Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ancient history, Volume XXXII

Previously, the trip from Cancun to Merida, with a stop off in Chichen Itza, which I can never type correctly the first time around.

We only had one day in Merida, which meant that we had to choose between two activities - a trip to the cenotes, or a trip to the ruined city of Uxmal. Obviously, me and my inner archaeology nerd were all for another ruined city. Unfortunately, EVERY OTHER MEMBER OF THE GROUP wanted to go to the cenotes. Now, I could have gone to Uxmal by myself. Except that a) half the fun of going to a ruined city is having someone to go "OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THAT AWESOME THING!!" to, and b) I was a little bit paranoid that I'd get lost in the depths of Mexico. So I abandoned my plans to hang out at an ancient city, and instead joined the group on a trip to the cenotes.

As it turned out, it was probably a good thing I didn't read the description of the cenote trip before we left, or I would never have left our hotel room...

First of all, we had to spend an hour on a minibus getting to some tiny town in the middle of nowhere. During that time, we became progressively sillier, especially after we noticed that the description of the cenote trip included pronunciation advice - "say-noe-tay". We entertained ourselves for FAR too long with that, saying it in a very similar way to this:

Eventually, we got to the town, and I discovered that getting to the cenotes required a half hour trip in a horse-drawn carriage. And to be honest? Carriage makes it sound FAR more luxurious than it really was. It was more like a cart that had been loosely hammered together, and covered with some kind of plastic that advertised a soft drink company. Also, the horses had a tendency to go a bit sideways and pull the carts off the tracks.
Photo stolen shamelessly from Sara. 
In case I've neglected to mention it before, I'm TERRIFIED of horses. And the trip to the cenotes took place through butterfly infested woods. I'm also terrified of butterflies. So yeah. It was NOT the most relaxing trip ever.

We finally arrived at the first cenote, which was almost as terrifying as the cart ride:
Also shamelessly stolen from Sara.
That's Suit Pants on the ladder. You couldn't see the bottom of the ladder because it was so freaking dark. AND the ladder was slippery with mossy stuff and water. So yeah. It was tons of fun. But once we got down to the bottom? It was TOTALLY WORTH IT:

The water was pretty cold, and 10-15 metres deep in parts. But it was also so clear that even in the deepest parts, you could make out individual rocks on the bottom. After half an hour or so there, it was time for another 15 minute ride through butterfly infested woods to the second cenote.
Yup, I stole this from Sara too.

That was even MORE fun - there was a platform about five metres above the water, and the water was deep enough that you could jump off it without any worries. Well, except for the part where I managed to fill my sinuses with half a cenote worth of water. That was not even remotely enjoyable, and my daredevil-ish antics ended shortly thereafter.

But the boys eventually decided that jumping off the five metre platform wasn't enough. Suit Pants started the trend, jumping the 10 metres from the top of the stairs. And when that proved non-lethal, he JUMPED THROUGH THE HOLE IN THE ROOF through which that photo up there was taken. *MY* excitement at the second cenote, however, was limited to a small case of "Oh God, I don't have enough upper body strength to get myself out of this cenote again...". Thankfully, after several awkwardly spectacular failures, I managed it or I might remain trapped in the cenote to this day!!

The third cenote had a nice shallow area at one end, so while the boys did their best to scare away the random people hanging out at the cenote by doing somersaults into the water, Sara and I sat in the shallows and watched the catfish swimming around.
Taken with Sara's underwater camera.

After half an hour or so at the third cenotes, it was back to the horse-drawn carts of doom, and then the bus to Merida. Which, let me tell you, was BUCKETS of fun considering there'd been no time to change out of our wet bathers...

Suit Pants left us for Cancun and his own tour when we got back, and the rest of us somehow ended up spending the evening at a tacky tourist bar where this happened:

Yeah... Because nothing says Mexico quite like gringos with guns in ridiculous sombreros...

Up next, Palenque, where there are more ruins and stuff gets...........weird.

K xx


  1. Stuff gets weird? Like things haven't already been strange on this trip!? :)

    Horse and carriage always does sound romantic, but man, they are bouncy and genuinely a bit uncomfortable.

    1. In that case, stuff goes from weird to "buckets of batshit crazy". There may be large quantities of tequila involved...

      This cart thing was SO uncomfortable. I seriously thought it was going to fall apart under us...

  2. Aiii, noooo, I can't do caves. Those ones are very pretty though, so I'm glad you shared your (Sara's) photos!

    1. They weren't really caves so much as limestone sinkholes. There was plenty of light coming in from the holes in the roof, and they were absolutely huge - like 50m long and 20 wide in some cases. It was just the GETTING to the first one that was reminiscent of a cave!

  3. I'm just bumping around some new blogs. Your pictures are gorgeous, even if they were shamelessly stolen from someone else. The cenotes look so beautiful. I would totally be the one floating around down there without a care in the world until I finally realized that I might not be able to climb out again.

    Still, there are worse prisons!

    1. I honestly thought I was going to have to get one of the boys to give me a boost out of the water. Which would have been CRAZY awkward. But yeah, there really would be worse prisons to be in!

  4. Those cenotes sound vaguely terrifying but they certainly make for fantastic photos and stories.

    1. The first one was a little scary, but once you got over the "Oh God, I might slip on this ladder and break my neck" part, it was just plain fun!



    Okay, first of all?

    The cenotes are magnificent. I wanna! Me wantey! (Etc.) Absolutely gorgeous.

    "Half a cenote of water" = hahahah!

    Dude, you're terrified of horses and butterflies? How/when did you find this out? I'm intrigued!

    (Meanwhile, sorry about my lack of commenting, hence why I'm playing catch-up now!)


    1. I have no idea when the butterflies thing happened. But the horses thing happened when I was about 2 and went to meet the brewery Clydesdales. Dad stood me next to them to take a picture and one of them did that foot stamp thing that horses do, and I thought it was trying to squash me, and I've been terrified of horses ever since...


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