Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tulum Ruins

Armed with a decent night's sleep, a tasty breakfast of pastries washed down with above average instant coffee, two liters of water, a few snacks, hats, umbrellas, sturdy boots, sunscreen, bug repellent, and a few pages torn out of a guide book, we set off under cloudy skies for the 3km walk from our hotel to the Mayan ruins of Tulum.

The walk was straight forward, not unpleasant, and we entered the site about 9:30 (57 pesos each) just as the first tour groups arrived. Tulum ,a compact Mayan ruin perched on limestone cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea, was formerly a walled trading sea sea port but is now occupied by a steady stream of tour groups

Sun-Lings says the ruins were underwhelming and crowded but since we are Chinese it was OK. haha

We left the ruins at noon, had some tasty snacks called kekais on the way home, rested in our hotel room, ate more antojitos for dinner, and went to bed early as we need to get up for our 8:30AM bus to Chetumal and onward to the Mexico-Belize border.

The Tulum ruins from the southeast corner looking north.
Tulum, Mexico

The Tulum ruins from the northeast corner looking south.
Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

To Tulum

After two flights, including a dash-for-the-gate in Atlanta, and two easy bus rides, we arrived in Tulum, Mexico about 4PM local time. The dash in Atlanta left us wondering if our luggage had made the connection, but no worries, both bags came out on the carousel in Cancun.

A layover between buses in Playa del Carmen was just long enough to wander down to the beach and gaze over at Cozumel and watch the ferry unload. A busy place!

It took longer than expected to find a room in Tulum, many places were full, but we are established at very nice place, had a couple of plates of veggie antojitos for dinner, and are finishing our daily chores.

Hasta luego!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Working on the itinerary

I have been consumed with trip planning since we bought the plane tickets.

As always we have more crazy ambitions than slotted time.  Luckily we killed our going-to-Cuba-illegally pretty early on.  We are now down to Mexico, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, bagging a whole of four new countries, which would have made me gloat in the old days.

The US State Department has been surprisingly helpful.  Normally we regard their travel warnings with disdain.  However, this time they saved us a TON of time and agony of prioritization.  We will only be visiting and revisiting the 13 out of the 14 states (no Baja for us) that bear no travel advisories.   I have always loved everything about Mexico.  I hope I am not disappointed this time, expectations, expectations....


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Merchants Mill Pond Camp and Paddle

After 2 months of fruitlessly watching the weather for a stretch of consecutive weekdays with sunny skies, we headed off to Merchants Mill Pond State Park near Gatesville, NC on the Friday of Veterans Day weekend with our tent, canoe, and gear.

Although the canoe campgrounds were full on Saturday night, the family campground where we stayed was half empty, and we spent 3 peaceful days, paddling, enjoying AM and PM campfires, and soaking up the daytime sun.

While we did not spot a lot of wildlife, there was a variety: turtles, deer, racoons, beaver lodges but no beavers, geese, flickers, pileated woodpeckers, crows, daddy longlegs, and a kingfisher. The resident alligator was nowhere to be seen.

Merchants Mill Pond State Park - near Gatesville, NC

Reflections on the pond.
Merchants Mill Pond State Park - near Gatesville, NC

Favorite lunch spot on the mill pond.
Lunch Spot - Merchants Mill Pond State Park - near Gatesville, NC

Highlight of the trip: paddling up Bennet's Creek at the east end of the pond.

Up Bennett's Creek - Merchants Mill Pond State Park - near Gatesville, NC

Tight spot on Bennett's Creek.
V - Merchants Mill Pond State Park - near Gatesville, NC

Beaver Lodge.
Beaver Lodge - Merchants Mill Pond State Park - near Gatesville, NC

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

From Aguascalientes, there is a very convenient direct flight to Cancun.  Since the wedding is at a private beach south of Playa del Carmen,...