November 10, 2016

Zama, City of Dawn

Possibly once called Zama, (the city of the dawn, as it faces the sunrise and backs the Caribbean sea) Tulum was one of the later Mayan cities built between 1200 and 1450 and abandoned by the late 16th century. Of course that was after the Spanish had arrived and presumably old world diseases taken a toll on the native population. The site is surrounded by thick walls on three sides, with the fourth side protected by cliffs down to a gorgeous beach below. What a view this city had!

The Castillo is the most impressive of the buildings scattered amongst stones at 25 feet tall and with the distinctive pyramid like steps up the front. Perhaps the most well preserved building is the "Temple of the Frescos" with its discernible carvings still visible after so many years spent near the wind and sea on the coast.

Of course with such an Indiana Jones worthy site on my Tulum trip itinerary, I couldn't miss the opportunity to don my pith helmet and explorer style out to such a worthy location! This time I layered my usual khaki over a black retro styled one piece swimsuit as I wasn't sure if I'd be venturing down to the crystal blue waters and soft ivory sand below the ruins for a dip. As there were many many sets of stairs involved down the cliff and then up again, and I was already exhausted by the humidity and high temperatures, I decided I'd have to experience the beach next time, but it sure looked like everyone was having fun down there! Without a doubt the beach below the ruins of Tulum is the prettiest beach I have ever seen by far and away, a fantasy blue and ivory beach with palm trees swaying in the breeze.

I layered my most practical of safari shirts and my hardy green twill skirt over my swimsuit, then slipped on some simple sandals for exploring the site. The ruins were busy with other tourists, but not maddeningly so, and we were lucky to have some cloud cover as I imagine it would be boiling hot to tour in full sun. The lovely walk from the entrance cut through beautiful glowing green jungle and we spotted two coati (raccoon like creatures with long tails) who didn't seem at all bothered by the tourists. For those with future Tulum travel plans, I recommend visiting early if you can (the site opens at 8am) and going with a tour or paying for a guide really isn't necessary as there are informative signs dotted everywhere.

We visited the ruins on the last full day of our trip, and upon returning to our hotel we immediately dipped into the pool to cool off before grabbing some lunch. After our tacos we headed out to visit the Gran Cenote. Cenote are natural water filled sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock--according to Wikipedia, but I would define them as magical freshwater pools in the beachy jungle. As we approached the Grand Cenote I tried to stay brave after encountering not one but two gigantic grasshoppers that seemed to be some sort of living jurassic species as far as I could tell. After successfully fleeing said grasshoppers we spotted a rather large iguana chilling along the edge of the pit of the cenote and I noted later as we left that he hadn't moved an inch from his sunny spot. The cenote itself was beautiful, so so so beautiful. I'll find a photo as I didn't bring my camera in a bid to #unplug or relax or some other such silly notion.

Wikipedia commons to the rescue. I'll talk more about swimming in the cenote in an upcoming post all about Tulum, but I'll just say it was my favorite part of the trip (other than the wedding of course!). So magical!

It was a very sad day today between the US election results (O M G, #$&%*! ), and dealing with the phone calls and the digital clamor from being hacked while I was on vacation (someone bought some fancy $1,200 hockey game tickets with my account, so nice of them). Looking at these photos makes me remember how great a day I was having on Sunday, and that has been a nice escape. Remember to take time for yourself right now, care for one another, encourage empathy, and reach out to those this horrific result will hurt the most in the coming years. We must keep fighting for what is right and stay strong in the face of a world so divided. Sending you all my love on such a mournful day <3

Shirt: Thrifted (80s/90s)
Skirt: Made by me
Swimsuit: Amazon
Sandals: DSW
Necklace: Accessorize
Pith Helmet: Amazon


  1. Love the safari look. The very casual yet elegant vibe.

    I'm sorry about the hackers -- I hope that your bank is able to cancel it?

    (And my network has been reaffirming itself and reassuring itself since Tuesday night. It was a hard day yesterday. Love to you and yours.)

    1. Thank you Tegan! I am a safari style devotee <3

      Luckily I think I've got everything fixed up now, stupid cyber crime nonsense sure made for an even more stressful week though!

  2. Oh, how horrible to have your account hacked! Can't the police just arrest the person who turns up to the game to sit in those seats?

    That ruined city looks like something out of a between-the-wars adventure story; playing Indy was EXACTLY the right things to do.

    Having been through the worst of Brexit, I've seen a horrible rise in racism and xenophobia here. Stay strong and good, and keep supporting those in need - because they will definitely need it.

    1. Sadly they bought tickets for a game that very night and probably sold them outside the venue for cash I imagine, jerks!

      I did get a few looks in my pith helmet, but it was worth it for the ultimate explorer vibes <3

      And that is exactly my fear, it is going to be a rough 4 years :(

  3. Magical photos, it must have been quite an experience to explore these ancient ruins. I am so glad you went all out with a pith helmet, you do vintage explorer chic so well!!! I hope you are able to get your money back, what a horrible situation.

    1. Thank you Harlow! I couldn't hold back with the prospect of actual ruins on my itinerary ;) I did get my money back thank goodness, after many phone calls, and lots of updates on what seemed like every website I ever visit!

  4. Looks like a lovely location- and the perfect exploring outfit too. I just saw a pith helmet the other day when I was at the antique store, and now I know how I could have worn it had I gotten it :)
    The Artyologist

    1. Thanks Nicole! I am always on the lookout for a real vintage pith helmet, this one is from Amazon!

  5. Perfect outfit for this location! It must have been a really interesting place to explore. I'm sorry that you were hacked, hope it is all sorted out now. I feel your pain with your election results, I feel the same about the Brexit results here.


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