School, work, life, puppy. You get it.
This part of Mexico is unlike anywhere else I have ever been in the world to date. The Yucatan left an impression on me, and surprisingly, I wouldn't mind going back to explore it more, though preferably sans the headless bodies they found in a mass grave. That happened while we were there :/.
Mexico is kind of a culture shock to those unprepared for the reality.
Valladolid - Colonial Village
We stayed at the lovely Hostel Candelaria, located right on a beautiful park plaza.
Seriously, brush up on your Yucatec Spanish because no one speaks English outside of the tourist areas on the coast. I stumbled my way through half remembered 8th grade Spanish but got back into the swing of it by our 3rd day.
Most of the hostel was "outside" in the back garden. It was kind of like someone took the mansion and cut it in half with a chain saw.
We had heard horror stories of bed bugs, stolen luggage and rude guests and we had somehow chosen one that was OUTSIDE at the peak of hurricane season in a third world country. (I know, I know...)
Lucky for you dear reader, we made it back alive and it turned out to be my favorite place we stayed during the entire trip. I loved it.
I actually watched a weird looking bug crawl towards our door. Stop. Then turn around and high tail it the other way...soooo either we had a watch spider hanging out somewhere behind the door or they were using the molotov cocktail of cleaning solutions. Either way, no creepy crawly problems.
It ended up being the most charming of the cities we eventually visited in the peninsula.
The city is colored in pastels and surprisingly clean. You can tell it's an old city. The sidewalks are very very narrow and the streets are all cobble stoned in the main square. The streets are busy and lively. Mexican jazz plays on a lot of radios. It's actually not bad. Way better than mariachi.
Lots of vendors crowd the already narrow sidewalks trying to sell you oddly shaped corn husks sprinkled with chili powder that look like they've been accruing some new form of the bubonic plague all day stewing in the humidity.
We decided not to chance eating the street food. My bowels couldn't even handle a London corner store. I would've died with my pansy ass stomach.
We did eat at a great place owned and run by European expats called Naino's. He was from Portugal and she from Belgium. Their food was a welcome reprieve from local cuisine after a few days. I truly truly recommend them if you are in town. They boast wifi and good conversation as well as amazing cooking and very decent pricing. Less than $2 USD for a full plate of the best spaghetti I have ever had in my life. The wife also makes a mean Belgian milk shake (essentially really chilled and thick chocolate milk to us Americans, but dammit, in the 90 degree jungle, it was really fucking good.)
They are a darling over at tripadvisor, too so I'm not just blowing smoke. Go try them out.
It's big. It's old, and the Mexican government makes a lot of money taxing foreigners to come here, so they advertise it like crazy.
The other draw back to that, as a tourist, is that the locals set up stalls in the hundreds to constantly harass and sell crap to you and all of the other tourists for WAYYYY more money than it's worth. If you look at the picture above, you will see Han holding one of the aforementioned pieces of crap. Shut up. I like it.
I would've taken a picture of the stalls but I wanted to avoid eye contact.
One night we were eating at a restaurant in Valla and the owner, being European and an English speaker, came and talked to us for a bit. He told us that people would jump into the Cenote Sagrado not realizing that they are in the middle of nowhere and there is no way to get out. There is no fire department that can come save you and the police can't (likely won't) do anything. Yikes.
So don't do stupid shit in Mexico, kids.
The ball court at Chichen is the biggest in Mexico.
Because if you look closely fellow artists and art historians, you can see an early attempt at PERSPECTIVE of the skulls on the corner pieces.
The mayan's were attempting to use perspective some 700 years before Europeans did in the 1400's when Brunelleschi invented 1 point perspective.
Dude. Come on, that is so cool.
Ek Balam is a "non-protected" site. Meaning us lucky and selfish tourists can climb all over it and there are no restrictions. So, if you're going to steal something, do it here but at least be discreet.
I told Han to take a picture of the steps from the top looking down so I could look at it later and be like "I climbed that motherfucker."
We said hello to a small pack of wild puppies that were roaming the site. I took a picture of three sisters below.
I thought it was cool. Took a picture. No cool story here.
I stayed near the ropes the rest of our dip and let the little minnows and catfish nibble on my skin. If you stayed still enough, hundreds would swarm you. To think that fancy white people pay to have these things eat their foot crumbles in some boozy upscale salon in the States and here I was getting a full body treatment for less than $2.
Since Merida is their capital, it was much more developed and people were obviously more economically well off. Even though it was the capital it still looked and felt like the most run down parts of San Diego outside of the main square surrounding the old Cathedral.
The main square was beautiful at night as seen above.
We were pretty tired of self guiding all of our expeditions at this point, so we decided to take a guided tour from our hotel to the last two ruins.
Just a piece of wood with a stupid sticker on it, right?
That piece of wood is from 600 BCE.
600 years before Christ.
The primordial moistness of their air preserved it pretty well.
At this point, there isn't really much more history or info I feel compelled to regurgitate for you guys.
Just look at the cool pictures.
Kabah - The Last Ruin
Playa Del Carmen
Why do rich people pretend that these exotic beaches don't reek of shit? Secrets out. It sucks.
Yeah, that's going to make me buy your shitty, over priced Seattle Seahawks luchador mask. Faux flattery dipped in sweat, cheese and more hair than I've ever seen on a goat.
By this point, we had been crawling all over the Yucatan jungle for 6 days and we didn't want any more adventures or harassment so we only ventured outside of our hotel for food and souvenirs.
I never want to go back to PDC.
We will be putting off international travel for the time being as I am FINALLY in my last year of college and need to focus. We will, in the meantime, be saving up for a month long trip as a graduation present and reward for my extreme patience during the lack of travel. We're volleying back and forth between Europe and Japan. We just can't decide.
Until Next Time,