Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vacation MVP

We call Persephone our "Adventure Baby" because she adapts so well to changes on vacation. She just loves to see and do new things. She was fun to travel with on our vacation to Mexico despite few naps and late bedtimes. (This doesn't mean that we didn't have our share of meltdowns too. I think you really have to expect some emotional struggles when traveling with children so young.)

A Catnap Taken at Chichen Itza

Everything seems new when you are a tot. Persephone is examining one of the many shells we found on the beach.

Crazy Coba

Our last day in Mexico, Gabe went scuba diving in some cenotes and on a whim I signed Persy and I up for a tour to Coba. The concierge did a terrible job describing the tour and I was already on the bus far from the hotel before the tour guide informed us that this was a fourteen hour tour with multiple adventure stops! (Not exactly the news you want to hear when traveling internationally and alone with a temperamental toddler.) We somehow survived the napless day and I am glad that I got to see some of these incredible sites.

At the Cenote- We put our feet in and splashed about to cool down a bit. It felt like a sauna in there.

Steep Stairs at the pyramid at Coba, (I didn't attempt the uneven and dangerous climb with Persy.)

This picture says so much - check out Persy's scowling eyes. She is not happy to be in the carrier right now and wants to get out and jump off the rocks. I wish I knew how to photo shop out that lame bikini chick that stepped into this, and several other shots that I took. She had the right idea though, it was incredibly humid and hot touring around Coba.

This was the worse moment of the day- Persy had just thrown up a full juice box all over herself and her carrier. I splashed water on her head to cool her down and then let her explore a bit. She kept wanting to jump off rocks and I reached over to stop her and tell her "No!" when she gave me a sly look and jumped full force right into my mouth. I had a fat, bloody lip for the rest of they day. After that naughty and hectic moment our day got much better.

Our last stop on the tour was a large group of impressive caves deep in the jungle. I kept having to take the backpack off to stoop under low entrances in the cavern. I'm very grateful for all the help the other tour members gave to me. We ended up becoming friendly with most of the people on our tour because traveling with kids is such an ice breaker.
The caves had millions of stalactites and stalagmites. Some of the caverns were filled with water. Persy was fascinated and wide-eyed in the caves. When we left the caves we saw wild monkeys in the trees! We also saw alligators while driving through a swamp area earlier in the day. I was thrilled!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tacos and Tortillas

We ate tacos, salsa, and other Yucatan food with wild abandon. My favorite food from this region is Tacos al Pastor. I think I can eat 5 in one sitting. I also fell in love with a fruit flavored jelly candy.
When we found out that one of the restaurants where we ate made each tortilla by hand we asked if the cook we come out and give us a demonstration. She seemed rather delighted by our interest.

Love this man!

Valladolid and the World's Longest Car Game

After paying an outrageous $50 for the toll road to Chichen we decided to take the long way back to Cancun and stop by the colonial town of Valladolid. We got there right at twilight and strolled around the charming town square. I was extremely impressed with the maintenance of the city center. It was spotless and all the buildings had fresh bright paint with lovely white borders. There were delicious food stands and a waterfall and romantic conversation chairs through the plaza. I'm seriously ready to move there!

Throughout the day we had been playing car games with our friends. One game in particular involved naming famous people, (Ernest Hemingway for example,) and then the next person coming up with someone who's name started with the last letter of the previous name, (i.e. Harrison Ford.) We played the game on and off for 8 hours before I grew weary and ran out of "F" names. I thought the game would end soon, but the three competitive attorneys in the car kept things going for over four more continuous hours!! The little villas we were driving through had dozens of speed bumps and the lack of street lamps sent us flying through the air as when we missed spotting them. There were literally over 55 speed bumps on our way home and it became this awful nightmare of a ride as I endured what felt like the world's longest commencement ceremony with random names being called out as we bounced along the back country. Needless to say, I quickly figured out why somebody would be crazy enough to pay for the toll road.
(P.S. After a day of hiking, swimming, and exploring I felt awesome but did not look so hot. I really hate this picture. Ugh.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Swimming in Cenotes

One of my favorite vacation moments was when we went swimming in an underground cenote. When I was floating in the cool cave water I looked up and saw long tree roots and hundreds of bats flying around overhead. There were also dramatic stalactites and blind cave fish.

As a matter of fact I did ignore all of the "Swim at Your Own Risk" signs . . .

The little boys who rushed our car promising to "watch our stuff" for a bit of cash.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of my favorite archaeological ruins. The Mayans were such a fascinating and advanced society. I could write a whole paper about this site! (Actually I did write a paper about this site in my undergraduate days. The paper focused on osteological evidence for human sacrifice found in the sacred cenote.)

Ahh . . . the romance is still alive! When we came here several years ago we walked up the steps of the large pyramid, but they don't allow tourists to do that anymore.

Persy playing in front of the observatory.

Gabe, Persy, Wendy, Jared, Sade

In front of the Sacred Cenote.

Holding my little Adventure Baby

The sacrificial Ball Court