Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Adventure Itinerary and Logistics

I had it all planned.
That was my first mistake.
~ Vivian Swift

Today I just want to give you an overview of our trip.  Then, for the rest of the week, I'll highlight some of the sites we visited.  ;)

We flew into Mexico on a Friday night, and spent the weekend visiting Ana and her family.  Just getting to the rural community where most of Ana's family lives is a bit of an adventure.  It starts with a typical city taxi ride...  to a river.

Then, a short boat ride across the river:

Finally, you and your luggage are loaded up into the back of a modified pickup truck for the 2 hour drive on a dirt road - along with as many as a dozen other people and their belongings, groceries, etc.  Sorry, no live chickens...  ;)

Sunday night we ( = me, Scott, Ana, 2 nieces & 2 nephews) returned to the city and Monday morning we were picked up for our tour.  We arranged the tour through Mextrotter and had our own van, a guide and a driver!

Here's our guide posing with the van:

And here's Ana by the van:  

You can see that it seats around 16 people (plus the guide and driver), so it was roomy for the seven of us.  We ended up spending a lot of hours on that van over the next five days, so it was quite fortunate for us that it had a television and DVD player.

We let the kids each pick out 2 DVDs at Walmart (yes, there are Walmart stores in Mexico) and we ended up watching them all...

Pop quiz - can you match each of the following movies to one of the kids?

(1) X-Men and Transformers
(2) Barbie and the Mermaids
(3) Twilight and Eclipse

(A) 16 year old girl
(B) 14 year old boy
(C) 12 year old girl

Leave a comment if you can't figure it out!  ;)

Basically we visited a different site each day and stayed in a different hotel each night.  (Well, one night we actually stayed in cabins in the jungle.)  This was one of the nicest hotels, in Palenque, Mexico:

I think I can safely say that the swimming pools - a new experience for the kids - were a hit:

The night we stayed in the jungle was Mayi's birthday.  Our guide "smuggled" a birthday cake in the back of the van and we were able to surprise her after dinner:

And, of course, this meant that we ate at a lot of restaurants.  Lots of new food for the kids - Felipe tried octopus at this gulf side restaurant (thumbs down):  

And Michelle tried pizza and ice cream for the first time.  (Two thumbs waaaay up!)  

Here is our last dinner together, on Friday night:  

Saturday morning, everyone headed home - Scott and I on an airplane and Ana and her nieces and nephews via bus, boat and modified pick-up truck...  ;)

With all due respect to Vivian Swift (see today's quote) most of our plans actually went quite well.  The matching yellow shirts, water bottles, watches and cameras were all a big success!  (On the other hand, giving a 12-year-old boy a whistle and telling him that it was only for emergencies was possibly a bit optimistic...)  

The media may indicate that kidnapping is a big issue in Mexico, but the worst thing we experienced was three of the kids getting car sick after too many hours in the van!  ;)

Tomorrow - let's see some Mayan ruins!

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