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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 3: Hips Don't Live

My third day in Mexico was one of my favorites... BUT, I couldn't take many pictures : (

First, we drove to our destination. En route, I got to see life in a small Mexican pueblo. As much as I loved the specific activities we did, I really enjoyed these moments where I could see how the people lived.

So I was glad I got to see the life of the pueblo.

But not so glad that I got car sick.

But finally we reached our destination.

We were to enter the "Grutas Calcehtok," which are expansive caves that were used by the Mayans in the past. The main reason the Mayan people used the caves was for protection from enemies. They not only lived in homes in the cave, but attended some type of religious service in a huge room in the caves with an altar in the center.

Before entering the caves, we had to put vaseline up our nostrils.

Since the cave was full of bats, we could contract a disease called histoplasmosis which is a disease that messes with your lungs. You get it by breathing in spores left my bat droppings.

We then had to climb down this ladder

and make our way to the cave entrance as the light gradually disappeared...

Finally, we entered the caves. Unfortunately, the humidity in the caves plus the dirt bound to be covering your hands does not allow for a pleasant photo-taking experience.

The caves were really amazing. We saw some Mayan homes inside, where pottery and dishes were left behind. In the religious room with the altar, we saw some sweet carvings, one of an alien, one of a devil. In one room, there was a humongous phallic statue. I wasn't surprised.
At one point, our guide told us to turn off our headlights. He then shone his light into the following room and about 34,982 bats flew off the walls and ceilings and flew around the top of the room. It was so awesome.

One of my favorite parts about the caves were the tiny passages used to get from one area to the next. One was TINY and was called "the birth canal." It was one of my favorite parts because as I watched my companions get stuck in passages and complain that they were getting dirty, I just contorted by body in various shapes and slipped through each passage without any difficulty.

Almost three hours later, we emerged. Most people were really dirty, but I only had minimal dirt on my clothes.

We then cleaned our hands with bottled water. Here's Katie doing it, a few days before she left....

After changing, some of the girls left their clothes on rocks so that the Mexican people could have them.

So we drove back into town and I got to see more Mexican life.

In Mexico, the stop signs don't have the Spanish word for stop on them. They say "ALTO," which means "tall." Our teacher didn't know why.

And this mound is apparently a pyramid or something. Our guide said that when ruins are first found, they are covered in trees and plants like this mound. Then they excavate it. But why is this archaelogical site a plant-covered mound still?

Maybe this guy went to the caves after we did and found a shirt one of the girls left behind.

And I saw the Palacio de Polt in Oxkintok!

It was a rehab! LOL

We got to a restaurant for lunch.

Here I am looking awful at my table.

I saw 'Chicken Parm' on the menu and quickly ordered it, along with a lemonade.

Well, turns out lemonade is actually lime-aid, and chicken parm is actually chicken stuffed with ham and cheese.

But they were both DELICIOUS.

The bathroom is Restaurant Oxkintok was cool.... This is the setup of the urinal.

And this awesome sign was right outside the bathroom:

Yay! Drug free!

I didn't do anything at all until dinner, where I had cheese quesadillas with really strange cheese...

and these.
After dinner we watched more dancers.

Then went to Canta Mexico, a karaoke bar in Merida!

Some of my companions sang a Juanes song and a BSB song. They had a bunch of American music, like Shakira's hit, "Hips Don't Live" :)

And they drank from these beer towers...

while I had a non-alcoholic drink made with pineapple, coconut and strawberry.

Or, in other words:

I wanted to do "...Baby One More Time" but they were taking too long to call me and no one wanted to wait anymore and I couldn't walk back alone : (

Here's a video of the traditional dance I saw in the square!


Tam said...

Another amazing day iin Mexico. The cave sounds very neat but I kind of get claustrophobic so not sure that would work for me, nor the bat guano. Ewwwww. Your drink looks delish though.

john said...

This trip gets better and better! Guano, tiny caves, strange cheese and drinks of your choice...what else could you have done on day three?

Polt said...

I have to help the underprivilegded, so I started a rehab down there in Mexico, what's so funny about that. I do think it's cute that when you see a purple building you think of me. :)

Looks like fun, although the caves with the bats and all, yeah, don't think I woulda done that.

can't wait for more!


Michelle M. said...

Glad you were having fun. I'm not as adventurous and would be saying "ick" all day (urinals, guano, cheese).

The mound reminds me of the book(and movie)The Ruins by Scott Smith (book - eh, movie - meh).

Maybe Craig should check out those casitas. They have lots of "character".

Chris said...

Nice photos. I think exploring the cave would have been a blast for me. However, I think I would have preferred a respirator to Vaseline up the nose.