Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sunrise over the Caribbean


Spider Monkey

The last few days have been somewhat more quiet, just what we needed as we wind up the last few days of our trip. On Tuesday John offered to take us all out to the cenote and his jungle house again. I was feeling very tired and not up for a big outing, so Poppy and I stayed home while Erik, Claud, and Peregrine went with John. Poppy and I really had a restful time; she actually slept for a couple hours so I was able to relax and rest too. The boys had a great time on their adventure as well; Claud was able to see some birds he'd never seen before, and John had kindly bought him a local bird book!
John and Renee met us for dinner that evening. After dinner we walked down to an area to talk to Mauricio, who is supposed to be "the man" to see about buying real Mayan hammocks. His shop is located just in front of where the mangrove swamp began and I'm afraid the mosquitoes came out for their evening meal- on me! This whole trip I'd only gotten 7 or 8 bites, and I think I probably have between thirty and forty from that evening. And they got me through my clothes and they itch like crazy! After we got home and put the kids to bed Erik was able to go downstairs and visit with Claud for a while. (He's staying in the apartment just below us- very nice!)
Yesterday morning we walked to the beach and had a nice swim and Claud got to take a long walk and see some birds. After lunch and siesta we caught a ride with John, who was heading to his jungle house, about a mile north to visit the Botanical Gardens. We all enjoyed our time there; we got to see many native species of trees and plants, as well as many beautiful butterflies. One of them was bigger than any I remember seeing before, and we also saw a blue morpho. There was a re-creation of a traditional Mayan house made of palm sticks and thatch. It was surrounded by a medicinal plant garden, which was interesting to see; we recognized some of the plants. There was also a little covered area where they would have kept bees in hollow logs.
In another area they had built a chiclero camp. Chicleros were the men who bled the sap of the chicle trees, which was used for chewing gum. (If you've ever been in Mexico you've probably been approached by little kids selling "chicle, chicle"!) We've seen several of these trees in the jungle, after they were pointed out to us. They are very large and all seem to have diagonal scars where they were cut. Peregrine had gone in the little hut at the chiclero camp and was poking around in the thatch. John had told us that scorpions like to live in the thatch, so I told him to stop and come out. He obeyed quickly and without arguing, something we're really working on right now! A minute later I looked into the shelter and saw a small snake looking out of the thatch. Erik called Peregrine over to see it- at a distance of course- and it was a good lesson for him. I was so thankful that he'd obeyed and that the learning experience was a positive one; he was able to see firsthand why it's always important to obey, even if he doesn't know the reason. I was glad that seeing the snake happened right when we needed to start heading out anyway, because after that I was ready to get out of the jungle! I'm not fond of snakes, especially when they could be deadly. My favorite thing at the gardens was seeing the spider monkeys high above us in the trees. The first one I saw was a Mama with a little baby monkey clinging onto her. Then we saw several others playing, scratching at themselves, jumping from tree to tree, and one who wrapped his tail around a branch and seemed to be swinging just for fun! It was really fun to get to see monkeys in the wild, and of course, the kids were excited about it too. I was reminded of why I call them little monkeys sometimes!
For dinner last night we ate at Hola Asia, a pretty good Asian restaurant on the square. I'm always amazed at how small the world seems sometimes. It made me think of the little Mexican restaurant Gloria and I used to eat at in India! We were all fairly exhausted by the time we got home; well, I'd say some of us were fairly exhausted a while before that even! The kids have done really well on this trip, but the last few days I can tell they are reaching their limit. I guess it's a good time to head home. I remember last year too, about two days before it was time to leave, they started to really fall apart. They had a good sleep last night and have done well today. The last bit of excitement last night was that Claud came up to tell us he's seen a scorpion on his floor! Thankfully he had leather-soled slippers on and made short work of it. Even though I've known there are "such things" around, I'm glad it was almost the end of our time here before any scorpions were spotted!
Today has been relaxing. We finished off our bag of pancake mix and then headed to the beach for a swim and a play in the sand. I had a swim then came back here to start on packing without any small people underfoot. I got one of our two suitcases ready to go, which felt like a good start. Can you believe we packed all our things in only two suitcases? It's not too hard to do when you're coming somewhere warm since not a lot of clothing is needed. We had a simple lunch, using up a few more things we had on hand. After that, a most welcome time of day- siesta! I need it as much as the kids do these days.
When we were all up and about we went for a swim in the pool, then walked downtown for our last evening here. There were a few more things I wanted to buy, and we'd given Peregrine some pesos to buy a few things, so we walked into some shops together. It was fun to see him "spend" his money. Of course he wanted to buy way more things then he could, but in the end he was able to choose several little things, plus a straw sombero. He's quite convinced that he's a real Mexican now! (Not that we've seen any Mexicans actually wearing these, not even the Mariachis. Who, here in the Yucatan, play harps!) He was very thoughtful too, and picked out some little gifts for his friends Cyrus and Arlo, his sister, and even Erik and I! We'd planned to eat dinner at Dona Triny's but alas, they were closed tonight, so we ate somewhere else. John and Renee rode by on their bicycles with a friend from Finland so they all joined us as well. At 6:30 the bells of the Catholic Church rang out and Peregrine has been begging us to go to church, so I walked over with the kids. Of course we couldn't understand what was going on, but we stayed for a while anyway.
And now, the house is quiet, on our last night here in Mexico. Tired children are in bed, and tired parents soon will be. We've had a most wonderful time here, lots of play and being together and exploring some amazing places. I think though, that I'll be glad to get home. It will be fun to get ready for Christmas, and I'm very excited to see our families again. Please pray for our travels home. We don't leave until 5 tomorrow, then have a 6 hour flight into LA, which means it's going to be very late by the time we get there, get through customs, and to the hotel where we'll stay. Then we have to be at the airport again Saturday morning for the final stretch home! So, we'd appreciate your prayers not only for safe travels but for strength, as some, if not all of us, don't function super well when exhausted! Thanks!

4 comments:

  1. Perhaps you'll be back home in time for the snow! Of course, I think they said it'll snow between Salem and Olympia, so Eugene wouldn't get any. But you're probably flying into Portland? Anyway, I hope you're able to get home with no problems.

    I've enjoyed reading about your trip to Mexico! One of our best vacations was in Mexico, driving down the interior to Los Mochis, then taking the Copper Canyon Railway. Gorgeous, and we felt like true explorers! Staying in a little village that was only accessible by train was definitely a highlight. I'd asked if there was mass in the mission church right next to our hotel, and they said no, only on Sundays. Well, I awoke to the church bell at 8 am and all the little girls from the orphanage were heading in! So Hibi and I quickly got dressed an ran on over. The girls grabbed Hibi's hand and would have pulled her to school with them after if she'd let them! And I loved hearing them sing.

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  2. I've been reading along, but not commenting. My prayers for safe travel, especially during the drive home, and welcome back!

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  3. What an incredible trip! Thanks for taking us along with you!

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  4. Okay, so never mind about the snow. I guess my hope that you'd be able to get home safely through the snow worked! ;-) I did see snow--if I looked very carefully at my jacket while I was walking outside I could see one or two heavy flakes before they vanished.

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