Wednesday, November 30, 2011

End of Vacation

During our last three days in Playa we did a lot of relaxing.  We spent lots of time by the pool and beach.  I read three books!  It was perfect!  No matter where you were, servers would bring you drinks and food and every morning someone pushed around a cart with fresh tropical fruit which he would top with salt, chile, and lime.  Sooooo delicious.  One afternoon he pushed around a cart of ice cream with toppings.  That's the life for me.  :)  We also got to see and hold monkeys!  One day I held two squirrel monkeys and the next we both held a capuchin monkey.  I tried to buy a picture but their computers were acting up and we were getting ready to leave for the airport so I didn't get them.  :(   Here are a few pictures of our last days of vacation.

Ryan getting connected on the iPad:
Dinner at the steakhouse.  Super yum.

My big, ginormous, curly hair (which is normally pretty straight) that was out of control the entire time in Mexico.
Ryan being ornery while waiting for our shuttle bus into the town of Playa del Carmen.
Me and Pancho Villa (I think) in town.

Enjoying the beach and the ocean the last day before we had to head to the airport.

Waiting for the shuttle to the airport.  Clearly, I didn't want to leave!
As usual, a little ice cream cheered me up.
We got home late Thanksgiving night and really no restaurants were open so we had a delicious Thanksgiving meal of Ramen noodles.  The funny thing is if we would have been in Mexico we would have been able to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast!  It was actually wonderful to travel on Thanksgiving, though, because the airports were not busy at all and it was super easy to get in and out. 

I loved Playa and would love to go back!  I highly recommend going there if you're looking for a relaxing, warm vacation!

I'll write about our 3 day weekend following our vacation in my next post. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tulum Ruins

After the adventure portion of our tour we headed to the Tulum Mayan ruins.  A guide spent about an hour with us talking about the history of Tulum and the Mayans.  No one knows for sure what the Mayans originally called Tulum but they don't believe it was "Tulum" as that is the Mayan word for "fence" or "wall" and Tulum is fenced in on three sides by a rock wall (the fourth side is bordered by the ocean).  It is believed that when asked where they were from, inhabitants would respond with "Tulum".  Also, the guide said that most people in the Yucatan Peninsula don't believe all the hype about the world ending on December 21, 2012 according the Mayan calender.  Well, I guess I better start contributing to the 401k again if I've got more than a year to plan for.  Anyway, they believe that it was just an end of a period that will start over again, just like a day ends and and a new one starts. 

How beautiful is this?
As the city sat right on the ocean, it is believed it was a major trading port.  The residents were sustained by fresh water from an on site cenote.  It amazes me how smart these people were to find the fresh water and build such a sophisticated city that has survived to this day.  Apparently they were very short people as most of us tourists didn't fit well through doorways.

I don't know what these little structures are but when I asked Ryan he matter of factly replied "doghouses" and a girl beside us started laughing so hard because apparently she had just asked her husband and he just as matter of factly replied "outhouses".  Hmmm...even though I don't know the answer, I'm thinking neither one of theirs is probably the correct one.
Here are some more of pictures of the beautiful Mayan city.

More lizards!
Later that evening when we were back at the resort we went to listen to jazz and drink martinis before heading to dinner at the Italian restaurant.  They were having a Monday Night Football barbeque and broadcast out by the pool but we skipped it as we figured we can watch all the football we want when we're at home.

We had a wonderful time in Tulum and could have spent more time there at the ruins and in the market.  We thoroughly enjoyed our first three days in Mexico.  I'll post about the last three days next

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tulum Adventures

As mentioned previously, the third day of our trip to Playa del Carmen we spent on a Tulum Extreme Adventure tour.  Basically, it was a tour of the Mayan ruins in Tulum but also we got to rappel, zip line, and cave snorkel.  We had to be up bright and early as the ruins are about an hour from Playa.  First we headed to the "adventure" portion of the tour.  We drove way back into the jungle near Tulum and were shown a cenote and a chicle tree.  A cenote is basically an underground sink hole (kind of like a cave) with fresh water inside.  A chicle tree is what most chewing gum used to be made out of (hence the name - Chiclets).  Here Ryan is standing in front of a chicle tree that had been tapped in the past as you can see all the diagonal gashes on the trees.  Gum would seep from those gashes and would be collected in small bags.
Our first activity was rappelling.

Here's happy me during my second rappel where they let me go much faster than the first time.
Here's less happy me still trying to smile after they slowed me wwayyyy down and it made me slam my shin into the wooden structure.  Hmpf.
Next we had zip lining.

Our last adventure was cave snorkeling (or cenote snorkeling).  It was so beautiful!  I didn't see any critters down there like you might expect with snorkeling, but the stalactites and stalagmites were so pretty!  I'm glad this was our last and not first activity as it was quite a chilly shock to get in the water!  Thankfully we were getting a little hot outside during our prior activities so it was a nice cool off.

Then we had a yummy lunch in the jungle before heading to the ruins.
I'll write about the ruins in my next post but I will leave you with a picture of what I call my "gangrenous wound" from rappelling.
Here Ryan doctors me.  Yes, he did have an entire first aid kit with him.  That's my husband...