Mike and I explored the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula for 2 weeks of flyfishing (Mike), diving (Stacey), snorkeling, Maya ruins, a colonial city, cenotes, quite a few hammocks and lots of great food.

When Mike flew home I headed to San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas for 2 weeks of Spanish study with a small group in tow. We lived with host families and visited area sights including villages, museums, and ruins.

When the group flew home I bused to San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala for a week of planning for future growth of the Beca Project (link below) and meeting our sponsored kids and their families.

When our daughter Mariah and her husband Greg invited us to share a timeshare in Quintana Roo between Christmas and New Years, a new chapter to this blog was added. HAPPY TRAILS!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Jungly Ruins of Ek Balam and the Town of San Felipe - June 21st

We enjoyed coffee and juice at El Meson del Marques, used an ATM, finished packing, and met our driver and guide in the hotel lobby. After a quick stop at the public market...

....we headed north about 20 miles to the ruins of Ek Balam. We really loved these ruins - far cooler than Tulum or Chichen Itza because of the jungly setting, rich with birds and because you can crawl all over and through the ruins there. The tallest structure, the Acropolis, is a huge temple 135’ high, more than 1/3rd again as high as El Castillo at Chichen Itza, seen here from the top of a pyramid at the opposite end of the site.

The view from the top was inspiring; the furthest structure in the distance is where I took the photo above.

Half way up there are beautiful friezes protected by palapa roofs and including winged men, unique in Maya art.

We spent just over an hour exploring and when we re-entered the parking lot - NO CAR! We asked around to no avail and calmed ourselves for 5-10 sweaty minutes before they reappeared, sorry to have kept us waiting but apparently unaware we might fear they’d taken off with everything we have in Mexico besides the clothes on our back and our cameras. Memorable.

We pointed our noses north again, passing through agricultural land including some planted with blue agave for tequila and arriving in the small fishing village of San Felipe just over an hour later. Severely damaged by a hurricane a few years ago, the town has been rebuilt and the community pride is obvious - lots of bright new paint, new playgrounds, clean streets.

Our hotel, Hotel San Felipe de Jesus, is right on the water, a bit funky and all around great; they cater to fly fisherman hunting tarpon, a new adventure for Mike. Our room is on the top floor nearest the camera; steps in the room lead to a balcony on the roof.

After we shared an incredible mixed seafood ceviche at the Restaurante El Popular Vaselina (that’s right - The Popular Grease Restaurant)...

we explored and rested up and enjoyed a light dinner here at the hotel where we met our guides for tomorrow: Marcos will take me to see the huge flamingo flocks that gather in this area and Carlos will take Mike flyfishing for tarpon (seen below discussing leader and flies after dinner). HAPPY TRAILS!

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