Sunday, July 31, 2011

Loving New Mexico

We arrived in Gallup this evening after spending last night and today in Santa Fe. After a mammoth drive yesterday we arrived in Santa Fe late, checked in to our original 1920s Route 66 hotel, El Rey Inn, and then head out for some food and booze. We were really beat so it was a one margarita night for moi. We spent today doing the sights of Santa Fe, and then a quick cruise down Route 66 Alburqueque and we headed west for Gallup New Mexico. We debated along the way about our lodgings, generic nice wifi hotel, or the El Rancho, a famous R66 haunt of movie stars out west way for filming. We took a punt despite some luke warm Tripadvisor reviews, and you know what - we hit gold. This place is awesome, from the whole ambience to the food, the staff, even the gift shop. I better go so I can enjoy it. But one last surprise - Rob, who HATES shopping, actually said today that he liked it here, cos they have good stuff at good prices and you can actually get help if you need it. Look out Vegas shopping malls and outlet I say!
(ps he let me buy some cowboy boots today - my first ones this trip!)

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Location:Gallup, New Mexico

Friday, July 29, 2011

Goodbye Mexico, hello USA

The last few days in Mexico were lovely and relaxing, just spent by the sea, well actually in it, in the hammock, or exploring round town. We also had a small box of beer to finish so there was much hammock swinging and beer swilling to be had on Wednesday afternoon. We also took a walk to find the famed Posada Margarita hotel and restaurant, and on smelling the aromas of the garlic and seeing the pasta people were lunching on, we decided it would be the restaurant of choice for our last evening in Tulum. Number one on Tripadvisor and I know why. Certainly it looked like a bit of a cashed up hip - fashionista hotel with many tables full of gorgeous people swilling euro wine and eating the lobster dish of the night, but it was most welcoming to mere mortals like us too. I had the famed fish cooked in sea water, famed for a reason I can assure, and Rob had the vegetable fettucine. While prices are high you get good service, and lots of complimentary thing, beginning with an antipasto plate which was huge and which I probably ate too much of, and then a free little dessert tasting plate with a sliver of tiramisu and two pots of homemade gelato, pistachio and vanilla - yum. We also had a bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio and some San Pelligrino to wash it all down with - a nice change from the cerveza and margarita diet we've become accustomed to. And yes we are still in Mexico. Our waiter was lovely and recommended we try and see the turtles as we were staying on the beach that they visit in vast numbers. So upon our return to the cabaƱas we sat on the beach in the dark for two hours, not seeing one but enjoying shooting stars and the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. Oh well the night before was 'the' one with lots of tracks on then beach that morning, and upon inspection the very next morning, it only looked like one visited the night we camped out, though obviously after we went to bed. There are three different types of turtles that come in and lay their eggs including the giant ones. Oh well, we decided we will have to come back again to see this. The next morning we woke, our last morning, to a very rough sea, a storm on the way, but not a problem for us as we too were on our way, on our way to the USA.

And here we are, in Wichita Falls Texas, about 100+ miles out of Dallas and so begins our road trip, let's hope with not too many issues, but lots of adventure. Our big bonus - we got upgraded from our el cheapo Ford focus to a nice big Jeep 4WD, at the el cheapo price. Now with a fist full of maps we are heading west, full steam ahead, for Friday night in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Viva the South West.

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Location:Wichita Falls, Texas

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tulum - paradise on earth

Yep we've died and gone to heaven. This place is paradise - both Tulum and our hotel Cabanas La Conchita. We have just finished an early morning dip in the Caribe - and have decided that we are only ever going to the beach here! Oh I wish. The water is divine, no cold shock, clean and not too big a surf, but enough to keep us amused. The sand is white and fine and our beach is small and relatively empty, shared only with the other guests of our 8 room hotel, and the turtles that come in at night to lay eggs and then return to the ocean. The hotel is very Eco - solar power with electricity (lights) only between 7 and 10pm, and fan from 10pm til morning. No tv, no wifi, no power points. Our roof has a thatched palapa roof, and it is very pretty, almost like being in a tree house, with the beach only metres away so the sound of the surf is ever present. When we arrived yesterday afternoon, hot and tired from our trip from Merida, we quickly dumped our bags in the room and headed into the water.
After about an hour in the balmy sea, we retreated, found the local tienda (shop) where we bought some cerveza and snacks and sat on our porch, one of us swinging from the hammock. Dinner at a local beach hut Trece Lunas, where my Spanish was really put to the test with a very long conversation with Jelli the Guatemalan waitress. I also fed and played with little, Luna, the resident dog, with the rabies thing only a passing thought. A few margaritas later, and a divine fish dish for me, and tacos for Rob (not of the gringo variety), and it was time to hit the sack, for what was a divine nights sleep, the ocean as our lullaby. There is really nothing better than waking and going for a swim in the sea, particularly the Caribe. And it's not even 9am, and the sun is hot, the sky is blue, and the day is ahead of us. This may have started something very expensive, as it's not round the corner, but it's already deep in our hearts.

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Location:Tulum Mexico

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hanging out on Sunday

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Location:Merida Mexico


Just spending lazy Sunday afternoon by the pool, having a few cervezas, enjoying the sun, with the lovely cumbia and mariachi music wafting in the background. It's a lovely hot, steamy afternoon. Yesterday, not long after our arrival here we got caught in a tropical downpour, the type I often see monsoon and post monsoon in India. There was crazy thunder and lightening and fortunately we experienced most of it all from inside one of the best and most popular restaurants in Merida. Famous for it's authentic Yucatan cuisine, La Chaya Maya is popular primarily with the locals, with a few gringos thrown in. The food was divine, we opted for a shared Yucataneca plate of specialties, with the Poc chuc being the stand out, along with the handmade corn tortillas. We then walked around town, which is a lovely example of colonial Mexico. Famous in colonial times for it's sisal, the city was built on the trade and production of this fibre. One of the most beautiful buildings however is an Art Deco theatre, so divine. Rob returned to the hotel for a nap while I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening shopping for some local specialties as well as more generic day of the dead stuff. Returning to the hotel at about 7pm, I had a quick dip to cool off, before we headed out for mas cerveza, y comida y margaritas! All made better with the live salsa and cumbia band, music, food and fiesta being the most important ingredients in Mexican life.

And now I'm about to go for a walk, while Rob hangs out by the pool. We spent the morning wandering around, many of the downtown streets closed to traffic except for bicycles and pedestrians. Sunday is THE day in Merida when the whole city becomes a fiesta. Now that I've had a swim and drink, I'll head out for some more lovely Mexican ambience and adventure, not to mention shopping, before we head out for dinner at Pancho's (as in Villa - hero of the revolution Mexicano). Viva Mexico, viva la revolucion!

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Location:Merida Mexico

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cancun to Merida

We are waiting at the ADO for our bus to Merida. I have walked around the streets, primarily to buy some bananas (6 pesos - 50c) and I am having fun with my Spanglish, so glad I have a bit of language! Breakfast was delicious huevos revueltos (scrambled eggs mexicano) with retried beans and papas (spuds). And more fruit, hot cakes etc. Off we go - more from Merida.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hola Amigos

I'm in love again - this beautifiul country has already captivated me, all in a few hours.  The language, the people, the food and the bebidas, not to mention the mariachi have all but stolen my heart.  And I am already plotting my return.

We arrived in Cancun about 7pm local time but it was near 9 when we reached our hotel.  A quick shower and a Mexicana recommendation for dinner and we were off.  Initially we ended up in the wrong place, but a cerveza later (Bohemia) and we were on our way to La Parrilla - the sound of mariachi drawing me in.  A complimentary margarita and I was enslaved to them, our dinner, the drinks and the music all bringing a tear to my eye and a tug on my heart.  I must have been Mexican in a former life, and Indian in another - why do they draw me in but other cultures don't?  How I am going to savour these days in this divine country.

We are downtown in a very Mex barrio, not tourista town - so for the night it will be great, and tomorrow we go to Merida.  More cultura, more Mexico, me gusta mucho!

Does Fort Worth ever cross your mind.

Howdy from DFW international airport. The title of today's post is an old George Strait song. We are just waiting to board for Cancun. I must say it is lovely to feel some heat - a nice break from Melbourne's cold. Flight was great - thanks to Mark for the stellar seats, and now we have exit row to Cancun. More from hopefully sunny not hurricane Mexico!

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Location:Dallas Fort Worth

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mexico or bust!

We are set, all packed, house clean, raring to go.  I even have a killer tan and I haven't been anywhere warm yet, picked it up on Easey Street Collingwood, amazing what you can find in these parts!  I am loving my tan nearly as much as my lashes, I am turning into everything fake, this could get expensive.

Our house and dog sitters, Simon and Letitia came over last night. Pixie and Chief don't know how lucky they are, saved from 3 weeks sleeping in the shed.  A big thanks to Simon and Letitia!

Now the wait for our chauffeur to the airport (aka Mark), and so begins the excitement, adventures, trials and tribulations that travel can bring.  But I'd never have it any other way, this is what I live for, and certainly the only reason I get out of bed and go to work (sorry boss).  So nearly 17 hours of air travel in front of us, that does not include any delays, but we should make it to Cancun by around 7.30pm today (their time not ours).  So hopefully by 10pm I will have the first of many margarita's in hand and be chowing down on huevos rancheros by morning.  I'll keep you posted on the way, better go and look at hurricane warnings and Qantas industrial action news now.  Hasta Mexixo, viva!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

In one week.........

hopefully we will be in sunny Mexico, assuming no flight delays, Qantas strikes or any other natural or manufactured disasters.  How nice it will be to have the sun's warmth, particularly after this bleak, cold winter.  And after 3 cold and flu episodes, I have had enough.  Bring on the heat!

Bags are not packed, nowhere near, but plans have been made, though plenty of scope for spontaneity, adventure and come-what-may.  We have booked into all the necessary, particularly hotels in many places which are high demand due to northern hemisphere summer, but equally we have free nights and days to seek out some gems or dives.

After nearly 25 years of good Mexican food drought (almost impossible to find in Australia don't care what anyone says), I plan to stuff my face.  I also get to use my rusty old Spanish, which I suspect will be more like Spanglish with a touch of charades, but hell am dying to use it.  Have done a little verb study, particularly all the irregulars, so lets hope I get some things right and don't end up in agua caliente (hot water).  Much of my old travel espanol is obsolete such as "Quisiera un cenicero por favor" (I would like an ashtray please).  I also remember all the words for matches (cerrillos/fosforos), of course cerveza and all the brands - I obviously did a lot of drinking and smoking in Mexico 20 plus years ago. Gone now is the smoking, but drinking - lo siento, me gusta mucho (I'm sorry - I like it).  As for going to a restaurant, can't wait to use "La cuenta por favor", something I say all the time still, though no one ever  understands (The bill please).  Small things amuse small minds, you know!

I hope you will join Rob and I on our adventures in the Yucatan (Mexico) and the south west USA. Let's hope there will be lots of interesting bits and pieces - beaches, ruinas mexicanas, muchas cervezas y margaritas.  In the US, lots of IN-N-OUT burgers, Taco Bell, fast and slow food - actually I'll keep count of how many meals we eat without knives and forks, Route 66 - old signs, motels, and neon, Indians - of the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni kind, canyons, natural and unnatural wonders, Mad Men, swimming pools, movie stars and lots more.  I hope my posts will be amusing and interesting, and look forward to some comments and interaction from you. Hasta el viernes proximo (until next Friday)..................VIVA!