Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Los primeros dias en Mexico!

The first days in Mexico have been amazing! We arrived in Merida, Yucatan last Wednesday. The first day could not have been more Mexican.. Our friend Alvaro's father, also named Alvaro :) picked us up from the airport and showed us around Merida: a relaxed but big city with a population of about 1 million.

We saw the school project which Alvaro's parents have set up: escuala Yaxunah, a school for children aged 4-12 where they have plenty of opportunities to exploit their creative skills. 50% of the lessons are already in English! The teachers showed as around the school, the playground, the classrooms, the art work of the students, the tortoise garden....etc. We had a chance to talk to the students there and they speak very good English already. We are very impressed by the idea that the students are treated as the center of the school.

After visiting the school, Alvaro sr took us to a local bar for 'a few drinks and snacks'. In Mexico, this means anywhere between 3-10 drinks and a table full of food, enough for a 8 person family's meal in Europe! We were happy that we learned a bit of Spanish back in Amsterdam, which allowed us to communicate a bit with the locals. (of course, Alvaro sr showed Daniel the proper way of using those "P" words). At night we had a short walk in Merida city, and went for some ice cream with special local flavor, still full from the snacks, and met some of Alvaro jr's friends for (more) drinks.

On Thursday we visited Sotuta de Peon, an ancient style village in Yucatan, where they show a traditional way of making rope from plants - which the Mayans used to do. This place also had a Cenote, a beautiful natural underground lake caused by a sinkhole. There are thousands of Cenotes in this region, one more spectacular than the other. The water in the Cenote is so clear and you can swim there. Too bad we didn't bring our swimming suit that day. In the afternoon, we visited Grutas Lol-tun, which is a cave system with old Maya habitation. We were the only ones in the cave, so we got a private tour :)  The most amazing part is to look up from the bottom of the caves and see the source of light. We wonder how amazing the art of nature is.

Then Friday was the big fishing trip! Our friend Alvaro jr has told us lots about the fishing in Yucatan. We went on a speedboat into the sea. Kendy quickly showed of her talent and caught lots of fish! We did both get a bit of seasick. (not sure if this was because of the heavy waves, the fact that we were catching fish in the early morning after breakfast, or a combination of these). We fished for a few hours, then moved on to another 'more relaxed boat' with music to chill and swim a bit in the warm sea (of course, swimming with a cerveza). After that we went to a local restaurant, where they put our fresh fish straight on the grill so we could eat it, with different side dishes like octopus, shrimps, sea snails.... yummy. This is the first time we enjoyed our own catch. The fish is so meaty and fresh; as a crazy seafood fan, Kendy enjoyed it so much. What an amazing day! We were exhausted at night and didn't do much.

On Saturday, we visited the old Mayan pyramid Chichen Itza. Super impressive to see how this massive construction was build. It was a really hot day, and since we'll see more Mayan ruins in Guatemala, we didn't spend too much time walking around. In the area we visited a Cenote where you can swim: Cenote Ik Kil. Beautiful, words cannot describe how special it is in there. There is a jumping stage there which you can jump into the water from 5 metres high. Daniel and Alvaro sr had so much fun with the jumps, but Kendy was too scared to jump. At night we visited Merida's "Noche Blanca" festival with live music on the streets. It's still crazy to hear xmas songs with this weather..

Sunday was our last day in Merida, which we spent the local way: family and friends get together to eat, drink and enjoy the great weather. We also went to watch the semi-final Mexican football league match with them. We ended up in a bar with live rock music at 1am.
On Monday we took a 5 hour bustrip to Playa del Carmen where we'll spend some days relaxing on the beach.

That's it for the first days, thanks for stopping by at our blog :) As you can read the first days have been very busy but we'll try to update the blog more often!
Kendy and Daniel

 Street of Alvaro's casa

 The school project

"just a few snacks"

Merida, Yucatan

A few cerveza's with Alvaro's amigos

Ancient style Yucatan housing

Making rope from plants.. not easy!!

These are the plants that the rope originates from

Beautiful cave


Fishing master!


"Let it snow" 

Cenote... Amazing !! 

Sunday funday with family & friends!