Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Joe's Jeep Tour

The next tour we took was "Joe's Jeep Tour" This tour consisted of exploring some ruins, driving through the jungle, zip lineing through the jungle tree tops, swimming in an underground cave, lunch in a Mexican village overlooking the coast and a walk through a petting zoo.
First stop, El Rey...These ruins are just on the edge of the city, We had driven past them a couple times and not even noticed. This particular village was placed directly in the center of the peninsula between the ocean and the bay. It was also placed where it is surrounded by mangroves. It is well hidden from the surrounding areas and well protected from and tropical storms that threaten. It was neat because there was no one there and we could climb and touch and explore.
This is a view from the palace overlooking the market or trade center.
This building is where the traders would have to go and pay to be allowed to sell or trade their goods here.
Our guide, Pepe, was great. He even brought a package of tortillas so we could feed the iguanas that were everywhere.
This is a gum tree. The Mayas would use it's sap to make chewing gum to clean their teeth.
Next we drove to the jungle where we were rigged up with straps and clips and a super high-tech piece of wood with a hole cut into that they called a "break". We climbed the steepest ricketiest (is that a word?) tower ever. It was 75 feet tall, straight up.
This is our "oops we forgot to take a picture, run and do it quick" attemp at getting a picture of the tower. That darn thumb...but you get the idea.
Everybody was saying how scared they were so I volunteered to go first. It was so awesome. The worst part was stepping over the edge of the tower. There were two zip lines so after taking off from the first one you would hit a platform, unhook your rig, climb around to the other side of the tree, hook your rig back up to the line and go again. When my kids wanted more of a description of what a zip line is all I could think of was when "Go, Diego, Go" zip lines out of the tree house. It's was just like that. Zooming through the trees and hoping the "Mexican brake" worked. It was awesome, we're both so glad we did it.
All rigged up, ready to go...Notice the high-tech wood break;} After the zip line we went swimming in a cenote. A little geography/geology lesson...Cancun is on the Yucatan Peninsula. This particular peninsula was once under the ocean. After earthquakes and plate tectonics mumbojumbo, it ended up above the ocean. So it is made up of limestone and covered with coral. Not very conducive to agriculture because there are no rivers. The ground is just rock, with very little dirt. So the Yucatan has the largest under water river system. All of these rivers connect one way or another and they come to the surface in thousands of cenotes. They can be like springs, wells, caves, ponds, and the like. So we suited up and dove in. So we climbed down into the mouth of this cave and at the bottom was one of these cenotes. The water was cold but not "take your breath away" cold. Pepe caught a little turtle that was swimming around in there. It was awesome, there were stalactites all over the ceilings and walls. There was ancient coral and fossils all over the ground. We went down one tunnel where it was so shallow you had to crawl with your hands and let your legs drag behind and it opened up to the surface again like a well. Then down the opposite end to where it was so deep it creeped me out. It was a really neat experience. From there we dried off a bit and went to lunch. Another crazy bumpy jeep ride out of the jungle and into a small Mexican village. We ate at a small restaurant right on the beach. It was beautiful. I took these next two pictures to remind me of how much we have. The first is of the playground. Old rusted metal and all concrete and brick. It doesn't look like much fun to me.This is the typical house. Just a cinderblock, flat roof with a hut attached.Next stop was a petting zoo. I use that term a little loosely due to the fact that it was not what we American's think of as a petting zoo. We held crocodiles, snakes, monkeys, hairless dogs, deer, macaws, I think that's it. It was a bit disconcerting to walk through one section where there were 30+ adult crocodiles just sitting there next to the path as you walked past. They were all really docile but it still made me a bit uneasy. Feeding the monkeys was fun. They would pry your hand open to get to the grapes. The hairless dogs were gross, really gross. The guide said they were indigenous to the area and are now nearing endangerment because they are so expensive. WHAT??!!?!?!?!!? I can't imagine having to look at that thing every day. That was our last stop of the trip. I slept the 45 minutes back to the hotel. It was a great day and lots of fun and unique experiences. Now for the next day...


shellie said...

Wow I am so jealous!!!What a great trip. I am happy you and Gary had such a greatexperience. I will have to one day. Love ya

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