Feathered Aspen


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Welcome to the Jungle

We are legit in the jungle.

There are lots and lots of mosquitos.  We’ve seen a few snakes, one of which may or may not have been a coral snake.  There is a lizard living in our shower.  Oh, and it is wicked hot and humid.

We love it.  The girls are loving it too.

Ellie is putting the two lovely little ladies down for bed, so I have the honors of writing our post for today.  I’ll attempt to keep it short. As the one who does little writing, I always struggle to think of the best way to write about our experiences.  Ellie casts such a shadow, I often feel intimidated to try.  I could never recreate her pithy, humorous yet heart wrenching narrative.  So instead, I’ll tell you a bit about how I am feeling and then give you a snapshot of our day.

Its amazing how traveling changes my focus on life.  Getting on a plane and immigrating to another country does something to me.  Crossing a border tears down some mental and emotional walls.  Immediately, I feel more laid back and at peace with life. I haven’t yet been able to put my finger on it exactly yet, but I feel freer, less stressed, and happier.  I am less distracted and more in tune with my family.  Its odd, because I don’t feel this same way when we vacation in the US.  I enjoy those trips, but they’re not the same.  I remember this same feelings when Ellie and I last traveled.  Back then I attributed it to escaping my first, very hard, two years of teaching.  Now, life is much different.  For the most part, I am happy with my job and my life as a teacher.  I like our home and our life in Colorado.  Yet traveling does something to my soul.  Being in a foreign place really boils life down to the basics.  Eat, move, and connect with people.  Its been great in the past 24 hours to share this experience with Lily and Lu.  They too seem to feel it.  I’m hoping I can figure out exactly what this feeling is and find a way to bring it back home.

So, here’s what we’ve been up to.

This morning we slept in a bit.  The girls were tuckered out from our journey into Cancún.   Last night after settling into our hotel and taking a quick swim, we walked around Cancún for a while trying to find a specific restaurant.  The Lonely Planet, states that Checandolé is the place you should go if you only have time for one meal in Ciudad Cancún. Seeing as we only had time for one meal, we religiously followed their advice.  Unfortunately, the restaurant was off the LP map, so we had to explore for a bit. After getting lost for a spell, we ask a few locals if they knew the restaurant, and low and behold, we had wandered right past it!  The food. . . was truly divine.  Throughout the meal Lily kept groaning, “mmmmm…mmmmmm…mmmm…”  She was a huge fan of the bean chalupas with the cilantro salsa.  Ellie ordered the staple of Yucatecan cuisine, sopa de lima.  Its soup of slow marinated and cooked chicken, or pork, then soaked in lime juice.  Very good.  Lily kept trying to steal it out from under Ellie.  I had what was called the SUPERchecondolé.  I’m still not exactly sure what it was.  I asked the waiter what he recommended and without blinking advised the superchecondolé.  It was a lot of beef, onions and cheese which I mopped up with the tastiest corn tortillas!  Yum

Once back to the hotel Lily kept trying to to trick her way into going swimming again.  My favorite line was “daddy-o, can we just go look at the pool?”

Once the girls were up this morning, we had breakfast at 100% Natural.  They specialized in whole food vegetarian dishes and speciality juices.  We had two fantastic juices which mixed papaya, guava, pineapple and orange.  We also had a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit and as well as a cactus omelet.  The coffee was another story.  So smooth.  Lily and Lu were as happy as Ellie and me with the food.  I think our two little loves are going to be traveling foodies like us.

After breakfast, we packed up and slogged our way back the bus terminal where we caught the local Playa Express to Playa del Carmen.  From there we walked a few blocks to catch the local colectivo which runs the highway from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.  All in all we spent about $15 for the days trips.

Riding on the local buses with the girls is actually quite fun.  We get lots of looks of admiration and bemusement.  I think the locals aren’t sure what to make of a family of American gringos shoestringing their way down the Mayan Rivera.  The vast majority of all tourists stick to the spendier more glamorous liner buses and taxis.  We are a site to see carrying the girls on our chests in the ergos and our packs on our backs. Additionally, most of the folks on the bus are the locals who staff the mega hotels and tourist industry along the coast.  The taxi drivers hounding us seem just dumbfounded that we’d rather walk and ride.  It makes Ellie and I feel proud 🙂  Lily and Lu seem to enjoy it too.  They laughed an giggled their way through both rides.

Unfortunately, we miss communicated with our colectivo driver and got dropped off at the wrong spot on the highway.  After some scouting by Ellie, we hopped back on another colectivo and got off in the right spot.  We have to walk a little less than a mile from the highway to our ecohotel.  The place we’re staying is called Organic Yoga.  Yup.  It was our top choice from airbnb.  The owner Leon is great.  We have a little house in the Jungle, called the Shiva house.  Lily seems to think it is a fairy castle.  It’s pretty magical.

After a shower and a rest, we hoofed our way back to the highway and caught another colectivo to Akumal beach.  Sadly, it was a bit more developed and touristy than we had hoped for.  Lily loved it though.  She ran around splashing in the water and throwing seaweed.  Lu on the other hand was not sure what to make of the whole experience and just wanted to stay clinged to us.  Ellie was lucky enough to see some sea turtles in the water using our borrowed snorkel gear.  I freaked out a bit, and didn’t manage to swim out far enough to see the turtles.  I did see a rad school of silver fish though.  Our first beach day was short lived due to our late arrival.  On the way back to the ecolodge, we stopped in Akumal pueblo for some food to make dinner.  We had a good conversation with the lady at the fruit stand.

This evening, I cooked up some mole beans and we ate them over rice.  Apparently, mole is more like a seasoning than a sauce.  While savory, the beans were a bit intense.

After dinner, I tried to catch the lizard in our shower.  Lily is absolutely terrified of the thing.  During her shower she shook and was paralyzed with fear.  The little lizard is a fast little bugger though, and I couldn’t catch him.  Instead, he wiggled his way through the palapas roof and made his way into our sleeping quarters.  Lily thinks he went outside.  Lord god, please keep that little guy from finding Lily’s bed tonight!

Enough for now.  So much more to write about, but this is long enough.

And now for some pictures!

20 min later… Nevermind.  Pictures are taking too long to upload.  Pictures to come tomorrow or the next day.

Much love from Akumal!


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Cancun!

We have arrived!

Yesterday morning we were in northern Wyoming, last night we were in Denver, and tonight we’re in Cancun, Mexico.  Man, am I tired.

There’s much to write, but for now, a bite-sized post:

Highlights

Lily is lit up with excitement.  The plane, the bus, the hotel, the pool, and even my sopa de lima were met with enthusiasm.  She’s hearing Spanish, and she’s so intrigued.  She keeps babbling, “bladiboopdibah Akumal!” or “unibasteladida Chichen Itza!”  Landing on a word that she recognizes as Spanish and then announcing proudly that she’s “speaking Spanish.”

We took public transportation and then walked from the airport to the hotel.  It was hot as hell, but pretty easy.

Billie is happy as a clam.

Both girls are already greasing our social interactions, spreading on the smiles and tossing their blonde hair.

Struggles

It’s hot and I’ve probably gotten 50 mosquito bites already.

Looking Forward

Tomorrow we’re off to Akumal where we’ll be staying at a yoga retreat!

Love and kisses and promises of more updates forthcoming.

xoxo