it back to Ginger for another slap-up meal and cocktails. Then it was time to pack up our bags. We dodged cockroaches and systematically killed off as many of the insects invading the sanctuary of our netted bed as we possibly could. Then we settled down for a humid night, waiting to see how many new bites the morning would bring…
Thirty minutes later we were back up again, suffering too much from the heat to have any hope of sleep. There was no breeze whatsoever. Ultimately the unpleasant humidity forced us back out of the cabana and down to the beach again where the wind literally _was_ a breath of fresh air. There were a couple of other people sprawled out on loungers enjoying the night aswell. We spent a few hours out in the open air with the stars twinkling brightly against the pitch black dome overhead. The sea murmured quietly in the background while time passed by. The dampness in the loungers steadily seeping up through our towels was the only motivation for us to go back indoors again. There might also have been the odd fiery insect bite to encourage us aswell. Some patchy sleep back in the cabana got us through to first light. We packed up our bags and bid farewell to the serene beach as the sun began to rise.
We had originally planned to catch an earlier bus to the airport via Playa del Carmen, but unfortunately had the times wrong. In the end the next airport bus stopped off there anyhow, wasting precious minutes crawling through traffic and making extra stops for stray passengers. Time was beginning to get short by the time it pulled up at the airport. It didn’t help then to find that our flight was due to depart from a different terminal. The bus stop outside said it would be another 20 minutes until the next shuttle. We and some other travellers pondered whether we were actually running late yet or not. Overhearing the conversation, one of the touts tried to convince us to take a taxi. He shook his head doubtfully at our flight departure time and suggested it would be wise to take a $10 taxi journey to the right terminal ahead of the shuttle. We briefly considered whether it was worth the ridiculous price to buy a little peace of mind. Ten minutes later there was still no car to transport us, and the guy kept pointing in random directions trying to convince Brodie there really was a taxi just across the way, almost ready to take us. We counted down another 30 seconds out loud for his benefit, and then returned to the shuttle stop while he bemoaned our stupidity loudly behind us. By now we were but minutes from the next departing shuttle which quickly deposited us at the correct terminal.
Once we’d checked in and handed off our luggage it turned out we still had plenty of time left. We spent most of it standing with our arms in the air while large scanners made ominous sounds around us. We made a last quick detour to stock up on snack food and offload some pesos. As fate would have it, the total cost of our chocolate stash amounted to the sum value of our remaining pesos. With a much lighter purse, we boarded the first leg of the journey back to Dublin, via Atlanta. By now we were starting to itch and scratch. A spattering of red marks were developing in various locations – courtesy of the previous night. Several hours and some time-travelling later, we arrived back to Dublin in time to see the same sun rise over the chilly city instead of a balmy beach. Until next time Dublin Airport… we’ll be back in a few weeks to hit the west coast of Canada and America.