Cruise 5: Tulum

*Quick note to the faithful (commenters): No last names or specifics on where we live, if you please.*

Zee’s been in touch from Guam, where she had a fabulous underwater adventure. Here are some pictures (please note the outstanding calf muscles):


Apparently the black fish are not phased by divers, and like to swim up and stare at them three inches from the face-mask. Also they are huge. Go Guam.

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A little background for the cruise pics is in order.

Thursday the Conquest ported at Grand Cayman. The combination of a late night dancing (Wednesday) and very early debark, re-bark times made the decision to stay on ship at GC very easy. We woke up with enough time to see the ship turning and leaving. We’ll have to remember to deposit all of our questionable monies in their banking system next time.

We left GC earlier than planned, a change that was announced with mind-numbing frequency all Thursday morning by the little Scottish man in charge, due to tropical depression/hurricane Paloma. Captain managed to keep us a half day ahead of the storm the whole week, which was really quite nice of him. That morning ruined the Scottish guy for me, though. Nothing like being rudely jerked from sleep every half hour by a thick brogue wishing you “geeeeed mawrnin’.”

Plus his performers were just ridiculous. I’ve never seen so much adult heinie in all my life.

Our second “formal” evening was Thursday evening, so we got dolled up in our fancy outfits (you’ll remember them from Hubs’ genius idea when we went to San Antonio a while back) and took plenty of pictures, and then went to the show, which we did not enjoy at all. The Vegas-style thong outfits were weird, and the French nipple-twisting men were weirder, and then there was a scene where all the dancers were prostitutes, followed immediately by a scene where everyone donned clown costumes and moved very creepily under blacklights. Too much for us. But very entertaining when we recounted the whole story to Gabriel at the bar later on.

Didn’t stay up too late on Thursday, because we knew we were due for a long day at the Mayan ruins of Tulum on Friday.

Woke up to an alarm (the only time all week) on Friday, and went to wait in the grand theater, which looks much better without the dancers. My parents and Gma and Gpa all went, Hubs’ parents stayed at the port to shop their socks off.

We had to take a water-ferry from the island (of Cozumel) to the mainland (Mexico proper). It was a tricked-out catamaran, and it had puke on the side of it. Not from me, but almost. A bit choppy out, thanks to Tropical Depression Paloma. On the ride over, Gma scored some jewelry and a sweet hat at a lower price than others, thanks to her Spanish skills.

Playa del Carmen (mainland) met us with lots of noise, a gorgeous beach, and yelling tour guides. Plenty of people signed up for the ruins, so we ended up having three busloads worth of fun. Took a short walk though the pier area, and into town a bit, to catch the buses. (We didn’t really catch them, they were waiting for us. Too big to get them down to the pier.) On our way to the buses an old lady almost got run over because she was ignoring the tour guide, and someone nearly sliced their hand off when they grabbed a glass-topped wall. Oh, Mexico.

ON the bus, before we started moving, an older couple with terrifically thick southern drawls all but came to blows with the little tour guide because there weren’t four seats together so their whole party could sit together. I won’t recount the whole exchange, so believe me when I say it was painful and ridiculous. But they were eventually shut up, and Hubs managed to garner a good laugh out of them later, when they tried to direct traffic at the ruins. Disgruntled people are fun.

Bus trip (“about an hour” they told us) was interrupted by a quick “rest-stop,” which was actually an opportunity for locals to hawk authentic Mayan/Mexican goods at us. I will say that my neck of the woods sells a lot of the same stuff, so I’m glad to see some solidarity across the continent. I did get a sweet picture of a weaver actually making the blanket/ponchos that covered every visible surface. That was nice. Bright colors, too, which is always exciting.

The ruins themselves were a ways back in the jungle. Apparently, advanced Mayan culture collapsed in 8th and 9th century AD, and Mayans went back to basic agricultural. Tulum was “rediscovered” in the mid 1800’s, and is now one of the most popular sites in Mexico. There were “flying men” at the entrance of the park, recreating a salute to the sun god.

It was a city built on a cliff, so three sides were walled and one side faced the ocean. Most of the site was actually stone foundations, with stone steps leading up to grass or plants growing where a building used to be. Only a few buildings (the ones still standing) had been made entirely of stone. I especially liked the huge lizards (iguanas, I think) that were everywhere, sunning themselves on the tops of crumbling walls.

Hubs and I ordered some Mexas favorites before we got back on the bus, and managed to get some pesos out of the transaction, which will serve us well here in Mexas. I will say that fish tacos are about 400 times better when made on the Caribbean coast than they are when served on the banks of the Rio Grande.

Our group was the last one back on the ship before it left port. We watched the Conquest sail away, skipped dinner, and slept soundly on Thursday night. Next stop was good ol’ Galveston!

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