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Day 5 - Chichen Itza, Cenote Azul and Merida

Time is flying by. It's Day 7 already and I still have a couple of days to blog about. I also haven't yet posted any of the pictures - but I will do shortly. If you are following this (Kathy), you may want to look back at older entries for corresponding pictures.

Anyway, we woke up in Valladolid for our 5th day, at the Hotel Hacienda Sanchez, and had a very nice breakfast of eggs (served with black beans, of course) or pancakes, coffee, orange juice and pre-buttered French bread. Service, as the night before, was amazing.

We packed up (always a hassle for us) and headed towards our next destination: Chichen Itza. First, of course, we made a detour to buy a couple of hammocks at the state prison. In Mexico, you may remember, prisoners must feed themselves, plus they have a lot of time on their hands. So the prisoners at the prison in the Valladolid-Chichen Itza road, make some money by making hammocks. Their hammocks are double-stranded, and have the reputation of being the best in the Yucatan. We wanted to buy the largest there was, but that proved to be of monstrous proportions and price. Instead, we bought more "valued" price ones, which I think are still large enough. They are quite heavy and we paid US$40-50 for them. I can't tell, at this time, if we got a good deal. In any case, those selling it weren't willing to bargain (they said each prisoner puts a price on them, and they are not authorized to take less).


After that, it was time for Chichen Itza (MN$20 to park, MN$111 entrance, children free) which Mike explored fully. You can't climb much at Chichen Itza anymore (when I went, eighteen years ago, I actually climbed everything), so it wasn't as much fun for Mika as Ek Balam. Mike enjoyed it, visiting all the ruins, while the kids were probably more fixated on finding something to buy for the MN$10 we gave each of them. Mika was interested in the story of the human sacrifice victims thrown into the cenote, though somewhat disappointed that she couldn't see the remains.


Camila was obsessed with going swimming at a cenote, and she let us know of her wishes pretty much constantly throughout the visit. The only thing that really distracted the kids were the iguanas. They've seen lots of them by now, but they're still cool creatures.




After Chichen Itza it was time for the Cenote Azul at Ik Kil. This is a completely commercial operation, with a fully developed cenote, dressing rooms and bathrooms, life jackets and towels for rental, and tourist buses from Cancun (which visit it before or after hitting the ruins). Still, we got there right between the time that the earlier buses left and the newer buses arrived, so that we had 10 full minutes of bliss (aka "alone time") at the cenote. The cenote itself was beautiful, deep in an open cave, with roots of plants and trees hanging on top of it, and tons of little catfish swimming around (just try to grab one).



Once again, the life jackets were a great savior, as the kids delighted in both swimming around, and, later, in jumping into the cenote.



Despite my natural buoyancy, I was still a bit unnerved about swimming around in what's essentially a bottomless pit, so I mostly kept to the sides.

Once people started coming in, it became more like a glorified swimming pool than anything else, but the kids & Mike still enjoyed it. The hike up the stairs was much easier than it seemed it'd be.

After cenote azul I thought we could hit Izamal or the ruins of Acanceh, but neither Mike nor the kids seemed that excited by the prospect. Instead, we came directly to Merida (through the non-cuota highway, which proved to be quite nice).

In Merida, we are staying at the hotel Dolores Alba, which is very popular with tourists from all over. It's no wonder, it's pretty cheap (MN$540 for a double room for the four of us), it has a small but very clean pool, and gorgeous, large, tiled rooms. It was built in a more traditional-looking style than modern hotels, which makes it so much the nicer.

In the afternoon, the kids swam at the hotel while Mike slept. He wasn't feeling too well after his own encounter with Montezuma's. Of course, by the time he woke up and was ready to go, I fell asleep, and we all didn't end up going out for dinner until 9 or so. And of course, we were still somewhat confused about the layout of the city and did not take a map, so it took us a while to find a place for dinner (an expensive taco-chain near the zocalo).

We were all pretty tired by the time dinner was over, I had suggested that we take a taxi, but Mika insisted on that we do a buggy. It was MN$100! but Mike acquiesced. She, of course, was in princess-land being taken by a very cute horse-drawn carriage. We ain't doing it again, though.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 11, 2009 1:02 AM.

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