Moments later he is jumping feet first from the cliff.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
A kilometer or so south of Puerto Aventuras is Cenote Cristalino. There is a string of cenotes right here along the highway but we only visited this one. (Cenotes you may recall from an earlier blog post are freshwater sinkholes very common throughout the Yucatan Peninsula limestone bedrock foundation). Entrance fee is 80 pesos for an adult (about $6 USD) and affords one swimming, use of a dressing room, toilets, and some lounge chairs if you are early enough to claim one of them. Each person must receive a life vest when paying the entrance fee but few actually wear them. No one enforces wearing the vest. I understand that Mexico's tort laws are not as out of control as are ours in the United States. If you drown here, you don't necessarily get to sue the proprietor. It's your fault not theirs. After all, it is a swimming hole, there are certain dangers inherent.
This cenote is much larger than the one we visited at Xcacel beach a few weeks ago and has some handy features - like the stainless steel swimming pool steps to gracefully and easily enter the water. I am standing at the spot on the cliff where the brave folks jump or dive into the water.
The diving/jumping cliff is at center in this image. (Panorama - click on the photo to view in full width).
This mom is demonstrating the "photographer's leglock" to free up both hands to manage her camera. Later, the baby got quite a laugh when she was dangled in the water and the little fishes nibbled her toes.
This young boy is learning to dive - or be launched.
Moments later he is jumping feet first from the cliff.
His father/uncle/grandfather shows him how it's supposed to be done.
This mayan visage is carved/chiseled/cast into the stonework edge of this section of the cenote.
Adjacent to the cenote one can have a massage if so inclined (for an extra charge).
This barefoot carpenter/builder is constructing a permanent covering for the massage/spa area. It will basically be a large rectangular palapa.
Elsewhere on the property, the caretaker's laundry is hanging to dry. Notice there are no clothespins - they simply separate the strands of the line and pull a corner of the garment through it - this is in a place where strong winds are very common and it still works. A simple but effective idea.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
About eight miles offshore from Cancun is Isla Mujeres (The Island of Women). It is a narrow island less than a half mile wide and seven miles long. It's a popular spot for day-trippers or vacationers as frequent ferry service is available from multiple locations both on the Yucatan mainland and the Zona Hotelera.
A trio of water activity: windsurfing, standing, and flailing.
A wonderful swimming beach on this northwest facing part of the shore, Playa Norte.
This spit of land is the most northwesterly point on the island. Playa Norte is on the left. The beach on the right leads to the harbor and downtown areas. (Panorama - click the image to view in full width).
For those not directly involved in tourism, many uphold the longstanding fishing tradition.
This fisherman is mending his nets in the shade on this hot sunny day.
His young son plays nearby - what is it about kids and toy cars and trucks?
The tall ship Thor Heyerdahl was just casting off as I arrived at the dock area.
Soon this sail will be raised to the wind.
One of a dozen pelicans waiting for fish parts to be thrown into the water as the fishermen clean their day's catch.
A typical restaurant on the beach with palapas protecting the tables from the intense sun. Palapas are much more evocative for sense of place than are the aluminum and plastic umbrellas we commonly see in the US.
Embroidery for sale in the market.
A young handicrafts salesman more interested in his cellphone - a blessing because otherwise he would be haranguing tourists who walk by as did all his fellow shopkeepers.
Getting ready to board the ferry.
Tourists come to Cancun from all over the world . Their tourist bureau must have done an incredibly effective job of outreach to nations the world over. In our months here, we especially encountered quite a few folks speaking Russian/Eastern European/Slavic languages in additional to many United States, Canadian and South American nationals. People come from anywhere it's winter to escape their homeland cold for some brief period to enjoy this tropical warmth - both the warmth of the weather and the warmth of the local people.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
There is a park in the highway median outside our hotel. I lucked by as the sun was setting one day when the lawn sprinklers were on. Photographing into the sun with the shutter speed slowed turned the drops into confetti-like particles. It's oftentimes better to be lucky than good.
Pretty darn good for a point-and-shoot camera.
Monday, February 25, 2013
These domes are part of a condo development along the north shore of the Zona Hotelera.
I really liked the range of color, light, and shadow interplay in this image. All it's missing is a bird standing on the floor pecking at crumbs. Or a small child - just sitting still, not pecking at crumbs.
These are building colors I have not often seen close together - even here in Mexico where colorful houses are common.
Beer and boats - two products often seen close together! I didn't know that Bud Light had their own stores. Incidentally, Bud Light is listed as a foreign imported beer in some restaurants here. Imagine that.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Sometimes, ideas and the execution thereof are completely effective at accomplishing their goal simply and with no moving parts. Here are two such cases - speed reduction devices and taco holders.
As an automobile driver here in this part of Mexico, the above sign should strike fear in your heart. You may be lucky enough to see one of these signs before it is too late. That is, assuming there is even a sign to see. Sometimes there is no signage and you'd better just hope you reacted quickly enough to a visual sighting.
The word "tope" is translated from the Spanish to mean "limit, stop, check, buffer." In this part of Mexico it means "SPEED BUMP." And if you don't slow down to a snail's pace when you cross it, you will likely tear the undercarriage out of your car - and I do mean a snail's pace.
This is what they often look like. Sometimes only one row, or two rows, but many are three rows. And with the yellow paint worn off, they are sometimes hard to see up ahead. I have never seen a more effective speed control device in my life. I promise, you will only once go over one of these too fast. Such an experience I guarantee will make a believer out of you.
Here's another style with multiple solid bars - eight of them to slow you down!
Sort of the opposite of the "tope" is the "vado." It is a depression or trench across the road that also forces the driver to slow down, literally a "ford." It's a little more subtle than the "tope" and it seems you can cross it a little faster.
I have eaten tacos at hundreds of restaurants in my life but never have they been served in such a simple and effective manner. Here, each one is propped up nicely by the little wooden spacers nailed to the cutting board serving tray instead of bunched in a basket and falling over and spilling out.
Simple and effective.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
I seem to be on a roll with these daily 5-kilometer walks. Actually, there are quite a few folks out at sunrise with the same idea. Near kilometer milepost 11 is this oceanfront complex, Bay View Grand. I really like the lines, curves, and location of the 18-story condo buildings right on the beachfront sand. And some of the owners offer long term rentals. I think it is too pricey for me but maybe worth looking into for another future winter. Someone might want to strike a deal at a discount. Seems like the entire building is wrapped with outside deck space and drop dead gorgeous views.
I have never seen an open-24-hours burrito bar until now. This establishment, barely three meters wide is open all the time. It doesn't look like anyone wanted a beer or burrito when I happened by at 645am this morning though....... Earlier in my lifetime, I have had either a beer OR a burrito at 0645 in the morning but, I don't think I've had both together. What have I been missing?
I am not a representative of the Riu Hotel organization but, I do seem to be drawn to their visually dramatic properties. The ones I've seen are just spectacular. Haven't stayed at one yet, though.
We are staying at Casa Maya Hotel (and timeshare), which is pretty nice also but not in the same class as the Riu properties I've seen. But more importantly than the looks, I prefer a quieter environment. Here at Casa Maya they often have loud DJ music playing at the pool much of the day and sometimes in the evenings. And to complicate matters further, offshore, the pirate party boats seem to like to anchor/hover nearby with hooting and hollering and playing loud thumping dance music until late. Bah humbug! - I prefer to only hear the lapping of the waves.
Friday, February 22, 2013
My walk begins at about kilometer 5 . This building, part of an old and underused strip mall (but still houses the nearest bakery), offers some great visuals. Amy did a whole study at this link.
Makes me feel like I'm in old world Spain - that regal stately colonial architecture.
A while later, I arrived at kilometer 12 at the biggest mall in the Zona Hotelera - not at all stately or colonial. This place has most of the stores that one sees at any major mall in the United States and probably elsewhere in the world - and probably at similar prices but I'm a wanderer rather than a shopper.
A nice canal runs through the mall.
It also has a multiplex movie theatre visible in the distance.
And on the lagoon side of the mall there are restaurants along the dock area.
At this crepe restaurant they were selling Nutella and strawberry crepes - I was sorely tempted after finishing 7 kilometers of walking but I resisted. If I were ever on death row, that would be a contender for a last meal. Well, maybe for the dessert after the last meal. And yes, I know, Nutella is not vegan - but I'm not perfect. Instead, I walked back out to the main road and caught the bus back home for 8.5 pesos. I'm growing spoiled by these one-way walks where I simply catch a bus back when I'm worn out.