Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The National Geographic Channel has nothing on us..

We woke early to start our Mayan adventure.  Greg and I decided to order room service and eat in our room.  Debbie and John had mentioned how yummy it was and we hadn't tried it yet.

We met in the lobby to wait for the van, Greg and I forgot our excursion tickets so we had to run back to our room before boarding.  They told us the day we booked the excursion do NOT forget your ticket or you won't be allowed to go.  Yep... its how we roll.

There were 12 of us on the excursion.  Amy sat in the front, Mark sat behind Amy on the next bench, John sat behind Mark, Debbie sat behind John and Greg and I sat in the very back.  The van ride in itself was an excursion.

 Thanks to Amy we have a picture of our excursion guide... I forgot to take one.  She was really nice.

We finally arrived after a 30 minute, bumpy ride.  We were told to only take items which we didn't mind getting wet.  We were going to hike a Mayan Jungle, swim in a Cenote (cave), and Kayak through a lagoon.  Amy brought her IPhone.   Ha Ha... she forgot she had it in her shirt, she was teased the entire time.

We took a potty break in these cute little outdoor restrooms which smelled lovely... not sarcasm.. .they really did!  They had cedar shavings to throw into the hole when you were finished with your business.

We began our hike through the jungle....

We paused here to look at the rocks.  She asked us why we thought this particular rock was here.  It was volcanic rock so Greg spoke up and said "from a volcano", she looked at him and said "Do you see any volcanoes around here?" with a smirk on her face.  Greg said "no"...... I was laughing so hard and never did get to hear what kind of rock it was and why it was there.  He still says she yelled at him, which she didn't, but it was pretty funny.

Once we had hiked the jungle we arrived at a ceremonial alter.  

Before we were allowed to swim in the Cenote we had to be blessed by a Mayan priest.  The Mayans drink the natural waters of the Cenote and in order for us to swim in it we were to be both pure in spirit as well as in body.

He lit some incense and circled the smoke around each of us while he said his prayer to the Mayan gods.  Of course we were not praying to their god, but we were reverent while he said his prayer and blessed us in their culture.  MOST of us were reverent... others, well..... check out Debbie and Amy's expressions... HILARIOUS!!!

Amy: "Oh, come ON already, enough if enough!"

Debbie: " Ok, I am bored dude... trying to be nice, but I am tired of this, wish he had laryngitis."


 We left the ceremony spiritually pure and now had to become pure of body.  Lets just say the ceremony was much easier.  It was a rather cool day, which we were happy because we were hiking jungles and climbing Mayan ruins, but cold showers and cave swimming was a different story.  We were asked to strip down to just our swim suits, walk up to what looked like a shower alter and stand under the natural spring shower and clean ourselves.  Because the Mayan people drink the water from the Cenotes we had to wash off all lotions and soap from our body.  It was FREEEEEZING!

Once we were all "pure" we began to climb down the cave entrance.. .it was steep stairway straight down into darkness...... and we had to walk down backwards.

The further we descended the warmer it became... which I was thankful.  It was really cool to see the cave, bats and Cenote.  I was nervous about getting into the water.

I was not aware we had to jump into the water.. .I was planning to gently EASE my way into the chilly water but by the time I got all the way down to the Cenote people were jumping off rocks into the water.  I already had a talk with myself (yes I talk to myself) about pushing my comfort zone on this excursion.  I am claustrophobic and would find myself inside caves, I am afraid of heights and I would find myself zip lining, rappelling off cliffs, and climbing Mayan ruins.  I knew I would be in difficult situations.  Jumping off a rock was going to be the least of them.  So I did it!

The water was actually warmer than the water and air above ground.  We had fun with our water proof camera.

The excursion photographer I guess thought it would be funny to take a picture of me taking a picture of Mark and Amy... odd.

 The 4 of us...

 Greg and I with Mark photo bombing with bunny ears...

 Greg and I in "lovers cave"

 Mark and Amy in "lovers cave"

Debbie and John in the "lovers cave" 


We all climbed out of the Cenote and back up the steep stairs into the cool air.  We dried off the best we could and put our dry clothes back on.  In case you were wondering, Amy's Iphone was inside Debbie's shoe above ground during this time as to not get wet.  We hiked the jungle a bit more to go kayaking.

The black sap from this tree will give you 2nd and possibly 3rd degree burns if you touch it.  For once our gang obeyed the rules and didn't touch it.  Can't say we were mature enough not to sing a song by MC Hammer though.

These vines hold water, if you are ever in the Mayan jungle and have no water you can cut these vines to drink from them.  We are soooo National Geographic.

We stopped to talk about the gum tree being native to Mexico and then headed to kayak.  We walked along a narrow path of floating boards to climb into our kayaks.


We had fun paddling through the lagoon, singing songs, laughing, and taking pictures.

Apparently taking self portraits and pictures of our feet was the thing to do.

My feet

 Debbie's feet

Greg and I

 Debbie and John

 If Amy's Iphone was not being kept safe in the top of Mark's hat I guarantee she would have taken the exact same pictures.

We were thankful to see after kayaking the van had driven to meet us and we didn't have to hike our way all the way back.  We took another 15 minute van ride to our next destination to zip-line.

Once we arrived Amy had mentioned she wished she would have brought her gym shoes instead of wearing her crocs.  Although they were comfortable, she didn't have much traction.  The British lady who was with us offered Amy her "trainers".  "Trainers" are gym shoes and they happened to fit Amy perfectly... she loved them so much she now owns a pair of them herself.

We walked through a small part of town as we were walking to our zip-line destination.

Zip line was a blast. Half the fun was getting all of our gear on and making fun of one another.





We were all instructed on how to brake, go fast, go slow etc.  I was shakin in my shoes because I was so afraid of how high we were.  I was nervous the equipment would break and I would fall to my death in a Mayan jungle, or badly injured in a Mayan jungle or at least bitten by a Bot fly in a Mayan jungle.  Don't laugh... have you spent any time reading about the Bot fly?  I don't recommend any You Tube videos of the bot fly, you may never leave the country again.

            Regardless, I had told myself I was going to do this... so up the mountain we went.

 Debbie was showed how to use her stick to help her brake... she decided it was more fun to hold her stick in the air and wave it around.  Who needs to stinkin slow down or brake... its how she rolls, or zips.



Here comes John

 Gregory zipping in....

I then came zipping in with my feet tucked up under me like the trees were going to snip off my toes or something.   Dork!  I did use my stick though. :)

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 Feet still tucked.....

 Amy and Mark zipped across with smiles... Amy threw her stick at the end, guess she was done with it.  Amy could have taken a picture while she was zipping too since she had her phone with her.  Bahahahah.

Then it was time to rappel off of a cliff.  I waffled back and forth over this one.  With each person I watched fall backwards off the cliff I became more and more confident that I was NOT going to partake in this portion of the excursion.

 Once I had more friends on the bottom of the jungle floor than I did on the cliff I decided to take the fall.  It was one of the scariest things I have ever done.  It really wasn't a big deal after my feet left the cliff, but relying on the harness and my rope to keep me from falling as I fell backwards off a cliff was terrifying.  You were in charge of the speed of your decent, if you opened your hand wide enough you would zip right down to the floor.  Key to moving along however was actually opening your hand.  It took me a while to trust myself enough to open my hand.  I was glad I did, and I was even gladder (you would be too, forget it isn't a word) my feet were on the ground.

Safe on the ground again....

 Once we were down and the adrenaline pump was over we realized we had to go back up, and there were no elevators or even large buckets with rope pullies.  We had to hike back up.  I have to say it was beautiful, I felt a burn like I have never felt before in my legs, but it was beautiful.  The only thing that kept us moving at a steady was the knowledge of lunch awaiting us.

The lunch buffet was amazing.  Authentic Mayan food.  The women were so gracious and eager to please us and the food was incredible.

While our food settled they offered us cookies and coffee and the opportunity to look at photos the professional photographer had taken during our swim, zip and rappel.  We of course bought them, we laughed so hard at a few of them and decided we HAD to have them and it was cheaper to buy all of them than it was to purchase just the hysterical ones.  (such as the capture of the expression on faces during the cleansing ceremony... priceless)

With rested bodies and full bellies we ventured out to finish our excursion... I KNOW!!!  Still more!

We were driven back into a more populated area where the Mayan Ruins were located.


 We walked in and saw a few ruins that we were not allowed to climb, just take pictures.  We were given the history of each ruin.  They were originally found as huge hills of rocks and they were re-built.


 The next two pictures are pictures of a stadium where the Mayans would play a sport.  I thought it looked a lot like on the ground, stone Quidditch.

I liked the tunnels....


 After the tour we were free to wander around the park and follow the path to the largest Mayan ruin that we could climb.

We were given the option to either walk,


 rent bikes, 


or ride a bike taxi. 

 Mark, Amy, Greg and I chose to walk.  We thought... geesh, how far could it be really.  It was a nice day, we were chatting with the British couple and thought a walk would be nice.  It was a longer walk than we thought it would be, but it was enjoyable and we learned a lot about the British couple too, very interesting. They made fun of us for calling Gasoline "gas" and not petrol.  They said "gas" was a bodily function. ha ha John and Debbie road around and rubbed there stupid bikes in our face...whatever. They would have to look super cute while doing it too.

Once we arrived it was time to start climbing, how hard could it be?  There was a rope going up the center of the ruin so if you got tired you could hold on.


I barely started up the dang thing and started to realize just how frightened I was of heights.  There was nothing to hold on to except that stupid rope and the steps were tiny and crumbling.  Why oh why did we want to climb this?


 I was being encouraged by Greg to continue because again "It wasn't something you get to do everyday".  I was starting to get sick of hearing this and my "live beyond my comfort zone" attitude was wearing thin.  
Greg was all "Whats the big deal?  This is GREAT!"

This was fun.... Amy's idea

 John and Debbie climbing.. NOT using the rope.

Smart one....

We finally made it to the top... my knees were shaking and I couldn't get very close to the edge.  Greg was teasing and acting like he was falling off.... I didn't find it funny in the least... first and last "argument" of the trip between us.

After resting, and taking all the pictures we wanted to take, it was time to go back down.  This terrified me more than going up and Amy captured every emotion on my face as I s-l-o-w-l-y moved down.  That rope was my best friend and I came alllll the way down on my butt.

Once we were all back down on the ground again, and after my legs stopped shaking we started our walk back.  We wanted to shop in the little shops outside of the park before our van left to take us back to the resort.

Along the path we found a well... of course we had to take pictures of it.



I thought this pully was neat so I took a picture, later realized it was Greg's head.


The shops were fun and colorful....

We thought it was funny that having toilet seats was a PLUS... not a norm.

We bought one of these little guys to remember our Mayan adventure... 
Panther heads and Nacho Libre masks were purchased by the Henkles and Kroekers.

One last purchase before getting back on the van

The ride back was quiet... we were exhausted.

We arrived back at the resort with enough time to shower and meet in the theater for dinner.  It was  Mediterranean themed.  Yummy!

 Debbie liked Amy's glasses and asked to try them on... we took a picture so she could see how cute she was in them.

Greg: "I have a tiny head... look how tiny it is"

After dinner there was a really cool fire show...

Then a circus show... I know!!!!  I swear this day was 48 hours long... it was awesome!

Then, believe it or not we went dancing at Alegria.  When we finally did fall into bed we fell asleep the second our heads hit the pillow.  This day was incredible, not only from the non stop laughter, yummy food, new friends and adventures, but from the amazing things we experienced and learned.  I feel so blessed.  I truly feel the National Geographic Channel has nothing on us...We are ready for our reality show now.

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