So the Mrs. and I took a little vacation to Mexico with 700 of her closest coworkers. It was actually an
award for her kicking butt at work, but other than the half-dozen or so people we hung out with, we mostly did our own thing. It’s always tough to gauge how much relaxing to do vs. how much of the tourist stuff you take in. As much as we liked the idea of laying by the pool and drinking Miami Vices without the tempest de la ninos around, we did a lot of excursions.
We started off doing an excursion called “Maya Jungle Explorer,” which seems to be a favorite of people traveling to the all-inclusive resorts near Playa Del Carmen (an hour south of Cancun). This one starts with a 4X4 with no freaking shocks driving 100 mph through a narrow stretch of jungle while your ass breaks and you try to remember if you filled out your will. Eventually we let off in the deep jungle (3 or 4 miles in) where we showered with ten other people outside at 7am. The water was COLD, but thankfully I’d forgotten to pack my speedo. Anywho, we soon moved on to rappelling down a cenote into an underground river. The drop wasn’t very deep and those on top did most of the work, but it makes for a good picture (if too much chaffing).
Part two featured some back and forth between zip-lining and cave diving, snorkeling. There was even a fusion of the two in the form of a zip-line that crashes into the water. Our guide Jose (who comes from a LONG line of Joses) was insistent that someone would lose their bottoms, but I actually gained something. My first enema. Word of advice, should you ever happen to do the same exercise, turn your legs at the bottom.
I’ve long been an adrenaline junkie and my wife is flat-out fearless, so leaping off things is not merely a rite of passage in our household, it’s grounds for who does the dishes. Despite this, our favorite part of this adventure wasn’t the athletic stuff, but snorkeling in the underground river system. It’s crazy when you’re up close to something that hasn’t been touched by human hands for a few hundred thousand years. Well, except for the last twenty or so. But Jose was very reverential about limiting our potential impact on a water system that is not only drinkable (7ph), but sustains a ton of wildlife now. Not only fish, but bats, snakes, and some marsupials. Because the water’s so clear and clean, we were able to watch him dive deeper and point out the channels that lead a byzantine trail all the way back to the Atlantic. If we come back here when our kids are older, we’ll probably do a scuba trip that covers it.
Following more zip-lining and another 4X4 ride where I genuinely thought my spine was going to snap, we took a short ride to Tulum, the oldest Mayan runs on the Atlantic. Prime real estate can’t even hint how beautiful this area is — especially with its private beach that was created by a meteorite some unknown eons back. Thankfully, Mexico’s tourism department has done a great job keeping the place up without making “upgrades.”
The next day we took a long ride to Chichen Itza. It seems like the majority of the people in our group wanted to stay and bake in the sun, but I can’t imagine traveling somewhere where one of the seven modern wonders of the world is located and not seeing it. Yes, it was a 2 1/2 drive there, but we had excellent company and some light reading in Stephen King’s The Long Run (a friend’s recommendation — I had no idea what I was getting into). Eventually, we arrived at a small, but beautiful hotel cut right from the jungle. I would have loved to stayed there, but we took a short viewing in a planetarium that gave a 20 minute rundown on the Mayan civilization and its mythology. Afterward, we walked through the jungle to the ruins themselves.
The most fascinating part of the ruins for me was learning that at one time some 250,000 people lived there. It must have been wall-to-wall people. And yet somehow the civilization died out and the people left. It wasn’t rediscovered until the mid 19th century when a Brit and American archeologists stumbled upon it. I couldn’t imagine how that must have felt at that moment to discover something so massive and profound. About the only downside was learning that people could climb the pyramid until 2007. Our guide made a comment about someone falling and suing, but I doubt that was the cause.
Afterward, we took a brief swim in another giant cenote. This one had a waterfall and was blissful. We could have spent hours there.
Alas, eventually all things come to an end. Five days in Mexico isn’t long enough to do everything, but when you’re looking to recharge your batteries (and enjoy a nice valentine’s day with someone special), it was perfect. Now, that we’re back home, it’s fine tuning some chapters of book 3 before it’s off to the editor. I’m really excited to see how people respond to it. It has the action and adventure most people seem to enjoy, as well as some familiar characters, but the biggest change is the addition of one section that gets a little more sci-fi. Really curious to see if people like it.
Once it’s off to the editor, I’ll start working on the cover and hopefully get it on here soon. Still, on targets for an early spring release. Keep checking in here for more information.
Until then…buenos dias, amigos!