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.|
We finally arrived at the first cenote, which was almost as terrifying as the cart ride:
|Also shamelessly stolen from Sara.|
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.