Itís really hard to explain how I was feeling as I headed due south, past Playa Del Carmen, past Tulum, and onwards into the unknown. It was strange riding the bike solo, I had no luggage outside of the bikeís boxes, and the bike rode like a different machine. I took off my jacket and stowed it in the back box, turned the music on the stereo up, and rode along in the beautiful sunshine. I could accelerate faster, brake harder, and turn tighter. I could actually ride the bike like I had never ridden it before. With no one following me, and no one to follow, I could do exactly as I pleased, but with no Jacquie, it didnít feel right. One minute I would be elated, the next overcome by waves of sadness. Jacquie and I hadnít been apart for more than a couple of hours for the past 30 weeks, and most of that time we were no more than a few inches apart, and now there was an empty seat behind me.
As I passed Tulum, I entered butterfly territory. At first there were just a few of them, then they were all around me, I slowed down as my windscreen became a battering ram, and squashed butterflies began to obscure my vision. There was nothing I could do as more and more of these beautiful creatures came to the end of their short lives on my screen. The road ahead seemed to be full of static and the butterflies darted all around the road and me and my bike.
That day I rode until I reached Chetumal, the last Mexican town before the border, some 6 hours later, arriving just after dark into this dreary, characterless town. I found a cheapish hotel without too much anguish, but was put off by the staff and the manner of the short, fat receptionist. I rode round the town for another hour in a fruitless search for a better option before returning to my first stop, the unfortunately named Hotel Ucum.
I paid up, unpacked, and went out to find an Internet cafť and a taco stand. I hated Chetumal. The streets were dirty, people unfriendly, and the town downright ugly. I did what I had to do, sent Jacquie an e-mail, and returned to the Ucum. I sat in my puke-green room and sobbed. This was not a great place to be on my first night alone.
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