Friday, December 9, 2011

Mexico 2011

Over the thanksgiving holiday we had the privilege of going to Mexico for a week.  We chose to go to Xcaret in the Riviera Maya due to suggestions that there would be a lot to do but also it is a beautiful setting that would be more than relaxing.  Never having really left the country to go to a place were English is not the primary language was definitely a shock that was apparent as soon as we got off the plane.  Having to communicate with our driver things like payment, times, travel and were to go was very difficult and had a strange kind of feeling to it, gained alot of respect for people who come to the US not just to visit but to live and work with that language barrier.  The whole drive there was very discouraging as it is piss poor looking places and then this grand resort then little shack towns and a huge luxurious resort but that is what it is like there, a very poor country, beautiful but poor.  The resort we stayed at was huge and amazing.  It is literally in the middle of a jungle on land where you will just pop up on Mayan ruins.  There is a river that goes through the resort with a nice river walk, several swim up to the room pools, and crystal clear warm ocean water that sits off the 2nd biggest oceanic reef in the world so alot of cool looking fish that I have never seen before outside of the discovery channel.  Our first night we came across a couple Mexican raccoon's and two monkeys just running around the resort!!  The thing I will miss the most is all the butterflies literally everywhere and some of the craziest kinds.  As soon as we opened our door or went on our porch there were dozens of them flying around with such great colors.  My wife almost stepped on several of the lizards and iguanas that are everywhere.  Several would run right up to you and just stare at you.
My wife always dreamed of swimming with dolphins since she was 8 years old and our resort was attached to a place that you could do that in the ocean water as it was a very natural setting.  To see her face was priceless!! and its hard to describe just how strong these animals are.  Its not everyday that you can interact with animals that you don't commonly see in the wild.  We then learned alot about the Mayan culture by taking in one of their night shows, Mayan sports put ours to shame.
The next day it was onto Chichen Itza which is the structure that the Mayans built that our calendar is based off of, yes these people were very smart.  Being one of the man made wonders of the world like the pyramids, it baffles me how they were able to build this as accurately as they did, with the design that they did, and that it has lasted as long as it has.  This is one of those things like the Grand Canyon in that pictures just dont capture it, it is one of those visions that can take your breath away.  A couple of days later we visited Tulum which was a Mayan city set up right on the ocean.  This worked because they could fish in the reef, which you can see on the coast, and this reef provided strange canals that allowed for salt water and fresh water.  We swam in the water looking up at Mayan ruins in one direction and waves breaking off in the distance on the reef.

All that was alot to do in a couple of a days and as always we wish we had more time.  The weather was beautiful 90+ everyday.  The food was great.  I loved that most Mexican food doesn't include the cheese that us Americans lace on anything Spanish sounding, I don't think my wife enjoyed that as she was searching for that cheese!  Got to try alot of different Mexican dishes that we are still eating even since we got home.  Mexico is a beautiful country with a very corrupt government and a very large criminal problem.  I gained a new respect for the Mexican people and their culture and I also gained a new perspective on my own life as well as my country.  It is very easy to take things for granted in America and again the only difference between you and me was where we were born and that is it.  Most days we were served at the restaurant by a young girl in a neck brace who smiled and never complained, in America that would be workers comp or disability or other ways of living off of the government, which is great, but so different then the government that many other countries live with.  The whole trip felt a little Indiana Jonesish.  We had a great time and were very lucky to have went there.