Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Year's Eve, that's right, half way through June, I'm blogging about New Year's Eve.

New Year's Eve we were going to go downtown for the crazy Playa Del Carmen street party, but we bailed at the last minute in favour of  having a quiet dinner at our hotel.  After dinner we decided to walk around the resort to survey the festivities.  Declan was sporting a Baby New Year Hat, and gold mardi gras beads, so it's no surprise that he was the one to get the party started.

The main stage was set up for a band, and Declan just had to go on up there to start dancing.  There was music playing over the loudspeaker, and he just went up there and danced his heart out.  Soon he had the dance floor packed and lots of kids up there joining him to rock out on stage. 

Rock on!

Xcaret: Everything you could imagine.

I cajoled the Pridmores into joining us for a day at Xcaret, the Mexican Disneyland.   I, arguably, may have oversold it, as the park where whatever you could imagine, could be seen or done there.  Swim with Dolphins. Zipline, rodeos, manatee lagoon, monkey island, shark tank, the list went on and on. It turned out that Roscoe could imagine quite a few things that weren't offered at Xcaret, and spent the better part of the  day enumerating them to me.
What we did manage to do there was go swimming in an underground river. It took about an hour to get from A to B with Finlay and Declan in tow, but it was pretty cool.

Declan didn't know the Mayan warrior was right behind him poised to pounce.  He would not have been too keen about that.

We also got to see the Flying Men of Papantla, one of the cultural attractions at Xcaret.  It is a bunch of men playing musical instruments while hanging upside down spinning around a May pole sort of thing.  As you do.  It is named as a "Representative of Intangible Culture of Humanity" by UNESCO. 
Intangible, indeed, eh Roscoe?
Baby turtles!
We hiked through a Jungle River Trail to take a boat ride, that unbeknowst to us until boarding, was supposed to be undertaken in complete silence, as an homage to the natural beauty that surrounded us.  Two year olds, it turns out, are not so good with undertaking things in complete silence.  Here we are trying our best to hush Finlay and Declan to no avail. 

There was a notably childless woman sitting directly behind us who became quite incensed that we could not control our children.  She was tsk-ing louder than Declan and Finlay were talking.  As soon as the boat docked she jumped off and started writing FURIOUSLY in the guest book.  You could see her punctuating from a block away.  I am not sure what she wrote, but if anyone goes to Xcaret anytime soon, please have a look and see what she wrote about us.   Look for the entry with a lot of underlining. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Some Idiots Abroad: Chichen Itza Edition

 We hired a private guide in Playa del Carmen to take us out to Chichen Itza, which is about a 3 hour drive.  It was terribly crowded as we went on a Sunday, which is Mexicans Get into Chichen Itza Free Day. Who knew?  The crowds really impeded our novelty photo efforts. but we did what we could.   Things I learned- Chichen Itza is a Mayan City established around 600 AD, and is a World Heritage Site and one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World.   According to our tour guide, it is also a big pilgrimmage locale for Mormons, who believe that the Second Coming of Jesus already occurred in Chichen Itza. 

Declan in front of the Temple of Kukulkan, which is most famous for the serpentine pattern of light that moves either up or down the staircase on the autumnal and vernal equinoxes.  There are also some auditory phenomena designed into the Temple, where you stand at a certain spot, and clap your hands, the pyramid will bounce the sound back to you. 
This is our tour guide Guidelio.  He was very knowledgable about the blood thirsty ways of the Mayans.  Pretty much every carving at Chichen Itza is one warrior or another holding up some still-beating heart of a vanquished foe. This is the most drawings of still-beating hearts that I have ever seen.
Here's Declan and Shane in the Mayan Ball Court.  Be awhile before Dec can make a slam dunk.

Guidelio also took us swimming in a cenote, one of the system of large underground water pools that were sacred to the Mayans.  I couldn't get any good pictures with the crazy light, but the water was so clear, you could see forty feet down to the bottom, and the water was an amazing shade of blue. 
We stopped in a quaint Mexican town with a beautiful town square, and had a delicious and authentic meal in a food fair across the street.  Too bad I can't remember what the town was, seeing as how I was there 6 months ago.

A Three Hour Tour, or Thereabouts

So I'm in the midst of planning our summer holidays, and before I can do that with a clear conscience, I must make the blog posts from our last holiday- when we went to Playa del Carmen over New Year's.  We had such a great trip, meeting up with our friends Roscoe and Anna, and their son Finlay, who were at the time living in exile in Panama.  We got to do quite a bit of sightseeing, and had a great time.  One afternoon on our Playa del Carmen holiday we chartered a small boat to take us fishing and snorkelling.  It was Declan's special request as he had been watching the boats from the beach and had been asking to go on a boat ride, and it turned out to be one of my favourite parts of our holiday.  It was a picture perfect day.  We didn't get much of a snorkel in as Declan was not having any of it. 

He didn't want to get off our boat for love or money.  We did do some fishing though.  I caught a red snapper, and Shane and Declan asked that their fishcounts not be publicized here.  After a couple of hours on the sea, we were taken to a private beach where we played in the sand and relaxed while our rather grizzly looking captain prepared us lunch.  I watched him prepare fresh amberjack ceviche on the back of the boat, and I must say, it was the best ceviche I've ever had.  So delicious I can't even tell you.  The whole lunch was the best meal we had in Mexico, which in part was due to the beautiful setting I'm sure, but Captain Gritty McGrizzle was definitely a diamond in the rough when it comes to the culinary arts.  Who would have thought?

Our divine lunch spot. 

Some pelicans came by looking for ceviche scraps.

The view of our hotel from the water.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Celeb Encounter

At Mac the Neighbour's birthday party, Spiderman made a special appearance.  When we first came in, Spiderman was engaging in hand-to-hand-combat with all the older kids, and it freaked. Declan. out.   After much cajoling, Spiderman convinced Declan to come within arm's reach.  Interesting tidbit- the guy in the suit is an American Idol-in-law, the brother of Kris Allen.   He does weddings, parties, anything.

Land-based Days are Behind Us...

With the heat being in the upper 90s everyday for the last 2 weeks, we have forgone dryland activities, and have embraced the life aquatic again.

Hurrah for summer!  Just don't let Declan hear that, as he is quite adamant that it is still springtime.  I am looking forward to the solstice so I won't have to be corrected by my 3 year old anymore.