Mexico - Xplor, Chichen and Ek Balam

A A few typical scenes from our trip - a restroom stop and a deep sea fishing dock. Below is a nature park called Xplor which is famous for its huge underground caves and ziplines. You can see Mary and Corey on a little jeep ride. Below is also a photo of one of ten towers that were connected in a series of zip lines that we went on. The zip lines thrilled Scott but scared me half to death. But I completed the whole course, except the last zipline that ended up in water. At the beginning of that one, I told the kid I had a stomach ache and he let me walk down a path instead of zipping into the pool below.

On day five of the trip, we were all together - for our all-day-long tour to the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza and Ek Balam. We found a tour guide through a friend of a friend - his name was Lemuel, and he was wonderful in his knowledge and personality. We had such an interesting day seeing the ancient temples, walls and other excavated treasures. The photo above is the only photo I have of the six brothers and sisters together. From youngest to oldest - Mary, Patty, Jill, Scott, Sue, and Spence. They're really cute together and very sweet with each other - and constantly joking. At one point I said, "I've never hear so much banter."

After three hot hours at Chichen Itza (not that hot actually), we piled back into the 12-passenger van and Lemuel drove us to a place for lunch that had a buffet meal and a cenote for swimming. A cenote is a sink hole that is filled with water from an underground river. You can see Scott (in his wetsuit) and Mary up on the ledge about to jump off. I went up to the ledge with them and even ran to the edge like I was going to jump, but then chickened out and walked back down the stairs and jumped in from the bank. It was cold at first, but then refreshing as Lemuel had promised. We only had about a half hour to swim and then had to get dressed and back into the van to go to another ruin site called Ek Balam.

Finally we got to climb to the top of a temple. I think our whole group made it to the top except Sue. Even Melanie with her bionic knees made the climb. We saw beautiful rock carvings and wall art under the thatched overhangs. This ruin was only discovered and excavated in the past ten years. It had been completely covered with earth and trees.

You can see for miles from the top - not a mountain or hill in sight - just an expanse of jungle. There are towns, roads and more ruins out there, but you can barely see them for the thick trees. I loved Ek Balam because of the calm atmosphere - not many tourists, no vendors or souvenir booths, and beautiful green grass everywhere.

Scott always has to take the window seat so he can get his photos as the plane takes off. This is the beautiful beach in Cancun - a city which is celebrating its 40th birthday this month. It is a modern-built city only 40 years old. Along the beach are hundreds of beautiful hotels and resorts.