Friday, July 15, 2005

More on Mexico

Okay, so I wanted to tell you all more about our trip to Mexico. The first day was beautiful, very sunny and hot. We took a cab from the airport to the Sheraton in The Hotel Zone. Since our flight got in early, our room wasn't ready yet. Luckily, La Isla Mall is right across the street from the Sheraton. So, we left our luggage and went to shop a bit. That mall is beautiful. It is mostly outdoors with little rivers (think Venice). There are cute little bridges and the place is huge. We ate at a Mexican restaurant, La Casa de las Margaritas, which had been recommended to us by the girl at the information booth for "real" Mexican food.

After we went back to the hotel, we went out to lay on the beach for a while. Later that evening, we took a bus downtown (it only costs about 70 cents!) for dinner at La Parrilla - another recommendation for good Mexican food - after a bit of walking around. Both resturants were great! We stuffed ourselves at dinner and could barely move afterwards, so we took a cab back to the hotel.

On the second day, we slept in and then ate breakfast at La Duna Restaurant in the hotel, where we ate breakfast every day we were there. It rained most of that day, so we decided to just go shopping and explore downtown (El Centro) a bit, instead of going to Isla Mujeres as we had originally planned. We started out trying to get to Mercado 28 (Market 28), which we never ended up seeing. We did shop at Mercado Coral Negro though. It was raining so hard at one point that we went into a mall (more of a traditional indoor type), El Caracol, where we ended up spending hours. We actually were just going to cut through it to get to a Mexican Outlet (a big store of Mexican goods), but we didn't end up getting there until late that night. At El Caracol, we got lots of souvenirs, ate (and drank, of course) at Iguana Wana, and booked a couple tours for the next two days. I bought a beautiful piece of bead art there. Ed bought an ugly, but cool, hand-carved and painted dragon-type thing.

On day three, we took a tour to Chichen Itza, the Mayan Ruins. We were going to rent a jeep and drive, but it ended up being easier and cheaper to just take a tour there. It is about 2 1/2 hours south of Cancun. On the way there, we went through some Mayan towns- very National Geographic. We stopped at a cute little rest stop with a big store. There were lots of beautiful linens and textiles, hammocks, and blankets, as well as tons of silver (which seems to be sold everywhere down there). We also ate a couple tiny tacos from the small outdoor "cafe"- very tasty!

At Chichen Itza, we stayed with the guide for a little while, then drifted from the crown and explored on our own. Ed climbed the pyramids, as I watched from below. It was super-steep. People had to climb back down on their butts or backwards, as you would climb down a ladder. Ed took a couple great pictures from up there though.

On the way back, we were taken to the Chichen Itza Hotel, where we were served a lunch buffet. There was some dancing entertainment- they danced with bottles and full trays on their heads.

When we returned from the tour, we went back over to the mall for a bit and returned to Plaza La Fiesta Mexican Bazaar (similar to the Mexican Outlet). We had gone there the first day. Sadly, our dinner that night was take-out from Johnny Rockets, lol! Even though it was cloudy all day, I got the most sun (i.e. burn) of all 4 days!

On the fourth and last day, we took a tour to Xcaret (pronounced Ish-ca-ret, with the emphasis on the last syllable). It is about an hour south of Cancun. It was so beautiful, but hot and humid that we planned to make our way to the underground river as soon as we got there. Of course, that part of the park is pretty far, so we started out going through some trails, where we came upon several random animals, an some very playful iguanas (which were scared stiff as soon as they saw us). The iguanas in this park were huge- about 3 times the size of the ones in the hotel zone! We ended up at a river boat ride. It was relaxing and quiet and we were right at the front. After that, we found the entrance to the underground river. We left our stuff (they brought it to the end of the river for us), put on some life jackets, and floated/swam down the [about] 2000 foot river. At the end, we picked up our things and made our way to the beach (along with some other exploring). We ate burgers near the beach and then layed in the sun, swam, floated on inner tubes, and Ed snorkled a bit. We could see the dolphin riders and the dolphins jumping from the water. It was beautiful. After a while, we went to find the jaguars and tortoises before the show. We went to the show and watched about half of it. It was pretty cool, but we wanted to eat and we hadn't made reservations to eat during the show. We were back late from the tour, so we just ordered some room service. Ed and I agreed this last one was our favorite day.

The next morning we took a flight back home.

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