Ok, actually it was the jungle and his name was Clinton.
Originally we were planning on going to Discover Mexico on this afternoon, but when we arrived, it was closed. We had a taxi drop us off at the entrance, just at the road, and when we turned around, he was long gone. Because it was about 10 miles out of town, we were stuck there. With no other options, we began walking down the main highway headed back into town with hopes of catching another cab. There wasn’t a lot of traffic and no taxis in sight.
Walking for about 10 minutes we came across a man just off the road in the clearing with a rustic hand painted horseback riding sign, propped against a tree, nearest to the road. Off in the distance we could see 3 horses and two other men, with a makeshift waiting station, equipped with large thermos. The man greeted us and offered to take us a riding tour through the “Mayan jungle”. After a bit of negotiation on the price, we agreed. This was Miro’s first time on a horse and I haven’t ridden one in years. Thought to myself, “Wonderful! An opportunity for an adventure!”
Our guides’ name was Hector and my horse’s name was Clinton. I didn’t ask why, but I just hoped it didn’t have something to do with the horse’s preference of being ridden bare back.
We set out on our trek through the jungle which lasted about one and half hours. Miro and I were getting our riding groove on event though his horse wasn’t the most cooperative. Our guide was very good, keeping our horses on path and managed to point out a few fascinating things. He showed us the gum tree (I think he called it the chicklets tree) a ceiba tree, which was the sacred Mayan tree and then pointed out a snake in another tree. We saw lots of butterflies, birds and felt good to be in the deep brush of the jungle, thus shaded from the harsh Cozumel sun.
Our route took us to a a small cenote, a natural watering hole, that surges from ground water and tends to capture the overflow after the rains. I was anxious to finally see one after reading about them. This one turned out to be a small watering hole, but Hector explained to us that cenotes had spiritual significance to the Mayans and were often used for ceremony Late in the Mayan culture, after the Aztecs conquered and combined their customs, these cenotes throughout the country, both island and mainland were commonly used for human sacrifices. At least the larger ones. The one we saw was very small, but it was an absolute a reminder of how important the cenotes are to the ancient cultures.
Near the end of our trek we ended up at the base of a cave which the Mayans believed to be the entrance to the underworld. I realized I was starting to feel a little closer to their lives but knew I was only scratching the surface. Regardless, I was grateful Miro and I experienced this together. There at the base of the cave, I wanted desperately to take a visit into the underworld, but realized that would be an entirely different tour.
Another time, perhaps…