Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It’s the Eye of the Water.

After our failed attempt at adventure the day before, today we were hoping for something a bit more manageable. Consulting the book of warnings and activites, we found one thing mentioned that seemed just our speed – Ojo de Agua, or Eye of Water. The name immediately conjured up Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger in my head but I didn’t share that with my Rocky fanatic husband; I didn’t need him singing it for the entire day. Ojo was a natural swimming pool fed by a natural volcanic spring. Considering there was no beach at the hacienda, it seemed like the perfect place to chill out for the day.

Also staying at the hacienda were two families both with tween daughters traveling in Central America. When one of the moms found out we were going to Ojo, she asked if she and her girls could tag along. Of course. But the girls were still exhausted from their trek to the waterfalls and didn’t feel like leaving the hacienda today. Considering they had gotten a ride to the path and were still exhausted, I felt a lot better about abandoning our trek after just 15 minutes. Know your limits I say.

Luckily the hardest thing about today’s trip was going to be the bus trip. The ride to Ojo was only an hour and it seemed a lot more bearable than our trek it. The ayudante signaled that we were at our destination. But there didn’t seem to be anything resembling a natural pool or spring close by, just banana fields and a small farm house. The ayudante pointed to the house and motioned us to approach it. As we walked through the gate a young woman came out with a ticket book and asked for $2US each. We paid the admission and she then told us to follow the path through the banana fields. We started walking and just beyond the second banana field we passed through a gate and into some woods. In a clearing we could see some patio umbrellas and hear water splashing. But there was no clear path to get there.

After a couple of false starts we eventually found the way through the dense undergrowth. Ojo de Agua was two pools of crystal clear spring water formed by a rough concrete and stone wall. There was a small rustic restaurant and tables set up with umbrellas – in the middle of nowhere. It was all a little weird. For most of the 4 hours we were the only other people there. So we floated and paddled and chilled in the water ending our visit with a lucnch of tostones, yum, and caiprianas, double yum. But the service was incredibly slow and as it got closer to the bus departure I was worried that we were going to miss our bus. Eventually we were able to get the server’s attention and settle up so we could our fast walk back to the highway. Through the banana fields, we could hear the horn of the bus in the distance letting us know it was approaching. Since the next bus wasn’t for two hours and it was a long walk back to the hacienda we picked up the pace and got to the road just as the bus was pulling up. Phew that was close.

Around the bend at Playa Domingo, four girls got on. One sat beside me and we started talking. Her name was Tamara (Hi Tamara!). She was from the Netherlands and was traveling solo (at the moment) through Central America. She had just met the other girls and they were heading to the hacienda to check it out. I told her that’s where we were staying so they could just follow us. However, getting back was going to be an issue because it looked like this bus would be immediately making the return trip once it got to Merida. She didn’t seem worried.

We chatting for the rest of the ride and when she found out that we were planning to head to Africa she lit up. Tamara had gone to school there and raved about everything to do there. She was blurting out suggestions faster than I could mentally keep note. No worries though because we promised to exchange info at the hacienda. She was making her way down to South America too, hoping to meet up with her boyfriend who was currently volunteering elsewhere. I’m sure we’ll cross paths sometime in the next 6 months.

At Merida, we showed the girls around the hacienda and introduced them to the staff so they could figure out what they’re going to do when they return the next day. Unfortunately we’ll be long gone since we have to get up super early to get the ferry. And unfortunately for the girls they did miss the last bus so they take off in order to hitchhike while it was still light. Happy trails Tamara and I’ll see you in South America.

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