Saturday, December 26, 2009

In paradise with no clothes...

...No, we haven't gone all naturalist and become nudest, we flew from Guadalajara to Puerto Escondido via Mexico city and my bag didn't arrive - C's made it but for some reason mine got lost along the way. At 1st I had a bit of a laugh about it, they assured me that it would arrive the next day and everything would be fine, I figured I'd just buy a few things to get me through until the bag arrived. Little did I know how stressful shopping in a country where you don't speak the language could be. The sizing system in the shops was very different from home and we couldn't ask for help because we didn't know enough spanish. we got it all worked out in the end and managed to buy swimmers and a change of clothes but it was hard work. We decided our time in Puerto would be relax time, no rushing around sight seeing or waking up early. So we had 2 days of pure blissful relaxing on the beach. we discovered an amazing coastal walk that took us to the secluded little beach/fishing port a perfect place to cool off and swim. I did consider jumping out of a plane (skydiving) over Zicatella beach but I was a bit worried about the safety standards in Mexico. I don't really think there is much I could say about Puerto, except that it was amazing - the water was warm and azure blue, the beaches were stunning, the people were chilled out and friendly, the weather was hot, the food was awesome (one of the best seafood dinners we've ever had), and, as ever, the drinks were dirt cheap. We could have stayed there for a very long time...

Yup - tasty as it looks.

Told everyone that we'd send 'em a photo of me chilling out on the beach with a pina colada.

In the rather inviting ocean.

One of many of the beautiful little bays that make up puerto escondido.

The coastal walk

Overlooking the main town

Sunday, December 20, 2009

To Guadalajara

So, got the bus to Guadalajara. Got off, and immediately realised that we were thoroughly lost after getting out of our taxi. The driver swore black and blue that we were at the address we pointed him too. The lack of presence of our actual hostel begged to differ. After some directions from a local hotelier, and walking through a few sketchy streets and back alleys, we happened upon our destination. We knew things wouldn't be so easy though, when our friendly neighbourhood hostel manager kept glancing repeatedly from our booking confirmation to his computer records and back again nervously. Turns out our room had been booked out for the first night of our stay due to a lag in the computer system (or some non-sensicle excuse), but that we could have a whole dorm to ourselves for the first night and a cut in the price as compensation. Seeing as we were only paying about AU$25 for the private room per night in the first place, this was not such a great deal.

Anyway, went out and about to see the town after this and knew immediately that we would be in for a treat. Mexico's cities are all about their zocalos - the central squares in the centre of the city where everybody comes to hang out, chat, play chess, smoke cigars, drink tequila or beer, and, of course, eat good food. Guadlajara's zolcalos were many and impressive - they kept going one after the other forever, with a good deal of sculpture, water features, colonial buildings, art work, live music and performance art thrown in to the mix to make it especially awesome. So we spent the first day just wandering around, snapping piccies, sampling the food and beer. You know - enjoying life and soaking the place in. Of course, it almost goes without saying that there were many impressive cathedrals, monuments, dedications, government buildings etc etc. to check out. We called it a night on day one with a sense of excitement about the place.

Day 2, we got up and headed out again to see the place in some more light and to check out some museums. All were interesting, but the highlight would have to have been one that contained a fully recontstrcuted whoolly mammoth skeleton inside. I don't have to tell you that it was pure awesome. Next, on to the cathedral. Let me just say that it was impressive. Damn impressive. However, it has become apprent that, in mexico at least, catholics (of which the country boasts an 85% subscription rate) are into some odd, and let's just say, plane freaky stuff. In this particular cathedral, a little girl who died about 100 years or so ago is a revered figure within the church. They have this doll, all dressed up in white modelled on her, lying in a glass cabinet in the church. What is truly freaky is that a) the paint is all faded and pealing off the doll, making it look more than a little menacing, if not downright scary, and b) that they HAVE THE ACTUAL BONES OF ONE OF HER HANDS IN A HAND-SHAPED FISHNET GLOVE PROTRUDING FROM ONE ARM OF THE DOLLS DRESS, ALONG WITH A POT OF HER BLOOD SITTING IN THERE WITH THE DOLL. It is literally the scariest thing I have ever seen, and surely in poor taste. Yet there it is, and the people of guadalajara absolutely adore it. Anyway, that pretty much filled in that day, along with a lot of other walking around seeing the sights, eating good food and finding a few cool little bars.

The next day we did a tour out to the town of Tequila, famous for, yes, being the origin of the drink Tequila!! We did a tour around the Jose Cuervo distillery, where we learnt all about how the drink is made, sampled some tequila at various points alongt the production line, and sampled some very very nice stuff that I had no idea existed at the end (Anejo Tequila, anyone?) We bought a bottle of some of the nicer stuff we tasted there, and then went out to another tequila producer to sample their wares. Then home again, when we went to a little restaurant that got a shining review in the lonely planet guidebook (also up the road from our hotel, and busy every time we walked past it). It was a tiny little out of the way and unassuming place, but I can honestly say that the food we ate there was trancendental. Easily the best mexican we've had in mexico, and easily the best mexican i've had ever. Possibly the best FOOD i've had ever, damn it all! Pure awesome.

Anyway, Guadalajara was awesome - could have spent a week there easily, but we decided that we needed some time at the beach. We flew to Puerto Escondido the next day, which was possibly even better - heaven on earth. But that's a story for the next post, isn't it?

i love this city

possibly the worst drink in the world - food is suppose to be spicy and salty not drinks. also the worst photo of brooke.

not the best photo but the creepy bone hand and blood viel.

the mamonth

the magic agave fields in the magical town of Tequilla - they actually called it the magical town of tequilla which was strange.

Brooke's commander in chief;

Brooke'll be back tomorrow.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

moving on

So day 3 C and I intended on an early morning breakfast a quick wander around the city before we left Mexico city and headed for Morelia - thats not how it worked out, C and I had been struggling a little with the time change and still recovering from the long flight, in the morning we had been setting multiple alarms to get up, it was hard but we had managed it, today however we weren't so lucky. We still aren't 100% sure what happened but I'm pretty sure we slept through 5 alarms and woke up at 11am. Needless to say it was a rushed and crazy start to the day. But we managed to buy our ticket and arrive at the bus terminal 5mins before the bus left, perfect timing.

At the other end things went a lot better, we managed to get a taxi driver that spoke a little english and taught us a bit more spanish. the 1st hostel we tried had just had a cancelation so they had a free room, and the city was awesome.

We walked around it for some time - all of the buildings were restored colonial buildlings from the time of spansish rule. The centrepiece of the city was, without doubt, their amazing cathedral.When lit up at night, it is a very impressive sight. So we had some dinner, wandered into the cathedral and generally walked around, sampling the regional sweet specialities, and generally checking the place out.

The next day, we got up and walked down the markets to a church at the end of the street that we heard was pretty weird/amazing. No sonner had we come upon it than a weird mexican catholic parade of marching band and dancing old ladies marched down the street, into the church and started with all kinds of dancing and partying. The inside of the church was truly something to behold - it was like Salvador Dali and Lewis Carroll's love child, however that would work. The inside was ornate gold filligreed wood carving pretty much everywhere the eye looked, with pink and green patterns everywhere, truly creepy carvings of various saints, the virgin mary and many other catholic figureheads, flowers everywhere, candles, incense, alters, symbology, blah blah blah - it was over the top x 1000. The parade into the church added another level of truly odd, and then the icing on the cake was provided by those amazingly dedicated individuals who WALKED ON THIER KNEES down the ~1 KM OR SO OF COBBLE-STONED STREET to the church, inside and up to the alter, presumably as some sort of petition or penance. All I can say is that it would hurt beyond imagination, and the looks on their faces pretty much confirmed that in my books.

Anyway, after this, we spent the arvo visiting a few museums, eating some mighty fine mexican and drinking a couple of cervezas, and forumlating the next part of our trip - off to Guadalajara tomorrow!

Women dancing in a marching nad parade in your local Morelian Catholic Extravaganza.

Just the dome of what must surely be the most ornate church interior in the world... The photo really doesn't do it justice.

Another quiet little corner of Morelia.

Old colonial government building in Morelia.

The Morelian cathdral - truly an awe inspiring sight, particularly at night.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

we made it...

To the top of not one but 2 pyramids. Our second day in Mexico City C and I went out to Teotihuacan to check out the pyramids. We managed to drag our very unfit and out of shape bodies up not one but 2 pyramids. There was a warming sign at the bottom which we couldn't read, but showed vividly enough via a picture of a stylised man cluthing at his heart with cracks through it made us question whether we should really attempt it, but in the end we did and I was rather impressed with our efforts.

We also went to the anthropology museum, caught a crazy bus - they don't have bus stops in mexico you stand on the side of the road and hail a bus, which leads to the bus stoping every 5m for the next person for the entire length of the journey, more eating (this as you may have guessed is a bit of a theme in our trip/lives.) and more aztec dancing in the street.

View of the moon pyramid, before climbing it.

View from the top of the moon pyramid

The beast (the Pyramid of the Sun)

On the way up the Sun Pyramid (jeans were a bad choice - much warmer than expected)

The view down to the city below from the Sun Pyramid.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

greetings from Mexico

So I'm not one for being on the internet during your honeymoon but we've got a 4 hr bus trip ahead of us and free WiFi so it seemed like the perfect time to send a quick update home.

What can I say... we flew into Mexico City, which is huge and has so many people, it was a bit overwhelming at 1st. But the winter Christmas festival and the party mood put us in the spirit. We got out and saw the ruins of Templo Mayor, the museum, did a hop on hop off bus trip around the city (really does make you appreciate how big the city is) wondered around the histroic distric, got our 1st taste of Mexican food, saw the mariachis and watched some Aztec dance - that was just the 1st day.

I'm tired just thinking about it. Hope all is well back home.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

its offical

Its offical, I'm a married woman. The wedding happened on Friday and it was amazing, a few slight hiccups but C and I had an awesome time and couldn't have been happier with the way it all went. The Saturday brunch also went perfectly, biggest shock to both C and I was the weather, it was perfect the entire weekend. I've got heaps to write about the wedding but I think I'll save most of that for after the honeymoon.

Now we're off on that BIG honeymoon we've been looking forward to for so long. We sent Friday-Monday down the south coast enjoying the sun, the quiet and recoperating - doesn't matter how much people worn you about be tried after the wedding your never quite ready for it when it hits you, we spent a LOT of time sleeping.

After some frantic last minute packing and some stressful moment unable to find our travel cards we made our 1st flight, now we are in LA waiting at the airport for our connecting flight. got another hour to burn before we can check in than more time to kill after that, not the most exciting part of our trip but we'll arrive bright and early in Mexico ready to hit the ground running, and I can't wait.