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Cave paintings

Ian and I decided we would go to Hawaii, then realized that Hawaii is crushingly expensive to visit, so we went to Cancun which has been officially recognized as the poor man's Hawaii. We landed in an all inclusive Sandos resort, which could be the Spanish word for "Sandals" but I've had trouble confirming that because according to the internets it's urban slang for something considerably less wholesome.

It's pretty there!


Our first day's explorations proved interesting but strange. It seems that going to an all inclusive resort in Cancun is a little like vacationing in the Epcot Center version of Mexico. Almost all of it is somewhat bland and/or contrived. I struggled at first but I think I did a really good job on the whole during this trip of cultivating acceptance and appreciation for everything anyway.


Ian did get to hug the giant Kids Camp psychedelic mushroom


There are a lot of animals at this particular resort, which was nice because I love animals, but really sad because a lot of them were treated in less than desirable ways. The macaws didn't have any toys to play with and if what we saw is correct, their entire diet pretty much consisted of cut fruit from the buffet. The bulk of my Sandos Caracol comment card was a demand for proper parrot husbandry, because that's how I roll.


There was a muster of peacocks led by this tailless but inquisitive boy.


The donkeys seemed well kept, but their pen was also super boring. I have no idea how much stimulation donkeys require to be happy though. No jokes about donkey stimulation please.


The resort has a herd of cats that patrol the grounds. They have a sign explaining that they vet and spay/neuter the animals thoroughly, and that they feed them twice a day at these feeding stations. Again, the food looked like stale bread from the buffet mixed with milk, which I don't think is the ideal cat diet, so I felt a little iffy about the whole thing.


The grounds are also home to about a dozen fearless raccoons that seem to subsist primarily off of french fries and popcorn fed to them by idiot tourists.


Poor kids are so cute though.


Wild roaming Coati eating fruit from the buffet.


That snout needs smooches. I know he would bite my face off, but the desire remains.


Since we went around Christmas, there was the obligatory nativity scene set up, but for the entire 8 days of our stay, the baby Jesus was nowhere to be found. Also, some chucklehead moved the donkey around into different positions daily. It made us laugh every single time.


Perhaps Baby Jesus got tired of the tang of cat wee and was like "F-this shit, I'm out!"


Whenever I see religious lawn ornaments that glow...


...I always think of Leroy Green.


At the buffet, this gentleman lit booze on fire for us.


The view from our 3rd story landing at sunset.


Our deck was tiny, but perfectly serviceable for the foot rubs.


This was the crown jewel of the entire trip, the in-room jacuzzi tub. I don't know how it started, but in discussions prior to the trip, we started calling it the "J'accuse Tub" before we even got on the plane, and referred to it as such for the whole vacation. We tubbed at least once a day, mostly twice. I read 4 books and drank lots of crappy champagne.


This picture was taken to make sure my camera still worked after I tripped and fell down with it on the way back to the room to use the J'accuse tub. Note the booze stockpiling. A-ok.


Here's a schedule of things that we didn't do because we were in the hot tub.


There was this wild skinny child that we dubbed Tarzan with hair down to his waist running around the resort as well. Like Bigfoot, he proved difficult to capture in photographs, but turned heads wherever he went. I remember being a kid and having so much energy you just ran because it would get you wherever you were going faster than walking and you were just so excited to be at the next place.


Our beach was lovely.


These pelicans were everywhere, and would fly in formation together and dive into the ocean all at once to eat fishies.


Ian's blue period.


I named this cat Stumpy. It watched us eat dinner one night by the ocean.


Ian in repose. I am madly in love with him. We were sitting at one of the tables here talking and a guy who was with his wife and teenage child asked us how long we'd been together. When we said 4+ years, his jaw dropped and said that he would have guessed 3 months by the way we looked at each other and said Ian must have the magic touch. It's nice to be so in love that strangers can tell and feel the desire to comment on how in love you are.

Ian does have the magic touch, in case you were wondering.


Table people.


To try to reduce the crippling effects of "raisin toe" from spending so much time in the jacuzzi tub, we went into Playa Del Carmen for a couple of days. This dog was going too.


I was there!

We walked the length of 5th Avenue, which is the least exciting name for a major tourist destination ever. It was really fun though! The people watching was great and many of the stores had beautiful crap that I wanted to buy but didn't.


This picture is so I can remember to tell my brother I heard Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy With It" at the Tequila Barrel.


We stopped at this open air restaurant because I thought I heard parrots.


I found them! This birdie wanted to love me up.


And this one wanted to bite my finger off.


Our beach was pretty, but the beach in Playa was magnificent.


This little girl was furiously piling sand in her crotch.


There was much posing.


Dinner at a delicious restaurant and a pitcher of sangria!


I wanted to snorkle so we found a dive shop that led tours, but they were expensive and short. The second dive shop we tried didn't offer snorkeling, but when I asked him for a recommendation he told us to go to Akumal and said snorkeling was free there. He told us how to catch the collectivo, which is just a fleet of vans piled full of people that drive up and down Highway 307. It was cheap as hell and we felt very adventurous!

We stopped at the local Akumal grocery to buy Ian a hat and to get me an underwater camera. The difference between Americano Fud and Virgina Fud seems to be primarily the shape in which the fud is pressed and packaged.


Then the snorkeling! These were taken over three days, two in Akumal and one at our own beach in the resort. The good ones are all from Akumal though.

We swam with sea turtles! They are like beautiful underwater dinosaurs. I watched as this turtle was approached by another turtle at one point. They went nose to nose and then laid their necks next to each others briefly as if they were hugging hello, and then separated and proceeded to both continue eating sea grass as though it were the most everyday thing for sea turtles to hug.


I wanted to pet them so much but it's a felony and they could bite my face off.


My heart pounded like crazy when this one surfaced next to me to breathe and passed so close on the way back down to eat more grass. The yellow remoras on its belly detached as it swam up and then craftily reattached on way back down.


Visually pleasing Brain Coral.


After the trip I spent a lot of time on the internets researching the names of everything I took pictures of with more success than I anticipated. This one was funny because I googled "purple tipped anemone" and that is its exact name.


Pretty sting rays, but obviously not as fun as the ones we got to feed and cuddle on the cruise.


Sargeant Major fish!




That hungry dude and the ones below are Bermuda Chubs. The others are called Yellowtail Snappers. I would swim off to look at whatever else I wanted to see and turn around and there would be an entire school of them swimming directly at me. It was quite surreal.


This is a Juvenile Damselfish. So pretty!


I had so much fun looking these up! This is the Spotted Cow Fish. I chased him for a while to get this picture.


Here's a picture of someone who likes Spotted Cow Fish a whole lot.


This gorgeous lady is the Lunar Wrasse. I also chased her for a while. I am very floaty so if I want to swim down to take pictures of anything while snorkeling I have to blow out all the air in my lungs and do a kind of swim-sink process and then flounder back up before I explode or pass out.


Here's the internets version of her:

fishlunare wrasse

These are Blue Tangs. They're like Dory from Finding Nemo only blacker. That describes much of my secret googling process in this case.


I finally figured out the name of these fish! It was killing me because I saw them on the cruise last January and my search for their real name proved fruitless, but this year, success! Here we have the Gafftopsail Pompano. They swim like quicksilver.


If anyone can tell me what kind of fish this is, I will give them a cookie.


These were my absolute favorite, the Ballyhoo fish. My search for their name was proving difficult because I was certain that they were needlefish of some sort, and it was clear from the intarwebs that they are not because needlefish's mouths are long and pointed. These guys have long pointed faces but their mouth is a little lippy thing on the top part of their face above the pointy part. It was only through clicking a bunch of this list that I found them.


They swarmed me like adorable toothless sharks. Part of why they were so endearing is that because of their pointy chins, they have to fumble about to eat anything with their lippy little mouth.


Here's my fish story for the trip. You can't tell from my shitty picture below, but this fish was bigger than me. I know this because it was bigger than a sea turtle that swam past us that was also bigger than me. When this fish and I saw each other, I literally screamed into my snorkel and instinctually started trying to panic-swim backwards, which is harder than you'd think. It was generally uninterested by my shenanigans, and eventually turned to leave, so I could only get this shot and not a picture of his giant gaping face. After a lengthy internet search, I am 99 percent positive that it was a Jewfish or Giant Grouper.


They get to about 8 feet long and can weigh 600 pounds. Here's a picture of one sort of in the position of mine but with a diver for scale.


Here's sort of what his face looked like before he turned away:


Our last day we spent on our own beach, lounging and drinking apple martinis.


Ian started chatting up this couple when he noticed the gent's giant back tattoo.


It is the original German version of a piece of philosophical writing called "For Marcel Proust" by Theodor Adorno. In the English version it starts out with "The son of well-to-do parents who, whether out of talent or weakness, chooses a so-called intellectual occupation as an artist or scholar, has special difficulties with those who bear the distasteful title of colleagues."

Appropriate, considering that we found out when we got home and friended him on Facebook that our new friend is Carey Harrison, son of Rex Harrison. That's what you get for talking to strangers!

Since I was excited and didn't fully understand the conversion rate at the time, I spent approximately 45 dollars on postcards and postage to send to all of you. I am glad I took this picture because to my frustration, none of these have made it to the recipients. I imagine that in 6 months or a year, the asshole at the front desk of the resort that I handed them to will find them in a drawer and maybe toss them in the mail and by then they will be a time capsule of words I don't remember writing. I adore writing postcards but it's an exercise in letting go for me since I generally don't get to read them again and can't remember what I said, and that's hard for me. Here's to going outside my comfort zone.


I feel extremely lucky to be here lately. Thanks for reading about my vacation. You should take me out to lunch because I'm poor and I like food and I like you.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 13th, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC)
Did you go to the S&M hotel in Playa? I've also been snorkeling at Akumal, I'm not very good at snorkeling though. I hope to get a thong postcard in June.
Feb. 14th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
Re: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm pretty sure one of those were yours.
Feb. 13th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
these are wonderful
Feb. 15th, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks Chris! I love all of your links. They are super weird/fun.
Feb. 15th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
glad you enjoy!
Feb. 13th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
Screw lunch. We should go on vacation together!
Feb. 14th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
Indeed! Disney?
Feb. 13th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
Love the pics. Those are the skinniest raccoons I've ever seen!
Feb. 14th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks lady!
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
Great pics - we were hopeless on the picture-taking front so lovely to see these. xx Claire & Carey
Feb. 14th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Hey
So glad you liked them! It was great meeting you and we hope to see you again some day!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )