Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cancun Part 3 (Picture Heavy)

Hello lovelies!

For Part 1 here.
For Part 2 here.

So for our third day in Cancun we went on a tour. We booked our tour through a company called "Experiencias Xcaret" The tour we picked is called "Xichen Classico" and costs $77 USD per person. If you ask me it's a good deal because it includes round trip transportation, food, water,  the entrance to the attractions and you are always with a guide.

We had to wake up at 5 am because they told us we were going to be picked up at our hotel at 7am. Sure they were there at 7am sharp. They took roll and and handed out bracelets, then we went to pick up other people on the neighboring hotels. It only took like 30 minutes to fill up the bus. Then we were taken to a transfer center. Once there we went into our respective buses.
The Transfer Center

The buses were really nice, they had a bathroom, seats were comfy, they had AC, TV, drape curtains and most importantly they were uber clean. Our destination was 2 hours away and in the neighboring state of Yucatan, and our tour guy let us sleep almost the entire way. There was nothing really interesting in our way.

The first stop was the "Ik Kil Cenote". Most people don't know what cenotes are so here  is a brief explanation. They are sinkholes, but since Yucatan is very tropical, when the ground collapsed the water underneath the ground was exposed, and since it rains all the time they are filled with water all the time. So they are like natural pools, and you can only find them in the Yucatan peninsula. Some cenotes were sacred to the Mayans, they used them to throw offerings, including human sacrifices, and were burial places for royalty.
The cenote is inside a Mayan community, we met modern Mayan people, and they took our picture. Since the water in the cenote is sweet and cold it's difficult to float in. I'm not a good swimmer so I rented a sexy life jacket.

The place is just heavenly.

At the top there are some birds nests, and the birds fly around the cenote and they sing. The things hanging from the top are roots from the trees and they go all the way down to the water. There are some little waterfalls, and black cat fishes in the water. Seriously my photos don't make the place justice, it's 1000 times prettier in real life. It's a little dark and the flash ruins the pictures.

There was a cliff you could jump off, but since I'm still not recovered, I didn't do it, but I photographed a complete stranger jumping off.

They told us we had 2 hours to swim and eat, we lost track of time and after we changed into our clothes we only had 15 minutes to eat. We ran to the restaurant onsite and ate as fast as we could.
The Restaurant

We made it to our bus on time. There we met again with the mayan people that took our photo and they had printed it and put it on a bottle of Xtabetun.

Xtabentun, otherwise known as Mayan liquor is a liquor made out of anise, honey and rum. It's was so deliciously sweet, and since we liked the photo my boyfriend bought the bottle. I so regret not buying a bottle for myself because I've looked for Xtabentun over here and I can't find it.

Then the bus drove around 20 minutes, and the 2nd stop was the Chichen Itza Archeological Site. Our tour guide showed us things we can buy there like this stone massage and this statue made our of some stone that is black but when the light hits it reveals gold specks.
My face melting off at 94 F.
Chichen Itza is one of the 7 New Wonders of the World. It was a Mayan city, the main structure is the Pyramid of Kukulcan.
Pyramid of Kukulcan
The Mayans were so smart, they were the first civilization that invented the "0" and the pyramid is very symbolic. Like it has four sides, representing each season, each corner points to each cardinal point. All the steps add to 365 which represent the days in the calendar. Then on the spring equinox the pyramid casts a shadow that looks like a serpent crawling down the pyramid. The serpent is called "The Feathered Serpent" is their god Kukulcan, hence the name of the Pyramid. Representing how the god Kukulcan came down from the underworld to bless their crops or something like that. The Mayans believed the Quetzal (a colorful bird from Guatamala) was sacred and if you stand in front of the pyramid and clap loud enough, the echo sounds like the quetzal.  Like I don't know how they thought of all of this and actually did it!

Our guide explained many things they don't teach you in school. But I wont tell you everything because that would be long and boring.
This was the Ball court game, only the noble and royal were allowed here. They told they played this game once every 52 years, and apparently the winning team was sacrificed as an offering to a god.

This is where the King used to watch the game.
The ball had to go through this hole
Here is where they performed all of the human sacrifices it's called the temple of 1000 columns. At the top you can see a tiny Chac Mool.

At the back of the pyramid you can see it has been damaged. Our tour guide told us that like 7 years ago a hurricane came close by destroyed that side of the pyramid.
See the damage on the stairs?
We saw a lot of lizards too
The temple on top of the pyramid

We didn't get to see the Cenote and the observatory. I really wanted to see them, but we were only given 30 minutes of free time to take pictures and shop for souvenirs.
I couldn't stop laughing when I took this picture of my boyfriend. At first he didn't get, but the thing is you see the sky? it's all nice expect for that grey cloud right above him. I told him it looked like he was doing some kind of ritual to invoke rain. So I also asked him to take my picture.

We went back to the bus and they took us to our third and last stop.
sweating like sinners in church
The last stop was to a tiny town like 30 minutes away called "Valladolid" To be honest it was a waste of time. When I booked the tour they told me it only included the 2 stops at the cenote and Chichen Itza. But our tour guide took us here, we didn't get off the bus though, but  I would've preferred to stay longer at the ruins or the cenote than to come here.

There is nothing in the town but a cathedral that was built in the 1500's when the Spaniard came and conquered the Americas, they destroyed the Mayan temples and with the same stones they built this cathedral to convert the Mayans into Catholicism. That was all to look at the town.

I mean the town is very colonial, kind of pretty, but it's not worth a visit, at least in my opinion, because there are a town of cities in Mexico that look exactly like this.

I think we arrived at our hotel around 8, we took a shower and then we got ready for dinner.
Another elevator selfie
We went back to Carlos' 'n Charlie's, this time the kitchen was open. Yay!
This place is the bomb. They are a mix between a restaurant and a club. It's super loud inside.  The waiters go around the tables dancing, and make everyone dance, then back to eat, then dance a little more and so on. Really fun, but I didn't like the service too much because I noticed they were more attentive to the Caucasian customers, especially groups of females. I told my boyfriend next time we should play it dumb, and pretend we don't know Spanish to get the same "gringo" customer service

We had tacos and pescado borracho (drunken fish) for dinner. Accompanied by a margarita and Indio beer.

This will be it for part 3. Part 4 coming soon.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Cancun Part 2 (picture heavy)

Hello lovelies!

Here is part 2 of my vacation in Cancun, for part 1 click here.

I got asked where exactly is Cancun. It's a major tourists destination in Mexico. It's close to Cuba, and the state of Florida. See the map.
So the next day we went to the beach. We were eager to experience the Caribbean waters!

It did not disappoint us, the water is crystal clear and warm, and the sand is white and silky smooth. Hands down most beautiful beach I've ever been to! 

We took lots of pictures because we spent most of the day there. Warning beach spam coming ahead. I swear I could make several posts just about the beach.

The waters that day were a little rough, we were told, and also found out online that the beach in front of our hotel is actually man-made. So usually the beach is calm, almost like a swimming pool, but this day wasn't.

We also went to Plaza la Isla and we took the bus. The bus ride was a whole new experience. The buses have A/C, a TV and wifi! WTF!!! This is public transportation not a private service, we were amazed. Public transportation in the US is not that fancy.

Once in the mall, we went to an Italian restaurant called "La Madonna" because we had a coupon, but when we got there and nobody acknowledged our presence. They didn't even have a full house, there was only a family dinning, so it's not like they were busy or understaffed. The waiters just walked past by us so we left. They have pretty decor though,

Instead we took out business to my favorite restaurant... Chili's!

The menu from Chili's Mexico is different from the one in the US, they don't have my beloved Texas cheese fries! :'(

Anyways, around the mall there was this river, and you could go around it in a boat kind of like in Venice. It reminded me so much of "Boys Over Flowes", the scenes where they are in Macau. Sadly the river was closed and couldn't go on the boat.

So our main purpose to go here was to go to the "Cancun Interactive Aquarium" yes they randomly have an aquarium in the middle of a shopping mall.

The aquarium entrance fee is only around $12 USD, it's quite nice considering how small it is.
my boyfriend took this with his phone!
my boyfriend trying to eat some dangerous fish
since i'm more hardcore I went for the piranha

You can pet the sting rays, I had never touched one before and it scared me, its skin is so slimy.
Happy smiles
They even have dolphins and sea lions. You can swim with the dolphins, and have you picture taken with the sea lions. They even have a dolphin show for free. But when got there late so we didn't see any of this. Instead, we saw how this dolphin was being trained.

There is this shark tank, you can actually swim in it inside an acrylic cage if you pay like $20 more dollars at the entrance. To be honest I kind of wanted to do it because not everyday you have an opportunity to swim with sharks, but we didn't have swimwear with us.

There were some ugly fishes in the same tank as the sharks, I say ugly because they are huge!

So we went back to the hotel and it was dark already, we went to the pool, and afterwards we went to the pharmacy because I'm still having chest pains, and my boyfriend had a little injury so we walked there. On our way we caught a storm!

It was weird because it first felt like a breeze and in a matter of seconds it escalated to giant raindrops and got super wet, we ran to the closest kiosk at stayed there until it went away. It only lasted like 5 minutes though. Since it is so hot, out clothes dried in minutes.

For dinner we went to a Mexican Restaurant called "Paloma Bonita" it's decor it's so Mexican. Bright colors everywhere, even the waiters are dressed up as important people in the history of Mexico. Our waiter was dressed up as Emiliano Zapata a revolutionary leader. The greeter was dressed up as Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto.

But they have some really weird dishes like roasted bunny, and deer. But we had none of that, and instead played it safe with a sampler. It's was so delicious, probably the best food we had in Cancun.

We had sopes, quedadilla, fish taco, flautas, and I can't even remember the rest of the names.
A full stomach always brings a smile.

This will be it for part 2. Part 3 coming soon.

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