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Pete's Trip

Flamingoes, Frenchies & Field Trips

MEXICO | Monday, 19 December 2011 | Views [527]

Hola amigos! It's been a while since the last update because we have been too busy doing everything! We're now in Cancun, but I'll get to that later.
Firstly, I think it needs to be said that Australians (and I'm talking incredibly generally here) are terrible at the kiss upon meeting and departing thing. We shake hands, and it has been obvious every time we caught up and said goodbye to our new friends, the French girls and a Mexican boy. The first time we did the awkward hug, oh wait she's going for a kiss fiasco, Jeff ended up putting a shoulder to the girl trying to kiss him. It doesn't get a whole lot better from there, I blush pretty much every time regardless of who I'm sharing an air kiss with. 
The other thing Jeff and I are not good at is Spanish. We ended up in the same town as the Frenchies and the Mexican, Carlos, for quite a few days and unfortunately, out of the group of 5, there was not one language we all spoke. Carlos spoke Spanish and English, Sophie mastered French, Spanish and English and Anice was fluent in French and Spanish. It made things pretty interesting. The language barrier didn't stop Anice joking about the man they saw masturbating loudly outside the church though, if anything, it probably added to the humour. 
We all hung out for the first time together in Campeche at the hostels for some beers. They didn't have a bottle opener though so every round of drinks we had to go to the restaurant next door to open them. On my round (a concept the French girls weren't overly familiar with), I bought 4 Coronas and went next door to open them. No dramas. I went back and saw Carlos sitting inside with a MacBook so I bought him a beer, asked to use his charger and got him to join us outside. So after just having been next door to open 4 beers, I walk back with another one, promptly slip over in front of everyone (it was wet outside and I was in thongs... and a dress so falling was even more of a show). The looks I got were worth the big bruise on my knee. Of course by the time I got back to the group with the beers, I came back limping, with a laptop charger and a new friend in tow, Jeff is learning how good I am at that sort of thing when left alone for 5 minutes.
Our couple of beers eventuated in spending 5 days together (in 2 towns with a few extras now and then and still no common language).
Beardy got left behind in Campeche. We went to a barber and I sat there twitching out of worry every time the old guy (with one shaky hand might I add) put the straight edge blade on Jeff's neck. Of course right now, it's a week later and Beardy is back.
After Campeche, the adorable little colourful town with the Christmas music fountains that I loved so much, we headed to Merida, a huge, busy city with unforgiving humidity. We ended up loving it so much we stayed for 5 days. We spent most of this time doing trips out of the city to the amazing sites nearby. There was a cenote, a kind of sink hole filled with water, 8 meters underground with crystal clear water that was pretty impressive. It wasn't nearly as cold as we thought it would be (another thing we're not good at- cold water, the Europeans laugh at us- although I would like to point out, I've been swimming in the Antarctic, I have nothing to prove). We also spent a day doing a boat trip around a nearby beach/nature reserve with the Frenchies, Carlos and two sisters from the US we met along the way. THERE WERE FLAMINGOES!! As you can guess, I was pretty excited by this. There were also pelicans but after a few bad childhood experiences of being chased, I wasn't too fussed to go near them. The pelicans here are even creepier than the white and yellow ones we have in Aus, they are grey and black and are just waiting to taste my flesh, I can tell. 
This day trip on the boat gave us a bit of an insight into how everyone else travels. Basically, they dont eat nearly as often as us. We didn't get to the beach until after 1 so of course we were starving. We grabbed a sandwich, everyone else thought it was way too early to eat. By 4, we'd gotten off the boat and the group was deciding on whether or not to eat in this town or wait the 2.5 hours until we got back. How is that even a decision we wondered and persuaded them to eat at the earliest sign of food, we couldn't go another couple of hours without eating, how could they? We were ready for dinner pretty much as soon as we got back- not like the 10pm dinners they were used to. 
On the bus trip back, I sat next to Carlos and behind the American sisters, who all spent about half an hour teaching me how to say 'banana' in Spanish. At this rate, I'll be able to have a conversation in about 10 years. Pretty sure I still haven't even got it but it's close enough. Not so close that Carlos didn't laugh at me every time I said something in Spanish- he said it wasn't that I was saying it wrong, just that I'm so funny because I cant actually speak Spanish but make it sound like I can with a few words. 
Jeff and I spent another whole day with the American sisters (who bicker in a way that only sisters can- it reassured me just how well Jeff and I are still getting along) and went to some Mayan ruins and a cenote nearby. I think we've been spoiled with ruins because we climbed the third largest pyramid in the world in our first week. Now, whilst still incredibly impressive, they are not the same to climb. We sat with our feet in the beautiful clear water of the cenote and had fish come and nibble at them for about an hour. 
The hostel we stayed in whilst in Merida was lovely, we spent a couple of hours one afternoon lazing in the hammocks hanging over the pool while reading a book and napping. We went for a quick dip in the freezing (by our standards, lovely and even quite warm by others) water one night after the salsa lesson that was at the hostel. I managed to convince Jeff to come try it twice with me. Well ok the second time he flat out refused until 3 pretty girls asked him to do it. One of which being an incredibly gorgeous, tall, funny and smart German girl with legs that went all the way to the ground. Even I had a bit of a crush on her. Too bad it was our last night there, she convinced us with impossible to refuse puppy dog eyes to go have another beer afterwards even though we were getting up at 5 to leave the next morning. 
We left early the next day on 5 hours sleep to head to Chitzen Itza and then on to Cancun. Chitzen Itza was stunning. The main attraction was an incredibly well preserved pyramid and there were amazing ruins and intact temples from over a thousand years ago. It didn't take us all day as we had planned though because we weren't allowed to climb anything. We were very glad we'd gotten there so early as we walked past the multiple bus loads of people that line up to get in at lunch time. We continued on to Cancun that afternoon (even without breakfast or now lunch!- not first or second!) We had a ridiculously overpriced Snickers bar to get us on the bus at 1pm as this was the only tourist attraction that wasn't littered with people selling fruit. We found one banana but the guy wanted more than what you pay for a kilo of them at the expensive supermarket. 4:30pm came and we hadn't eaten any proper food yet, I think we were more surprised how this could happen than we were hungry. But luckily, a man on the bus started selling almost footlong ham and cheese sandwiches that were more like croissants, delicious whatever they were. 
We arrived in Cancun, our first swimmable town, at 5:30pm and it was already dark and raining. One dollar beers and the prospect of a hot shower made it still seem like a pretty happy place. We're staying in what is referred to as Downtown, it's 6km from the beach resorts and only a tenth of the price. There are little night markets on in the streets and another big lit up Christmas tree. We headed down to the beach this morning as soon as we'd dropped off a week's worth of dirty washing to the lavendaria (impressed with our Spanish yet?)- and by week's worth, yes I do mean all of our clothes. We met a local guy on the bus who does the marketing for one part of the beach so he showed us around and told us where the cheap food was. 
Forget about drunk Americans and Spring break, Cancun is amazing! I'm only talking about the beach here, the rest is just American chain restaurants and nightclubs but the beach was perfection! Sure it's half man made and they have to keep topping up the perfect white sand but wow, just wow. The water was the most amazing turquoise blue imaginable. I have never been to a beach before where you can be neck deep in water and still be able to see your feet and even the sand clearly. It was truly beautiful. 
We went to Chili's so we could tell the family if it's changed since we lived in the States. My god I see why we used to go there, the chicken strips with honey mustard were pretty darn good. Good in the I cant finish these or I might throw up way. Terrorists must be coming up with some pretty inventive ways of trying to kill Americans, how else could you explain the deep fried mozzarella sticks we bought?
By the afternoon, Cancun was falling into its stereotype. There were Americans playing football on the sand, a couple of games of beach volleyball going on, including girls in thongs (the underwear, not the Australian word for "flip-flops" as we've had to explain) and people having a few beers on the beach. 
We went back to Downtown (via an hour and half long adventure of wrong buses and finding, and then shopping in, Wal-Mart. Side note: sunscreen here is ridiculously expensive and there are so many 2 or 8 SPF ones as well as up to 80SPF which I'd never seen) for dinner. We accidentally found a little market street with the best tacos we've had. For $3 you get a plate full off tacos covered in various meats and onion and chilis, these ones even had a bit of lettuce. Then you cover them in the spicy tabbouleh looking stuff that is half chilis, I then pour over the green sauce that is sometimes a bit of avocado and often I have no idea what it is but it's delicious and not too spicy and use a couple of drops of the red dip that sets your mouth on fire, Jeff liberally uses the red hot chili dip that would burn through a wall if given the opportunity. I wish we were staying another day just so we could eat them again. Desert was heaven. We had Nutella marquistas, a crunchy crepe like thing that is rolled up. The best description would be a footlong ferrero rocher tasting roll of diabetes. Heaven.
I'll leave you with the food envy you all deserve to have to get some sleep so Jeff and I can take a quick trip to the beach in the morning before moving on to Playa de Carmen. 

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