Monday, November 21, 2005

Postcards on Parade ~ Cancun, Mexico

The top two cards are views of the place we stayed, the Hotel Calinda. The lower left card is a building at Chichen Itza, and the other one is "El Castillo", or The Castle Pyramid, also at Chichen Itza.


I have written a little bit about my experiences in Cancun, and if you are so inclined, you can read about it here: http://justaskjudy.blogspot.com/2005/05/happy-cinco-de-mayo.html

The story of our catamaran charter to Isla Mujeres bears telling. The hotel concierge said this was a good day trip for families; on Isla Mujeres (which means Isle of women) there would be a picnic, swimming with giant turtles and snorkeling near a reef just off the island coast. Two of our children were with us on this trip, so we signed up for this day trip. I had never been on a catamaran before, and I was leery of it - seeing as how I get so seasick. I was assured that this boat travels so fast that the motion of the ocean is not a factor. Yeah, right. If you believe that, there's a bridge in NY I'd like to sell you!

We had only been on board for about 10 minutes when my stomach began to churn. Luckily, the trip was over soon, without time for me to become fully sick. The waters in that area are so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom sand. I thought we were in water no more than 5 feet deep, but when I asked one of the crew, he said the depth was 30+ in that area. I was astounded, since we could see fish of all types as clearly as if they were on the boat with us. Especially populous were the barracuda, which the crew were fishing for off the back of the boat. They had a large barrel with ice in the bottom, and after catching the barracuda with lines in their hands (no poles) they would club the fish to stun it and throw it in the barrel. Seeing that was not the best part of the trip, I can tell you!

Once on the Isla Mujeres, we donned our snorkels and masks and were led out into a channel. About 20-30 yards off-shore, we spread out over the reef to see the fish. This was my first time with a snorkel, so I didn't venture below the surface. Actually, I have a very hard time getting underwater, as I am not a strong swimmer and I float so well. There were probably 8-10 different types of fish to see, and it was interesting, even from the surface. After that adventure, we dressed for the picnic, or what passed as a Mexican version of one. In an open air buffet/cafeteria line, we were offered many different types of Mexican foods. My stomach was tenuous at best, so I played it safe with the offerings. My son was in HEAVEN! He ate some of everything, but then he has a cast iron stomach, while mine is made of hardware cloth.

We sat down on redwood picnic tables, and were soon joined by macaws and other birds, looking to filch a morsel of something. My son, who has always been good with animals of all kinds, had the macaw on his shoulder in no time. Later on, the monkeys appeared, and true to form, he had one of them sitting on the crook of his arm in short time. The monkey was loving the bits of watermelon he was given.

Some people wanted to swim with loggerhead turtles, who were in a fenced-in-area specifically set aside for this. The swimmers were warned not to try and ride on the backs of the turtles, because they whip around to try and fling you off. Of course, you know what happened. There's always an idiot in the crowd. One guy (about 25 years old) just had to cling to the back of a turtle, who showed his displeasure by veering back and forth in a rather violent manner. At one point, the man's foot grazed a nail that was sticking out of a fence rail underwater, and when he emerged from the water, he was dripping a huge trail of blood. No one had any sympathy for his, as he had blatantly disregarded the warnings by the tour guides. They bandaged his foot as well as they could (they were not prepared for this) and we boarded the catamaran for the trip back to Cancun Beach. I don't know what happened to the guy, but he did have to go to a hospital for stitches. I am thankful to this day that I didn't let my son swim with the turtles, else he might have been the one with the slashed foot.

Maybe soon, I will tell you about the fiasco in the airport that preceded this trip to Mexico. It's a long one.






14 comments:

Jamie Dawn said...

One of these days, I'll post about the cruise we went on for our tenth anniversary and how SICK I got.
My parents went to Cancun a few years ago, and they took some great pics.
It sounds so gorgeous. I will be sure to protect my feet!

dena said...

I'm chuckling at the thought of the idiot trying to catch a ride on the turtles. Why are some people so hard-headed? There's a reason they tell you not to latch on...you're right, there's always one person that has to prove to the world he's a moron.

srp said...

It sounds lovely and at least the stupid person got his just reward. Seeing the fish in such clear water would have been wonderful.

colleen said...

This sounds great! I once got very sick on a glass bottom boat, and paid $35 for it.

Inanna said...

ACKY! You ratted me out!! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. It was the day from hell, but I'm still happy to be alive and give it another go tomorrow!

Hale McKay said...

Sounds like you a wonderful time- good for you.

Peter said...

Sounds good 'cept for one idiot, there always seems to be one.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Wonderful..I've never been to this part of the world...but I have seen water as you described in a few places...I love that!
This is such a rich experience, Judy...Would love to hear more...

Aginoth said...

We went to Chitzen Itza as part of a 2 week stay on the Riviera Maya in 2002...fabulous area, I so want to go back.

kenju? when are you going to set up a blogroll links list on your sidebar?

mar said...

I have never been to Cancun but my parents have and they loved it. Google said about the Isla Mujeres that "in Mayan times the island served as the sanctuary for the goddess Ixchel, the Mayan Goddess of fertility, reason, medicine, and the moon". It is a wonderful place to visit. Too bad that one guy had to spoil the fun. Oh, airport fiasco... I hope I don't have one with my trip on dec 1st.

Janet said...

I'dve much rather photographed the turtles than ride them. Sounds like a great trip, sunshine & ocean, yum! Hi, Michele sent me :-)

David Parsons WV said...

I have never been farther north than Wheeling, WV or west of the Mississippi. I love reading your well written blogs on exotic places. You have such a talent for writing that a book is in order!!!

Weary Hag said...

Interesting story! With my fascination for sea turtles, I would have LOVED to swim with them... but seeing how I like to have my feet planted firmly on the ground (nothing figurative about that in this case) I doubt I'll have that opportunity!

(I was, however, rooting for the turtle when you mentioned the man who disregarded the rules) :)

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