-me, referring to my SPF 50 sunscreen that I applied religiously
and also -Buster Bluth
A few weeks ago, Aaron and I took a graduation celebration vacation to Playa del Carmen in Mexico. It was the perfect opportunity to relax and do something fun before the monster that is residency began.
Let's start with cenotes. Cenotes are giant sinkholes found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula caused by limestone dissolving in the earth. They make for awesome places to do my new favorite activity: SNORKEL. We swam in three different cenotes, two of which were underground, full of bats, and super cool (literally and figuratively). The other one was above ground and had the clearest water I have ever seen.
Underground cenote + Aaron's arm I'm too lazy to crop out. This was connected to several other cenote chambers that we snorkeled through. Not pictured, but also cool: there were a lot of long tree roots hanging in the middle of the cavern, growing toward the water from above the ground.
Ultra clear water cenote + my blindingly white skin
So, let's talk about snorkeling. When I was younger, I was terrified of swimming in any natural body of water. I think it was mostly because I couldn't see what was under there and having some random plant or heaven-forbid fish brush up against me was horrifying. Guess what fixes that! Swimming in clear water with a snorkel mask! Having eliminated fear of the unknown, snorkeling was so much fun. We got to swim with turtles in the ocean twice. We also saw a couple of stingrays, a lion fish (!!!), lots of tropical fish whose names I no longer remember, and coral reefs.
You know what is really hard? Taking pictures of fish. National Geographic photographers, I salute you.
We went to two different Mayan sites, Tulum and Chichen (UGH I keep typing Chicken) Itza. Tulum is right on the ocean, and if I were a Maya, that is definitely where I'd want to have lived because it is gorgeous.
Wouldn't you want to live in that stone hut? Iguanas could be your best friends! We saw a million of them here.
Chichen Itza is further inland and is more restored than Tulum. It's actually a pretty big site. I was expecting just to see the one iconic Wonder of the World pyramid, but there are a lot of other stone buildings and a huge ball court. Fun fact: the Mayans never used a keystone arch, so they had to use a ton of pillars in any large building to hold up the ceiling.
While in Chichen Itza we overheard a tour guide throwing around the names "Nephi" "Lehi" "Lamanites" and we were like....MORMONS?! We had found the Book of Mormon Mexico tour group! Whenever I run into Mormons outside of church, it takes a lot of self-control for me to not be like "I'M A MORMON TOO! ISN'T IT CRAZY WE RAN INTO EACH OTHER IN THE WILD?!" I held back the urge this time though, and we continued on our heathen tour, learning about virgin sacrifices.
I also wanted to record for posterity that we ate a lot of tacos and guacamole all over the place, and it was so good. Also, there was a little Venezuelan restaurant next door to our hotel, and that was also so delicious we went twice. Couldn't get enough of the kaxapas and arepas!
Huge thank you to Wendy for loaning us the underwater camera so we could actually take pictures! If it weren't for that, all we'd have to document this trip would be a single photo of a taco on my phone (though maybe you'd prefer that after scrolling through this post). Yay vacation! Yay snorkeling! Yay tacos!