Archive for September, 2006

Where the hell am I?

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

See where I am by checking my Google Calendar

My Life by Bill Clinton

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

On my travels, I really value the compact nature of audio books and this was one I brought w/ me. I especially liked it as an audio book, because it was read by Clinton, as always a charming and dynamic speaker. Listening to it was almost like sitting down and hearing him tell the story of his life.

“My Life” is definitely an atypical book for me to read. I don’t read that many biographies, but I felt like I had a lot of questions about his presidency, many just about what happened at all. Also I was curious what someone like Clinton would write in his own book.

I liked it. I don’t tend to be that political or entirely up on the news, and reading this book was a chance to see an 8 year stretch of my country’s history at least as one man saw it. It was a chance to hear him talk about the struggles he had trying to do what was right in his view (frequently in mine as well) and hearing him explain his side of all the scandal that plagued his presidency.

I also liked hearing someone as smart as Clinton talk at least a little bit about his mistakes and where he is now.

All in all a good read, and I recommend the audio version.

Chapter One – Tulum

Thursday, September 14th, 2006 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

It´s Thursday, or at least that´s what the computer tells me, days seems so artificial when you are backpacking through another country. And, that is just what I´ve been doing with Karissa.

The last five days (has it really been only five days?) have been pretty busy. Take a look at our travel log…

Sunday – September 10

Caught a 7am flight from Juarez, Mexico to Cancun. Once there we caught a 4 hour busride to Tulum, a small little beach city in the middle of some pretty cool stuff. Checked into the Weary Traveler and after a very much deserved great Mexican meal, Karissa and I went to sleep.

The Weary Traveler, btw was a pretty cool place, not too many mosquitos and breakfast included. Very much a European backpacker ambiance, if you´re into that sort of thing. Lots of people in the common area, and it wasn´t too expensive.

Monday – September 11

We rented a cabana on the actual beach at El Mirador. Most of the day consisted of doing nothing but enjoying the breeze and amazing view of the beach, and swim a little bit. Towards the end of the day we walked to Tulum´s Ruins. They weren´t huge, but they were built upon cliffs overlooking the Carribean. The Maya sure know how to pick a spot :).

That night we slept in hammocks on the beach in our cabaña. Amazing – next time though, I´m bringing a mosquito net.

Tuesday – September 12

After waking up at dawn to go swim in the Carribean outside our door (yeah, how often do you get to do that?), we checked out and headed back to Tulum proper. We wanted to get some info about cave snorkelling and the nature reserve here.

We stopped at a bike rental place and made a quick decision to bike to Sian Ka’an, the nature reserve that day. It ended up being some 6 hours of biking Karissa and I did that day, there and back. Not bad for an old man, eh? Once there we rented Kayaks and looked about the lagoon. We didn´t see too much wildlife aside from some beautiful frigatebirds and pelicans and one gourgeous heron. However, it felt to us like the day was a triathalon – and we were very proud of ourselves when we made it back alive and wolfed down our dinner.

Since Tuesday, we´ve been at Rancho Tranquilo. And as the name implies, it is a calm oasis. It´s great, we get our own double bed complete with (blessed) mosquito net – they get downright vicious here. And it has a nice common room with big kitchen, book trade, and my favorite, a hammock. Breakfast is included.

Wednesday – September 13

Karissa has been insanely excited about cave snorkelling since she saw it a few weeks ago in the guide book, so there was really no question about doing it.

Throughout the Yucatan, there are a network sink holes called Cenotes. They are quite amazing as they all have incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations most of which are underwater. Some of them are connected to eachother, and they remain somewhat unexplored, though there are countless snorkelling and diving tours that take tourists through them.

We went on Hidden Worlds’ Cenote Snorkelling tour, and it was other worldly. They provide gear, transportation, and a guide that will lead you to do things that you probably wouldn´t do by yourself. If you´ve ever been to a huge cave with incredible formations, it´s kind of like that. But imagine yourself floating through it instead of walking.

Karissa was and is thrilled. I´m all excited now to go reef snorkelling at some point.

Thursday – September 14

We went to the Cobá ruins today. We took a bus there and opted to rent some bikes once we were there both to get around more easily and for the nice breeze they gave you as you peddled through the nice trails.

Cobá is several spread out groups of ruins. The most spectacular by far being a huge pyramid that we were allowed to climb that took you far above the jungle canopy and gave a great view of the surrounding area and lakes. It was amazing, and I was not expecting it. It apparently has the honor of being the highest structure in the Yucatán. I definitely recommend it.

What’s Next?

Our time in Tulum, however, is drawing to a close. Tonight we have our last dinner at Rancho Tranquilo, and tomorrow we head south to Chetumal for Mexican Independence Day.

After that we are heading to Belize for the weekend. Might as well sneak in a new country for my list, right? Party, party and maybe a little snorkelling.

After that I think we´re back to the ruins circuit, Chichen Itza, Merida, Palenque, and more to come. So stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel…