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.