Published: September 28th 2006September 19th 2006
Flight that Richy booked on the internet in Spanish whilst in Canada was boarded without a hitch ... *phew*!
Yet more surprises... Mexico City must have one of the nicest, efficient domestic terminals in the developing world... one and a half hours later, we landed to 40 degC, 80% humidity - significantly hotter than high Mexico City (or as San would say: "Wah lau! hot until can die.... walking hot, sleeping hot, eating hot... everything picante!" She takes about 3 to 4 showers a day just to try and cool off!).
Merida, Yucatan is the land of Haciendas (Old manufacturing communes), Quaint streets, Siestas, heaps of Mayan ruins (including the grand ChiChen-Itza
and the elegant Uxmal
) and what Richy came for .... CENOTES!!!!! Day 1/2 - 18-19/09/06
With all the heat, all you can do is potter around, trying to suss out the town centre from our rather quiet hostel - La Perigena - an OK place but over priced compared with other places. so we upped and left after the second night to stay in the place we originally wanted but which was previously full - Nomadas
. This place
is extremely well run, picturesque and has many advantages like (cheap water to fill your bottles with, nice showers, lots of hammocks hanging everywhere, free brekky and a good network of tour connections.) Best place yet! Day 3 - 20/09/06
After a slow transfer to the new place as a result of Rich having a touch of the bummy tummy we headed down to the Museum of Anthropology and learned all about the history of the Yucatan peninulsa and the Mayan culture. Did you know that these people were farming and living in organised cities with pyramids before roman times! All this info set us up nicely for our visits to the ruins that we had organised. Day 4/5 - 21-22/09/06 - CENOTES!!!!!
We were not disappointed!
Cenotes are areas where an underground cave system has collaspsed, creating an entrance to the blue clear waters of an underground system of caverns and caves. Richy first heard of this unique diving opportunity from a guy while on a dive trip in Indonesia. No coral, little life but crystal clear water (yes visabilities of over 200m are
possible!) and unbelievable limestone formations.
We headed off with Eduardo Vasquez owner of Adventure Tours
at 7.30 sharp armed with mask, underwater camera rig and a heap of excitement.
The view from the top may not always be impressive. After all, it is a hole in the ground. Once you gear up and desend, a whole new world opens up before you. Seeing stalactites and stalactmites is not an unusual experience. How you see them is THE experience. Diving a cenote is like weightless flying in a cavern or cave. You are able to get close up to the formations, poke into little holes near the ceiling and cover the expanse north, south, east, west. Other than the air in your tank and the limitation of depth and decompression, 50 minutes feels like 5. Leave the sweat and dirt at the door, its not your normal caving adventure. If coral reefs and fish are your thing, you wont even miss them when you are in a cenote!
It was a real plasure to have had the opportunity to dive with Adventure Tours. Eduardo was extremely professional right from the start where he took the time to understand
what Richy was looking for with his underwater camera as well as have a chat about our experience. Instead of plunging straight into a cave dive, he was quietly insistent on gauging our comfort level by taking us through an easy and safe first dive and tailored the following cenotes accordingly to needs and ability. His enthusiasm for the sport and love of the locations is clear from the twinkle in his eyes in and out of the water. If Mexico was easier to get to from Malaysia, we would probably be coming back every other year just to dive with him and his excellent team!
Richy can't even put into words the experiences that insued during these 4 dives (hence my inclusion above). He can vouch that the experience is like no other diving experience he has ever had in his 800 dives! *You techies from Miri and KL REALLY need to come and do this!* Check out the shots...
Day 6 - 23/09/06 - We headed off on an organised tour to ChiChenItza the most famous of Mayan ruins in the East of Yucatan province. A hair-raising bus journey and 1.75hrs
Cenote 2 - San on her way down
Just uploading these makes me pine for doing it again!
later we arrived at this well run site. We got just enough time to look around all the buildings before buffet lunch tourist style and a equally hair-raising journery back and plenty of time to head down to the street partying and dancing taking place in the centre of town... this place seems to have perpetual cultural events organised for the entire community... the tourists weren't what they thought about when they put the programs together! San was asked a few times to dance Salsa by the locals ... a great chance for her to put in to practise all she learnt at the free Salsa lessons at the hostel Nomadas! (Kus, I am ready to dance Salsa with you now!!!!) Day 7 - 24/09/06
Having heard that the entrance fee to Uxmal was half price on Sundays, we headed off with Pablo and Gil under our own steam to CALCEHTOK caves, lunch in Tical and Uxmal - another amazing ruins site. We got back in plenty of time for a visit to the local cheap pizza place for a hawaiiana. Day 8
- San headed to Progresso... (See other entry), Day 9/10
Preparing the line for Cenote 3
This was a more challenging dive as we first had to climb down a old well and with little light at the bottom we entered the dark world below. Also got to see a prehistoric fish with no eyes down there and blind shrimps!
We both chilled and spent the days uploading photos for you all to see. This place is so easy for the traveller than San managed to get her visa extension without a hitch (although it took 3 trips and a combination of bad Spanish from her and better English from the immigration officer) Day 11 - Cuba here we come!
There are more photos below