Saturday, November 26, 2011

Goodbye Casa Canciones

With much sadness, we had to leave Casa Canciones this morning.  We had some quality hammock time before parting ways.

Hammock master Eric saying his goodbyes.

Hammock master Autumn demonstrating the very advanced Hammock Burrito technique.

The road to Casa Canciones was exceptionally ridiculous.  There were approximately 10,000 potholes between the highway and the house.  Here are a few of them.

Good bye Mayan Riviera!  We already miss you!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Snorkeliando Time!

We took two snorkel trips out into Soliman Bay today, and they were both amazing!  It is so cool to just walk out your front door and swim onto a reef.

Here we are bright and early, kayaking out to the far end of the reef.

The sun on the pretty!

We took turns snorkeling in the morning.  Here I am manning the kayak.  Hi!!

The magic of our awesome underwater camera begins...the fish were very active this morning.

Fish and was so clear!

Top secret fish meeting exposed!

Sea things in the morning...

Eric got very brave (and close) to the coral.  I have had a coral scrape before, so I know to keep a good distance...

Then it was my turn!!

At first I didn't take the camera, so Eric took the opportunity to take some self portraits.  So cute!

Then I discovered fish island, so I had to go get the camera to document this.

Blue fishes...

There were all kinds of cool things growing in the coral...

and anemones with eye ball looking tentacles...

and brains....

and more fish...

and pretty corals!

Hola senor yellow fish!

I didn't get a picture, but I even saw a seahorse swimming around!  Also, our neighbors saw a cool!

Eric, snorkel expert.

Autumn, hammock expert.

Goodnight fishes! Thanks for a great day!!

Muyil and Sian Ka'an Biosphere

This morning we got up super early to watch the sunrise and get the 100% most out of our last day of vacation.  We did so much it had to be broken into 2 posts!  The first thing we did was hop into our double occupancy kayak and went for an early morning ride/snorkel.  More on that later.  Then, we got all ready to go and headed out to see some ruins and a biosphere.

Sunrise over Soliman Bay.


And we're off!  According to our guidebook no one bothers to go south of Tulum, so we would probably have these ruins to ourselves.  They were right.  This is the main structure, El Castillo, of the Mayan ruins at Muyil.

Buenos dias!!

El Castillo from further back.  This was by far the most impressive structure here, though the guidebook says it is a very under-excavated site with potentially hundreds more buildings to be found...

Entrance into Muyil also gives you access to a trail into the massive Sian Ka'an Bioreserve.  We began a lovely walk into the jungle...

An ojo de agua (freshwater spring) with gorgeous clear water.  Sian Ka'an is 1/3 marine, 1/3 swamp and 1/3 rainforest.  This little walk took us to all 3 parts!

Part way down the trail, we found this rickety old watch tower.  The sign said tourists may climb at their own risk.  I decided to sit this one out, but Eric climbed all the way up.  Yikes!

At the end of the trail, we came to this lagoon.  Apparently there are canals in here the Mayans dug thousands (according to the guy hanging out down here, though I imagine hundreds is probably more accurate) of years ago.  We opted not to go out on a boat that had an open gas can aboard for $100 USD, and just admired the lagoon from the shore.  This whole place reminded us a lot of the Everglades.

The walk back to the car took us back through the rainforest.

One last Mayan structure before heading out.  By this time we had attracted a swarm of mosquitoes, so it was time to go.

We headed back into Tulum and back down the beach road in search of lunch.  We found a place to go, but they told us they wouldn't have food for a half hour, so we wandered through the neighboring artesenia shops trying to pass some time.  We went into one, and saw David Denman, also of TV, buying a Lucha Libre mask.  Figuring out who that guy was took some doing, but it was definitely him.  Who knew Tulum is where the minor celebrities go on vacation?  Anyway, after that it was time to go back to the restaurant, and boy were we glad we waited....

First, we had Coco Locos!  Yay!!!  Then...

The most illusive of all American Mexican food that really only Americans eat....the burrito!  And they had them!  And we ordered them!  And they were awesome!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Tulum!

Today was our first full day at Casa Canciones, the awesome house we rented in Tulum.

Here it is!  We rented the top floor, and no one was downstairs so we had the whole place to ourselves!  It was awesome.

Details of the house, including a tree full of coconuts!

Eric decided to take a kayak (came with the house too!) out for a ride while I hammock napped.  He's so sporty!

There was a reef right out in front of the house!

A little preview of what's to come...

Here's Eric paddling back.  It was really shallow and warm all the way out to the surf in the distance.  So fun!

Enjoying hammocks on he beach.  Eric said he wants to replace our bed with hammocks.  I don't know about that plan, but this sure was nice.

Soliman Bay, complete with tours in English!

The beach.  Ahhhh.

These are some migratory birds we saw in the mangroves by the side of the road.  Neat.

In the late afternoon we headed into town to see the Mayan ruins at Tulum and to find a turkey dinner.  The ruins were beatiful set against the Sea.

Ruined building.  The time of day had excellent light for pictures.  That plus Eric's excellent eye made for some really nice photos.

One of the main temples.

Here's a watch tower.  Apparently the Mayans used this site to keep watch for approaching boats and such.  They'd have an excellent view from here.

Here we are, with a tiny ruin over Eric's shoulder!

This palace had a creepy bird on top.  Stop watching us bird!

This one had two devil birds!  Stop plotting!!

Montage of Tulum sites.

The buildings here were all painted red and white in their prime.  This one still had some carvings with some red pigment.  Pretty cool.

After our trip to the ruins, it promptly got dark at 5:30, as it does out on the Yucatan (they really should be in the Eastern time zone), and we headed down the Tulum beach road to find Hartwood, a restaurant owned by an American expat couple that I read about in Bon Appetit.  I was 100% sure they would be serving turkey, and turns out...I was right!  It was an amazing meal, and we even ate the sweet potatoes, which is shocking I know, but they were so good...

After we got settled in and ordered, Busy Philipps and her family came in...and we had dinner in the same restaurant as her again!  She has excellent taste, clearly.  This time Eric even talked to her.  Here's what happened:

Eric was standing outside the bathroom waiting for someone to bring him some water to wash his hands, as they had just run out of water in the they do sometimes.  Busy walks in, then out confused...

Eric: They're out of water.
Busy: Ohhh, I thought I was crazy! 
Eric: Nope, just out of the way, sorry to bother you, but I love your show.
Busy: Don't be sorry!  I NEED IT!

The end.  Then all went their separate way to enjoy some insanely good Thanksgiving dinner.  Thank you to Hartwood for making turkey, and helping the rest of us feel a little bit like we were back home.