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Old March 8th, 2002, 11:54 AM
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Default Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Fortunately, the cage features a REAL keyboard. Those multi-lingual keyboards are a total pain. Depending upon the configuration, one needs to dope out just what keystroke combo will produce the @ sign which is why my first report went by way of Canada.

Thanks to Mgram for receiving the garbled e-mails and making sense out of them. ("odorwear?")

Did we get ruined? Oh, yeah. When Andy returned the car night before last, the rental guy looked THREE times at the odo. We put on well over 2,000 km. We went from the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula to the west coast and back again.

Overall, our plans were rather loose and the only rule (other than no grumbling) was that there WERE no rules.

We "collected" the big 3.5 ruins (I give Coba a .5 because it's not as tourist-developed as Tulum, Chichen Itza and Uxmal) and about 15 minor league players.

So ... the last day. Of course I had to keep up my strength so I attacked a huge plate of juevos moltuenos for el desayuno and we left Merida for Celestun on the west coast. What was the attraction? Phlamingos !!! The largest phlocks in the Americas. I think maybe the only place with a larger concentration of the birds is Lake Tanganyika. (I could look this up.)

We jumped into a small boat with a boat driver and a totally hunky young guide and off we went. Looking down the lake/river/whatever, the horizon was PINK. The guide hunk was quickly satisfied that we were not there to play as I identified bird species along the way. Ah! Great egret! Look! Laughing gull! And there's an osprey! Look, Andy, cormorants !!!

We approached the phlock at dead slow speed. Guide hunk instructed the driver to just idle the motor. I sense that we got to spend a LOT more time among the phlock than the usual pholk do.

I'd never seen phlamingos on the wing before. They look like '57 DeSotos with their black wing bands. Pink and black. What a fashion statement.

Guide hunk estimated that there were about 2,000 in the phlock we floated near. He desperately wanted us to get photos of a bunch of them flying. About 30 took off at once and he gave a signal to the boat driver to give it the gas and chase them. Moments like this are when an SLR or a simple point-and-shoot are better than a digicam.

Awesome, those birds. Totally.

After about half an hour we lazed through a mangrove swamp. Awesome, too.

Somehow the nature thing after a week of man-made things was a fitting closure to our excellent adventure.

Back in the car, headed for Cancun. This was a long haul, west coast to east coast but we arrived in The Cun around 6:30 PM, right on the non-time we had designated.

We checked into the hotel and Andy went to return the car. I went shopping for totally tasteless souvenirs for members of my writing board. (I'd set up a contest to see who could guess where we were going ... prizes to all who entered.) The also-rans will receive lovely pens (appropriate for writers, eh?) topped with little Mexicanos wearing sombreros. They should be fun to mail. The grand prize winner is receiving a little frog wearing a bikini in a lounge chair. Tres tacky.

Andy and I arrived at the hotel after our separate outings (I found the Internet cafe, but the system kept wanting to install Office 2000 on drive D when I attempted a "send" so the guy didn't charge me) at the same time.

Then, it was time for The Last Supper. I'd scouted out restaurants nearby on my walkabout and they were Totally Touristy. Yeech.

On our way into Cancun last week, late at night, we could find the hotel but not how to get there ... streets were torn up. We stopped and asked a guy at a restaurant for directions. He spoke wonderful English and complained about how the street thing was hurting his business.

So, OK. He will get our business tonight.

Those Mayan gods who had been riding in the back seat all the way along didn't stick with the rent-a-car. The cuisine at Ray's (and I mean cuisine SERIOUSLY) is "Creole-Caribbean." Most of the restaurant is outside, facing on a quiet square. It is WAY out of the way.

Ray, the owner and the guy who'd helped us the week before, and I fell into a serious discussion of food. (What a surprise!) In the background, the music was down-and-dirty blues. I had a hotsa crabcake that would have given any restaurant on the Chesapeake Bay a run for their money. Except it didn't taste like any crabcake (and I am a self-professed expert on the subject of crabcakes) I'd ever had before. It disappeared. Andy had a jerked chicken thing with a mango sauce. Ahhhhh. Food for the gods. Mayan or otherwise.

It was then time to sleep fast against our 5:30 wake-up call.

I'd never been in the Cancun airport at 6:30 AM before. It was almost deserted.

Security? Oh, yes. All of our bags were hand-inspected before we could check in. Once we went into the "ticketed passengers only" area, the carry-ons were X-rayed and hand-inspected again. Andy set off a metal detector, had to remove coins from his pocket, and take off his shoes.

We scored a Cuban Anjeo rum and a very old Tequila in the duty-free. Andy was annoyed that they didn't have Xtabentun, the honey liquer he loved so in Merida and, breaking the rules, he grumbled.

Trundling along to the gate, we spied another duty-free. Let's check with THEM? They had it. So, now we were over our limit on liquor. So, we pay the duty. $3.80? Big deal.

At the gate, our carry-ons were hand-inspected AGAIN and we were "wanded down". We were VERY impressed.

A quick (3 hours, non-stop) flight to Newark and we were home. Almost. Immigration went quickly -- I am always amazed at the new system. "And did you enjoy Portugal last April, Ma'am?" but it makes me look over my shoulder to see who else is watching. The customs guy could not have cared less what we were carrying from the DFS. I was ready to pay.

Speaking of paying, getting up at 5:30 for a non-stop is a SMALL price to pay.

The limo dude was there and we jumped into the stretch to nap our way back to the Quaint State.

And here we are.

Queeg dedicated part of his late day to uploading everything from the digicam with useful filenames that are composed mostly of numbers. MOSTLY, I'd recorded on the digirecorder what photos were what. Rocks do look a lot alike.

What did we do before "digi" ???

It's always good to be home ... but another week would not have been too much. It was a bad week for "beachies", though. Good thing that wasn't our plan of attack.

pamda --- glad (???) to be back and happy to find the ??? in the proper place on the keyboard.
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Old March 8th, 2002, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Excellent. I enjoyed reading all about your trip. Thanks
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Old March 8th, 2002, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Tres cool!!!! Maybe will have to try a trip like this someday.....once I learn to speak a little spanish.
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Old March 8th, 2002, 12:36 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Thanks for all of the updates on your trip, they were great fun to read. Where and when is the full article to be published? (of course you have to write it first )

What is your "must see" ruins? Only one I've visited is Coba, not sure if you should downgrade it because it's not "tourist developed"
That is exactly why I choose to go there!

Also I'm not sure if you're really a travel writer or a food critic. lol

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Old March 8th, 2002, 12:42 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

And a big welcome back to the cage, Ms. Pamda. Glad to have you back in good old US of A again. Glad y'all had a good trip. The ruins sounded worth visiting, and the pink and black birds sounded well worth the boat ride. Sounds like the kind of trip we used to do in Mexico way back when I was a college student. Fun, never knowing what's around the next bend in the road. Thanks for sharing your travels with us through Mgram.
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Old March 8th, 2002, 12:45 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...


*Loved* the final -- and best -- installment of the ruined trip. It was so neat to hear how you happened upon the great restaurant.

But, of course, my favorite part was the phlock of phlamingos -- what a phantastic phable of phlight and phancy. :-)

So glad too you got a hunk guide! As I tell my clients when we order physical inspections for my real estate transactions, "Oh and the inspector is really handsome ... the motto in our family is, `If you have to pay for something, you might as well enjoy the view.'" Of course, another motto in our family is: "Jewelry is like men -- neither can be too big."

But I digress.

At any rate, glad to have you back stateside. (And loved the tale of finding the "@" symbol for email -- I swear you have to do a game of Keyboard Twister to get it!

Welcome home,
Harry Martin
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Old March 8th, 2002, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Sounds fabulous!!!! Welcome home.
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Old March 8th, 2002, 01:49 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Welcome Home Pamda.. sure you are totally ruined now. GREAT stories, though I found myself choking on some of the food.

Being sort of a finicky meat and potatoes guys, put most of the stuff you described in front of me, and it would end up in a planter close by.

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Old March 8th, 2002, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Thanks, Pamda, for providing the details on your really neat trip. Presumably you are contemplating a book with photographs or a really long article. We all envy you.
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Old March 8th, 2002, 02:25 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Welcome home. I really enjoyed your play-by-play of the trip. One of these days I want to do a land trip to the Riveria Mayan....I will have to get your recommendation!

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Old March 8th, 2002, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Welcome back to the cage Pam and Andy! It sounds like you had wonderful time getting ruined in Mexico. Thank you for giving us a day by day relay through Mgram, the sharing was wonderful. I sure hope you will post the pictures of the phlamingo phlock for us to see.
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Old March 8th, 2002, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Welcome back to the USofA. Totally enjoyed all of your trip
details. You have left no rock "unturned" on this adventure.
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Old March 8th, 2002, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Thanks for all the nice words. It is a lot easier to type on the home port keyboard than in an Internet cafe somewhere.

Food critic? In my wildest dreams. I am a total, unmitigated foodie. Maybe some day.

Kuki, I have to admit that even Queeg got a little bit strange on some of the stuff I was eating. The blood sausage was a bit of a stretch for him concept-wise but, after the first bite, I was fighting him for the next bite. (See pamda stab Queeg's hand with her fork when he wanted the last little bit of it.)

He did have a rather strange reaction to my having chilaquiles for breakfast.

But, ah, the eggs with that little mild poblano sauce. And the two-day mole ... darker than the devil's heart and if it were to send me straight to hell I would have enjoyed the journey.

Denise ... the Riviera Maya is just the old "Tourist Corridor" from Cancun down to Tulum. We ranged much further afield than that. But I will be happy to give you all the tips you need or want when the day comes.

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Old March 8th, 2002, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Wow what a trip and welcome back! Enjoyed reading everything and your last report about the phlock was very enjoyable! Some of the food mentioned was totally unfamiliar to me but if someone else ordered for me, I would try it. Anxious to see some pictures of you and Queeg being "ruined" and now you can countdown with us to the "lei'd" cruise! Glad you're back! Sue
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Old March 10th, 2002, 02:01 AM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

Hey, pamda! what kind of Honda do you have that you want to take against my slightly "tricked" S200?
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Old March 11th, 2002, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: Pamda Returns to Cage ...

a woman after my own heart!!! altho I didn't "ruin" as much as you did, my stomach had a hell of a time!!! (tweety wants to get "ruined" again, but I promised him to "get lei'd" this year). I just LOVE those different foods!!

thanks so much for your rambles -- loved every minute of them!!!
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