samedi 28 février 2015

50 Shades of Cancun

We had been busy little bees in and around Cancun the entire time we were there. We decided that today, OUR LAST DAY, we would hang out on the beach and catch some rays. We are hardworking individuals (okay, well at least we pretend to be) and we wanted to relax. Today's agenda was to just chill and do a bunch of nothing. I don't tan, but I needed to catch a bit of color cause my legs were looking pasty. We had breakfast and walked down to the beach (a whole 20 steps) and set up our beach chairs. We had our snacks, shades, and commentaries ready. I really love people watching and it is even better to do it in paradise!

sharing a DC w your man.
waves deep as Redondo Beach

What a perfect way to end our trip, right? Wrong. Did you forget who this blog belongs to?! Something had to happen and of course, it snuck up on me. As you can see, I am a pale individual. The only thing uglier than tanning in general is a body with tan lines, so I take extreme measures to prevent that from happening. I am also mildly allergic to the sun. You read that right. Hell nah. Well, we sat out there chatting about life, going for a dip, and reading our books-- and in between that I continuously slathered my body in sunscreen. I mean I must have done it on the hour, every hour. I was not fucking around. There was a couple who set up shop near us on the beach around the same time we got there. I saw that the guy was starting to get realllllly red, so I took this as a sign for us to get moving. I am glad we did. It was about to be lunchtime, so we walked up to our room. On the way up, I felt mild pain and started to get itchy. How could that be? Surely I wasn't burned. Dear readers, nothing would prepare me for what happened next.

I started to get sleepy and really, really cold. Like, shivering. I took a nap and went down to dinner, but at this point my face was on fucking fire. You know when a cartoon character looks up through a chimney and their face gets covered in soot? That's what my face looked like, except that instead of being black, it was bright red. Fire engine red. I swear it was burgundy in some areas. I looked like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. FUCK! I ended up sleeping on and off for the rest of the day, shivering my ass off, and feeling like I was going to barf my entire life out. When I googled my symptoms later, I realized I had sun poisoning. I could have died!!! Who did I have to thank for this?

Whoever the fuck made this bottle of sour cream that was masquerading as sunscreen, THAT'S WHO. 

My sunburn was so severe that I legit thought I had to go to a burn unit. Luckily, it did not blister. I was PISSED. I should have brought my own sunscreen from home instead of trying to paint with all the colors of the wind. Never again. Cancun is closer to the equator, so the sun was like the one in Super Mario Bros 3. You know what I am talking about. The one with the attitude! I could feel the cancerous cells forming already. I spend all my time avoiding the sun and then this happens. I didn't wanna look like an old leather boot!!! I looked like Charmander. Oh, but it doesn't end here. Picture this: a humid ass day where you are sweating buckets, your entire body is burned, and you are dragging your luggage. I decided I wasn't going to bother with the overhead bins on the plane since it was so painful to move a muscle. I did something I never do... I checked my bag (This would haunt me on my next trip. Of course it would.) and charged it to the game. My face was bright red and I was so embarrassed. I looked like the red devil face emoji in the flesh. To make matters worse, nobody at the airport was sunburned. I felt so stupid! We boarded our plane and when we started to descend for our layover in Denver, guess what I saw? It wasn't a man on the wing... it was much more surprising:

I mean, what else did I expect Denver to look like in November?! Of course it looked like this. I was headed directly into a winter wonderland and had the nerve to be burned to a crisp. We got quite a few stares and one man even asked Wendy if we had just come from the Virgin Islands hahaha. It was hilariously bad. I got home and immediately filled a spray bottle with vinegar. I smelled like a pickle but it felt great! Plus it got that sunburn the fuck up out of there. I had to call out of work the next day because the only way I was going to show up was looking like this:

And that just wasn't an option. I spent the day spraying myself liberally, binge watching House of Cards, and drinking gallons of water. I was actually really bummed because less than 3 weeks later, I was off to India. It seemed so cruel that this would happen right before embarking on a trip I had dreamed about my entire life. I spent the next week hydrating like crazy and flaking like a damn croissant, but I had minimal damage. By the end of the week, I was back to my (significantly darker) self. Cancun was so much fun and I realized that Wendy was a great travel companion. This only made me look forward to our Euro trip even more! Our trip was getting nearer and the anticipation was building.

On the next episode of my dumb ass life, I set off on the trip of a lifetime-- INDIA! Do I even need to tell you that something disastrous happens? Stay tuned!

The Book of Life

... And we're back! Where were we? Oh yeah. We walked around the park and guess what we found?

You know what time it is! Anyway, I know I keep saying that I loved things, but THIS was my absolute favorite:

Yes, that is a cemetery. It's not a real one, though. I'm not that creepy (Yes, I am). Wendy was inside of this place called the House of Whispers. HELL NAH. The House of Whispers is this weird building that has some spooky audio engineering going on. I was all for it when it was a quetzal, but i'm good on whispers. I was here to be entertained, not horrified. I waited outside and walked over to the cemetery and started reading the graves. At first I smiled, but as I read on I found myself laughing out loud. Mexicans have a pretty playful attitude when it comes to death. Death is not really something to be feared in our culture. Besides, we love to party, so we choose to celebrate life instead. We even have a holiday for it! Let me remind you that I don't actually celebrate this stuff (#FakeMexican), but I think it is cute. These were whimsical little graves that reflect the humorous relationship we have with death. I just wish the non Spanish-speaking tourists were able to enjoy the little jokes. Bilinguals of the world stand up! Anyway, here are a few more pictures.

 and my personal favorite:

Mala hierba nunca muere. HELL YEAH!
Next, we went to swim in a real life underground cave. It was so dark in there! Damn nature, you scary. If you are wondering why there are no photos of that, it's because your girl didn't think it through. I saw many brave souls with their phones in a ziploc bag, but it was not that serious. I had an awesome time and now I can say I swam in a cave. We started to make our way over to hit up the relaxation station where I could unleash my inner Hedonism Bot. We passed a replica of the Mayan Ball court and also stopped to have dinner at this delicious place.

Finally, we arrived. Here's a crappy panoramic shot.

Pictures don't do it justice, so whatever. Here, I swam with live fish. Man, earlier that day I allowed a bird to perch on my arm. Now I was swimming with fishes! The day was winding down, so this area of the park was mostly deserted. It was awesome. They even have a hammock section! I apologize... for nothing!

We ended our visit by catching Xcaret's big show. The show spans Mexico's history from the very beginning to modern times. They even had an actual Mayan Ball match that got pretty intense. Of course, they also had a Mariachi! It was a blast. Wendy and I got especially loud and rowdy when they represented our states. We were so into it! For those of you wondering if you should go to Xcaret: DO IT! They have something for everyone.

¡Viva México!

vendredi 27 février 2015

Animal Planet: Xcaret! Edition

Rise and shine! After a wonderful day at Chichen Itza, we were back to our fucking dystopian hotel.  I swear it was Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome status. As usual, we were greeted by a flawless sunrise. It was so serene and pretty! Even though our hotel looked like an abandoned haunted hotel, I loved waking up to the sound of the waves crashing on the sand. We had big plans for the day! Little did I know what nature had in store for me...

We were heading to Xcaret! and I swear I am not that excited about it-- thats how it's spelled. From now on, I will ditch the exclamation point lol. I read the reviews for it and people were roasting it. I was kind of hesitant to go, but I wasn't trying to stay in our fallout shelter all day. We boarded a shuttle which, after making a few more stops at various hotels to pick people up, took us to a bus depot and then we were off to the park. People said the park was boring and a rip-off, but I had to see for myself.

Gran Turismo, huh?

When we got to the park, a quote by the great William Shakespeare came to mind: 

"Those who hate shall hate henceforth."

... in other words: HATERS GONNA HATE.  

Xcaret is a Mayan archaeological site that served as a port for trade and navigation. Some of the original structures from the site are now (allegedly) part of Xcaret(!), a sort of Disneyland that focuses on culture and wildlife. But first-- since this is an ecological park, we were advised that sunscreen containing chemicals would not be allowed and would be better off not bringing it. We bought a "natural" sunscreen cause we were definitely on that hippie wave. We didn't want to kill the animals! That decision would come back to haunt me. Wendy got the map and we were off to explore. There is so much to see and do!

I am usually a certified Nature Hater, but this place completely won me over. They had all sorts of flora and fauna. The birds flew freely! It was such a trip. They also had a "Monkey Island", where monkeys hung around with Dr. Zaius plotting our demise. Just kidding! It was literally a patch of land and trees for monkeys. I was so elated. They even had an island for JAGUARS. Man, hell nah. I know the jaguar is a sacred animal but I have my limits. The island itself was separated by a huge gap just in case it tried to jump and eat someone's face. Did I tell you there are no cages here? I don't play with jungle cats at all. 

It doesn't end there! One of my favorite things was the Butterfly Pavilion. I am not usually terribly fond of them, but I really enjoyed seeing them in their natural habitat. There was a large area that allowed you to walk in like a snail pattern to the top, like a mountain in the cartoons. The top was covered by a thin net, but the butterflies flew all over the place. It was bananas to be surrounded by so many of them! 

Next, we checked out the Hacienda Henequenera which was a sort of colonial town. I loved the way this place was decorated. I really liked the little devil on a bench and the house with all the trinkets. They even had a limestone chapel featuring a giant Virgin Mary made out of a tree. Grandmother Willow?! There was even a cenote in there. The church had a few, um, notable guests as well. 

Thought we were done? 


Apparently I have reached the photo limit, but I still have more to share so this post will continue in 5, 4, 3, 2,1...

dimanche 15 février 2015

Chichén Itzá: Izzy Visits Her First World Wonder

When people started voting for the New 7 Wonders of the World, I have to admit that I was not really excited about it. I figured it was just a whatever popularity contest, sort of like those yearbook superlatives. I mean, I was voted "Most Athletic" once. Can you believe those lies?! Looking back, I should have known better. Having visited 2 of them at press time, I now know why these monuments are on the list. They're fucking AWESOME. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Wendy and I woke up bright and early to head over to the ancient city of Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza is an archeological site in the Yucatan Peninsula. It was one of the largest cities of the Maya Civilization, and today, millions of people visit annually. Chichen Itza itself is not the world wonder; El Castillo (The Temple of Kukulcan) is. Kukulcan was a deity, pictured as a feathered serpent. Isn't that totally bad ass? I had seen plenty of pictures of people hanging out at El Castillo. I knew about the equinox thing, too. Even then, I still wasn't super interested because I am a total buffoon. Our tour began at the Mayaland Hotel, which is where archaeologists used to hang. Once we headed out, I immediately saw a chocolate shop. YES! We wandered around the grounds. This place was super vast! There were so many cool ruins to feast my eyes on.

Augustus Gloop Banuelos

As we made our way to El Castillo we walked by El Caracol, also known as the Observatory. What a cool building!

There are several structures here, and each one is cooler than the last. I mentioned that the grounds are enormous, and I really mean it. We were here for about 2-3 hours and we still didn't see everything!

My tiny, dumb brain can't understand how these structures are so old. Like, for real. Finally-- El Castillo! If you look closely, towards the bottom left of the picture, there are specks of color. Those are people. This thing is big as hell! I was really taken aback. It is STUNNING. 

No wonder this was on the list. It is a sight to behold, not even kidding. It was truly spectacular. There 91 steps on each side and when you add in the first step at the top, guess what? 365-- just like the days in a year! I mentioned the equinox thing earlier. In case you guys do not know, on both the spring and autumn equinoxes (when day and night are of equal length), the sun casts a shadow making it look like a snake is creeping down the side. I wasn't there on an equinox, so you'll have to google it. I can only imagine how cool it must be to witness. 

How u do dis, Mayans?

You used to be able to climb to the top. Let's get one thing clear. Your girl would never do that! Don't you remember my trip to Teotihuacan? Don't get it twisted. The stairs looked steep. People were getting injured all the time. People also started tagging on the top cause they're stupid. I hate that almost as much as the love locks in Paris. Gross! These two things led the pyramid to be closed for climbing. Moving on, we went to see the Mayan Ball Court. This was a weird game, kinda like soccer, except you "kicked" with your hips. The hoop is SIDEWAYS and really high up. The losers were sometimes sacrificed. You heard me! No pressure.

the VIP suite


I came across some really cool stones. I can't wait to get these installed in my shower. DIY  so serious! I could put in a rain shower and everything. When I say I want say I want a vintage bathroom, this is what I mean. Let's take it all the way back. Isn't this awesome? How are they preserved so well? Modern marvel! The detail is just incredible. 

As if you weren't already feeling like a useless waste of space because you have contributed nothing to society, check this out. Did you know that you can stand at the foot of El Castillo, clap your hands, and hear a damn QUETZAL? Not only did they do all this cool stuff, they were also on the acoustic engineering wave. I give up.

Tomorrow, Xcaret!... where I am too busy chasing butterflies to notice that my trip is about to take a very sinister turn.