Monday, September 29, 2008

What did I do in Mexico?

I got home just fine yesterday with extra space in my bags (somehow)!  I did trash a lot of t-shirts and left extra stuff the crews can use like sunscreen, bug spray, and hand wipes.  

I took some 3000 pictures or more.  Gonna take a while to go through and pull some out and post them, but here's a few of the things I did in my 3 weeks in Mexico:

-swam in underground cenotes (underground lakes that had collapsed roofs), some we got to by a 9 km narrow gauge rail car being pulled by a burro and we then climbed down a stairwell straight down into a hole into the ground to swim in near darkness.

-swam in open water cenotes after walking through jungle for a couple hours while birding

-swam in a lagoon where we heard spider and howler monkeys in the woods, but we never saw any.  next time.

-saw an anteater (fresh roadkill sadly).  very cool critter though.

-took a boat ride through freshwater lagoons to a small Mayan ruin and a dock where we jumped in this manmade canal (made by the Mayans) that connected lagoons. The canal had a fairly strong flow of crystal clear water and we floated through mangroves and marshes, we did see a baby crocodile (from the boat on the way back).  Once we floated to the boat for the ride back, we of course drank cerveza and had botanas (snacks).  By far one on of the coolest things I've ever done.

-visited 4 different Mayan ruins, including the horribly touristy Chichen Itza, but we didn't see the ruins in Tulum, which is the town where we got groceries for basically the whole trip!  Next time.

-slept in hammocks most of the time (which are wonderful to sleep in, especially when you have the ocean breeze and can fall asleep to the waves crashing every night)

-took a lot of siestas, bucket baths to candle light, and flushed toilets with ocean water (woods are much more pleasant for potty breaks).

-second place we stayed (days 12-17) was an old resort that was destroyed by hurricane dean, not rebuilt, and sold to the refuge.  we had screens on the windows of the bombed out shell of a cabana, but it was the nicest beach ever.  interestingly the whole place was designed such that all rainwater landing on the roof is collected into a cistern underground, which is the water we pulled up in small buckets and used to flush and bathe with.  It was pretty clean, not drinkable, but really cool.  I wanted to climb into the cistern to see how big it was, but didn't. 

-banded about 500 birds of 47 species.  Incl some really cool stuff.

-released baby sea turtles on the beach and helped them get to the ocean one night.  It was thrilling to do and see, but really sad knowing all of them would probably die soon.  Gotta give them a chance.

-swam at one of the prettiest beaches I've ever seen (that second place we stayed) and watched barracuda swim by me only 15 ft away.  I got out of the water shortly thereafter.

-made fun of stupid foreign turistas (I wasn't a tourist) with my mexican crew.

-learned a lot of spanish, but I can only mostly understand what people say rather than speak it.  I try.

- I tried all the local Yucatan foods incl papadzules, cerviche (with shrimp, snail, and octopus), tortas, salbutes, panuches, pork tacos (just how they are made), and other things I can't think of at the moment.  I basically ate what everyone else got since I knew it'd be ok.  The cerviche was best and I had it 3 times.  Only one of them was really stinking awesome though.

-Only needed imodium the last couple days due to something I ate that made me feel bloated and full for 2 days, but mostly the food didn't bother me and it was all incredible.  I was actually more regular then ever while on this trip.  Too much info??

-I craved milk a bit.  We had cheese, but no milk.  I tried this NutriLeche packed stuff, which tasted awesome, but it almost immediately upset my stomach.

-I lost 8 lbs, mostly from the fact we ate a small breakfast, had botanas much of the day and only one meal at about 2pm.  Sometimes I had a sandwich for dinner, sometimes a banana, and sometimes nothing.  Just wasn't hungry so my caloric intake was down probably 40%.  I couldn't finish a sandwich and small fry for dinner last night.  Stomach shrunk a lot.

-grew a mean beard, with way more white than I had last winter.  Humph.

-drank a lot of coke.  nothing better than an ice cold coke when it is hot out, which is was every day.

-found out my deodorant doesn't work anymore.  I had a permanent funk for 3 weeks.

-I did get a little burned out on not understanding what everyone was saying sometimes.I got better at understanding the people I was with all the time, but anyone else might have been speaking greek.  I can say "can you please speak more slowly" en espanol.  Used that a lot. Sometimes the whole crew spoke spanish and I was a bit out of touch.  who knows what they were saying about the gringo!  they were all really nice and I know have a contact for staying in veracruz and merida.

-got a much better understanding of life in poor rural Mexican towns (which is most places I saw).  pretty simple lives, not generally wasteful of resources or anything.  pretty easy life, if you have some $ for food and water.  really makes you appreciate all the things we take for granted, like running water that isn't stored in a tank on your roof and that you pay someone to fill because there is no water running through towns, electricity 24 hrs a day (in the one place we had it from 6pm-midnight only), etc. 

-got a much better understanding of how completely wasteful American society really is. I knew we were wasteful, but when you live basically off the grid for 3 weeks and use so few resources and it is all just fine and dandy, you realize how pathetic our society is.  not that I don't like hot showers and toilets that haven't been flooded out by the ocean and have very stinky plumbing, or like toilets where you can flush TP and not put it in a trash can, but lots of things we use and do everyday are just ridiculous.  I didn't miss the news (I heard a hurricane hit galveston or something and nashville didn't have gas for a while), didn't miss TV, didn't miss traffic, gossip, radio, or anything.  We got ice every few days to keep stuff cold, cooked simple meals that were awesome, and did a lot of nothing in the afternoons and evenings.  It is nice to charge my iPod once in a while, but otherwise it is pretty easy and cheap living where we were.   It'd be pretty easy for me to move mostly off the grid (running water is preferred) and live a much more simple life.  Yes it mellowed me out a lot.  Certainly a life changing experience.

-nice to be home to the zoo we call a home.

-better suit up and drive to work so I can get back to the usual, which stinks.  Bec doesn't have clinicals Tues, Wed, and Thurs, so I'm going to take a couple more days off and we'll go hiking and whatever else.  Was away for a long time, but it was overall an incredible experience.

Adios for now.  

No comments: