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Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

Okay, so first things first. I know I was really good yesterday with the accent thingy on Coba, but the whole thing is getting tedius and Chichen Itza is just going to have to be Americanized today. I’m sorry, but my keyboard is American, and so this post will be as well.

Chichen Itza was one of my favorite parts of the whole Mexico trip. It was a three hour bus ride, which was painful, but very worth it. Unfortunately it rained a lot and Avery had missed her nap so I missed the tour that the rest of my family got to go on. Consequently this post is going to be mostly pictures with a very little bit of explanation I picked up from signs and the very beginning of the tour, before the rain started.

First, the main temple. The temple was way impressive. I was really awestruck by it’s size and how it just juts out from the flat field the way it does.

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Chichen Itza temple

 This picture is actually from behind the temple. The front face is more restored and even more impressive. The tunnel is part of an archeological project. They apparently decided to dig a tunnel under the temple and as they did so they discovered another smaller temple underneath the big one. Inside were two statues. They think the bigger temple was built over the smaller temple when two cultures meshed around 400 AD. Other details support this theory. There was also a Mayan ball court that Dad and I saw from a distance that everyone else saw closer up.

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All wet and soooo sleepy

About ten minutes into our tour it started pouring and Dad and I went to find refuge under an awning to keep Avery dry. It didn’t really work, but while we were gone our tour group moved on around the park and we never did catch up with them again. Eventually, in spite of being soaked, Avery fell asleep for a few minutes.  After the tour the rest of the family managed to chase us down, but we had wandered into the older part of the city and never made it back to look closely at the main part that the tour covered.

Here’s what we did see.

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 A mayan hut. They made them rounded so they wouldn’t have any corners for the evil spirits to hide in.

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These columns seemed to go on forever. Some of them you could still see engravings on and it was fun for me to imagine how impressive they would have been when they were new and held up a roof.

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I’m not sure what this building was used for, but I liked it because you can see the snake head sculptures on the sides of the bottom of the stairway. In the older city there are no snakes and there are no signs of human sacrifice. They think that around 400 AD when the older civilization and the newer one (possibly the toltecs) meshed the newer one brought both these traditions – the snake god and human sacrifice.

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A lot of the buildings were little more than rubble.

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This was a church in the older city.

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I liked the carvings on this building. They were remarkably clear.

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Another cool building.

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We had a good time in spite of the rain and lack of nap and Avery even got a cool pink hat that she refused to wear. I really wish I could have heard more of the tour, but maybe I can check out a book from the library or something. It was really an amazing place.

About five minutes from Chichen Itza is another cenote. We took a side trip with some of the group we went with to go see it. It was really cool and really deep. I don’t have any pictures because the rain at Chichen Itza did bad things to the camera, but there are pictures here http://www.wohlmut.com/Maya/Ik-Kil.htm The water was 150 feet deep and you can swim in it.

We hadn’t brought our swim suits, but Linden, Clair and I jumped in anyway. I was in jeans and man was I worn out after swimming around a bit. Wet jeans are HEAVY. It was totally worth it though, even though we froze in the air conditioned bus all the way home. The place was really beautiful and there were even little shark-like fish swimming around. If I ever have the chance I’ve told Ivan we’re going back there to stay in the little hotel right next to the cenote for a second honeymoon or something like that. It was lovely.

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Mexico Part 2: Cobá

While Mom and Dad were off picking up Nathan in Tuxtla Gutierrez the rest of us divided up into two groups and went to Cobá on consecutive days. We divided so that one group would always be home with Avery.

I felt a little like the trip was falsely advertised because it said we were going to Cobá. We did go to Cobá, but in reality we spent half of the day in other places.  The first half of the day we did the adventure activities. Grandpa waited in the van through most of those, but not all of them. After all the exciting high risk stuff we went to the actual ruins of Cobá and walked around.

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Zip Line

After the two hour bus ride over about a million speed bumps and honking at about ten dogs to get out of the road we arrived at a jungle-ish area where we changed into swim suits and headed out. We hiked a little bit to a zip line. Clair was pretty scared of the zip line (I think she was scared of about everything adventurous that we did) but she was a good sport and didn’t make too much of a fuss.

The zip line went over a field and a small pond. It was a nice view but kind of short for my taste. I was hoping to zip line through a full jungle scene, but it was fun none the less. After the zip line we walked a little ways to a pond where we kayaked through a pond and a small canal to another pond. We saw some fish and the ponds were really peaceful. It was pretty nice.

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Clair and Me Kayaking

Clair was hilarious steering. Mostly we did pretty well but we ran into a few river banks. After the kayaking we all got back in the van and drove to another site where there was a cenote. I think this was my favorite part of the day. A cenote is an underground cave with water filling it. First we had a blessing by a Mayan shaman to protect us from the bad spirits in the cenote. They Maya believe that the bad spirits will make bad things happen to you for three days after going into a cenote so he gave us a protective blessing in Mayan.

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Mayan Blessing

The smoke is tree sap put on hot coals so it burns. He taught us a few words in Mayan but I forgot them almost as soon as I heard them. So much for my linguistic skills. After the blessing we crawled through a tiny opening down some really steep stairs onto a platform that was just above the water. After a quick talk we all got to jump in.

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Cenote

The water was crystal clear and felt really nice. It was nice and quiet and our guide grabbed some calcium from the bottom to rub on our faces for a “professional spa treatment.” I wanted to stay down there for about three hours, but we had to move on.

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Our group. You can kind of see how clear the water is.

After the cenote we changed into regular clothes and drove to a cenote that had caved in so that there wasn’t any water in it anymore. We rapelled down the side into the bottom of it and looked around a bit before climbing some really steep stairs to get back out. This is the part my 82 year old Grandpa decided to participate in. Crazy old man!

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Me Rapelling

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Grandpa rapelling

He had quite a time getting back out of the cave too.

After the rapelling we had a traditional mayan meal made for us by the women of the village we had done most of our adventures in. The food was fabulous. Unfortunately from this point out I don’t have any pictures, as Mom and Dad had taken the camera with them to get Nathan. The pictures I do have and have posted so far came from the people who ran the tour. They put all the pictures they took on a CD we could buy at the end, and as I knew I couldn’t live without a picture of my Grandpa rapelling, I forked over the 20 bucks and now I can show all you wonderful people what we did.

The meal was vegetable soup, black beans, rice, two different types of chicken, tortillas stuffed with potatoes, homemade corn tortillas, jamaica (hibiscus tea, but it was cold) and tamarindo. It was fabulous. And they had spaghetti there for picky people like Clair, so she was happy too. Of course, we were all pretty hungry, but we ate up and everyone seemed to like it. At the end they gave us a desert made of sesame seeds and honey.

After the meal we drove to Cobá where we had a very serious and emphatic tour of a ruin of a government building and Mayan ball court before we went to see the main temple a mile and a half away. The tour was interesting. The buildings are oriented to the compass and the ball court had a carved picture at each end that was only barely visible anymore that describes the rituals of the ball game. It looked kind of grisly.

After the tour we hired a local biker with a bike set up to take two passengers in front to take us all to the main temple. It was pretty impressive and apparently they usually let people climb it (not that I probably would have, I was pretty beat by then) but they have been trying to restore it for the last couple of months and weren’t allowing anyone to climb it. It was big and impressive, although not as cool as the temple at Chichen Itza. It also wasn’t as well restored which diminished its impression a little but there were rocks with carvings on it and I can’t imagine how they got all those rocks piled on top of eachother the way they were. I’m glad I saw it before Chichen Itza, though, or I might have been a little disappointed.

We rode back in the same bike contraption and I bought a treat at the entrance of the park. Clair bought a bracelet and we checked out some of the things people were selling. Then it was an hour to Tulum where we had cookies and abstained from a free shot of tequila and then two more hours home. The tour guide told us when we got back that we had driven over 108 speed bumps that day. There’s Mexico for you I guess.

The next day Linden, Nathan and Nelson got up at 6:45 and they got to do the whole thing while we went to go get Grandpa a replacement pair of pants for the pair he tore on the trip.

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Mexico Part 1: Introduction

Last week my family (meaning my mom, dad, all my siblings, my daughter, and my grandpa) went to Mexico. Unfortunately Ivan was in Budapest studying diligently so he didn’t get to go. The basic info:

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The beach from our balcony

We stayed at a resort called Riu Caribe in Cancun and it was lovely. It was right on the beach and had fabulous everything.

 

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Avery loved the pool because it had a strip around the entire edge that was about a foot and a half deep. She thought it was the coolest thing to be able to stand up and walk around in a pool all by herself.

I wish I could have taken pictures of the cafeteria and things. They had artistically cut melons and all sorts of cool decorations, but I didn’t have a camera for half of the trip.

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Mom and Dad left after a couple days to go pick up Nathan, which was. incidentally, the whole point of the trip. Unfortunately tickets to Tuxtla Gutierrez were nearly twice as much as tickets to Cancun, so only Mom and Dad flew to actually pick him up. In the meantime we went on an excursion to Coba (to be described later).

We spent one day on our Coba adventures while Mom and Dad were gone and one day in Chichen Itza after Mom, Dad and Nathan got back. Other than that I ate guacamole, french fries and chocolate milk every day and we sat on the beach and watched Avery go nuts in the waves and play in the sand.

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Shopping!

Shopping was an adventure. Everywhere we went people tried to get us to buy stuff and I found myself to be an awful bargainer. I got better with time, especially when Nathan got back and started telling me what I could get for my money. The people at the historical sites were pretty nice and not too pushy, but we went to a market in Cancun and you almost couldn’t even shop there because you spent so much of your energy ignoring everyone yelling at you. “It’s my turn.” “I’ve been waiting for you.” “Come to my shop.”

I bought a dress, a bracelet, a pendant, a letter opener for Ivan and a chess set.

The last day we were there my dad treated all of us girls to a manicure and pedicure at the spa. It was fun and I got french tip nails. I’ve always kind of wanted to do that. Unfortunately, we think that while we were down there one of the hotel employees went through our stuff because each of us three girls in our hotel room found money missing from our wallets the next day on the way home.  So I guess you can say we had a full foreign experience, including being pick-pocketed – sorta.  Always use the safe right?

 

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