So my sister was here in Playa del Carmen for three weeks having flown over from the UK (which was apparent by her translucent skin) for her second holiday ever, and man was it a busy 3 weeks. Sarah and I have kind of fallen into a pattern which involves fairly spread out touristy stuff with a lot of local living in between. And when you live like a local minus the full time job thing, you end up doing a lot of chillaxing (I have decided to embrace the word “chillaxing” despite it previously infuriating me, kind of a “if you can’t beat ’em” sort of thing).
Often we’ll go for lunch to take a break from work, or something which is at least tinted with a work type feel, and only come back two or three hours later after having gone for a walk. We might even then decide we are done “working” for the day and head to the beach for a dip. Or just turn on the telly and watch Seinfeld or Friends reruns until dinner.
It is a delightfully lazy, chilled out lifestyle.
We knew that when Taunee (my sister) showed up we would be doing stuff, and so had put a lot of the big things to one side to fully enjoy them when she arrived. It worked surprisingly well for what I had deep down thought was just an excuse to not leave the comfort of my work desk (my work desk being my lap and the bed).
So for three weeks we were tourists, sort of. The beauty of it is we got some things for free, we knew the best places to rent a car, the best cenotes, beaches, restaurants and dozens of little things that new comers to Playa del Carmen might not get a chance to figure out. We got to do all the good stuff, without stumbling through the bad.
Here’s what we did with lots of photos to prove it.
Once she had gotten her head around being in another country and there being a shiny ball in the sky that made hotness, we took her for a walk around the streets of Playa del Carmen. Immediately a theme became apparent which would be ever present through the three weeks of her stay, animals. My usually shy sister has no problem walking up to strangers and asking if she can have a photo with their dogs. Forget the ruins, culture, jungle and beaches, by the time she left Mexico, her camera had a thousand pictures of Chihuahuas, poodles, horses and anything else which walks on four legs.
Our first event was a Skydive two days after her arrival, something I would not have expected her to be up for, and something Sarah had sworn she would never do. Yet the three of us jumped out of a plane (with varying results) over the amazing view that is the Caribbean.
We went snorkeling at Akumal. Famous in these here parts for the turtles which feed on sea grass just off the beach. I have been a few times (the second time I busted my neck and had to watch the other kids play from a chair on the beach) but am always amazed at how much there is to see. Be it turtles, rays or giant fish which look disturbingly like a sharks favorite thing to eat (thanks Taunee for freaking me out in choppy seas a hundred meters from shore).
We went to Tulum and swam in the clear waters, soaking up the deserted beach feel of the place. This was also where Taunee got into the car to drive for the first time since getting her license in the UK. I was a bit nervous, but she takes direction well and picked up driving on the right side of the road really quickly. I think it is fair to say that a passion for vehicular movement runs in the family (except for my mom who’s passion for driving seems to lean more towards an ever present readiness to swear at other drivers), and soon she was speeding down the highways with a giant grin on her face.
We also took her to the ruins at Coba, which I find more impressive and enjoyable than the very commercial Chichen Itza. At Coba you can ride a bicycle around the site and actually climb the pyramids. Taunee loved the ruins and was somewhat awe struck by them and what they represent. I even climbed the pyramid with her in the blazing heat so we could stare out at the jungle.
After the ruins we went off to see a nearby cenote, and it ended up being one of the coolest cenotes I have been to (check out my video round up of some local cenotes). The whole thing is in a giant spherical underground cavern with the only entryway being a wooden staircase built into the small opening about a dozen meters up. It is lit artificially and its waters are crystal clear and refreshingly icy. It was amazing swimming in this ancient underground pool.
We broke all the activity up with a one week stay in a five star hotel on the beach (where I had my birthday, yeah!), and found ourselves doing less site seeing and more sprawling on the big comfy couches. The rains came at this point, but you don’t really care when you’re sitting in a big bubbly jacuzzi looking out over the sea. It was great to see how the other half live, but our little studio apartment will do just fine thanks (unless of course someone has some free luxury to hand out).
It is interesting seeing a place through the eyes of someone new to the area. It showed me that I should be getting out of the house a bit more. In three weeks we did more than we have in the four or so months we have been back in Mexico, and although tiring, it was a lot of fun.
We skydived, snorkeled, rode horses, drove across Quintana Roo, climbed ruins, swam in cenotes, swam at different beaches, ate a lot and chilled in luxury. By the time I threw my sister on a plane back to the UK I was ready to chillax like I had never chillaxed before. Two seasons of “Justified” later I can well and truly say that that is what I done done. Here are a few more pics from her time with us in Mexico…
And now it is back to work. I have a few websites I am designing. Which I have to say is at the moment my favoritest thing to do, especially the headers. I love being creative, and having reached new heights with the technical wizardry side of things I can focus even more on the design side. I also have a few internet related jobs as well as some graphic design work for an Australian company. I am actually busy, and aside from this man flu I am currently being nursed through by Sarah, I’m really enjoying it!
P.S., we have a non-commital idea as to the next stage of our travels, hint, it involves a 4 wheel drive. Stay tuned for what is undoubtedly going to be an epic adventure! Well, about 6 months from now anyway. But stay tuned for the epic adventure preparations!
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