*This is the third & final installment in what I'm calling my Mexican Vacation Series. This process has be fun. I enjoy sharing pics and the stories that go along with them. It has also been an opportunity for me to savor the memories a little longer. More pictures below in case you missed them.*
When a groovy old friend of mine heard that we were going to the Yucatan, she strongly encouraged us to check out the ruins of Ek Balam. She knew that we planned to visit Chichen Itza and suggested that this would be a good contrast to that experience. She also mentioned that there just so happens to be a unique little spot to stay closeby called the Genesis Retreat and swore we would love the place.
This is the view from the very comfortable bed we had at Genesis:
This place is idyllic. You must visit if you find yourself in the area. A cool,down to earth Canadian woman created and runs the amazing space. Amenities include: a sweatlodge, outdoor showers, beautiful mosaics all over the place, vegetarian meals and homemade fresh lime margaritas.
After a good nights sleep and an early morning wakeup call by Mr. Rooster, we had a leisurely walk around the community surrounding Genesis. We were met with friendliness by the locals - including some elementary schoolkids hanging around. One particularly confident girl helped me with a little Spanish. When I asked her "Como se dise" & pointed to one of these guys that were strutting around the place in packs:
She said "Pavo". Turkey.
"Pavolitos". Baby turkeys. Have you ever seen a baby turkey? (Def click on the pic for a closer look).
Although it was hard to leave - and I'm not talking about how long it took the taxi guy to finally come get us - we finally made our way from the Genesis Retreat to Ek Balam.
Beautiful, blue skied day. It was warm & a bit humid - but very tolerable. I can only imagine what the temperatures are like in the summer. We were nearly the only people here on this very quiet Wednesday...definitely a contrast to the huge numbers at Chichen Itza. It was nice to be able to meander around in a quiet, contemplative space. And, it was cool to be able to climb to the top of the main pyramid (tourists are no longer able to climb to the top of El Castillo at Chichen Itza).
Did I say cool? It actually was quite hot. We were there when the sun was high in the sky & beating down upon the stone steps. I'd love to go back in time to see how the Maya lived in these places. I'm sure that they zipped up & down the stairs like nobodys business.
View from the top:
The Mayan site of Ek Balam is so incredibly well preserved. They actually only began restoration in 1997! And, there are still mounds left to be excavated. Incredible. Absolutely incredible.
We had just enough time to ride bikes down to the Ek Balam Ceynote (pronounced Say-noh-tay). This pic does it very little justice - you know how that goes...
This is an enormous sinkhole very close to the Ek Balam site. There are over 3000 Ceynotes in the Yucatan - and only 1400 of these are actually studied and registered. Apparantly they were considered sacred places of the Maya because they were the only resource for fresh, sweet water in the Yucatecan jungle and also because they represented the entrance to the underworld. Awesome.
Our taxi was waiting for us once we biked out from the Cenote & drove us into Valladolid so we could catch our bus back to Isla Mujeres. First order of business? Dinner - we were starving and parched. The place we chose had clean toilets, cold beer and this Yucatecan delight:
Huevos Motulenos - a Yucatecan egg dish similar to Huevos Rancheros which is incredibly delicious especially after a day of walking around in the jungle and when you haven't eaten since breakfast. The Negra Leon (very similar to Negra Modelo) was cold, refreshing & a welcome treat.
After a very mellow bus ride (via ADO busline) complete with air conditioning, comfortable, reclining seats and random martial arts movie we were happy to be back to our beach. It was a relief to know that tomorrow would not require any running around, timelines or decisions harder than which beach chair to choose. It was bittersweet because it would be our last day of vacation.
And, our last Caribbean sunset.
We couldn't be bothered doing much shopping during our trip, however, I did manage to find something special for BabyZ.
I couldn't resist. The man who made this, had a card table set up close to the restaurant section on Isla. He had quite a menagerie of handmade felted animals. The armadillo was my favorite.
So, we're home now and transitioning back to reality. Holiday stuff, extended wait times with CCAA, mortgage payments, work schedules, housecleaning. Back to the good stuff, too...like lattes made with fresh milk, fresh garden salads, our home, family/friends to reconnect with and...Iris.
Yes, Iris was very, very, very happy to have us back. We missed her, too.