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Sound Effect does the big U
Chichen Itza
Sunny
03/12/2012

Saturday we got up early to beat the crowds and were almost the first ones in the parking lot. Ironically we waited for another couple to arrive to share the guide costs. Connie talked a couple from Belgium into sharing and English speaking guide with us even though French was available.
The picture you see is the most famous temple in Chichen Itza and arguably the most photographed. Notice I was so early there are no people in the frame of the shot. Later in the day there would have been a thousand people there. We had a wonderful tour and it easly exceeded our expectations. People had told us that other sites are better and we might want to skip Chichen Itza. We had a wonder ful time and although you can no longer climb the temples and pyramids, the ball court and celestial observatory were worth the trip. My advice definetly GO but go EARLY and avoid the crowds.
After several hours in the park we went back to our hotel and rested up for dinner.

03/15/2012 | Larry Cristy
Ah hah....finally a spot where we have shared some common ground. We were there also a couple years ago ...pretty amazing.
03/16/2012 | Dan Bessmer
Sorry to hear you cannot climb the temples any longer! I was there a few years ago and was allowed to climb up there and then inside the sacrafice area at the top. I could just imagine waiting there in that cramped little room over teh chuckmol waiting for my heart to be cut out. It was equally odd to think of all that temple covered in vines and lost to the world for so many centuries. Hope you have a smooth ride uphill to Florida.
Valladolid
Sunny its the dry season
03/10/2012, Cancun area

We used the colonial town of Valladolid as our base to visit not only the sights in town but two more Mayan ruins Chichen Itza and El Balam. We visited a five hundred year old structure that is a church and convent outside of town.
This church was built over a cenote which is a sink hole. The whole penninsula is honeycombed with these natural wells. The Mayans used them for rituals and drinking, and the friars who built the convent of San Bernadino used them as well. Recently they have begun searching the bottom of the well with scuba and found cannon and rifles from an uprising in the 19th century.
We enjoy the colonial towns we have visited in past and this was no exception with people and businesses residing in building centuries old.

Tulum
Sunny
03/09/2012, Quintana Roo

After having rented the car late Thursday night, we were able to leave early Friday morning. We drove two hours to the Mayan ruins of Tulum. This is the only Mayan ruin on the ocean, and also holds the distinction of being active after most all of the Mayan kingdom had disappeared. These folks hung around long enough to die out from small pox and other diseases brought by the Spanish sailors in the early 1500's. We hired a private guide for the tour and enjoyed our visit. Due to clever planning (Connie) we had arrived very early before the crowds. This was the first day of driving which was very strange after such a long hiatus. We rented a standard transmission, Chevy Aveo, which I thought was small until we parked next to some really small cars. Stop signs, stop lights, speed limits etc are simply advisory and apparently can be ignored completely. The only thing you can not ignore are the Topes.
These speed bumps on steroids come in all shapes and sizes and can rip the bottom out your car if you take one to fast. You can be on a 4 lane divided highway with unlimited speed and have to break to almost a stop to drive over the Tope. After we finished with Tulum we drove on to Valladolid for out hotel and base of operations. Our hotel was Hotel Colonial la Aurora. This modestly priced hotel, is a colonial building with the courtyard converted to a swimming pool. The rooms had A/C and a TV.

Goldilocks and the three docks
WINDY
03/07/2012, El Cid

As of last saturday we are now in our third slip of our stay in Marina El Cid.
Last post was galloping docks and sure enough beyond the snapped lines all of the remaining lines I examined when the wind moderated slightly had chafed through enough we had to cut out the bad sections and re tie.
I showed the damaged lines to the Manager and he agreed to let me go to a 70ft slip against the breakwater. That is where we are now and feel a little better about leaving the boat safely for inland travel. The wind shifted from SE which caused the galloping docks to NE. During the transition time we moved successfully to the new slip and snugged down with cast off bits of line and spare anchor line called into service to tie the boat down.
We went shopping in Cancun yesterday to buy new dock lines but they cost 3 times what they do in the states so we are going to make do.
We plan to rent a car tomorrow night late and then leave early am Friday for our road trip.

Galloping docks
WINDY
03/03/2012, Marina El Cid

We were pleased to get into the marina on Thursday and we washed the boat on Friday however we noted a weather forcast for SE winds, so asked and got permission to move our boat to the leeward side of the dock. However it wasnt enough as the SE waves are roaring into the marina causing the dock to gallop up and down. The motion is completely un natural as the boat never completes a roll or pitch as it is brought up short by the dock lines. The doubled up dock lines. However while we were out biking our stern line parted. A neighbor put one of his lines on and we replaced it with our own when we returned but expect the new one may break soon.
This is a relatively new lightly used line that broke. Serious design flaw in the marina making it vulnerable to SE winds. The winds will turn North Sunday with a cold front and give us some relief. No SE forecast for a week out or more after it turns. We wont stay here for the next one.

03/03/2012 | Larry Cristy
Have been keeping up on your writings and pictures. Thanks for sharing this trip in this way. Your old home in N Suburbs was expecting 6" of snow today - so think of that! I call on one of our companies in Champaign/Urbana so am over there often. Some friends have a daughter attending law school there so we take her out for dinner occasionally. I think of you making pizza at that place up the street from Delta Phi when I drive by there. Make one up for Conie when you have the right environment....heck, sell them to other boats! Now there is a idea
Tourists
WINDY!!!
03/03/2012, Puerto Morales

Today we borrowed bicycles from marina and pedaled down to the town of Puerto Morales. You see Connie posed in front of the leaning lighthouse. Beachside dive town, shops, restuarants etc. Neither of us has ridden a bike in some time and it may be another year or two before we do again!
Had lunch in town on seaside deck, with view of the ocean very nice. Had forgotten the salsa and chips with pico de guao that always comes before the meal. Not common in other central American countries. Mexico definitely has its own flavor. Checked on rental car rates and plan to book a 3 day tour inland to a colonial town and more Mayan ruins, but we are afraid to leave the boat see next.

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Who: Jim & Connie Merritt
Port: Tacoma WA
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