Friday, October 31, 2014

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Q. ROO: Sunshine, Zumba, Savory Food, Caribbean Sea, Sculpture, and More!

PORTAL MAYA BRONZE SCULPTURE

PLENTY OF ACTION IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN IN THE MAYAN RIVIERA

     We enjoyed several afternoon and evening trips to Playa del Carmen, about a 15 minute drive from Paamul. The city had recently unveiled a beautiful bronze sculpture, Portal Maya (Mayan Gateway), at the main entrance to the beach near the ferry dock. The monument is stunning, reaching over 50 feet high above the beach with the Caribbean Sea in the background. The Mayan sculpture portrays a man and a woman, being pushed upwards by a spiral of wind and water, and holding hands. The sculpture includes depictions of other Mayan symbols including a jaguar, shells, and two rings from the Mayan ball game.
     Alux  Caverna Restaurant and Bar: Dine in a unique restaurant in a natural cavern. The food was good, the prices high, the ambience was amazing! Candles lit stalactites hanging from the ceiling in every room and stalagmites still growing on the floor from steady water drips above. There was no doubt that this was a natural cave (La Cava). After dinner, we took the
STAIRCASE INTO ALUX RESTAURANT
tour through the many rooms of the cave, each one romantically set to be used for dinner. Of course, we had to have our photograph taken with the “Maya Warrior” in full costume and body paint. We were very glad we had stumbled onto this beautiful, unique restaurant and bar.

     I attended Zumba class with Margarita Garcia Loaiza at the "Z y Son Studio". The interior of the dance/exercise studio was decorated with bright colors and lighting that set the mood of being at a party. When Margarita started the music, turned down the overhead lights and turned on the disco ball light, I could feel that it was time to "Join the Party!" (The Zumba motto is "Ditch the Workout, Join the Party!"). Zumba with Margarita was a fun workout! Read more about Zumba with Margarita in my article dated 3/25/14 at www.ZumbaMexico.blogspot.com.
     We only had enough time in Playa del Carmen to get a taste of the fun activities happening in this Caribbean town in the Mayan Riviera! There is so much more that we didn't have time to explore. Next time....


JON WITH MAYAN WARRIOR AT ALUX
BAR & MAIN DINING AREA IN ALUX CAVERN




















MAYAN WARRIOR HOLDS TERRY FOR RANSOM
ROMANTIC DINING IN THE ALUX CAVERN


















AFTER ZUMBA CLASS WITH MARGARITA




TERRY WITH ZUMBA INSTRUCTOR, MARGARITA

















MORE ABOUT THE MAYAN RIVIERA & PLAYA DEL CARMEN IN MY BOOK DUE  IN DEC. 2014!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PAAMUL, QUINTANA ROO: A beautiful place to visit or to retire!

Paamul, A Unique Community for Relaxation...


Jon Relaxes By the Paamul Pool
     What in the world is Paamul? Paamul is one of the most unique communities of Expats and snowbirds that we have discovered in Mexico. Some describe it as a “Trailer Park”, but that’s when they want it to sound like a place to avoid. Some describe Paamul as a pristine tropical paradise; that’s when they want to sell you property in this development. I would describe it as a large group of RV’s that have been transformed into homes by the stylish addition of walls, palapas (palm roofs), doors, windows, and beautiful gardens. At least, that is how Paamul began, as a place for snowbirds to spend the winter and expats to retire. It has become a resort with a hotel, homes, and RV Park set on a gorgeous white-sand and coral beach on the Caribbean Sea just 15 minutes from the city of Playa del Carmen in the Mayan Riviera of Quintana Roo. It offers the following amenities: A good restaurant overlooking the bay, a very nice, well
Swimming and Snorkeling at Paamul
maintained swimming pool, dive shop, massage and nail services in an enclosed
palapa, mini-supermarket, Internet, Laundromat, and 24/7 on site security. Many gringos fly in for vacation or to stay the winter. Others drive to Paamul in their cars or RVs. Mexicans also vacation here, usually staying in the hotel rooms.

     I have wanted to visit this community from the time I saw photos on the internet of these darling little RV/Houses. Then I discovered the website for selling houses in Paamul. What an interesting idea: a way for Americans and Canadians to “own” a 2 bedroom, 1 ½ bath, fully furnished home on the Caribbean Sea for prices as low as $58,900. The owner actually owns the home itself, not the plot of land, and pays an annual RV space rental amount, much like living in “Trailer Parks” in the U.S. I’m not promoting real estate sales in this area when I tell you that you might want to take a look at the Mayan Mansion website to get an idea of what these RV/Houses look like
One of Many RV/Houses in Paamul
and the price ranges. I just find it very interesting! The website address is: 
www.mayanmansions.com , then click on Paamul for current listings.
Paamul RV/Home "For Sale"















Paamul Bay on the Caribbean


Prime Paamul Real Estate on the Beach

Jon and Bella on a Walk Down Paamul Beach

Paamul Restaurant...On and Off the Beach!
Our RV Home in Paamul




This RV/Home Was "For Sale"
Darling Paamul RV/Home
View Out Our RV Window-Bananas Growing!












































































More About Paamul in My Book on Amazon.com Soon!
Terry L. Turrell, Author

Saturday, October 25, 2014

UXMAL, YUCATAN: Maya Pyramid and Amazing Light Show

JON AND TERRY IN UXMAL, YUCATAN
UXMAL, A MAGNIFICENT MAYA CITY ON THE YUCATAN PENINSULA
     Uxmal is an important archaeological site in the Maya world. It was discovered in a good state of preservation and has been carefully studied and restored. It is representative of the region’s main style of architecture prior to the Spanish Invasion. The city of Uxmal was built around 900 AD when it was the capital of the Maya state. The largest and most impressive buildings are the Pyramid of the Magician and the Governor’s Palace.
      We were very glad that we hired an English speaking tour guide to give us a private tour around the grounds. He was extremely knowledgeable about Maya symbols in the architecture, so he was able to point out details we would have never seen and
explained their meaning. He showed us the symbolic sculptures of Chaac, the
god of rain, explaining that life revolved around rain and its importance in
THE PYRAMID OF THE MAGICIAN
growing their crops of corn. Some of the other engraved symbols included entwined snakes, two headed snakes, feathered serpents with open fangs, two-headed jaguars, turtles, the Maya symbol for infinity, a circular depiction of a snake with his head to his tail, and many other carvings in the limestone depicting Maya homes and life. Our guide also pointed out the significance of the design and positioning of each building in relation to the stars and the sun. The Maya studied astrology and incorporated it into their daily life. The Maya Calendar, based on astrology, is still considered the most sophisticated calendar ever created, important to them for the timing of planting and harvesting the crops of corn.

     One of the highlights of our day at Uxmal was the evening light show. After sunset, we gathered with hundreds of other
UXMAL PYRAMID FROM THE SIDE
tourists from all over the world. Most everyone settled into chairs lined up atop a long, level Maya building overlooking the ceremonial center of the city. A few courageous young people sat below us on the steep stone steps leading down to the central field. The full moon was rising that night as the music started playing from speakers discreetly positioned in the buildings at each end of the ceremonial field, giving the entire experience a surreal feel. Soon, colored lights were shown on the Pyramid of the Magician and the other buildings in our view. A sound show with music and Spanish narration of a story of Maya life was accompanied by the elaborate light show. The vivid lights changed in time to the music, highlighting significant architectural symbols on the buildings. This is one event that is impossible to describe with words.

CRYSTAL CLEAR AIR AT UXMAL

JON CLIMBING DOWN LOOKS MINIATURE


















LIGHTING EMPHASIZED THE CARVINGS

UXMAL HAD A SURREAL APPEARANCE




















THE SERPENT CARVING IS HIGHLIGHTED

FULL MOON RISING OVER UXMAL

ISLA AGUADA, CAMPECHE: A Tour of this "Island" Town

CAMPING ON THE SHORES OF AN "ISLAND"

Lighthouses, White Sand Beaches, Shell Island Boat Tours, Sunshine and Relaxation

     On our journey toward the Yucatán Peninsula, we wanted to stay on the Gulf of Mexico, simply because we love the beach, the ocean, the seabirds, and the sunsets over the water. Isla Aguada was a good place to spend a few days, camping at the very nice Freedom Shores RV Park. We were able to pull our motorhome up on a level concrete pad constructed to U.S. Standards, and have the front of the rig nosed right up to the white sand and seashell beach. We spent plenty of time sitting in our beach chairs under the shade of the well cared for palm trees, listening to the gentle lapping of the waves against the sand, and reading our Kindles in this peaceful place. Freedom Shores RV Park was a very nice place to relax for a few days.
CAMPING AT FREEDOM SHORES RV PARK
WE LOVE WATCHING THE PELICANS!


















NEW LIGHTHOUSE AT FARO MUSEUM


WE CLIMBED THE 100 FT. HIGH  LIGHTHOUSE (FARO)
VIEW OF THE GARDEN FROM 100' UP
WE RODE IN AN ISLA AGUADA TAXI TO DINNER
MUELLE TOURISTA -TOURIST WHARF ENTRANCE
BOAT RIDES TO SHELL ISLAND HERE
Terry L. Turrell, Author
MORE ABOUT ISLA AGUADA IN MY UPCOMING BOOK!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

CHOLULA, PUEBLA: A Walking Tour of the Great Pyramid of Cholula

THE GREAT PYRAMID OF CHOLULA

THE GREAT PYRAMID OF CHOLULA - INSIDE, OUTSIDE, AND ALL AROUND

     Cholula is a Pueblo Mágico, a town with beauty, historical relevance, and an amazing archaeological zone. We spent an afternoon touring the Great Pyramid of Cholula, both the interior and outside. The Pyramid is located in the San Andrés Cholula, Puebla municipality, an important detail when trying to locate it the first time. From a distance it looks like a large natural hill with the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios sanctuary and its numerous churches perched on top. The history of the construction of the pyramid itself spans over a period of at least one thousand years prior to the Spanish Conquest. Consecutive construction phases gradually built up the bulk of the pyramid until it became the largest in Mexico by volume. The temple-pyramid complex was built in four stages, beginning around 200 BC. and was already covered by dirt by the time Cortez arrived in Cholula in 1519 AD, 1700 years later. This was one ancient temple he did not destroy in order to build his own monuments. In 1594, the Spanish simply built a church, La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, on top of what they thought was a natural hill. It has a base of
 La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora Church
450 by 450 metres (1,480 by 1,480 ft) and a height of 66 m (217 ft). According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest pyramid as well as the largest monument ever constructed anywhere in the world, with a total volume estimated at over 4.45 million cubic metres,
     We climbed the many steps to the top of The Great Pyramid and really felt the effect of the 7000 foot altitude on our lungs and on our stamina. My "Fitbit" pedometer told me that we climbed the equivalent of 20 stories to get to the level where this beautiful Catholic Church was built! 
     We then purchased a ticket at the ticket booth at the base of the pyramid to take a self-guided tour through the tunnels and stairways within the ancient structure. It was fascinating, imagining people 2200 years ago, carving out the soil and rock to form miles and miles of walkways, stairways, and chambers under the ground. English-speaking guides were available to take us through for a fee, but we did not think it was necessary. We probably would have learned a lot more by hiring a guide and would recommend it to others.
Jon Climbing The Many Steps Up The Pyramid
Finally, Reaching The Top of the Pyramid!


















A View From The Top - Another Pyramid Hill!

 Front Of La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora



















A Passage Inside the Great Pyramid of Cholula
Church on the Pyramid Was Beautiful at Night!

A Stairway Inside the Great Pyramid of Cholula
Pyramid Behind Ciudad Sagrada Restaurant
Dinner at Ciudad Sagrada, Pyramid Behind Us
MORE ABOUT CHOLULA IN MY UPCOMING BOOK!