Saturday, January 29, 2011

We hit the sunny beaches........

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...where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings ~ Erma Bombeck

ON - A - BLOG - BREAK

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sky Watch #125: Mediterranean Sunset

Mediterranean Sunset

A sunset shot I took during my 2009 Mediterranean cruise. We were leaving Barcelona here and would be docking in Civitavecchia (Rome) the following morning.

This is a SOOC.

Sky Watch is a weekly gathering of sky lovers and sky watchers. Join us.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Photo

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My work schedule is crazy so I'm going to post (or schedule to post) a photo a day until the coast is clear.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Drive Through Valladolid

We had one more stop - sort of - before our final destination, Chichen Itza. We were treated to some visual display of colonial delight. We visited Valladolid, Mexico, named after the same city in Spain.

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Located halfway (two hours from each) between Mérida and Cancún, Valladolid is a bustling Mayan city with a special colonial flavor. This is where you will see the majority of the townspeople still using the typical dress of the Mayas, and the buildings around the Main Plaza painted pastel colors. You will surely get a sense of the laid-back pace of life.

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Valladolid is known as “The Sultan of the East,” a title given for the architectural beauty of its colonial buildings.
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The Church of San Servacio is in the Centro of Valladolid, on the south side of the main plaza, on Calle 41 between 40 and 42. This church took the place of the one which was erected on March 24, 1545, by Padre Francisco Hernández whose façade faced the west, which was the custom for Yucatecan temples in the Colonial era. In 1705 the original church was completely demolished by order of the Bishop Don Pedro de los Reyes Ríos due to its profanity in the so-called “Assassination of the Mayors”. In 1706 the construction of the current church began, and in order to have its main access facing the main plaza, it was given a new orientation which is why the church now faces the north and not the west. Above the main façade is a clock dating from the XIX century, the only public clock in the city. [source]
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The traditional Mayan dress is still worn by the locals.

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I enjoyed the opportunity to see the beautiful buildings in Valladolid, even though we never got to leave the bus. I was sitting by the side of the church and so I miss the plaza altogether, a pity really. Although I'd choose to photograph a church anytime over a plaza.

This has a ton more information about Valladolid. When you have time, it's a good read.

This is my entry for this week's MY WORLD post.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Skywatching on The Tour Bus (Sky Watch #124)

From the moment that the tour bus left our hotel I was skywatching as I always do when I am on a moving vehicle. Here are some snapshots of the Cancun/Yucatan scenery with my skyscape.

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Can you tell that it was a H-O-T day? The beautiful cloudscape made up for the heat and humidity, besides the tour bus had air-conditioning.

SKYWATCH is a weekly gathering of sky watchers and sky lovers. Please join us.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kayni's Birthday Blog Party Entry

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This is my entry for Kayni's b/day giveaway.

I am NOT good with words, that's why I am a photoblogger :)

This would be my wish for Kayni and for myself this year:

I WISH YOU ENOUGH


I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”
- – - written by Bob Perks

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day Trip To Yucatan Peninsula Part 2: Cenote Suytun Cave Visit

I had a vague knowledge that the ticket I bought for this trip included a stop at a cave. Apparently I did not research enough about this trip, nor did I read the brochure that was handed out with our ticket.

Cenotes are natural features which exist in the limestone of the Yucatan Peninsula. Water dissolves away the limestone from underneath, causing a sinkhole. Eventually the ground over the sinkhole breaks, usually with a small opening revealing a large cavern underneath. The older the cenote is, the larger the hole becomes. Many cenotes have had their roofs completely collapse and now look more like an abandoned quarry than a cave.


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We were welcomed at "the center stone and natural wonders".

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Above ground this is the well. It didn't look like it amounted to anything, but wait until you see what's under this well.

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Going down to the cave. The steps are a bit tricky and slippery.

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You enter and you see stalactites and the pool below.

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Up close.

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The well above casts this beautifully magical ray down below.

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You can walk around the pool to the other side.

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Swimming is allowed provided you wear the appropriate swimming gear.

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Sign says: Strictly prohibited scratching or damaging walls or climb stairs as well as on rocks or cave. Thanks for your understanding.

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Since I did not bring a suit, I just did what she is doing. I went in and dipped my toes. The cool water was a refreshing relief from the oppressive heat outside.

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And if you're still hot after the dip, you can quench your thirst with jugo de naranja or OJ. Was looking for coconut juice though.

It was an experience of a lifetime. A really neat bonus to this trip.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Day Trip To Yucatan Peninsula Part 1

On our penultimate day in Cancun, we planned to take a day trip to Yucatan Peninsula to visit Chichen Itza and the Cenote (cave). I was very excited to go because I love bus rides and this one's about 3 hours long.

We were fetched by a bus in our hotel, we were the first hotel to be picked up so the bus was empty and we got to pick our seats. Then the bus went around the Hotel Zone picking up people who signed up for this tour.

That was long process, there was waiting on some people, which I am sure you cannot avoid.

When all the people on their pick up list were there, we were dropped off in another spot near the water, away from the Hotel Zone where other buses were also dropping off people.

The tour included the tickets to Chichen Itza but we needed to buy our tickets in this out of the way spot. We were told that there might be a possibility to transfer buses in case there was no need for a bigger bus.

This would be part 1 of this day long trip, it was a long day. Here are some of the photos we took.

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This was where we were dropped off and purchased our tickets. Thought we had time to do a little shopping, but not really. We were ushered immediately into the same bus we alighted to begin our journey.

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I am going to see the Mayan pyramid!

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We passed by many colorful store facade, but my fave is Senor Frog's facade.

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When we were stopped I noted this guy was either cleaning the sign post or repainting it.

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We stopped at the toll plaza and was told to use the facilities as we have a long drive ahead of us. It was empty, no one was traveling.

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This is our bus. The driver also sells cold beverages, including beer. I felt like I was in the Philippines :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Free Day At The Oakland Museum

Sunday, November 7, 2010, rainy and chilly - a perfect day to spend in the warmth of a museum.

Thankfully, it was a free day - sponsored by one of the major credit cards, I cannot remember which one, but I salute them for sponsoring free days to museums.

And because it was a free day, it was crowded. Many kids were there and adults without kids were there too. Also at the same time there was a PIXAR exhibit going on - which was also free, except that they have limited tickets to give away per day. The tickets ran out by the time we got there. Still the museum had too much to offer the visitor, either a first-timer or a return visitor.

According to the website: Museum specializes in the natural science, history and art of the Golden State. Contains current exhibitions, permanent galleries and projects.

All about the Golden State. I have a few sampling of the pieces of art we enjoyed.

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Hard to choose faves in a museum full of wonderful art, but these two are mine.

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I didn't get the name of the artist but this landscape of what the bay area used to look like captured my lens.

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What I found really interesting was the room for Day of Dead exhibit. I don't know if this is a permanent exhibit or just for the month. But I enjoyed this part of the museum a lot.

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I may have a part 2 for this post as I took a lot of photos.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Cancun: Blue Ray Jungle Tour

Lazing about in the beach and the pool can get tiring and boring too, at least to us. Luckily, we researched about other things to do in Cancun before we left and we picked 2 of the many possible activities that can be enjoyed here. The first one is the mangroves visit.

Now why it's called Jungle Tour beats me, but it was one adrenalin rush to me. I'm not an adventure junkie, so this tour is like an "extreme" activity for me, so don't laugh okay!

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WE took the bus from our hotel to about 2-3 blocks from here. We wanted to walk - until a downpour had us scurrying for cover under the trees and was delighted to find lizards everywhere.

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Blue Ray Jungle Tour consists of driving your own speedboat through the mangroves of Nichupte Lagoon and weather permitting a half hour of snorkeling at the national park. Unfortunately when we went to buy our tickets, we were told that the winds were very strong and that they do not allow any snorkeling that day. We still wanted to take the tour and so did four other couples.

After getting our instructions, off we go. There were four speedboats in that part of the tour. Part of the rule is to allow a safe distance between boats and learning hand signals :)

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We passed by private residences.

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The tour lasted about 2 hours including a 30-minute stop at a beach area where one can swin if you choose to, or explore the little beach area. When we got there there were people already there, so my husband and I just collected some shells at the edge of the beach.

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And we passed by some of the hotels/resorts by the lagoon.

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I believe these boats offer dinner and show.

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Heart pounding excitement. I loved it. Will do it again if I find myself back in Cancun.

This is where I give props to my old reliable CANON point and shoot, all 4 years old of her. It was a bumpy ride, very bumpy at some points, and yet these are all drive by shooting, not enough time to focus and compose. Split second decisions have to be made, shutters have to be clicked instantaneously. She takes very good shots for a drive by and point and shoot, don't you think? I love my old Canon, but she's showing her age.