Monday, March 6, 2017

Day 3 Cont...Cenote Swim

This sounded a little weird to me at first. Swim in a big hole in the ground? What?? Well the Yucatan penninsula is riddled with these. There are actually underground rivers running all through the area and they connect these "sink holes". The ground is limestone and erodes with ground water seepage and such and causes big sink holes. Some are completely underground and you never see them but some have the roof collapse revealing the deep pool of water beneath. And these are really deep. AND the water is fresh and very clear. Some leaves and things find their way in when the roof has collapsed but the water is incredible. It looks black from above but as you can see later it really isn't black at all when you get down there. You have to shower first to remove sunscreen and body oils to help keep the water clean.
 It was super fun to swim when it was raining too. There were a couple of little holes that rain water came through and even a waterfall on the side too. Gorgeous!
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It was such a refreshing stop after our lunch. 
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We were ready to tackle some more ruins!

Day 3 Chichen Itza

What a fun filled day!!
 We met Helaman bright and early at 7am which was a little brutal for us with the time change. We picked up the other tourists in our group and made the drive to Chichen Itza. It was about an hour away but it went really fast because Helaman talked to us the whole time to prepare us for what we were about to see. It was an LDS tour so we got so many insights from him. It is so amazing what the Mayans managed to build but so sad to see how gospel principles established when Christ visited were abandoned and morphed into Mayan beliefs hundreds of years later.
This place has been on my bucket list for years. It's hard for me to believe I actually got to finally see it. It was really amazing and huge! There are ruins everywhere there. I expected just a few but there was no way we could even see it all and we were probably there for two hours.
There was incredible detail chiseled into the buildings. 
There is a man on the left pillar and a woman on the right.
 This is where they played a ball game that determined the person who would be sacrificed. There were two teams of seven that tried to get a heavy ball up through the stone hoop. I cant remember if they used their hands but I think not. 
 They had no fouls etc and just beat the heck out of each other until there was only one left from each team. The winner was the one sacrificed and that happened by the looser cutting off his head. Pretty gruesome. Then they etched the victors portrait into a wall of skulls. Ya really nuts.
 There were many symbols of Christ such as the feathered serpent signifying a God that could come down to earth but also raise himself back up to heaven. Very cool when you think of it. Here is an example of a serpent's head with the feathers etched in the rock behind him. Really hard to see though.

Each side of the Temple was a little different. There is a huge feathered serpent that appears in its full glory on April 6. Meanwhile everyone comes March 21 and while it is amazing then at sunrise and sunset on April 6 it is the only time it it actually complete. 
There are two rooms inside the top of the Temple that at one time was divided by cloth. 
Interesting huh.
 This is a Mayan arch. Not quite as intricate as the Roman's or rounded with a keystone but still interesting.
 Alot of historians believe this was an observatory because of the round shape on top but Helaman disputes that. Another temple. There were lots of them everywhere and he said it was like different denominations each has their own temples to worship in.
 The ruins were just gorgeous and so detailed.
 I think the scale of them was amazing. Obviously Chichen Itza was a huge Mayan city at one time.
 This is such intricate art work on the side of one of the buildings. I wish I could remember all the things Helaman told us about it but unless I return with a notebook to take notes on I'm doomed.
 This statue is called a chockmaul. The Mayans believed you need a broken heart to return to heaven but they didn't have scriptures and living prophets to remind them that this was figurative and so they committed human sacrifice. They moved victims (sometimes alive) hearts and placed them on this altar. They were everywhere.
 You can see one way at the top of this building.
 A baptism font.
Again I can't remember exactly what this was but they had alot of them too and many were in excellent shape. After we had the tour we walked through the gauntlet of vendors to shop for ten minutes. Jeff got himself a lovely marble chess set.
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We should have bought the jaguar noise maker thingy! We did find some treasures.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Day 2 Cancun

 So for our first full day we headed to the beach of course. The water looked so gorgeous but it had quite an undertow to it only took Mendis and I a short amount of time to be exhausted while JEff and Rachel played in the waves for a long time before they called it quits.
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We decided to take the local bus and head down to the town and grab some street tacos for lunch. Well we did get on teh bus but only the one that went to the shopping and eating district with all the clubs etc. We walked around and found a great place to try for lunch though. We went to the Taco Factory and liked it so muchwe ended up going back another day too.
They brought us a great tray of chips and salsa and yummy cilantro sauce. It was so excellent.
 We tried lots of yummy tacos. The cheese they used was so creamy and wonderful.
 We did some walking around and looked in the shops but the vendors were ruthless. They were all over you to buy stuff and it was so annoying we started dodging the shops and people as much as possible. We did go to a Haagen-Dazs ice cream parlor though when we needed a treat which was divine. First time we've ever had a waffle cone that was dipped in chocolate! Fab
 We had an early night because we had to meet with Helaman at 7am the next morning which was 4 our time!!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Day 1 of Cancun

It's finally here! Our trip with Jeff & Rachel. This was for their graduation from BYUI and Jeff's graduation from law school even though it was two months before his graduation yet. It was really the only time he would have to go so off we went.
Finally time! It's been a long wait.
 We had to leave by 4 am to catch our 7am flight. They flew directly from Baltimore and we had a layover in LAX.
 It was a long long flight. We were supposed to arrive 5 min before them but they beat us by at least twenty minutes. We met up at customs in the airport in Cancun.
 The shuttle ride was nuts. First you have to run the gauntlet to get get out to the correct shuttle. Then the traffic was insane. The shuttle vans were all about 2 inches from each other in the dog eat dog process of getting through the airport. I'm so glad we weren't driving our own rental car.
Our hotel was fantastic. This had to be the nicest lobby I've ever had.
 Our room was gorgeous and we had a balcony with an ocean view. They upgraded Jeff & Rachel's room to the same thing just 2 doors down from us!
 This view just doesn't get old.
After we got unpacked we looked for a place to eat and ended up at the Thai right there at the hotel It was really fabulous.
 The food was terrific and the presentation was so nice!
 My only complaint...can't fit all the food on the table.
 The maple creme brulet was so good. Isn't it cute too!
Here's our cute little towel critter we got at turn down service. This is gonna be great!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

San Diego

Four of us flew into San Diego for an annual convention. Two had to work and two got to play. There would have been more playing going on but the weather did not cooperate...at all.
 That Saturday afternoon though the weather was perfect. After we picked up the rental car we had hours to kill before we could check into the hotel so we decided to have some lunch then go to the Midway. The Fetherston's had never been before.
 We had lunch at this fun burger joint that was decorated in a surfers theme.
 Mendis found a veteran buddy that started explaining some things to him and before we knew it he was totally engrossed. So we all split up and checked things out.
 I've always been fascinated by the galleys and the wardrooms.
So we closed the place and got settled into the hotel. The next day was Sunday and the weather started to turn. Karla and I did lunch right across the street and then just spent the rest of the day in our rooms while the guys attended their classes. That night we headed out to eat at the Kansas City BBQ right across the street. Every time we walked by it smelled so good we just had to try it. It wasn't that good actually. The smell was way better than the food sadly. But we found out they filmed the dinner scene of Top Gun there:
 Apparently they filmed the scene right at the table we sat at. Pretty cool.
So after dinner we split up because Mendis and I wanted to walk off that dinner. We walked all around the hotel which was huge. As we walked through the lobby we could see an enormous party going on. Well and we could hear it. Turns out it was all part of the convention they were attending! So we went in and groaned. The food stations looked fabulous. There were open bars galore so we enjoyed some Sprite. We were still full from the heavy bbq but when we saw the fabulous dessert buffets we couldn't resist. We grabbed a couple of plates, loaded up and ate it in our room. They were so cute and yummy.
How adorable is this little chocolate cup of mouse!

The next day Karla and I found a fabulous breakfast buffet in the hotel and then spent a little time at the outdoor shopping mall which was a joke because it was pouring still. So she dropped me off and I went to the convention so I could hear Steve Forbes speak. It was very interesting and I'm glad I went. Right after,I bought my own convention floor pass and we walked the floor. They had food and bars in there too so that became dinner. Pretty pricey dinner but it was fun to see it all and see Mendis in action with the power industry vendors. The next day the weather finally turned nice!! I spent the morning right behind the hotel at the Seaport Village. I'd heard so much about it I was excited to check it out. Got some great tacky fridge magnets and smashed some pennies.
 Of course I picked us up a couple of cupcakes and put them in the fridge for later. We drove out to La Jolla and met Carolyn for lunch. How fun is that. She had made us reservations at Jake's right on the beach front.
Absolutely gorgeous!
Loved the Hula Pie of course. And maybe we also split a creme brulet maybe. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon thrift store hopping. Fun and free because non of us spent any money.
 That night there was a big reception for everyone from the entire convention and their spouses. They opened up 12 restaurants in the Gas Lamp Quarter and people just poured in and stood in long lines and ate and drank. We milled around for awhile and found some food and luckily a place to sit in "The Strip Club" which is actually a steak house lol.
 It was so crowded and it started getting cold. The idea was fun but it wasn't something I wanted to be at all night long not even with the live band. I'm getting old.
The next day we went to Old Town and walked around some and had lunch at the Mexican Restaurant. It was yummy. After our short flight we were home just in time to unpack, do laundry, go to work for a couple of days and get ready to go to Cancun!!