In Tulum I camped on the beach, within sight of the aquamarine Caribbean Sea. Again I'd found paradise. I mostly passed the days hanging out with a trio of Italians, swimming in the warm, salty water and eating whole, salty fried fish, which we'd procure from town for a few dollars each. 

Instead of coming to the famous ruins via tour bus and the visitor's center, we approached mid-snorkel, coming out of the water, like sopping wet sea monsters, pushing our masks up onto our heads. 

For a few minutes we walked around with the crowds of ruins-seekers, salty water dripping from our swim trunks, before we decided to slink back off to that gentle sea to start the easy swim back to our beach camp.

That was toward the end of my winter in Mexico. I'd started my trip four months earlier, in Denver, taking the bus through Chihuahua and Durango and Zacatecas and Guanajuato--the entire north of the country--down into  the nation's heart at Mexico City. From there I gradually ventured south and west until I couldn't go any farther. Then I started to move east, forever through jungle, until I emerged on the Yucatan Peninsula.