Friday, March 8, 2013

Cancun - Week One

                                                  Cancun 3/1/13 - 3/7/13
Up early 6 a.m., drove car to lot and got to airport. There was amazing fish art on the walls and I had to take a few pictures. Flight seemed so short. We were just getting ready for a nap and the captain announced we were descending. Beyond great to fly from Miami for 2 hours, as opposed to the 6+ hour flight from Boise.
Great Fish Art at Miami Airport
Picked up by Henry, who is the landlord of the condo we rented. He drove us around a bit to show us where a few things were and that was greatly appreciated. We had to climb up 4 flights of stairs, but luckily Henry was so nice to carry our big suitcases. He's fit and recently just completed a triathlon and came in third. He showed us all around, how to turn things on and off, etc. Had a typed out list with phone numbers, some general info, and let us know that our next door neighbor speaks English which is nice to know just in case we need that help.

Henry - a blessing
Super good guy
John took a little nap and got his legs up. I hooked up computer and checked mail and Facebook. We went out to dinner before it got dark since we're unfamiliar with the neighborhood and didn't want to get lost. We walked over to the cute little Italian Restaurant. I had a pizza and John had lasagna. He liked his meal, I didn't like anything I tasted. I'm pretty picky. I'll probably do better to cook here. While Mexican food is my favorite and we're in Mexico, the Yucutan style doesn't for the most part appeal to me. I think I'm more Baja or Guadalajara style. Except I adore cochinita pibil which is 100% Yucatan. Nothing better.

Woke up to an e-mail from Henry inviting us to church. John was still asleep so I said that I would go. Henry and Margarita picked me up at 9:30. The church is in a meeting room in the La Quinta hotel. It is an English service called Cancun Christian Fellowship. The music was on the computer and we all sang along, and the service was via internet from Dallas, TX. Wonderful sermon called Little Faith relating to Jesus' walking on water. Very powerful. Very nice group, with visitors from Canada. Also met a newly married couple from India. The wife is a doctor and her husband is a medical student. They are young and so cute. Very nice morning and I appreciated the invitation so much.

Tom Martin - worship leader
Cancun Christian Fellowship
After church John and I donned our backpacks for a little shopping. We walked about 2 blocks to a mall and looked around a little bit. We stopped for lunch at a place that I thought was like a Taco Bell, but we were surprised when we were seated and given menus. We had a nice lunch of tacos, I had beef and John had chicken. Nice waiter. They have karaoke on Friday nights so maybe we'll head over later during our visit. We then headed over the Soriana a store that has food and many other items sort of like a Walmart. They had the most extensive bakery that I have ever seen and baked goods I haven't seen before. Luckily, we were full and didn't need any bakery items. I'm oh so sure we will be back.

Monday and time to get on the bus and go explore. We need to find the good beach areas. This trip is different since we're not staying at a hotel and won't have our own beach to just walk out to Ended up at Playa Langosta (lobster) where we have been there before since it is next door to where we stayed last time we were here. Nice beach and we were able to buy a few beers from the bar. Expensive, so next time we'll bring our own. Need to find a little cooler. After beach went to Wal Mart. Met a guy named Eric and we are going to see a time share tomorrow. We wanted to get phones for local calls and all the sales people at the counter only spoke Spanish. So we captured Eric to help us which was great and I don't know what we would have done without him. We took a cab home which was a challenge since we're not in a hotel, but luckily with some turns at Oxxo and the park we got here. We also bought a map of Cancun.

I put a notice on Couch Surfers that we are going to Dublin Irish Pub for St. Patrick's Day to celebrate our anniversary of meeting and I'm hoping some Cancun friends will come. I also heard from a little gal I met through CSers when I asked if anyone wanted to share cooking and recipes. We've been communicating for a few months so we will finally get together to cook/learn from each other. Ana has no stove, so we'll cook here.

Went on a presentation for some property today. We started at 8:30 to walk to store to meet and then spent our entire day. Drive was out to just outside Playa del Carmen to the most beautiful property I've ever seen. It was magnificent. We ate brunch out there and it was the best food I've had in Cancun. I had some mango passion fruit marmalade to die for and crepes vegetable in salsa poblano - heaven. They had everything you could want and everything was delicious. Had my first glass of watermelon juice and loved it. Toured and the long and short is that we traded our time share in Playa del Carmen for something here. I can't believe this is so beautiful. We got rid of our yearly timeshare maintenance fee and that makes us happy. We'll have more opportunities to travel to other places with our new association and we're glad this worked for us. As a gift, we got a bottle of tequila, two T shirts and a day trip on a catamaran to Isla Mujures with lunch, drinks, snorkeling. We're scheduled for that on Thursday. 
Turquoise Water
Huge Pool with Lush Landscape
Day of rest. Walked around the corner and had lunch at Pollo Feliz (Happy Chicken). John had chicken tacos and I had quesadilla and an order of rice. The rice was out of this world delicious. Walked over to grocery store, got a few things and some of their bakery items. Biggest selection I have seen to date in Mexico. Came home, I did the wash and made John chicken mole for dinner. A little TV and to bed early.
Up early.  John woke up with a weird knee, but said he could deal with it.  Age just brings some funny conditions upon arising some mornings.  You just never know what will have a kink, or be out of whack.  And luckily there are the days all is perfect.
Got down the two blocks and caught our bus right away.  It was packed with workers, students.  Headed to Playa Linda, Embarcadero, to take our catamaran cruise to Isla Mujures.  Huge boat that can hold up to 100.  Drinks, snorkeling (we did not snorkel), shopping, lunch, drinks, drinks.  A perfectly beautiful day.  I am always amazed at the water color each time I see it - so teal in spots, beyond amazing. 

What a color
A fun day in the sun
Sea Passion catamaran to Isla Mujures
Our cute souvenir
First $10 beer I ever had
Met some great people and I hope to hear from them since we gave them our card.  We had some cards made and it has been fun to have them.  Got the idea from fellow travelers Lenore and Rick.

Back around 5:30 p.m. and took a cab over to Parque de las Palapas for the CS get together at 7:00 p.m.  We were hungry so got some cochinita pibil tacos and tamales.  I was so, so happy to see churros for sale and the guy made me fresh, hot ones.  That is how I love them.  Waited and wasn't sure who was who, so I walked over to this guy and asked if he was a Couch Surfer and he said yes.  He was with four other girls, two of them from Argentina.  We visited a bit.  They were going to go to a photography show, but we were so tired we said we'll catch you at the next event.  Nice young folks.  Got a cab and managed to get home again.  Right to bed, exhausted.

Had to learn which bus to take
to get back to our condo

So the first week has been interesting, challenging and fun.  This is different from the "hotel zone".  You've got to figure out some things, especially about transportation.  But so far we haven't been lost.  I think it has been helpful that we have been in Cancun so many times so we do know where a lot of places are.  We're enjoying this experience and the week went by so fast.

* borrowed photos

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Trees - the best of

I've found some wonderful trees on our trek across this country (Bahamas and Mexico).  I love trees and wanted to share my favorites in one place.  Hope you enjoy.  It is hard to do justice to the beauty of a tree with a photograph, but I did my best to capture the allure of trees.

Catalpa trees in front of our house
on Reutzel Drive, Boise

Bloom of the Catalpa tree

Catalpa in full bloom

Ouray, Colorado
September 2012

Early Fall
Ouray, Colorado 9/12

Glass Tree
Designed by Dave Chuily
Oklahoma Museum of Art

4 stories tall
All blown glass

Tree Arch
Missouri 10/12

Fall Orange
Bloomington, IN

Fall - New Hampshire

Fall - New Hampshire

Fall - New Hampshire

Leaves gone here

Colorful drive

Lincoln, NH


Flame in green
Lincoln, NH

Red tree as tall as church steeple
New Hampshire

Huge tree with orange leaves
New Hampshire

Trees in front of Maine State Capitol

Entire valley filled with trees

Beautiful Fall Walk



Magestic Palm
South Carolina

Amazing tree
Hilton Head, SC

Tree covered with Spanish Moss
Savannah, GA

Huge tree planted
Tybee Island, GA

Interesting fact:  There are 27 different species of palm tree that occur in the wild in Florida. 15 are not native to Florida.

John likes this type of palm tree

Regal palm
Freeport, Grand Bahamas

Famous tree always
Freeport, Grand Bahamas

Hurricane ravished tree

Gentle palms

Artificial palms in the lobby Grand Bahamas
Hotel - Freeport

Christmas Tree in hotel
lobby - Freeport

Another Christmas tree

A palm tree like we had never seen
Canaveral Nat'l Seashore,
Manatee Island, Florida

Unusual tree trunk
Lake Tahoe, NV 6/2013

Tree root - shore of Lake Tahoe

Beautiful blue tree
Kathryn Albertson Park
Boise, ID 6/2013

In full bloom
Lake Washington 
close up of above tree
Chinese Chestnut 

Hanging on by a root - rainforest
Totem Bight State Park
Ketchican, AK 7/2013