You Get to Have a Say!

Andrea and I are having a bit of a tough time choosing which picture to have enlarged, framed and hung in our home.  We decided to see what everyone else’s opinion is.  To vote, just comment and tell us which one you think is best and why!  We will tally everything up at the end of the week.

A–Tropical Oasis

B–Turquoise Water and White Cliffs


D–The Watchtower


Well, here is our little video from our trip to Mexico.  This is the first time I have done anything like this, so bear with me!  Actually, it was a lot of fun putting it together.  Overall, I am happy with how it turned out.  I hope everyone enjoys it!

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The direct link, where you can view this in full screen, is here

I apologize for those of you with dial-up, and some internet filters that may block this.  We are having a few people over for dinner this Friday night, if you would like to come eat and then watch this.  Don’t worry about the driving distance!

Back from the Yucatan Peninsula/ New Jersey/ Washington DC

Yes, we are home, alive, and very well.  We had a vacation that was far better than we could have ever imagined in Mexico.  Right now, I am kind of scripting out our video of the vacation.  We figured it could “capture the moment” we had, without having to post a thousand pictures (that’s about how many we took!) and telling a bunch of stories.  So that is my little project for now…

We got home Thursday evening at about 10:00pm in the evening.  We had a nice American “midnight snack” that night just as we were getting back from Sheetz, a Pennsylvania convenience store chain.  I had a “Dustin Special,” as my wife (or parents) might call it.  Now, please don’t be grossed out by this–its a toasted white bread sub with pepperoni as the main meat; then Buffalo sauce, Parmesan cheese, pickles, salt, pepper, oregano, and lettuce to top it off.  Strange, huh?  At least Andrea and my parents understand me…

I look back at our little goals and am amazed by how many we were able to get accomplished in Tulum:

  • Snorkel in the coral reef ✓

Snorkel we did!  We were out for about an hour 1/4 of a mile out from the shore.  I think we saw a jellyfish too–or at least it looked like one.  We never figured out if it was a plastic grocery bag or jellyfish.  I didn’t really care to find out.

  • Swim in a cenote ✓

This is one of the most fun and interesting things I can remember doing in my life.  The water was SO clear, and it was neat to snorkel and look at all of the stalactites far beneath us.

  • Take more pictures than I can count ✓

To be honest, I can count them–937 to be exact, plus several short videos.

  • Spend a lot of time at the Mayan ruins in Tulum ✓

They were simply amazing to look at.  The backdrop for the ancient ruins is spectacular!

  • Learn more Spanish ✓

I actually learned a lot of new Spanish words, and a few Mayan words too.  About a third of the population of the state of Quintana Roo still speaks Mayan fluently!

  • Learn to like Mexican food more than I do ✓

I have always had a problem with corn tortillas.  I never had a good taste for them.  However, for this trip, I tried to make myself like them more, and believe it or not, I did!  We had tacos from a restaurant on five or so different occasions, and each time I had a corn tortilla and really liked it!  Although the last night or our stay I had something called a gringa, which is a basically a quesadilla with a flour tortilla–one of my favorite foods of the trip!

  • Visit an indigenous Mexican church ✓

Well, we sort of did.  Truthfully there is not even a Baptist church in Tulum, or even anything close.  We saw an LDS temple, the usual Catholic church, and several Pentecostal-type churches.  One evening while we were biking, we came across a literal church built out of sticks (very typical in that part of the country: for houses and buildings to be built out of sticks and a palapa roof).  We gazed in for several minutes into the semi-open air service.  We found out soon that it was a non-denominational church with a Pentecostal flare, unfortunately.  It was interesting to see they are in some sort of church service though.

Until I finish the video within the next several weeks, I thought I might wet the palette a bit with this picture of the Tulum ruins that Andrea took.  It was very hard to take a bad picture here!  We’re actually talking about having this one enlarged to hang on our wall.

You may ask why the title of this post says “Washington DC” in it.  Well, we had a choice of taking a flight to Baltimore (where our car was) or Washington National Airport (about an hour away from our car).  The problem is that I could not fly into Baltimore because that would have put us at home three days later instead of just two.  So, I chose Washington.  The problem was when we got there–the blizzard still had all of the public transportation shut down!  I mean all–no buses, subway, or anything.  So, we had to take a taxi to Baltimore instead.  It was kind of a pain finance wise, but turned out a whole lot better than it could have been.  Someone told us that DC taxis were the cheapest on the East Coast.  Here is what my car looked like when we got to Baltimore:

We dug it out in about 15 minutes, and were home two hours after landing in DC, praise the Lord.  What a memorable adventure just getting home from Mexico!

In Response to Your Inquiries…

…I found a few moments to spare you all from my biking, swimming, cenote snorkelling, AND TACO EATING!  (And yes, Marcia, the food is DELICIOUS!)

We are having a great time!  So far we have seen the beaches of Soliman Point and Soliman Bay; browsed through the pueblo of Tulum; seen the incredible Mayan ruins at Coba (which was a great day, and quite a change as Coba was a quiet little ranch town, and very traditionally Mayan); and then today we swimmed and snorkelled in the Gran Cenote (Freshwater sinkholes…like caves below the ground that are also waterways).

Some highlights would be Coba where we saw Mayan pyramids, and many current area houses constructed of stick walls and palm leave roofs…called palapas.  This seems to be the style of construction here in southern Mexico…very interesting.  Also many ladies are seen in the white cotton and bright flowery dresses…just going about their daily duties –again seems to be part of the culture down here.  (It is quite different here in the Yucatan than in other areas of Mexico.)  We ate lunch at a loncheria (“lunch”-eria!!) and had Mayan chicken tacos.  They were shredded chicken seasoned with red tomato and spices then covered in cheese.  The salsa served was fresh chopped red tomatoes and onion, lime juice, and diced habanero peppers.  Dustin and I both liked the salsa very much!

Then today, we swam for the first time ever in a Cenote.  It was beautiful.  I was a bit leery of snorkeling far back into the cave openings, but once I got my goggles on and saw in the crystal clear water, there were no worries!  God’s Creation is breath-taking above and below ground; in the outside air, and below the water’s surface!  After biking back into town, we ate some lunch at Subway –yes, there is Subway in the Yucatan Peninsula, though no other American fast food here in Tulum pueblo!  And this evening we plan to head out for some great tacos…might venture out for some seafood tacos!

All in all, we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves, and look forward to sharing more as the next few days pass by!  Oh, and I am soooo sorry not to be there for the huge snow blizzard…I guess you cannot have your (canned) cake and eat it too!  Please do a lot of sledding for me, Marcia!

Dustin and I at the Blue Sky Restaurant...even in Mexico, Dustin found a place that serves Brick Oven Pizza!