We got up at 6:30am Friday morning, to get ready for our Hummer tour, the only “excursion” we had booked for this trip. I looked outside and saw this.
We quickly got ready, and went down to the breakfast buffet. Stephanie went to the buffet with us, but had decided that she did not want to go on the tour with us. We went through that on day one, but we had left it open, in case she changed her mind. I think we came very close to doing that, but, in the end, she still chose to just hang at the hotel.
In retrospect, that’s probably just as well.
After breakfast, Christi and I headed to the bus stop again, where we boarded another “R-2” bus, which would take us to La Isla Plaza. We got to the plaza at around 8:05am, giving us a few extra minutes, so we found a Starbucks and I got some coffee. We went back to the information booth where we had been told to meet our tour guide, and he was there, along with another family that would be on the tour. We learned later that they had not booked until 8pm the night before. Our tour guide was named Merak.
He rode with us, since the other family (a very nice Indian family from North Carolina) had four people. I got to drive. Christi could have driven, too, but after hearing about driving in Mexico, she decided to let me do all the driving. So…I drove a Hummer in Mexico.
The first place we stopped was almost right across the street from our hotel, a set of Mayan ruins called El Rey. That means “The King.” So we parked and went in there.
El Rey is not a large ruin, like Chichen Itza, but has its own appeal to it, not the least of which is it is not at all crowded and not commercialized. The first thing we saw was a long grassy “road,” lined on either side with what appeared to be rock foundations.
As Merak gave us a brief history lesson, we learned that the structures that only had foundations were the houses. The houses were built out of wood, which is why there is nothing else left of them. All of the structures that had stone left, were temples.
Along the way, we saw very many iguanas.
There were little window-like structures in the temples, which, Merak informed us, were actually altars.
There was a larger temple that had a lot of columns left.
And, finally, there was the pyramid.
We could see our hotel from the pyramid.
As we drove out from El Rey, we eventually got on the highway, and, at one point, Merak informed us that he was changing the order of the activities for the day, and that we were going to the “interactive zoo” first. Originally, that would have been the last thing, as we passed it on the way back. So we made a u-turn and pulled into the local zoo. This was unlike any other zoo I’ve ever seen. It was much smaller than the Fort Worth Zoo, but was, in some ways, more exciting. Merak handed us off to Louis, who would be our zoo guide.
Louis started off by showing us some small crocodiles. Then we saw a soft-shelled turtle. Then some more crocodiles. There was one crocodile that Louis said was the “alpha” in that pen. He looked mean.
Then he took us to the pen where the baby crocs were. He grabbed one (carefully) and let us pet and hold it. Christi even kissed it.
I was slightly amused by this sign.
Then we got to the snakes. They don’t have a lot of snakes, but they had a baby boa constrictor that we got to hold.
You can see why this zoo is so different. Then there were some iguanas and other lizard-type animals, and some more snakes. After that, were the “hairless dogs.” They really were, too.
Then there were more crocodiles. Apparently this place used to be a crocodile farm. This group of crocs was a bit more scary. They were right along the path where we were walking, not fenced in or anything. And there were a lot of them. And they were pretty big.
Then we saw some adorable white-tailed deer, and got to feed them.
After that came the spider monkeys. One was carrying a baby. We got to feed them, but not by hand. The guide handed us each some food from a bag we had purchased, and we were told to put it in a basket, which was then raised up to where the monkey could get to it.
Then there were some more turtles, and some coatis.
There was this really big spider, which we were told was at least as toxic as a black widow. I’m not sure…I think Louis was trying to scare us, because he told us there would be crocs and snapping turtles in the cenote we were going to.
The last thing was a very pretty macaw, which gave us all goodbye kisses.
Our next stop was supposed to be the place where we were to do the ziplines and ride the ATVs. The cenote was to be in the middle of the ATV ride. But when we got to the ATV place, the had a large group there, and we were going to have to wait a while. “Ten Mexican minutes.” Which is, apparently, a long time. So, Merak told us we would drive the Hummers to the cenote. So we did. We arrived at the cenote, and this is the first thing we saw.
We were joking that this was the cenote. Oh…”cenote” means “sacred hole.” Louise told us it meant “gate to hell.” Which is why I’m not sure I believed him about the spider. Anyway, we got out and walked a few yards and saw this.
I think I cried a little. Again.
In this picture, you can barely see the zipline that we would drop from to plunge into the refreshingly cool water of the cenote. I took my jump, in which something kind of popped in my left arm…maybe pulled a ligament or something. I now have a large purple spot on the inside of my left elbow. Also, when I hit the water, it went up my nose. I was fine though, and swam over to the rope in the middle, relaxed in the water for a bit, then climbed up the stairs, where I got a picture of Merak showing off a little…
And Christi taking her second jump.
Christi also jumped off the edge of the cliff straight into the cenote. I did not do that. Instead, I climbed back down the stairs and jumped in for a little bit more. I was very sad when Merak said, “Ready to go?” I think I said, “But we just got here!”
After that, we went back to the place where the ziplines and ATVs were. I don’t have any pictures there for two reasons. We were not allowed to carry anything that might fall off during the ziplines or ATV rides, plus no one was allowed to take pictures during the ziplining. The other reason was that they have a guy who takes pictures during both activities so they can sell you a CD. We don’t have the CD yet, so, sadly, we have no pictures of that yet. I was not able to do the zipline because the harness would not quite fit me. I’m still a little too big. This time last year, and it wouldn’t even have been close. Christi did it, though, and had a great time. The ATV ride through the jungle lasted close to an hour, and may very well have been the most fun thing I’ve done on this trip.
After this, we made our way to the little village of Puerto Moralos, where we had a delicious meal at a place with a breathtaking seaside view.
Merak had called in our order a long time before, because, when you order the snapper, the actually go out and catch it fresh. It was the most amazing experience, and the server was charming.
After lunch, we drove a few blocks and parked where we could do a little shopping in the town. According to Merak, what we were seeing was “real Mexico,” not “Mexican Miami,” or “Mexico in make-up,” referring to the hotel zone of Cancun. (Did I tell you that Cancun means “snake pit?”)
We bargained for a couple of t-shirts and a few gifts for friends and family. It was fun. There was this one really funny guy who, every time I said I didn’t like a shirt, he threw it on the ground.
Right before we left, Merak got a guy walking by to take a picture of our whole tour group.
Merak is on the hood of the hummer. The two young men standing in the doors are the sons of the Indian couple standing next to us. I won’t try to spell their names, I’m sure I would massacre them. We had the most amazing time with these people. And we wholeheartedly recommend the Hummer tour, should you ever find yourselves in Cancun.
Merak let us drive our Hummer to the Iberostar, and we didn’t have to take the bus back. I’m actually quite grateful for this, because it was dark by the time we got back. We had left at 8:30 that morning and returned after 6pm. When we got back, we fetched Stephanie, who was waiting for us in the lobby, and then made our way to the dinner buffet. It was better than the lunch buffet, but the breakfast buffet still wins.
After dinner, Christi went out on the balcony to take a bath in the whirlpool, while I went down to the lobby to post yesterday’s synopsis of day one, and put a lot of the pictures that are included here on Facebook. I also went ahead and had my “morning devotional,” and was just about to publish it when the battery on my laptop died. Sigh.
Now I’m caught up. It’s currently Saturday afternoon, and we haven’t done much today. But that’s a different blog entry.