Written Thursday, December 24 – Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
It’s Christmas Eve! We woke up this morning to Roatan, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras. I wanted to lie in bed a bit longer, but my mom insisted on getting out to the port village so we could take a look at plastic things to buy. There was actually a shop with a sign that said, “We have nothing from China!” When he caught our eye, the clerk put his hands up in a gesture of surrender and said that he had nothing to do with it. Anyway, we went out on the pier and looked around at things. We made our way down the main corridor toward where the taxis were and only got a third of the way before six or seven stalls of people began to lean over and shoving signs in our faces about their excellent tour and taxi services. I beat a hasty retreat, my mom in tow, and we headed back. Tourism does have its pitfalls. Our main activity today was a shore excursion today to Maya Key, a small cay right next to our cruise port. The tiny ferry that took us there seated about thirty people. We ended up on this tiny island that you could walk around in ten minutes if you wanted to walk fast. It was pretty charming, actually. There was a beach with many lounge chairs, a long dock to snorkel in the reef, and the day was sunny and breezy. Continue reading Christmas in Central America.
Written Tuesday, December 22 – Cozumel, Mexico
It’s midnight, and we’ve had a tiring day. For the last two hours, we’ve been sitting around putting together the puzzle I brought along – even though it’s only the third day of our cruise and vacation, we’re about 60-70% of the way done! At the same time, there’s been this karaoke going on downstairs almost immediately below our room in the Pearly Kings Pub, which ran through all the popular songs but is over now, thank goodness. No more drunken crowds singing out loud to Uncle Kracker.
This morning, we got up bright and early, and had a long travel to the Tulum Mayan ruins on mainland Mexico. We docked in Cozumel around 7 am, which is an island, and immediately to a medium-sized ferry to transfer to the mainland. I brought some Dramamine to ward off potential seasickness, and took it going and from the island, but mainly just resulted in me feeling very, very tired the whole day. We had a 45-minute ferry ride and then an hour-long bus ride before we arrived at Tulum. Our lively tour guide Liliana took us around Tulum, a really interesting Mayan complex housing the elite, that was tucked away high on the coastline. It was gorgeous there – all the original palaces and temples were made out of limestone and some even retain their original carvings and formations. Tulum itself was positioned right on the coast next to the water but also at one of the points in the Yucatan Peninsula that the sun dawns on first. We walked with the tour guide for a while, and then we walked on by ourselves. My mom visited several years ago when she and my dad vacationed in Mexico, so we walked by ourselves around the complex. It was pretty crowded – full of people from all over. I heard a French girl of about four year old having an epic meltdown between her parents, screaming and crying, “ATTENDS!” in a gut-wrenching voice. It was pretty funny. The crowds were not quite as bad as I’ve seen in Taiwan and China, but bad enough here. We were trying to get to and from more quickly, and kind of ran into some crowds. Iguanas lounged everywhere, and had the run of the palaces and temples which people weren’t allowed into. Smaller iguanas were the females, and larger iguanas, sometimes twice the size of their female counterparts, were the males. They had also many more spikes all over their body. My mom must have taken a hundred pictures just of the iguanas! Continue reading Cities of the past and present: Tulum and Belize City.