We had waited seven days for the sun to come out in Tulum. With so many gloomy days, we could only enjoy one of the top beaches in the world so much without the warmth of the sun.
We tried it one afternoon, actually. Rain was expected at only a 40% chance that day so we went for it! If we closed our eyes, it sounded like the beach. And in those moments where the clouds would part and the sun would shine through, we could feel what it should feel like.
It was a bit of a letdown.
But on that eighth day, the weather report showed zero rain! Some sun, even! So we knew we had to take full advantage of this opportunity.
We’d get up at 5:00 AM and be on the beach before the sun rises at 6:49 AM. By bike. With breakfast in our hands. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Little did we know that the world was betting against us.
Here was the plan:
5:00 — Wake up, Linda hits the shower and gets ready for the day.
5:30 — Jon bikes down to Taqueria Honorio to grab two tostas and two bottles of juice for the road. They allegedly open at 5:00 AM for the morning workers, so we have plenty of time.
6:00 — Bags are packed, Linda is ready, breakfast in hand. Jon meets Linda back at the room and they bike off together toward the sunrise.
6:20 — Arrive at the beach with 20 minutes remaining to set out towels, prep the food and cameras with plenty of time to enjoy the sunrise.
6:49 — Sun rises. We hold hands in a romantic scene made for a movie. Bird chirp as they wake. Flowers bloom as a mysterious group of charming musicians appear to serenade us as we relish in glory of our successful adventure and flawless planning.
Sounds pretty realistic, right?
Here’s how it actually went down:
5:00 — Everything goes as planned. Jon actually got up when he was supposed to despite the lack of sleep we got that night between the music playing outside and the giant rats walking on our skylight.
5:30 — Jon leaves but the exit gate is closed where it had, up until this point, been left wide open. It’s locked. With a bike lock. You can’t get in or out without the code.
Our host failed to tell us there was a night time lock. I guess he didn’t expect anyone to be leaving at five in the morning. But thank goodness there were two workers awake who were watching a movie (I know, at 5:00 AM…) and I was able to flag them down and they let me out.
5:40 — I bike in the direction of breakfast. The streets are empty, aside from one mangy dog who starts barking at me in a ‘that-dog-has-rabies’ kinda way. So I speed up as the dog rises to it’s feet.
Now, right in front of this dog is a speed bump and as I accelerated and rounded the bump, my rear bike wheel shakes loose the chain from my 30-year-old bicycle. So with one eye on Rabies, the other eye on the impending stop sign, I awkwardly drift and tip-toe my bike through an intersection, with Rabies in tow. Once on the other side, the dog determines I’m no longer a threat to his space on the sidewalk and loses interest. I replace my chain and reach the restaurant, hands covered in grease.
5:45 — They’re not open yet. Come back at 6:00 AM, they say. I sigh, calculate the timing in my head, and turn back.
6:00 — Linda is ready, I meet her at the room as planned. We load up the bags and head on our way.
6:05 — The restaurant is open! We’re the only ones in line yet it takes 15 minutes to get our food.
6:15 — The sky is getting lighter now. We’re starting to doubt our planning! So we pedal hard and fast.
6:20 — Remember the bike chain? Yeah, it fell off again. And again. And again… six times along this 20 minute commute. With plenty of practice, I got quicker at replacing it each time. Eventually we slowed to a steady pace to avoid the chain falling off and we made up for lost time.
6:35 — We made it to the beach! The sky was a dark blue as we locked up the bikes and rounded the top of the hill. We fully expected to see the sun over the horizon but the world hadn’t beat us yet!
6:37 — We quickly search for a place to set up for the day. Nervous we’d run out of time, we found a perfect log to sit on and eat our breakfast before setting out the towels.
6:39 — ANTS! They start coming out and around the log and we bolt. We commit to a place in the sand.
6:45 — The clouds are collecting colour as we unwrap our food. We relax, impressed with ourselves, as we await the rising sun.
6:49 — Right on time. The sun peeks over the horizon as we enjoy our breakfast. But the charming musicians must not have received the memo. And the birds were more interested in stealing our sandwiches than chirping.
But despite all of the obstructions, we still made it in time. To our surprise, there wasn’t a single person on that beach for nearly three hours that morning. We had it all to ourselves. As the sun rose higher, the air got warmer and we were in our swimsuits soaking up the rays by 9:00 AM.
The world definitely bet against us that morning. I know this for sure because when we had returned to our towels after a photo session in the water, we found a folded up $100 peso bill sitting in the middle of the towels.
We don’t fold any bills and hadn’t touched our money since breakfast time that day. It definitely wasn’t ours so we decided that it must have been the world paying up after it lost the bet.