Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Jesse had a great adventurous idea to make some chile rellenos for our Christmas dinner. This didn't actually happen on Christmas day because the entire day we were full from the exotic soup we made called Caveman stew. We got that recipe from our Lonely Planet book and I must say it was very delicious. Anyway, we made Chile rellenos the following day and it turned out to be a huge success. A little rundown of the recipe, roast peppers on a grill or over an open flame, stuff with stuffing consisting of cheese, hamburger, tomatoes and onions. Secure the stuffing inside the peppers with some toothpicks. Then you flour the peppers and dip them into a hand whipped egg batter (this is much easier with a mixer) and the last and final step is to fry them in a vat of hot vegetable oil. They are very nutritious and delicious!!
Our travels have finally brought us to a place where we are able to stay for more than a few days, and it has been fantastic. Jessi and I have a friend from chiropractic school and his family gave us the opportunity to spend a few days in there beautiful casa in Guanajuato. The Kittleson's have a lovely two story house with a rooftop that has a great view of the city. Guanajuato is an old silver mining town that fills a valley in the surrounding rolling hills. Since it is crammed into that ravine and had a bunch of old abandoned mines most of the roads are in tunnels underneath the city. It was pretty tough navigating through the streets when we first got here but there was no better vehicle to handle the task than our van. We have rewarded the van by not driving it since we got here. We have already spent Christmas here and plan to spend New Year's Eve as well before we start the journey back north.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
We were not able to take and adequate Mexican Christmas picture so we pulled some of these out of the archives. My brothers and I on Christmas in Minnesota in 2007 and Jessi and baby Wyatt in the same year.
Hope everyone enjoys this holiday season with family and friends! And if you can't, come down to Mexico and we will make sure to make up for it.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
So on our way to GTO we decided to stop in a little mountain town called Xilitla (hee-lit-la). It's a pretty unusual town built into the side of hills similar to San Francisco. The streets are very, very steep. So steep in fact that the Oyster couldn't get up one of them. Xilitla is well known for a little area called Las Pozas (The Pools). Las Pozas was an artistic creation by a man named Sir Edward James. This man was a descendant of King James 7 and had loads of money to use for his grownup playground. That's exactly what this place is. He was also one of the founders of the NYC Ballet and a huge advocate for artists and poets. He started out by creating giant concrete floral arrangements and through the years began building structures with staircases to nowhere. His property also has a beautiful waterfall running through and during the warm months people can swim here. I have put up some picks of the structures and the one Jesse and I are standing on top of is around 150ft high. It was super scary because there are no railings to hang onto and it is a suspended platform that makes you feel like you are floating. Jesse and I spent 4 hours in this adult wonderland and are excited about our return to this town.
From Catamaco we continued north and had one of the most pleasant surprises of the trip thus far. We were sitting in a coffee shop calling our family and taking care of business when a dude recognized us as out-of-towners and asked us if we were passing through or hanging out for a while. Through conversation we discovered that he could use a little help with some new bikes he purchased and was also having some shoulder and neck issues. Luckily I just spent the last few years of my life dedicated to cycling and working on necks and shoulders. He invited us over for breakfast the next day and we had and amazing time hanging out with his family at their beautiful resort. Check out this link and if any of you need a getaway I recommend this for a quiet spot with easy access to a lot of adventure.
Check out the website for TABOGA their Eco Boutique Hotel. (just click on Taboga)
Omid, Bannja, and their little hijo, Emil, were so gracious to us it felt as though we were relaxing with old friends. I have posted a picture of only the place because we were stupid and didn't get a picture with their family. Oh well, next time we hang out we will.
From Palenque, for the second time, we began our journey north and were having trouble deciding where to make a pit stop. After some advice from fellow travelers and a reference to our Lonely Planet and Mexican Camping book we decided we could not pass up this little paradise near the Gulf Coast. Catamaco is a huge lake in the middle of some hilly terrain. This is also the sight of a few Hollywood productions including Apocalypto and Medicine Man. If you have seen either of those you may recognize the the lake with the gorgeous hills behind it. As you can also see in the other picture I managed to catch a rare glimpse of a Mexican Chonga hanging out in the tree behind our van, pretty cool.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
After Campeche we went back to Palenque to try and find our friends from the Czech Republic. This time we were unsuccessful. We stayed for two nights at the same campsite before and encountered two of the same people but not our Czech friends. The campground Maybell sits on the bottom hill of the Palenque ruins and attracts a variety of people and a variety of vehicles for doing the exact same thing we are doing. I have posted the pictures above of some of Jesse's dream vehicles. I might mention that the owners of these vehicles are totally cool, too!!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Campeche is a beautiful town located along the Gulf of Mexico and is a capital city. We stayed at a nice little hostel in the town for only one night, then went back to Palenque one of our favorite cities. We attempted to find the best churro here but it was not very great. Actually they were kinda cold and nasty. But with sweet filling in the middle anything will taste delicious.
After we left Damel and Craig we decided to head back west. One stop along the way was Coba. This is yet another ruin, they are pretty much all over the Yucatan. This one has the highest pyramid and is the tallest structure in all of the Yucatan Peninsula. The temple sits higher that the trees in the jungle. We rented bikes for 30 pesos each and rode around the site. Then drove on to the town Valladolid and on to Campeche.
So we spent another day with Damel and Craig at the Tulum Ruins. We had such a great time. Getting there was only about ten minutes from the Dreams resort so we gave Damel and Craig a ride and they got the best seat in the van. The bed. The ruins are amazing and built right on the sea. It was a great time hanging out with Damel and Craig in Tulum. If anyone hasn't gotten to hang out with them in D-port yet, you are totally missing out.
While we visited Playa Del Carmen we stayed in a cute little hostel that actually had a double bed in the dorm so we got a discount. This room also had a sweet balcony that Jesse and I spent hours on people watching. What a beautiful way to experience the city. Oh yeah, and we did this with 40's so it was awesome. Look at how relaxed Jesse is.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Our trip, up to this point, has been all about making it to the Yucatan Peninsula by December 6 to see our friends that were are here for weddings. So, the date has come and we are here and it has been very different from the rest of our trip and we have had an absolute blast. The first friend we met was Matt (the mustache man) who was staying in Playa Del Carmen for a wedding. We got to hang out with him and his finance Christina for a few days in the spring-break-esque Playa Del Carmen. The next couple we met was Jessi's old co-worker Damel and her husband Craig from Davenport. They were at the Dreams resort in Tulum. Jessi and I decided it would be worth it to get a day pass and enjoy the all inclusive lifestyle for a bit and let me tell you we made the most of that with drinks on the beach and food when you want it... like i said, sightly different from what our trip has been. It was even more of change coming off of 9 consecutive days sleeping in our van or the tent. Oh yeah, I should also add the our time on the Yucatan was started by Jessi locking our keys in the van. Luckily I have done this many times before and breaking into our van was as easy as a Mexican picking us out as gringos. All I needed was 50 pesos worth of supplies from the local hardware store and the help of 3 Mexican cab drivers and the keys surrendered the strong hold where Jessi had left them on the bed in the back of the van. Not sure how long were are going to stay here but we are missing our surfboards so something tells me we may be back on the Pacific coast before to long.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Palenque is a town in the jungle with one of the most impressive and well preserved ruins in all of Mexico.
On the way to Palenque we stopped at Agua Azul. A beautiful waterfall in the middle of the jungle. The water is cold but we swam and it was very refreshing. Jesse was a little bummed out because he lost one of his flip flops.
We camped at a place called Mayabell in Palenque which is right in the middle of the jungle not far from the ruins. At night the howler monkeys make the most awful noises that sound like their soul is being sucked out of them with a vacuum. It is really neat to hear all of these noises at night and also a little freaky. The trees here have vines growing out of them and all around to make a perfect canopy. The ruins of Palenque are the same way. If they haven't been dug up and restored there are jungle vines growing all over them. Still 15km of this city hasn't been uncovered. There is a lot of history in this town and is one of the largest places the Mayan people lived.