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Cancun, Mexico

About 12 years ago we went to Cancun Mexico for two weeks. My sister hated it. She is not impressed with ruins. I enjoyed it and climbed the pyramid at Chihen Itza. If you've ever done it you know that is a feat to be proud of. It's not so much the climbing up, but the getting down that's tough. Those Inca's must have had tiny feet! The pyramid has 365 steps, one for every day in the year. Each step is about a foot high but only about 6 inches wide! When your at the top you can see across the Yucatan Pennisula forever. There is an airport that you would never know was there from the ground. Miles and miles of Mesquite trees. When you turnaround and try to walk down those steps (with no railing)it is a very daunting experience. But now I can say it did it. If you go that far you might as well go all the way.

We did some terrific snorkeling at Xel Ha (Shell-Ha). It is a crystal clear lagoon that is actually an underwater National Park. The fish there were the best I have ever seen. Huge Parrotfish, Butterfly Fish, Blue Tangs, Yellowtails, Queen Angels, every color in the rainbow. My mother and I saw a humungous Jew Fish that was about 5 feet long!

We were told by the rental car guy that snorkeling was good near Akumal which we could find on the road to Tulum, across from the BIG windmill. He said there were a lot of windmills on the road, but we would know when we came to the BIG one. Well, we found one and there was a dirt road across from it. There was a burn pile, we went around it, down the path and around a bend. Then it opened up to a rocky cove on the water. There was a man and a woman already snorkeling there, so we figured we had the right place.

My mother shouted across to him "How's the snorkeling?" All he said was, "Good Here." My mother said "Oh he doesn't speak english." Then the man said "Yes I do." It had been so long since we heard any english she thought he was speaking German or something! That was so funny. We tease her about it to this day! The man was right though it was really good snorkeling. But when I was done, I climbed up on a rock to get out, I had on my fins, and the rock was covered with algae, I slipped back into the water. Luckily, I didn't get hurt but my arm went into a crevase between two rocks and that just grossed me out. There was probably a moray eel living in there, we had seen dozens of the heavily-toothed, green creatures! Woooo! I quiver just thinking about it.

My mother decided one day that we were going to travel to Merida, the Capitol City of the Yucatan. We drove for 5 hours to get there. It was a long trip. When we got there we hated it. We checked into a hotel that had been recommended by the American proprietors of the Iguana Night Club and Restaurant. It was an old convent that had been converted for tourists. Talk about stark! We put our bags down and went for a walk. It was apalling. My sister and I were walking ahead of my mother and father. The filth in the streets was disgusting. There was a foul odor in the air. Elderly women and half naked babies begging in the steets. It was a very sobering experience, and not one you want to have while on vacation. I told my parents that the rental car was leaving for Cancun in 5 minutes and they better get in the back seat and hold on. We checked out of the convent, piled back into the red volkswagon rabbit and I took off. By this time it was completely dark. The road has absolutely no lights. The towns are just 1 or 2 dirt floor shacks. There was not another car in sight. I pushed on the gas and never let off till we got back to Cancun. We got back in only 3 hours!

I do not know what Merida, Mexico looks like today, but 12 years ago it was not pretty. Old, historical, colorful, a capital city, maybe; but not pretty!

We had a two story Condo in Cancun. The whole upstairs was the master bedroom, my parents took that. My sister and I shared a room downstairs. We were sound asleep one night when we both were startled awake by a bloodcurdling scream. This was positively the loudest thing ever heard in the dark of the night. It sounded like a woman had just been savagely murdered. It was frightening. My heart raced. I cautiously stepped into the hall, my sister was too scared to move. I didn't see anything. I slowly made my way upstairs to my parents room. When I reached the top of the stairs I called out quietly, "Dad, what was that?" He said in a normal tone of voice and quite calmly, "YOUR MOTHER". She was sound asleep.

I said, "that was soooo loud"; and he said "You should have been laying here." She often talks in her sleep and sometimes hollers a bit, but this was incrediable. As I turned to go back downstairs, my father said, "If anybody comes to the door just tell them you don't know what it was, you heard it too." I wish I had a recording of that scream, I would make a fortune selling it to a movie studio. I am convinced that at least part of my father's hearing loss is from that scream.

Just across from Cancun is Isla Mujeres (Isle of Woman). There is some really fine snorkeling there. You have to swim out through this narrow passage through the reef and you can see so many fish it is amazing. My father took a package of crackers into the water and slowly let the crackers out of the package. He was immediately engulfed in a school of yellow and black striped fish. They swim all around you and never touch you. There were so many fish surrounding him, I could not see him in the middle of the fish. When the crackers are gone the fish disappear. It is phenominal. I took some underwater pictures of that.

Part of the fun of going to Isla Mujeres is getting there. You can take a tour for about $15.00 per person or you can go on the local ferry for about 40 cents. We always like to go off the beaten path so we went on the ferry. Dad hates to feel herded like sheep on a tour. All the local people travel back and forth on it. There was an old woman with two live chickens under her seat. Their feet were tied together and she just slung them up under her bench. You don't see that on the tours.

On Isla Mujeres there is a rather large restaurant and a tourist attraction that offers people the chance to swim and ride huge loggerhead sea turtles. Well, I have seen turtles eat and I don't want to swim with or ride one. They can sever a wrist, no problem! We went to the restaurant instead. I don't know if we were too early or too late, but we were about the only people there. We took a taxi and asked if he'd come back in about 2 hours for us. He didn't speak much english and we don't speak much spanish, but we thought he finally said ok. We ate and waited for the cab. It never showed. This place was way out on the end of a point and there wasn't a thing in sight. No cabs ever showed up. No more customers, nothing. Finally, some of the worker's were getting off work and they got in a pick-up truck. The driver asked if we needed a ride back to the ferry. We said yes and climbed into the back of his pick-up with about 5 other kitchen workers. What a sight! What a dining experience!

Anyone who has been to Cancun has probably been to Blackbeards. They have a drink there called a slammer. It is tequilla and squirt soda. They use a tall shot glass. One of the waiters goes around the room filling the glass with tequilla and topping it off with squirt. He covers it with a napkin and slams it down in front of customers at random. The slamming causes it to fizz up and you are supposed to knock it back in one glup as fast as you can. The slammers are free and it creates quite an atmosphere. My only concern with this is that it is always the SAME glass for everyone in the room, all night long! Gulp!

If you go to Cancun you will most probably not leave there without a serape (you know those mexican blankets). We were there for two weeks and returned home with 7 of them. They get cheaper and cheaper as time goes by. They start out at $20.00 and go down to about $4.00 apiece. Never buy anything on your first day!

You can get some really good buys in Mexico on Kaluha and Grand Mariner liquor. They are both made in Mexico. These are two of the three required liquors used in my father's favorite drink, a B-52. The other necessary ingredient is Irish Cream liquor. He likes it on the rocks. Silver jewelry and leather are also a good buys.

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