Sunday, 29 January 2012

Day 5 of Mexico

Day 5 of Mexico (Jan. 19) started off with a visit to see the Tulum ruins. Our tour guide, Helaman, had told us that they are the most beautiful. I wasn't quite sure what he meant by that until we got there. The Tulum ruins have the most gorgeous scenery ever! If I were to build a city I think I would pick that exact spot.

We didn't have a tour guide for this one and when we first got there we were accosted by people trying to convince us to get one. One of them yelled, "We have LDS tours!" My mom stopped and asked him how he knew we were LDS.  He replied, "You dress differently." I was mentally cheering. I was proud of us for being what the Apostle Peter said we should be: a peculiar people. 

The model of Tulum before you go in.

Their wee entryway.

What you first see when you walk in.

Some city building.

Their big temple built on the seaside.

I don't know what was up with my hat this day, but I love the ocean.

We didn't come in swimsuits, but we couldn't help ourselves.

Temple across the way.

This is where their cenote's all dried up now.

Another temple.

On the backside of this buildings were windows 
that served a lighthouse function.

A great shot....minus the hose.

Can you see the face?

Mr. Mitchell appeasing his wife.

A pretty spot for contemplating.

I just couldn't get enough of the ocean.

Picture on their way out. Guy in front says, 
"On three, everyone say te-qui-la!" 

We decided that Helaman was right and that Tulum ruins are probably the prettiest.

After the ruins we got ready to spend a day at Xcaret. I think if we had all realized how much there is to do there we would have dedicated an entire day to it and been there right when it opened. It was like a combination of a water park and a zoo - I totally dug that concept. We got to see flamingos, parrots, weird baby deer, a tapir (it was weird), and a spider monkey. They had jaguars and panthers there, but we didn't have time.
They weren't caged in so I'm not sure why they stayed.

Traditional one-leg pose.

I dug the spider-monkey. I especially like that 
this one is sitting on another monkey's head.

One of the first things we did was watch a ceremony the Mayans did for the rain god. 

They start at the very tippy-top of the big pole.

And then they start spinning down.

All the way until they reach the ground.

Then they put on these hats and did a little dance.

And then they did the sweet pinwheel.

Here's video of it if you prefer:

As for water, we went snorkeling in the bay and hung out with the Sea Trek people. It's like snuba (where they attach an oxygen hose to your snorkel tube so you can dive without having to come back up for air), except they put a weighted helmet on you and you hold onto a rail and walk on the ocean floor. We thought about drawing mustaches on their windows or tapping on their helmets and pretending like we were unhooking their hoses, but the workers were already cranky with us because we'd move their hoses so we could, you know, swim. One guy that Garrison swam over stared at Garrison like he was part of the 'ride.' His face was one of awe and wonder and he watched Garrison until his neck couldn't handle it anymore. 

Our Sea Trek buddies.

Some of the fish we saw.

Garrison playing with the Sea Trek sights.

We got to watch my dad play with the dolphins and had a little dolphin show. 

We got to sit right by the dolphins.

My dad getting a dolphin kiss.

This video shows my favorite trick the dolphins would do.

After the dolphins we went and ate at a buffet that was almost entirely seafood. I accidentally ended up with a piece of octopus tentacle on my plate, suction cups and all. I was thoroughly disgusted. 

You can't see it, but the ocean is right behind my mom.

Garrison, Mr. Mitchell and I then ran frantically to the underground river snorkeling since it would be closing in 10 minutes. It was incredibly cool, and slightly creepy.  We were worried that the rest of the family didn't make it, but we met up with them at the end. You almost immediately start underground and, boy, it is dark. Since you can't see anything underwater I kept my head above during those parts so I wouldn't ram my head into the wall. We spent an hour swimming in this thing and about half of it was underground and the rest was above ground. The first time we popped up from underground we were part of a show. Really. We were level with a stage that had people dancing on it and opposite from us were seats with people watching the dancers. We tread water there awkwardly for a bit, unsure of what to do. Perhaps we should have started a synchronized swimming routine? We thought maybe we had missed our turn (after all, it was very dark in there) and, on top of that, we could go right or left at this point and there were no directions. (When we met up with the others at the end we discovered that none of them had the privilege of being part of a show.) We decided to 'choose the right' and headed into that tunnel where we, once again, reached a point where we could choose right or left and had no idea where to go. While we sat and debated we didn't realize we were disturbing a worker who was taking a cat nap nearby. He sat up, pointed us in the right direction, and then laid back down. After that it was pretty straightforward as to where we should go. We saw lots and lots of bright blue fish and at one point we were swimming by the pool that had a bunch of stingrays and a manatee in them. They had put windows in the wall so we could see into their pool as we snorkeled by. It was sweet. 

The beginning of our river adventure.

Up on those logs was where the napping man was.

They made us wear lifejackets.  

Can you see the blue fish?

The day ended with Xcaret's Mexico spectacular show which was basically Mexico's history starting with the Mayans. It was very entertaining. The old man dance and battling trumpeters were my favorites.

These people in blue were blowing conch shells to start the show.

These guys were getting carried around in chairs - I want to be in the chair.

Preparing to play ball.

The priests watching to see who will be their sacrifice.

Trying to get the ball through the hoop.

I'm not sure what the giant people were for.

The battling trumpeters had an accompanying band. 

Pretty dance.

The old man dance.

Spicy dance.

What the arena looked like...

What we looked like in the arena.

After the show we marveled at their awesome bathroom and dressing rooms and then did a little souvenir shopping as we left Xcaret. Mr. Mitchell bought new board shorts. I wanted to buy a little stuff jaguar that growls, but it was mucho moolah. 

Crazy bathrooms.

My mom modeling the washing process.

Sweetest faucet I've seen.

They had big bottles of Corona.

We liked the rock in the tank.

Mr. Mitchell and I walking through the gift store.

An interesting way to model clothes.

We were exhausted at the end of the day, but what a great way to wear yourselves out!

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