A Travellerspoint blog

Aqua Azul & Misol-Ha

Aqua Azul are beautiful waterfalls named after their torquoise color. Normally you can swim in them but it was raining (again) on the day we went and that was wet enough for us.

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We also stopped at Misol-Ha on the way to Aqua Azul. They're 100 feet high and you could scramble around behind them (the noise was deafening).

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Posted by ReneeJared 12:32 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Palenque

We made our way to Palenque to check out the Mayan ruins near there. We stayed in a little cabana community called El Panchan just outside of the gates of the park. The little village was set in the middle of the jungle and had groups of cabanas all over with a few little spots to eat mixed in the middle of them all. We stayed in the ghetto cabanas which were shoddy but kind to the pocket book ($15 a night). It rained here more than we've ever experienced and with so much humidity in the air, our gear was eternally damp. To top it all off, poor Jared had his first taste of Montezuma's revenge and had to deal with it in the dirtiest bathroom in Mexico. On the upside, the view from our front door was awesome.

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The ruins of Palenque are in the middle of a tropical jungle and are over 2500 years old. It's amazing that they were ever discovered and the best part is that you're allowed to climb around on them!

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The Mayans culture was based on the caste system and the royalty lived with many slaves. Their were quite a fierce bunch and when they conquered other cities, they brought the people back to sacrifice them to their gods. They also practiced blood letting to appease their gods. The tablet that I'm lounging on below has likely seen more bloody action than I care to think about...

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The ruins were amazing and well worth the journey to see them.

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Posted by ReneeJared 12:17 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Merida

Merida is fabulous! The city is very old and beautiful and the people were SO friendly. Several times during our visit there, locals would stop us to chat about sights we should see, places to shop and even just to find out more about us. At first, we were taken aback by this especially since our experience in Cancun made us very wary of the locals so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that they just wanted to share info.

Merida

Merida

Eagle and Snake

Eagle and Snake

We checked out a couple of museums and one that was really cool was the Museo de Antropologia which housed a ton of Mayan artifacts. The craziest thing in there was an exhibit showing the deformed skulls of Mayan children. Apparently, the Maya used to squish the skulls of their children to make them longer and appear more beautiful.

Skulls

Skulls

Art

Art

Maya

Maya

We also found a few very old churches in our wanderings.

Church

Church

We got our first taste of the torrential downpours that Mexico has. Having come from Vancouver, we thought we knew everything about heavy rains but this was simply outrageous.

Rain

Rain

No wonder the Maya used to pray to Chac Mool (Rain God). It must have been for mercy from all this water!

Chac Mool

Chac Mool

The city has fairs every weekend and we discovered a raging street party a few blocks from our hostel on a Sunday evening. There was a live band playing classic Mexican tunes and the main street near the Zocalo (aka Parc Central - every town in Mexico has one) was blocked off for dancing. There must have been a few hundred folks shakin' it and so we had to join in. We really stood out though but not because of our fairness but because of our height (all Mexicans seem not to exceed a height of more that 5 1/2 feet).

Merida left us feeling very happy and ready to head on to Palenque.

Posted by ReneeJared 16:43 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Cancun

Finally made it South and must admit our first couple of days were definitely a little culture shocked. Having never travelled in a second world country, it takes a little time to adjust to how poor it is here. As well, just the strangeness of how everything works such as buses, getting groceries etc.

Cancun is truly the Vegas of Mexico. Everywhere you turned, someone was trying to sell you something (and often aggressively) and we were glad to have only spent a couple of days there.

Not much more to say about it other than the beaches were beautiful but heavily guarded by the resorts. Mexican law dictates that anyone can sit on the beaches in front of the resorts but you have to endure the watchful eyes of all the security guards who ensure you don't poach any beach chairs.

Beach

Beach

However, a few things were nice about the place. One was that our hostel was near the Parc Central which comes alive at night. It's funny because we had always heard that you shouldn't be going out at night in Mexico (unless it's on your resort) as it's unsafe but our experience was completely opposite. Our hostel owner told us to check it out and the plaza was filled with families hanging out and vendors selling all sorts of foods and crafts. It's too hot during the day for anyone with common sense to go outside (unless you're a gringo) but when the sun sets, the locals emerge. It was a great way to spend an evening.

We also went over to Isla Mujeres for a day. However, we made our first rookie mistake and hopped on a tour boat (cheap with free booze) over to the island. It was everything you might expect with the tour guides trying to sell you everything under the sun (wanna swim with some dolphins??). And to top it off, they played Achy Breaky Heart in Spanish over and over again on the boat ride back....ugh.

We snuck away as soon as we could and checked out the little town. Hurricane Wilma had trashed the place a few years ago and so the community had a kind of eerie feel to it with collapsed and abandoned buildings everywhere. The breaks were big though so if you were willing to brave some reef breaks, you'd have a kickass day of solo surfing on your hands.

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres

Jared

Jared

Cancun was a good place to get our groove on but we were definitely glad to be on to the next place.

Posted by ReneeJared 16:25 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

New York City

I've been to a lot of big cities but nothing compares to this one. We only had time to cruise around Manhattan but even that took us several days with hours of walking. It was very cool to see the neighborhoods that we've all heard about. Everywhere you look are countless restaurants, bars (which close at 4am - big trouble...) and places to shop. It's a very clean city with almost no garbage on the streets and no panhandlers hassling you thanks to the former Mayor Guilliani (sp?).

Times Square

Times Square

Big Apple Corner

Big Apple Corner

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Amazing selection of brews at the Ginger Man

Amazing selection of brews at the Ginger Man

After enjoying the brews at the Ginger Man

After enjoying the brews at the Ginger Man

The buildings are enormous and so tightly packed in that there isn't a square inch of unused space. But somehow, you don't feel overwhelmed by this. The people here were a real surprise as well. I had always heard that New Yorkers were a harsh breed of folks and this wasn't my experience at all. In fact, I found them to be very friendly and hospitable.

Gate of Central Park

Gate of Central Park

Castle in Central Park

Castle in Central Park

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Another very noticeable thing here is that the people in NY are eternally stylish. Everyone was perfectly attired in some funky outfit with matching accessories. I had never believed that people actually wore the clothing that I've seen on fashion television but boy, I was wrong.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn across from Manhattan

Brooklyn across from Manhattan

Manhattan

Manhattan

Us with our gracious host and guide, Murph

Us with our gracious host and guide, Murph

Local wildlife in Battery Park

Local wildlife in Battery Park

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The traffic is crazy. Not only congested as you would expect but the drivers are mad, especially the cabbies. People completely disregard lane lines while speeding down the boulevards (a la Montreal) and pedestrians ignore traffic signals and walk between the crush of vehicles as if they owned the place. Apparently, there's a law in NY against honking because so much of Manhattan is residential that nobody would ever have any peace if all the folks were to use their horns.

Trinity Church

Trinity Church

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There are a million people on the streets at any given time and you're constantly fighting crowds, even on a Sunday morning.
Nexus of the Universe

Nexus of the Universe

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Little Italy

Little Italy

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Times Square

Times Square

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Empire State Building

Empire State Building

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There is way too much to say about NYC so all I will say is that you have to come and check it out yourselves. It's unbelievable!

Posted by ReneeJared 12:20 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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