régen minden jobb volt

December elsejétöl nagyjából december 23.áig tartó gondolatmenetem olvasható alább, ami még januárban is megállja a helyét, pláne reggelente, amikor nyolcszázötven rétegbe csomagolom be magamat hogy azalatt az alig két kilóméteres úton amig elbicajozok a munkába ne faggyak szanaszét. Szigorúan retrospektíven.

Szóval bezzeg tavaly…

…amikor nem érdekelt hogy mi lesz karácsonykor az asztalon…
…amikor december eleje óta tudtam, hogy nem lesz karácsonyfa a nappaliban…
…amikor nem fájt a fejem a karácsonyi ajándékok kapcsán…
…amikor naptejet vettem kilószámra decemberben – és nem három réteg cicanacit…
…amikor bikiniket és rövid nadrágokat pakoltam – és nem a karácsonyi dekorációkat…
…amikor hidegen hagyott a hó látványa mert tudtam, hogy pár hét, és mindent itthagyok…
…amikor két héttel utazás elôtt akkorát taknyoltam a szétfagyott betonon hogy a fogsorom bánta…
…amikor Mexikóban jártam és nem a havas téli utakon…

…sóhaj…

Tipp, tôlem nektek, szeretettel: ha egyszer az életben lehetôségetek van kicserélni a telet a nyárra, hátrahagyni a karácsonyi mizériát és elszaldni a világ elôl valahova jó messzire, ahol sós a nagy kék víz, és ahol puha a homok a lábatok alatt, akkor menjetek.
Minden pénzt/idôt/energiát/védôoltást/szúnyogcsípést/napégést megér.

Mexico

Tavalyi élménybeszámolók és képek szívfájdításképpen errefele találhatóak.

little moments of joy

  • aka a visual guide to the Mexican cuisine
  • aka culinary moments that completely swiped us off our feet
  • aka instead of writing a ton about how awesome the Mexican cuisine is, here are some pictures

pineapple in paprika - how come noone started to import this stuff to the EU???

the Swede meets the Agave - a joyful reunion

Supposedly, this is yoghurt with jelly. In reality, it is jelly with jelly (in different colours)

fried banana slice puts smile on your face (and joy on your taste buds)

Heaven on Earth: a bowl of melted (Oaxaca) cheese with tortilla, mushroom and guacamole and chilli sauce

Cocos Frio - go to a market, ask for it, and never hold it the way I do on this photo.

epic sandwiches at Ty-Coz (recommended)

ki'Xocolatl with red pepper and spices - someone really should start importing this to Europe

the day we went to Chichen Itza

When waiting at the super-crowded entry to fetch our tickets and our guide, we knew that there was something fishy with this place.

To start with, none of the visited Mayan sites had sooo many tourist as Chichen Itza (though some of them are as fun, if not more fun than this place), and none of the sites required a local guide to join you on your trip. Literally, you cannot walk on your own at Chichen – you have to have a guide with you even if you are there as a couple (which would be an interesting investment anyway for two), so instead, you would join another bunch of tourist to save quite some sum – and to loose completely the experience of walking around at historic sights on your own pace.

The other downside of a super popular Unesco World Heritage site – in comparison with other awesome Mayan sites – is that you cannot climb up to any pyramids anymore where – unless you are some popular singer shooting some videos here (damn you JLo).

So, this is what you get at Chichen Itza:

  • a guide and a group tour
  • herds of other tourist
  • walking around at closed of sights (absolutely no climbing anywhere at all)
  • herds of Maya marketeers (the whole place is like a big souvenir shop with some famous sights in the background
  • not enough time to walk around the whole sight (due to your rushed group visit)

Nonetheless, if you happened to be around, go there, see it, walk around and admire the history and the culture, try not to fall for the marketeers (or is it only me who don’t believe in the concept of local marketeers in large amount at big popular places??), and make sure to have a loads of water with you – because it might get hot and dusty out there.

Wiki has pretty well-kept information about Chichen Itza that I don’t want to retype (hope you don’t mind, my humble reader), so if you are interested, head for this site, read along before/after browse through the photos below.

(By the way, it was fun though 😉 )

unless you are J.Lo, you can't touch this

Chac Mool at the Temple of the Warriors - unless you come with a film crew or a huge crane, you hardly see anything of him

El Caracol - The Observatory, a totally underestimated building of importance at Chichen.

La Iglesia at the Nunnery. Engravings and statuettes overload.

at the foot of the Ossario Kukulkan (the Maya feathered serpent god) stands by

the Great Ball Court - it is epic in size (no wonder that Pok ta Pok games here lasted for weeks)

Kukulkán at the Great Ball Court.

The temple of the Jaguar - if Maya people don't praise Kukulkán, they go and praise the jag god

A Maya marketeer - in full size (average Mayan height is not higher than 165 cm).

the day we climbed a mayan pyramid

None of us really into organized trips – they are simple, organized, compact, no chance to replan: zero challenge. However we’ve get tricked into these options every now and then, for example when we booked into Alltournative’s Coba Mayan adventure.

The good thing about this company is that at least they try to be a bit different. All of their tours run on the concept that before visiting a lesser known Mayan site or ruin, you would get to know some part of the Mayan culture or ways of their living which is still leaves a vivid pattern on the Yucatán peninsula. Just like any other tourist organization, this company aims for American tourists as well, so the concept of “fun” and “encounter” is different from what a European, less commercial tourist would expect.

The trip started with a visit at Pac-chen, a small Mayan community that runs this trip in cooperation with Alltournative. The people of Pac-chen let you walk around in their town, dip into their cenotes, paddle a bit in their pond, eat the food they cook for you. All they ask is to leave everything in a locker that is not watertight and at the end of the trip, pay for the photos they’ve been taking you all throughout the morning. That’s how you end up walking around in the jungle in a bikini…

Cenotes are sinkholes, created by mother nature in corporation with the Yucatàn’s limestone based structure. These sinkholes were the center of communities for Mayas. Where there is a cenote, there is/was a Mayan village around, as these sinkholes provided clear drinking water for the inhabitants.

Daniel had been into one of these cenotes with his local diver buddy the day before, so I thought he is prepared to rappel down the cenote. He was not. I was not. You just cannot get prepared to go 25 meter deep on a rope into a dark hole filled with water. However, it turned out to be a great fun anyway 🙂

This particular cenote itself looked like a crystal clear lake topped by an enormous limestone dome, (kudos mother nature, you did it again). It’s peaceful, it’s quiet (even the loud fellow tourist got silent for a wee bit), it’s pure, it’s fun.

After a great lunch (never ate such a delicious black bean meal), we head down to Cobá, which seemed to me like a hidden treasure. When visiting the Yucatán, the first Mayan site that gets promoted is Chichén Itza: it’s big, it’s famous, it’s a World Heritage site. However, before the rise of Chichén Itza, Cobá was the political and cultural capital of the Mayan. The town itself was bigger (in size) than Chichén Itza, however, the lush vegetation and the earlier fall helped hiding this wonder. As our guide told us, currently, only 6% of Cobá is an open site for tourism; the rest of the town is hidden (or eaten up) by the jungle that surrounds the site. Side note: the complete territory of Chichén Itza’s archeological site is the same size as the visiting site of Cobá 6%, which leaves Cobá a 94% bigger town than Chichén Itza.

Apart from the “which town is the more awesome Maya site” (which our Mayan guide was fascinated about), one thing is definitely more awesome at Cobá, and that’s the 42 meter tall grand pyramid, Nohoch Mul.

the second largest Maya pyramid on the Yucatan: Nohoch Mul

Not only this pyramid is twice as high as the one at the famous site, but also this is the pyramid that you can actually climb! 🙂

The thing is that National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH – it runs almost all the Mayan historical sites in Mexico), partly due to conservation purposes, partly because of lethal accidents, shut down most of the climbing activities at these ruins. You can walk around, take tons of pictures, eventually touch the ruins, but you cannot climb anywhere up.
Not sure how long this restriction can keep Cobá open for the climbers, but if you have somewhere a check list item called “climb a Mayan pyramid”, make sure to head towards Cobá. There is something indescribable about the feeling when you reach a top of a 42 meter high building, erected more than a 1000 years ago, being all sweaty and dizzy, you watch every step not to fall down, and when you recollect your guts and breath and look around you realize that you reached over the top of the mighty jungle.

it is not top of the world, but right there, it feels so