Monday, September 11, 2017

2017 Cancun Mexico Vacation, Part One

Cancun, Mexico

Saturday, February 18, 2017

For years my best friend Theodore B. Hertel, Jr. and his wife Maggie Ley have been inviting Denice and I to join them at their time share in Cancun, Mexico.  The invitation has been open so long that it has become a standing joke with us in which I get to claim that Ted never invites me when he regales us with stories of his friends having fun on the beaches in ol' Mexico.

Now that I am retired, I decided it was time for me to go.  Denice, still working, was left behind.

Ted, Maggie and I went to the Milwaukee airport to catch our direct flight to Cancun leaving at 10:50 a.m.  At the airport we heard an announcement we have never heard before:  the flight is overweight.  The only good news about this was that we were not already on board so we could not be blamed for the problem.

The first announcement:  We need three people to volunteer to take an alternative flight to Cancun.

The second announcement:  We need three people to volunteer to take an alternative flight to Cancun for three hundred dollars each.

The third announcement:  We need three people to volunteer to take an alternative flight to Cancun for six hundred dollars each.

At this point, it was elbows up as the three of us charged the podium.  As it turns out, we each got a $600 voucher to be used in the next year on Delta, flew to Detroit where we caught a flight to Cancun and only lost four hours of time in Mexico.  Considering we are staying a week, this turned out to be a pretty cool deal.

Ted and Maggie have time shares in three different places in the Royal Sands in Cancun but this unit will be renewed in their future so this is the last time I could be with them.  It is a double suite with an impressive view.

The nighttime room with a view

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The sunrise room with a view

At the orientation, a familiar flag is flown

Today Ted and I did a tour around the various resorts associated with Royal Sands.

In the shuttle bus

Sunset Room with a View

Monday, February 20, 2017

Because Ted and Maggie go to Cancun for a month, and because they have been going for 22 years, they are not interested in seeing the same sights every time one of their friends freeloads in their spare suite.  This means I am free to book whatever excursions I want and take my camera with me.

Today's excursion is to Chichen Itza, "the ancient capital of the Itzae Maya, declared a World Heritage Site in 1988 and voted one of the Seven New Wonders of the World in a 2007 global poll. At the height of its glory, A.D. 800 to 1150 (it was abandoned in 1250), Chichen Itza was a mighty city, dominating the Yucatan politically, commercially and militarily. It was also a sacred center where rulers and astronomers once watched the heavens for portents and priests made sacrifices to appease the gods. Chichen Itza's most famous building is the Pyramid of Kukulcan or El Castillo, a huge solar clock at the center of the Great Plaza. It is so precisely aligned that during the Spring and Fall equinoxes in March and September, the north face of the pyramid catches the rays of the setting sun and the shadow of a gigantic serpent forms along the staircase. Other buildings of note clustered around the Great Plaza include the Temple of the Warriors, 1000 Columns, Ball Court (the largest discovered in Mesoamerica), Temple of the Jaguars and the Tzompantli. A short walk away lie the Ossuary, the Observatory, Las Monjas Group and the Sacred Cenote, a deep sinkhole that was the site of ancient sacrificial rites."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Today's excursion is a mixture of ancient Mexican history.  The first stop is Cobá.  "Deep in the jungle, its pyramids and temples clustered around four shallow lakes, lies Coba (waters ruffled by the wind in Maya), one of the Maya World's largest archaeological sites, so vast that only a small area of the ancient city has yet been restored. Indeed, one of the thrills of a visit is wandering or biking the jungle trails on the look out for rare birds and animals.  At 42 meters high, the Nohoch Mul pyramid is the tallest in the northern Yucatan and Coba is also famous for its sacbes or Mayan causeways. The longest sacbe in the Maya World links the city with the site of Yaxuna, near Chichen Itza and is 101 km long."

Our guide for the day

Me on a bike for the first time in 50 years (photo courtesy of our guide) 

I have a fear of heights so I hope these photos emphasize why I did not bother to climb Coba.

Next up was the watering hole, or "cenote," used for centuries for bathing and restorative purposes.

Then we were off to Tulum.  "From A.D. 1250 to 1521, Tulum prospered as a port due to its strategic location on the sea and overland trade routes and its sheltered bay, a safe harbor in times of storm. The principal temple at the site is El Castillo and other important groupings are the Temple of the Descending God, the House of the Columns, the Temple of the Wind and the Temple of the Frescos. Tulum is also one of very few walled cities found to date in the Maya World."

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