Sunday 11th March
Today marks my first week in Mexico. The last few days have been quite busy. On Thursday, Leigh, Steph and I walked to town and checked out some shops. We tried on a few sombreros. In the afternoon we went to Amore Y Vida, and just sat colouring in with the children and playing games. This time we were with much younger children. It was nice and cool indoors, and there were almost as many volunteers as there were children, so it wasnt too taxing.
On the way home, I spotted a supermarket on the dual carriageway that we crossed. Leigh, Steph and I bravely got off the bus in unfamiliar territory and walked to the Supermarket. As we walked accross the car park, we started to hear a roaring engine and a noisy horn. I turned to see a huge industrial train engine making its way along the rusty track that sits in the central reservation. We'd assumed it was out of use as there were no warning signs or fences around it (health and safety is none existant here). All of the cars turning off the carriageway crossed the rails, so as it sped along it literally stopped traffic.
When we got to the supermarket we were all really excited because it was huge with an enormous variety of food. It was quite westernised. There were meat counters doing fresh cheese and meat and fish. I got myself some Serrano ham, olives, pasta, pizzas and tinned veg.
Whilst waiting for the bus home Steph got badly bitten around her ankles by the Mosquitos. They've seemed to leave me alone since my first encounter. Poor steph has been very self-conscious of her bites since, and they've been very itchy and getting her quite down.
On Friday I spent an hour or so at a local hotel pool. There is a picture of me in a bikini which I think I will use as a before and after shot. I wonder if I have lost any weight yet. It is so hot I can barely be bothered to eat. At the pool we got an amazing still lemonade, made from concentrated lemon with syrup and water in them. I could only stay a while because I had my project in the afternoon. I was a little frustrated as I had been ready to leave for quite a while but some of the girls were faffing about in the house.
In the evening a bunch of us when out. The first bar was quite nice, $27 for a beer (1 pound 30). Amy, Mateus' beautiful friend and I got cornered in the loos by two drunk mexican women who were fascinated by our Englishness. They stood in front of the door and tried to speak to us in Spanish but we didn't understand what on earth they were going on about. They wanted a picture with us and we let them in hope of it leading to our escape, which it did.
From there we went to a nighclub called Tequila. It is big, modern and so very cheap, It was $40 (2 pounds) entry for the girls, and $150 for the boys! Once we were in it was all you can drink. Naturally, I took full advantage of this and did lots of silly dancing.
When we eventually arrived home we found the front door locked and all of us without a key. Joe climbed onto the roof and over our bedroom, and came into the house through the back door. He could have gone through the girls bedroom but figured a strange man coming in from the roof might have been a bit scary to wake up to.
In the morning, we'd planned an early start, we were going to make sandwiches and go to the Cenotes (sink holes) but slept in until 9, which was the time we were supposed to be meeting Steph at the bus station. We managed to find her; just as we were getting into a taxi to go there she pulled up near our house as she'd had trouble finding the station. We were very lucky!
I had only had two hours sleep, so the bus journey was spent sat near the window hoping it would ease my queasy belly- The bus was long and the journey was bumpy. Just outside the bus station, 3 americans got on the bus. We got chatting and ended up spending the whole day with them. They were in Merida with college, studying Spanish. Eventually we arrived in a small town and the american girls found out that we needed to get off. It's useful meeting Spanish speakers!
From there, we broke off into pairs, and I shared a motorcycle with a metal basket welded on its front to sit on with a Canadian guy who has been everywhere that I was planning to go to and was full of advice. We arrived at the beginnings of a cart track, which was like something out of Donkey Kong. We got on a tiny 4 seater carriage and were pulled along for about 5 miles or so by a horse to the first Cenote. It was beautiful. Bright blue with tiny fish in it, incredibly deep and a little bit eerie. The steps down to each Cenote were always dodgy but the darkness and the cool water did a good job of soothing my hangover. It was such an experience, I can't wait to see everyones photos on facebook. One of the cenotes has enormous tree roots hanging from the hole in the centre which stretched down 50ft into the cavern and enventually dipping into the water far below. Some of the cenotes were a fair way underground down slippy wooden steps.
In the evening, I ate, chatted to some of the othe volunteers and got to know Hannah a little better. She is a new arrival and we have talked about maybe going to the Mayan riviera together. Mathias says it is unmissable and I'd be nuts to leave Mexico without seeing it. So I tink I will change my plans to include it and see if I can get some people together to join me.
In the evening I somehow ended up nm a bar, despite being desperate to sleep. John, one of the Welsh boys, talked me into it. Adam and I only wanted to go for a few, but it was hard to get everyone out of the house until late. This is the problem when you try and do things in a big group. We went to the same bar as yesterday for one drink, then most of the guys went off to a club and me and Adam went to join some others in Maya Pub who had left the house before us. We had trouble finding the place, asking for directions and things. When we eventually arrived it seemed really nice, and played some good dubstep. It seemed pretty underground for Merida, I think I'll be going back there.
I woke up today (Sunday) at 7am. I am not sure what I will do with my day. I think I will shower and do some laundry and maybe go to Uxmal (Mayan ruins). Steph wants to go there and this is her only chance. I fancy a chilled day at the beach, but I was going to go to Uxmal eventually, so I might accompany her.
I'm having a great time here so far. I've had lots of fun with the kids, done lots of partying, met some really cool people, and already done some once in a lifetime things. And I appear to be picking up the Spanish fairly quickly. I think I am doing well and managing to make the most of my time here.
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