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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Day 13: On the Rio Lagartos

Day 13 was a loaded day.

The day started with a visit to a Mexican cemetery so we could see one of the cultural differences between Americans and Mexicans.

In this cemetery, all the graves are above the ground. The family members decorate the tomb, where they put pictures of the deceased as well as food, clothing or any other thing the deceased enjoyed while they still roamed the Mexican streets.

After that quick excursion, we went back to the docks and returned to our little boats that we took on Day 12 to reach the beach.

Today, we were sailing on the Rio Lagartos to look at the wildlife.

We saw A LOT of birds.
First, we saw some pelicans. Our captain threw fish into the water and watched the birds fight over them.

Look at that bird on the bottom left of the next pic!

And I like this shot, with the bird right in the center sprawled out.

While the pelicans were fighting, this little bird came and sat on our boat.

Eventually, the birds settled in the water and we continued throwing fish at them.

Here are two birds eating the same fish.

Eventually, our captain grabbed one pelican by the beak and brought it aboard.

Here's my hand petting it!

It was surprisingly soft and fluffy. I think maybe I want a pet pelican now.

So after our pelican adventures, we sailed out and looked for eagles. We found a couple and lured them out with fish as well.

We often threw fish out in order to lure the eagles, but some other bird swooped down and stole it.

Here's a pic I got of an eagle that's hard to see. But if you look closely, a little left of center, you can make it out.

We also found a puffer fish, which was brought aboard.

Then we saw some random white birds.

Then our tour guide Carlos said, "Ladies! Watch out!" and people were a little panicked and confused.

Then he said, "That bird over there is a stork!"

Then we found this bird, that was totally modeling for us.

And finally, we came to the main attraction. You know, Rio Lagartos is called Alligator River for a reason!

We also lured the alligators close to the boat with fish, but when the captain reached out and grabbed the alligator by the tail, he wasn't able to keep it out of water for very long and it slipped out of his hands and back into the water :(

Then Christina lost her hat in the wind and we had to turn around and look for it. Our captain saved it.

Then I posed for a picture.

Eventually, we came to a white island. Our captain explained that the island was made of salt. Mmm! I love salt.

As we climbed out of our boats, we were told to be really quiet. The island was basically a steep hill so we couldn't see what was ahead. When the captain said it was OK, we quietly climbed the hill to see what was on the other side....


We weren't allowed to get close to the birds (they are really scared of humans apparently) which is why the pics are so bad (I had to use zoom). But seeing flamingos in real life is really awesome and I suggest everyone put it on their bucket list!

At one point, a flock of them apparently got scared and flew away. And it was pretty amazing seeing huge pink birds flying together.

We also found a horseshoe crab on Flamingo Island. The captain put it on our heads so we could feel the way it walks around on its little claws. It felt cool.

We then got back in our boats and went to our next destination: another salt island, but this one had a body of water in the center. The water is so filled with salt (apparently its concentration is similar to that of the Dead Sea) that you automatically float in the water!

As soon as you sit down, your body floats and it's impossible to sit on the sand/salt at the bottom. You can push yourself down real hard, but you pop back up. It was kind of incredible.

We all got in a floating circle.

And we were supposed to do some kind of water ballet. Apparently I had the timing off or something since I'm the only one with a lifted leg in this picture....

As we got out of the salty water, we were told that the mud on this island was good for your skin. And the captains started rubbing it on the students.

Here I am covered in mud!

One captain then found this grass-like stuff (dry seaweed?) and put it on our heads like hair.

Don't I look amazing?

We drove back to the town and let the mud dry. As it dried, it cracked and fell off. But since we didn't have all day, we washed it off before heading back to eat.

The mud made my hair feel really strange and kept it spiky...

At lunch, I got breaded chicken again since I don't eat fish.

And that Modelo is NOT mine!

Then we got to our new hotel in Rio Lagartos, Punta Ponto.

Here was my room:

We were only at the hotel briefly before we went out to play baseball with the natives.

We played with an all-women team called "The Marinaras." Isn't that brilliant?!

Here I am at bat, looking awkward.

But can you believe it, I actually hit the ball! Here I am running (look right in the center).

AND I made it to first base!!

I even got to second, but then the person at bat struck out and got the third out : (

But I spent lots of time in the outfield, talking to Christina

putting my hand in my glove because I saw other people do it

and playing with my facial hair.

We stopped playing when it got dark and my team ended up winning (because the other team forfeited!). Playing baseball was a lot of fun and yet another thing that I did in Mexico that I would probably never do in America.

We headed back to the hotel for a couple minutes, then back to our boats.

We sailed to the beach so we could have a bonfire!

First, we had to dig a hole.

Then we filled it with wood.

Here I am holding some wood.

Finally, the man rubbed sticks together.... well actually, he just put some fluid on the wood and threw a match in.

And then we made some hot dogs! Here I am with my hot dog.

I stuck it in the fire and rotated it, making sure it got nice and crispy.

And here I am with the finished product!

Now normally, I don't eat hot dogs. But because I cooked this one myself, I felt kind of proud and decided to give it a try. It was pretty good, but I still am never eating an American hot dog....

Then we toasted marshmallows. So yeah, we made hot dogs and marshmallows: two things I don't like.

But I roasted one for fun and I'm pretty sure I did so perfectly.

For those of you who like marshmallows, doesn't mine look great?!

But I definitely wasn't trying it, so I fed it to Lindsey, who always manages to take the best pictures.

And this is what happens when you try to take a picture with fire as your only light source.

At one point, people noticed eyes looking out at us. Turns out some creatures on the island were watching us cook our food. They were probably hungry.

After a very long day, we finally returned to the hotel to sleep.

Can you believe we did so much in one day? This entry has 70 pics! (aka it took forever to make so it better be appreciated!)


Jere Keys said...

The mud and seaweed look is very retro, but I'm most jealous of the little headband flashlight thing. It looks like your on the way to some Burning Man dance party.

Michelle M. said...

Enrico - you are too cute.

I'm glad you got to hold some wood ; ).

That picture of you in the white mud reminds me of Craig...

I don't like fish or hot dogs either! And I love salt! Yay us!

Tam said...

That is so cool, love all the wildlife and you looked hilarious in the mud and seaweed. I like you with spiky hair, it look good. Salt water ballet, too funny.

I like hot dogs but hate marshmallows although I will say your's was perfectly roasted. I'm more of a catch them on fire then write your name in the air with flaming sugar kind of girl. :-)

I keep telling my daughter to go to your site and check out the pictures. She's very impressed with all the cool things you saw.

Michelle M. said...

Tam's right - yo do look good with spiky hair.

And you look like a Klingon with that horseshoe crab on your head.

Milo said...

Liking the wildlife!

I eat fish but not chicken.

Nicholas said...

I particularly like the picture of you holding wood

john said...

WOW your hair got spiky! You rival Craig with that hair. I have to say, the thought that went through my mind when I saw the captain rubbing the mud on students was "Sure the mud is good for your skin. I think rubbing students is good for the captain..."

Tam said...

You make me laugh John.

hoteltuesday said...

Jere - I love that headband light. I have it at school with me now. Could come in handy.

Michelle - Craig? Why? Did I miss a Puntabulous entry?

Tam - thanks for showing my site to your daughter! Now make her start commenting : )

And I look so bad with spiky hair. Ya'll are crazy.

John: lol

Michelle M. said...

Enrico - Craig has mentioned on occasion how white/pale he is : ).

Chris said...

I think that DSCI1002.jpg would make nice looking print to hand on one's wall.

The mud has a very tribal look. I am glad to see I was not the only one to think of Craig when I saw your spiky hair. ;)

I don't eat fish either. Oddly Red Lobster is one of my favorite restaurants. I like their chicken, and I LOVE their Cheddar Bay Biscuits!!!

I was never into campfire marshmallows and "smors"(sp). Though I sometimes like little ones in my hot chocolate though.

hoteltuesday said...

Yes! I know exactly what you mean about Red Lobster. This one chicken dish is sooo good. Mmmm.

Anonymous said...

You look like a "growing up gotti" douche bag italian with your hair spiky!! :o)