Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mexico Part 7

Another thrill we were able to experience was swimming with the dolphins as a family. Because the port is usually closed when there are no cruise ships, we had to make special arrangements. Kathy knows the manager of the local dolphin discovery and we got to visit in private class! We were the only ones in the port that day, felt like royalty! We were introduced to Danny and got to give them kisses, shake hands, pet them, have them pull us through the water, give high fives and have them swim to our hand. It was quite magical as they are so smart and funny. At one point he was mad when he didn't get a fish and splashed the trainer. What magestic animals!

The water was a little cold and the sun a little bright, but I think the kids will never forget this! After the swim they each got to pick a stuffed dolphin to take home and they played dolphin games for the remainder of their time there, and slept with them every night!

On Wednesday we packed up and said goodbye to the beach house. We drove to Playa del Carmen and stayed in a magnificent hotel. You walk off of the streets of 5th avenue and then into your own private jungle oasis! The pool was chilly, but the kids didn't care and had fun until they started getting chilly. We walked a short ways to get some wonderful gourmet pizza and ice cream and toast Denny for an early birthday celebration. Then we retreated to our treehouses and slept. After having such a calming room with the ocean lulling you to sleep, was hard to get used to the car and people noise of the city. That and sleeping with my wiggly buddy Zachey prevented both Josh and I from getting much sleep.

The next morning we woke up and had the best breakfast buffet I have ever experienced and made our way to the cancun airport. We said teary goodbyes to Gona as she is staying in Mexico for a few more weeks, and headed through security. The trip home went fairly well aside from me about losing it in both customs and the second time through security with three small kids, 5 backpacks a carseat and 4 roller bags (please revisit my previous post on how checking bags totally worth the money next time!) We did all make it home in one piece and the kids slept in till nearly 8 today! We have enjoyed looking at these pictures and laughing about Mexico, I have not so much enjoyed the 7 or so loads of laundry and de-sanding the kids clothes...ha!

This definitely ranks near the top of best vacations I have ever been on. It was really just the perfect mix of cultural activities and relaxation. I couldn't be happier with the kids behavior and their sense of adventure - they are the perfect little travelers! I can't wait to do it again!!!

Mexican Vacation Part 6

Kathy had arranged for Kenna she and I to take a cooking class with a local Mexican chef Marsha. Her assistant Fabiola was very good at showing us some tricks to Mexican cuisine. On the way I snapped a picture of this Egret, a little pixilated from the long focal length - but the only one I was able to capture while we were there!

Marsha owns Mayan Beach Gardens, which is a lovely bed and breakfast further north from Mahahual. In order to get there we had to navigate a rather bumpy beach road, but again worth the drive!

We learned the art of making corn tortillas, chips, epinadas, sopes, and huarache. All was so delicious I wish I had a bigger stomach! We cooked, then sat on the porch and enjoyed all of our hard work with limonade, chips and pico. After lunch we wandered around and took pictures of her beautiful grounds. Loved the foliage and flowers!

These are just some more silly pictures of the kids with the most calm turquoise water in the background.

Josh and I got spoiled with another date night and we went to my favorite restaurant - 40 canons. Although Josh ordered chicken fajitas and got chicken fingers, we still enjoyed the company and scenery :)

Mexico Vacation Part 5

On Sunday, Estrella (means the stars) came to visit. She was a girl Kenna's age who is either Jose's daughter or granddaughter....we weren't 100% certain. Jose is the caretaker of Gona and Baca's house and Estrella was just as sweet as can be. She spoke absolutely no English and it was quite obvious that my Spanish is limited to say the least! Most of what I know I have learned from Dora and Diego, ha! I loved that the language barrier didn't stand in the way of McKenna and Estrella just having a wonderful time. Kenna taught her to boogie board, and through loose Spanish and the help of Kathy I understood that she wanted a ride in the kayak. It was so hard for me to explain to her how to row that I did most of the work. Quite nerveracking when I don't know her language and she didn't know how to swim! I just had to trust in my abilities :)

We have decided that Kenna will make her a rubberband bracelet and write her a letter both in English and in Spanish using google translator. Would love to see what she writes back with! The girls colored and played ladder golf and really had a fabulous day! She was so grateful and affectionate giving everyone of us a hug and kiss as she left. I believe that she has probably not had a day like that before and that she really enjoyed it! It was quite obvious the privilege that Kenna has with American education as we watched the girls drawing together. My guess is that Estrella has not had the exposure to art with limitless resources in crayons and paper that McKenna has. I believe that this trip was great for her when she saw how little some have in the world.

I loved watching the boys play on this trip. Everything from go fish to cars in the sand - everything was an adventure together. They really had a great time just coloring or being silly and it was wonderful to see.

That evening Josh and I headed to Xcaret which is around an hour from the beachouse. It is a little tiny fishing village really in the middle of no where. But it is home to the Leaky Palapa which is a gourmet restaurant that must rely mostly on tourists or "gringos" as the locals would most likely never dine in such a place.

Josh started with watermelon caprese which was just so lovely. I had limited light, so the picture really isn't that great. I had the most delicious drink I have ever had the joy of drinking in a pineapple chili margarita. For dinner Josh had ravioli with homemade pasta and some sort of pepper cheese filling, I had the best risotto I have ever had topped with pork, was worth the drive! The drive home was slightly scary as we navigated roads that were so overgrown two cars could really not fit, and in a country with very few signs. Luckily Josh has an excellent sense of direction, and no one was walking on the road after dark (they were during the day.....scary!!!)

I took these pictures right as the sun was setting near the restaurant - just the most gorgeous sky!

At some point I took my camera out in the kayak and snapped a bazillion photos of the beach house and palapa - this was my favorite!

One afternoon - again my days are all running together - we went into town along the Malican (boardwalk created to attract cruise traffic.) It is very Americanized beachfront with wonderful shops and restaurants. We had a nice lunch and played in the water. The kids played in some hammocks on the beach and splashed around while we enjoyed limonade (lime aid) in the shade! After that we went to check on the casita in town, as the ladies that were renting Gona and Baca's city house had moved out. Luckily everything looked great, with some minor paint and landscaping they will be good to rent it again.

After a very busy day, this little guy was pooped. He passed out upstairs mid playing and I had to wake him up later to eat! The rest of this afternoon was spent playing games and relaxing in the palapa outside.