Mil palabras: Chichén Itzá

Los ocho en Chichén Itzá

Mil gracias a Alex, nuestro guía por el día. He met us bright and early at the ferry in Playa del Carmen, volunteered his car, drove 3 hours each way, showed us around Yucatán, answered our many questions, and (most importantly!) kept his cool even when the out of town visitors were getting grouchy and tired. Alex is also a great photographer and took the standard tourist shot above and about 4 others like it with the other cameras in the group.

Alex also informed us that Chichén Itzá is up for a vote to become one of the New Seven Wonders of the World:

Here you have a picture of the main building in the Mayan ceremonial center of Chichen Itza, it is known as El Castillo.

Dominating the center of Chichen is the Temple of Kukulcan (the Maya name for Quetzalcoatl), often referred to as “El Castillo” (the castle). This step pyramid with a ground plan of square terraces with stairways up each of the 4 sides to the temple on top. On the Spring and Fall equinox, at the rising and setting of the sun, the corner of the structure casts a shadow in the shape of a plumed serpent – Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl – along the side of the North staircase. On these two days, the shadows from the corner tiers slither down the northern side of the pyramid with the sun’s movement.

Remember to vote for Chichen Itza to become one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Here you have the link: vote.

The results are going to be given on July 7th, so hurry up, we have little over one week to make sure that this Mayan marvel is among the chosen ones.

Yesterday was tiring, but it was definitely great. It’s good to know that this little community of bloggers I’ve come to know over the past three or so years can go from words and photos online to great hospitality and interaction in person.


Live and direct from Cozumel

My sister looked at me like I was weird for packing my laptop.

“You’re going to take it? Why?”

“Well, I can add photos to it as we go and charge my iPod.” I added something else that might have made sense to someone else besides me, but I didn’t say that I was hoping the hotel would have free wi-fi or that I could easily find it somewhere in Cozumel. That would make me seem like an internet addict. Which I’m not. I swear.

It was actually a pleasant surprise after having a not-so-great welcome to el Caribe Mexicano. Don’t get me wrong, the people were nice and helpful, but that didn’t matter when they were dealing with 8 hungry, cranky and hot people who had been traveling since 8 p.m. the evening before (check the itinerary here).

However, once we all showered, ate and napped we got back to enjoying our vacation in Cozumel. So far, we’ve been pretty low key. The guys went out and partied while my parents, Lori and I stayed in and just enjoyed the warm water in the pool. Today, we had breakfast in el centro, shopped a little, my dad rented a scooter and we took some rides with him. Later, I watched the final of the Gold Cup game with my brothers, Cain and Mike at Margaritaville. We were all cheering for Mexico (except Mike). Adrian really did look that excited when Mexico scored its first and only goal, but he didn’t get to make that face during the game. Instead his face looked more like one of those looks fans make when their team gets close to scoring and barely misses. I hate when Mexico loses to the US, but I think it sucks even more when you’re in Mexico.

Later in the day, we had a family meeting to plan out our week, went snorkeling and had yummy tacos.


I should be packing

Without fail, the days leading up to vacations are always the most stressful.

I’ll try to check in while in Cozumel next week. (I miss my blog when I’m away. I’m a nerd. I know).

Hopefully I’ll have some good stories of family bonding and drama, exciting adventures exploring the Yucatán and the beautiful island of Cozumel, and some great pictures to share.



Antonio Aguilar (1919-2007)

I was still half asleep when I got VivirLatino’s notice about Antonio Aguilar passing away last night after being in grave condition and battling pneumonia for a couple of weeks.

I didn’t cry then, but now as I read through Spanish-language newspapers online and search for YouTube videos, the tears are coming. Friends on MySpace are offering up bulletins sharing memories of seeing Antonio Aguilar perform at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena. Now the realization that Mexico and Mexicans everywhere have lost one of their greatest talents is really setting in. But I’m not crying about losing the singer and actor and charro. Sure, I grew up hearing his music and watching him on TV, but that sort of stuff is captured through technology.

Instead, Antonio Aguilar’s passing is affecting me because it makes me think of my grandfather, one of his big fans. The men have things in common too. Antonio Aguilar was born in 1919, Papá Chepe was born a year later. Both men are from Zacatecas. While Aguilar is a skilled charro, Papá Chepe just loves watching the rodeos. He gets upset if his doctors advise him not to travel to Zacatecas for the Fiestas de Abril.

I guess Antonio Aguilar’s death makes me think of my grandparents’ own mortality, and that hurts even more than losing a great entertainer.

Que descanse en paz.

More on Antonio Aguilar’s death:
La Jornada
La Opinión
ABC News (AP story)
LA Times


Question of the week: Family vacations

The other side of the beach I honestly can’t remeber the last time all 6 members of my family went on a vacation together. I know the last time we all went to Mexico together was when I was about 10 years old. I know for sure that we haven’t done anything as a nuclear family since we’ve all become adults.

That’s all changing in a few days. My parents, three siblings, and two plus ones (Lori’s boyfriend and Adrian’s best friend) will be heading to Cancun and Cozumel.

I’m a little worried about the trip. There are 8 different people to please. I’ve become accustomed to going places alone and getting to do everything I want.

We haven’t even left yet and there was already drama when my siblings and I learned that our hotel was not in Cancun, but in Cozumel. My dad booked the hotel in Cozumel, where we have our timeshare, without realizing that it is an island. It’s not far from the Cancun airport and is a nice vacation spot. He considered changing hotels, but that would have been pricier. So, we’re staying in Cozumel, which means my siblings won’t get to party in Cancun as much. I don’t really mind the change of location or taking a ferry ride from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen to enjoy activities and sightseeing on the mainland.

Las Preguntas: When was the last time you vacationed or took a trip with your family? Was it stressful and do you have any advice?