7 Things: Hola Mexico!

T and I spent a glorious week at the beautiful Platinum Yucatan Princess on the Riviera Maya. This was our first time in Mexico and we are hooked to say the least. A beautiful place with lot’s of culture, warm people and great food. The Yucatan Princess is gorgeous and the staff are wonderful. The service and everything that we needed and wanted were covered. Oh and I have grown to love Mexican food even more. I am soooo looking forward to going back soon. We came somewhat having an idea of what to expect but they were surpassed. From the hotel to the tours, every thing was wonderful.  Thanks to LB for the recommendation. Here is an interesting read on how these mini paradises work.

I wish I had taken more pictures….I was too busy enjoying myself. :-) We kinda needed the time to unwind, relax and not really plan,think or do too much.

We booked 2 tours with Experiencas Xcaret, Xichen and Xenotes and we plan to do Xelha/Tulum when we return. The service and the guides were very good. David from the xichen tour is witty, passionate, knowledgeable and clearly loves what he does. He had Paolo (our land transportation engineer for the day) as his wing man and we were very lucky as a group to have them take care of us for the day.

 

Cenote Ik Kil Chichen Itza

Cenote Ik Kil

We visited many different cenotes (sink holes) with the Xenotes Oasis Maya tour. Xenote K’aak, Ha, Lu’um and Iik being the four. The water was either a deep blue or green and the air was so clean.  Xenote K’aak was my favourite as it was lovely to observe the surrounding natural greenery and life that flew about as you swam. I just wished that we had more time in each cenote. Xenote Lu’um (semi open) was very beautiful as well but I was a bit creeped out knowing that the Mayans threw human sacrifices down the deep cenotes. I am not sure if this particular cenote was a graveyard but it was a bit dark being semi open. Dark but beautiful.

 

casona de valladolid

Casona de Valladolid

 

For lunch we stopped at La Casona de Valladolid to sample Yucatecan food. The restaurant is located inside a 120 year old house with a beautiful courtyard in the colonial town of Valladolid. The buffet was delicious with many options. The lima soup and chicken pibil were yum! I am going to attempt to make these at home. Apologies for the lack of pictures. I was too busy eating and sampling the dishes. It was sooooo good. Sorry if I am repeating myself. I loooove Mexican food. Another place that we tried was Yaxche (jag-shey) in Playa del Carmen. A great Mayan cuisine restaurant that integrates environment-care and local community support into the food that they serve. I had the Mool O’Och sample plate. The dips that they served with the chips were classics with a twist. Will blog about this place soon on Yumgasmic Food.

Riviera maya coffee mayan coffee

Riviera Maya Coffee

 

To continue with the food orgy another thing that I discovered in Mexico is the really good coffee. So much better than the overpriced joe that we pay for at Starbucks. I bought a bag of grounded beans from the Chiapas region and I cannot wait to try it. They have a growing community of organic plantations in the region that supports the local Mayan community.

Wee flowers in my hair

Wee flowers in my hair

 

I got a massage at the spa and ended up with a braid and a bun. The flowers were my own doing and all that is missing are a few butterflies. :-)

pink table pink chair

Lovely pink table and chairs

This was taken at an ice cream place in Playa. I can’t remember the name. I got the iced chocolate drink while T got the horchata with cinnamon. I am sucker for all things pink and this was just lovely. I love seeing bright colours and it seems to be a common theme in resort towns. They are not afraid to be bold with using them. It beats the beige, black, grey and white of countries with colder climates. Chic and mysterious, yes but colour = life.

towel art

Towel art

We were treated towel art daily at the resort. It was such a lovely touch. I think that I will do the same thing for my next house guest.

el castillo piramide de kukulcan

Piramide de Kukulcan

And here I stand before the great “El Castillo”, dedicated to the god Kukulcan. We did an experiment with the sound by clapping which caused it to be magnified within the facade of the temple. I am not sure how to explain the science behind it but it allowed the king’s voice to be amplified whenever he addressed his subjects from the top of his tower.  We also learned a lot about the Mayan’s advanced discoveries in astronomy, their civilization and the drought that may have led to their demise. All to the tune of human beings being greedy without having any regard for the environment and the general population. Sound familiar? We can certainly learn a lot from the mistakes of the past and apply it to our current situation. David our guide shared lot’s of information with us that day. His paternal grandma is Mayan and faced challenges due to her ethnicity. That resonated with me because my grandfather faced the same thing and did not not encourage his children to learn his mother tongue. There is a silver lining though as schools are now teaching Mayan language and tradition in schools in order to preserve the culture. It is a rich and important aspect that contributes greatly as part of Mexico’s heritage and I am glad that something is being done. I would like future generations from around the world to be able to experience the historic culture of this great civilization.

It was really hot that day and yes I was sweating under my long sleeves and pants. I am glad that I was covered up though because I did not burn and I did not have to re-apply sticky sunblock. Although they provide cold bottled water as you start the trip, bring a thermos (filled with ice from your resort bar) to put the water in. I digress. We thoroughly enjoyed David’s “office” in Chichen Itza that day as he is passionate about what he does telling the group to, “do what you love and love what you do, or else it’s not worth it.” Wise words. Will apply and learn from them. Thank you David and gracias Mexico. Mi case es su casa. Hasta la vista, baby!

 

Some travel tips:

–  Bring eco-friendly sunblock. If you go to Xel-Ha it is required and recommended for the Xenotes. Sunblock is expensive there so it is better to buy it at home.

– Tip for good service. These people work hard to make your vacation safe and enjoyable.

–  When booking excursions, cabs and shuttles go with companies provided by your hotel/travel agency.

–  Bring meds such as Pepto Bismol, Imodium, Reactine, etc and a mini first aid kit.

–  Learn a few basic words in Spanish such as hello, bye, please, thank you, bathroom, cerveza :-)

–  Bring a thermos with ice for excursions, for use for drink refills (saves plastic cups from going into the landfill) and umbrella as a parasol (this is usually provided by the hotel).

– Water shoes and other swim equipment (water shirts etc.), boy swimming shorts for the ladies if you’re planning to do anything sporty.

– Laundry bar soap if you want to wash your clothes but not use the laundry service.

– Learn how to haggle when shopping. Take them down to 50% of the initial offer and meet halfway in between.

– Buy items made in Mexico. Authentic souvenirs made locally not things made in China as a lot of the cheap tourist items are. Support the local community. Also, when buying wood if it smells like gasoline it probably is termite infested. Real silver should not stick to a magnet unless it has other metals mixed in.

A Year in Provence TV Mini-Series

I haven’t read the book but decided to watch the series in advance. I am saving it for my trip and I hope that it inspires me to pen something similar. A short story perhaps?

The tv mini-series is centred around a British couple who moves to Provence. We get a glimpse of their day-to-day lives from fixing their 200 year old country home to their quirky neighbours. The series hasn’t gotten great reviews but the book has. To be honest, the show does come off a bit slow at times but it is quite funny. I am on the second episode and I am having a hard time watching it from beginning to the end. I’ve paused a few times to attend to other matters. Maybe it’s just my short attention span?

No matter as I am sure the book will be great.

A Year in Provence

A Year in Provence

Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

Edit: I started enjoying the series towards the end. Events start to pick up as we get into the development of the characters and the local town. It’s too bad the story does not continue.
I’ve started to grow fond of the show.

Here is another video that i discovered entitled 80 Years in Provence. It’s an interview about 2 brothers who lived through WW2 where they talk about the life back then and how it has changed.

Shopping Deals: ModCloth Paris London Tote

  • 100% Cotton.
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