July 08, 2016

Adventures in Paradise: Yucatan, Mexico

Hellloooo! It's me, July. And I'm back from Mexico with many a story to tell!! I'm really excited about this post because I get to show you all of the great stuff I experienced while down in Mexico. I guess this post is basically my personal travel diary that you get to come in on, so enjoy my stories and pictures just as much as I enjoyed writing about them and reflecting on my amazing time :)
Also, I just realized as I got done writing this post that this computer doesn't have spell check. So bear with my spelling mistakes!!

Let's get started!


June 4: Day One
This was our big travelling day! I was very nervous and excited because I had never been on a plane before or out of the country before. However, despite the nerves, I really enjoyed flying. I even saw a rainbow from the plane window while we were wayyyyy up in the air. 
When we finally arrived in Merida, Mexico, the second we got out of the airport, we could already feel the intense heat. My friend Danielle's parents picked us up and drove us to the house. We had a quick house tour and went to bed shortly after that because we were super tired from the long day. 






June 5: Day Two
On our first morning in Mexico, we woke up early-ish and went out to some ancient Mayan ruins called Dzibilchaltun. They were absolutely amazing! It's unbelievable that people built these huge stone villages and temples by hand in the blazing heat so many years ago. I found it cool that in one of the temples, they built it with a hole in it so that the sun from the sunrise would shine through and reflect on the whole village behind it. Unfortunately we didn't wake up THAT early, so we didn't see it but I'm sure it would have been beautiful. 
At this point we were all quite hot from walking around in the sun. Thankfully in the village there was a cenote and we quickly jumped in and cooled down in the perfect water. 
"Wait, July.... what's a cenote?"
Ohhhh, yeah, good question. I hadn't heard of cenotes before going on my trip to Mexico, so I should probably explain. Actually, I'll let good old Google explain.

Cenote: a natural pit of sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.  

Anyway, there are tons and tons of cenotes all over in Mexico, many that haven't even been discovered yet, and they're all connected through tunnels underground that flow water in between. And they're perfect to swim in! 

After that, we returned to Danielle's house and the three of us went swimming in her pool and relaxed in hammocks until some family friends came to have late lunch (a Mexican barbecue actually!) with us all. We played a game called Mayan Loteria and celebrated Danielle's brother's birthday together. It was a fun time, but I was still jetlagged so I was extremely tired by the end of the day! 

Iguana :)


Temple with the sun hole :)







June 6: Day Three
On this day we finally got to sleep in. Thank goodness! After finally waking up and getting ready for the day, we went downtown to the market for breakfast. We ate cochinita pibil which was absolutely DELICIOUS! Then we walked around the market for a while. The market had everything a person could ever need.... clothes. fruits, veggies, seasonings, puppies, chickens, tortillas, and much, much more. 
Later we went to El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya de Merida (The Great Museum of the Mayan World in Merida) to learn more about Mayan culture. It was actually quite interesting.
After the museum, we went to one of the many malls in Merida and shopped for a while. I bought a certain perfume I'd been wanting for a very long time that they don't sell where I live called Rose Gold by Zara. So that was exciting for me ;P

Okay so, before I tell this next story, I have to back up and give you some background info. About two years ago when I first met my friend Danielle, we were talking and I asked if there was a Krispy Kreme (my favorite donut shop) where she lived in Mexico. To my horror, she told me no, there wasn't! So I told her jokingly that I would only come to Mexico with her when there was a Krispy Kreme. And about six months ago, they actually put one in her town, soooo I had to keep my promise and visit Mexico. That is actually one of the major reasons why I went haha. 
Anyway, so we finally got to go to the Mexican Krispy Kreme, and I got the original glazed donuts (my favoriteeee!). Just as we were leaving the store, they started making a fresh batch of new donuts, and if you've never been to Krispy Kreme before, you get to watch the donut making process from start to finish and they give away fresh donuts for free. And of course, being the tired, sugar filled teenager girls that we were, we stayed to watch the whole process and smiled and thoroughly enjoyed the whole time. Since the employees noticed us watching with awe, they gave us the first free donuts AND the hats which they NEVER give out to anyone apparently. So we were pretty special :) It was a great day!








June 7: Day Four
On this day, we woke up early and went to another ancient Mayan Ruin, Ekbalam. The main pyramid was HUGE, but despite the heat, we climbed all the way to the top! The view was incredible. After that, we went to another cenote, Hubiku, which was all enclosed by rock except for a whole on top. It was kind of like swimming in a cave. The water was so clear and blue and you could see tons of little fishies swimming all over the place. And the water temperature was perfect for Kate and I since we are used to colder temperatures, but for everyone else it was freezing cold, haha. 
After swimming we went to a little place to try tequila shots, which were disgusting.... If I had to pick a favorite that I tried, it would be coconut, but even that was not great lol. 
At the end of the night, we were supposed to go to Chicen Itza, one of the most major pyramids in Yucatan that I mentioned in my previous post, for the light show, but it got cancelled because of rain. :( So after that disappointment, we instead stopped at a restaurant to eat tacos al pastor (yum) and drink horchata (double yum!). 















June 8: Day Five
This day, we woke up and went to a zoo called Animaya. We went on a safari, and it was really cool to see tons of animals that you don't get to see on a daily basis. Then we went home and had lunch, enchiladas verdes to be exact! After that we went grocery shopping and to another mall just for fun. We ended the night by eating tamales, swimming in the pool, and watching the stars. 
Fun fact! You can see Mars and Jupiter from Merida every night!












June 9: Day Six

This day, we decided explore downtown some more. We first went to an old house museum called La Casa Montes Molina Museo. It was built many, many years ago and was SUPER FANCY. It reminded me of Downton Abbey because they had the "upstairs" and "downstairs parts of it so that was fun to see.
My favorite part about houses in Mexico is that in every bedroom they have hammock hooks so if you don't want a bed, you can just sleep in a hammock instead. I was surprised that even this old, old house had hammock hooks!
After the museum tour, we went to see another cenote in the parking lot in Costco. Yeah, I said IN the parking lot! Many times, cenotes are only found when construction happens because they are beneath the ground. So that's cool!
When it got darker we visited a cathedral that ended up being closed but I still used the oppurtunity to take a crappy photo.
My favorite part of the day was going out for dinner. We went to another little restaurant, but while waiting for the delicious food (salbutes... yum!), we walked to a little gift shop and looked around for a while. I found it quite interesting that they sold little live beatles, called Maquech, that some people in Mexico actually wear on their clothes for fashion! I really wanted to take one home, but sadly it probably wouldn't have been allowed on the plane! Haha.
After dinner, we got another traditional Mexican food, called Marquesitas.
"What's a marque-what-what?"
Good question :) It's like a crepe but harder and with cheese in it. Arguably better than a crepe :)
And since it was a late night, we went to bed straight away when we got back to Danielle's house.


La Casa Montes Molina Museo



People wear these live bugs, Maquech beatles, on their clothes!

Salbutes!

Marquesitas!

Chairs for dating ;P

June 10: Day Seven

On this day, we went to some underground caves, called grutas, and explored down there with a guide. In the caves, there were 13 cenotes that we were able to see so that was pretty out of the ordinary for us, haha. Well, actually, we only kind of saw them. It was pitch black in the caves so the only lights we had were the rays of a flashlight. This was probably the most adventurous thing we did the whole time we were there because it was dangerous, yet thrilling. The reason I say it was dangerous is because we had to watch our steps so we didn't fall down 20 feet into one of the cenotes and we had to watch above ourselves so you didn't hit our heads. Also, I swear a bat swooped towards me, haha. My favorite part of the caves was that we found a super sparkly rock :)
At night time, we went downtown again to see the Mayan history portrayed in a light show. It was super interesting and beautiful to watch until it started pouring rain out of nowhere! Because it started raining, we left to get ice cream from Merida's oldest ice cream shop. I got chocolate, as usual ;)



Sparkly rock!

Sweatyyyyy girls







June 11: Day Eight

This day we went to the coast for the first time, which was super exciting! The first thing we did was stop at a little shop to buy coconut water, which is delicious. Especially fresh from the coconut! 
Then we drove to see the salt marshes and the flamingos that lived there. They were sweet but I failed to get a picture D: 
After that, we hopped in a boat, and someone paddled us through the canals in the woods to get to a swimming spring. When we got to the end, we got out and saw the swimming water. I was amazed at the clarity and blueness! Plus, the fish were HUGE! The large fish didn't scare us away though.... we jumped right in and had a great time. At the bottom of the swimming spring, there was a hole leading to an underground cave. We swam all the way to the bottom and touched it, despite the massivly intense pressure on our ears, lol. Seriously, it hurt. A lot. 
After that, we went to the beach and enjoyed a lovely meal before it started raining and we had to leave. Stupid rain lol. 
The Gulf of Mexico is extremely warm by the way, and if you're a shell collector, you might want to visit there because there are millions of them!
As soon as we got home, we made popcorn and and watched Finding Nemo in Spanish to get us ready for the release of Finding Dory. After that, we went star gazing becase the night turned out to be extremely clear, and then went to bed. 





Like Venice, but more foresty!

Swimming spring :)

Shrimp, octopus, tomato, and onion galore



June 12: Day Nine

Since the day before our beach day got rained upon, we decided to try for another one on our last day in paradise. We visited a different beach this time in a little town on the coast, and it was even more beautiful than the first. The weather was just perfect, the water was warm, the shells were plentiful, and the sand was smooth. I saw a few puffer fish in the water, and even a bird catching a fish. 
It was wonderful. We swam for ages.
After that, we got ice cream, and this time I opted for coconut which was quite good! I would highly recommend it! 
The rest of the night we spent at home together with each other, up late talking and putting on fake tattoos :) 





Coconut ice creammmmmm :D

Mango shop on the side of the road



June 13: Day Ten

This was definitely the saddest and worst day of our trip. My friend Kate and I had to leave the beautiful country of Mexico and I had to say goodbye to my best friend for the past two years, Danielle, without knowing when I would see her again. Of course, tears were shed as we waved goodbye and Kate and I boarded the plane without her :'( It makes me sad just thinking about it! 
Then when our plane arrived in Houston for our stop over, I ended up getting super sick the whole time so that was not fun. Ick. 
But we made it back home to Michigan and we couldn't have been happier with our trip!

Hello Texas!

So overall, I loved my trip. Mexico is a beautiful country with such a great culture and I enjoyed exploring that with two of my greatest friends. If you ever have the oppurtunity to go, definitely do so! You won't regret it, even if you get sick for like a week afterwards like I did.... oops. 

But in all seriousness, I want to challenge you guys to do something totally crazy this summer. Going to Mexico was completely new and completely out of my comfort zone, but I'm so glad I agreed to going. I grew so much during my time there. And you never know what great adventures could be out there until you say yes to oppurtunities. So say more yes, and less no. 

Anyways, that is all I have for you today. I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about my trip, and I hope to hear about your trips this summer in the comments below! 
Love you all!
Mischeif Managed,
July