“The hotel isn’t in Valladolid,” my husband said. “It’s really far out.”
“I know. It’s the second closest one to the Ek Balam Ruins,” I responded. By then, one kid was awake and needed to use the restroom. So, we stopped at a decent looking open air food court place and my husband and son went to use the facilities. By the time they returned, my daughter was awake, so the two of us headed in, too.
When I returned, I was putting her into her travel safety vest. We’d just started using them for traveling and while the learning curve wasn’t steep, my speed of buckling the children was much slower. As I bent over her seat and wrestled with the seat belt and her vest, my husband started yelling. In that moment, I felt a finger touch the sliver of exposed skin on my back.
Shocked, I turned and saw a man standing there. By this time, I had started shrieking at him like a banshee.
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“Move away,” I screamed over and over, unable to come up with ANY Spanish words. The man put his finger to his lips and he remained calm during my flailing and yelling. If you want me to stop screaming at you, walk away! I remember thinking. He didn’t walk away.
My husband got out of the car and that was when the man finally moved away from our car. We got back into the car and locked the door. With shaking hands, I bent over from the front into the back seat and finished securing my daughter. She was crying by this time because of all the yelling.
The spot of skin where the man had touched me was burning.
“You should’ve elbowed him,” my husband said. “He was really drunk, he’d have fallen down.”
“I had no idea what was happening,” I said. My guard was down. We were in the Yucatan, one of the safest parts of Mexico, plus my husband was with me. I didn’t expect a stranger to approach me from behind and I certainly hadn’t heard him.
“All the more reason you should’ve hit him,” my husband responded. “I thought you had more fight in you.”
“He didn’t hurt me,” I said. “I responded appropriately.”
I was a little disappointed in myself, a strange man with unknown intentions had been awfully close to my children. I’m thankful he didn’t have a gun.
Way off the Tourist Path
We continued to lightly argue about it as we drove towards our hotel, far outside of town, and far off the beaten tourist path. The hotel was near the Ek Balam ruins, which I’d been looking forward to visiting. However, once my husband saw the surrounding town, he became increasingly uncomfortable.
So, we cancelled the reservation, losing the 500 peso deposit, and leaving me scrambling to find us a room in Tulum on short notice. Just so you know, there isn’t a lot of cell service on the road between Valladolid and Tulum.
I emailed the hotel. The hotel’s proprietor said she’d never heard of anything like that happening in Valladolid and said the town in which the hotel was located was safe. They walk around it at all hours of the night.
I believe her on all accounts.
But we were shaken. We wanted to make sure our children were safe… so we skipped the Ek Balam ruins and headed to Tulum.
As always, everyone has different experiences in different areas. It was really odd and left me uncomfortable for a day or two, of course. I can’t say do or don’t go to any one place. Weird things can happen anywhere. Even if you stay home. This incident happened a good 25 miles from Ek Balam. The area is considered to be safer than where I live in Central Mexico.
I still want to visit the Ek Balam Ruins.
The one good thing is that we got to swap out seeing Ek Balam for a different set of ruins that I’ve heard awesome things about: the Coba Ruins! The ruins at Coba ended up being my favorite and I’m grateful my path was changed so we could go there.
I’ve had some time to reflect on this incident. In retrospect, I believe the man probably wanted money. Being drunk, instead of tapping me, he did that weird touch thing. I’ve heard Valladolid is a wonderful town and that these things rarely happen there. While I doubt I’ll get to Ek Balam and Valladolid again in the near future, I hope others will still consider both destinations.
Did you visit Ek Balam Ruins? Did you like it? Would you visit again?