Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hard Yakka

We stayed at a nice place near Chichen Itza but had to share the pool with the ducks. The place was run entirely by young men in matching yellow T shirts. As there were about four of them and most of the guests headed off early in the morning to visit the site and didn't return until late in the day, they were able to spend most of the day hanging about in hammocks or watching their favourite Tele Novelas (Mexican Soap Operas). We had to wake one up one day to get a margarita.
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Tulum II

Tulum has a great beach and that's the main attraction. Most people come for the beach and the scuba diving on the barrier reef off shore or in the cenotes (sink holes and underground caves). Chris did swim in a cenote and Pat had his first swim in the Caribbean but since we don't have our diving certificate and we discovered that beaches are beautiful to look at but hanging around them puts sand in your pants, we used the stay here to relax, read, and have a holiday from the hard work of being on a holiday.
The Barmacia helped relieve some of our stress too!
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Set on the Caribbean side of the Yucatan peninsula these Mayans had a pretty idyllic spot. Plenty of beaches and sunshine. The site was small, clearly an outpost but interesting. It was so packed with tourists though that we quickly gave up and headed back to the bar.
We returned later, just before closing, and managed to enjoy it much more.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009


We stayed the weekend of 28 March in Campeche. We went there because we read that it was a 'colonial gem, by the sea, not yet overrun with tourism'. It had an interesting history- attacked over 15 times by various pirates and sacked a few times until they built the fortress walls. It was also colourful and beautiful in the colonial centre. But...

Nothing much open, mostly ordinary restaurants, almost non- existent services. And on Sunday it was like being in the city in Hobart on a Sunday- nothing happening.

We did enjoy the pan de cazon though- A sort of lasagne dish made with layers of tortilla, shredded shark meat and tomato sauce. We will have to try that with our lasagne day group.
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A ball game was popular throughout mesoamerica. The ball court was in the shape of a capital letter I. The rules and objectives seemed to vary over time and in different cultures/regions but they almost all seem to have had it. The pictures show one at Monte Alban, one at Palenque and one (the largest discovered) at Chichen Itza. In Chitzen Itza there were seven players to a side. They could hit the ball (hard rubber) with just about anything accept hands and the objective was to knock the ball through the ring on the wall. Looks impossible to me.

The game was important ceremonially and at various times was used to settle disputes rather than fight. That sounds good, but in some cultures they sacrificed the loosers and sometimes the winners (offering the strongest and best to the gods)
Maybe this is why Mexico will never win the world cup?

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