¡Viva México!

It’s been a while since we returned from Méx­i­co and I want­ed to post some of the pic­tures I took there much ear­li­er. But I’ve been busy and thus it took me quite a while to get them all on flickr (and also write a lit­tle some­thing about each of them). Now that they are com­plete, I’ve put them all togeth­er here again for your view­ing plea­sure.

Click on the images to see a full-size ver­sion.

Dur­ing our stay in Mex­i­co this July, Julia man­aged to get up ear­ly enough for sun­rise once, I did twice. We were both there for this one. (The one I got up for alone wasn’t that spec­tac­u­lar.) The rain clouds that were with us every now and then man­aged to cre­ate this crazy dif­fuse glow that basked every­thing in an orange haze. Absolute­ly awe­some. From the looks of it, it was rain­ing heav­i­ly about a mile or so north of us while we were clear to take an ear­ly morn­ing swim (at least Julia did…)

Mex­i­co does not only have very purrty sun­ris­es, but also some very nice sun­sets, as evi­denced by this panoram­ic view of the beach belong­ing to the con­fer­ence resort. We were actu­al­ly a wee bit late for the actu­al set­ting of the sun (we had to find a golf cart that would take us from the resort / pool area down to the beach), but this after­glow was at least equal­ly pho­to­genic…

Here is anoth­er shot from the day we went to the beach to see the sun rise over the Caribbean. In the fore­ground is one of the hotel pools, in the back­ground the sea. Heavy clouds are rolling in…

On a quite rainy day, we decid­ed to take the fer­ry to the island of Cozumel to do some snor­kel­ing and gen­er­al frol­ick­ing. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we missed our fer­ry by about 5 min­utes or so and had to wait almost 2 hours for the next one. We spent that try­ing not to get too wet. If you ever want to go snor­kel­ing on Cozumel, here’s two tips for you, free of charge: - Don’t take a tour in the boats that take off right at the fer­ry pier. They just dri­ve you around near the port area where you’ll share the water with three or four oth­er groups of peo­ple who had the same idea. - Put on sun­block, even if it’s cloudy. Or leave on your shirt in the water. I had the worst sun­burn ever, even though the sun nev­er real­ly came out. So, put on sun­block.

JSOVT(MB) is back with a Mex­i­can edi­tion. After the con­fer­ence we moved from the resort in Playa del Car­men to a more afford­able hotel in the Can­cún hotel row. Ini­tial­ly, we had a ter­ri­ble room with a view of the con­struc­tion site next door where they were build­ing a huge new hotel. After some com­plain­ing we even­tu­al­ly got a qui­eter room on the oth­er side of the hotel (we also got some mon­ey back after we com­plained some more to opo­do). Any­way, after get­ting there in the ear­ly after­noon, we took a stroll along the beach and found these cabanas which are just per­fect for spend­ing the day at the beach. Even though Julia’s more lying than sit­ting, I guess the image qual­i­fies for a JSOVT(MB)…

Anoth­er shot from our first beach stroll in Can­cún. The sun had already start­ed set­ting on the oth­er side of the hotel row and the beach was quite shad­owy. Would have been a per­fect moment to set up the exter­nal flash. Only that I don’t own one and Julia’s gen­er­al­ly a bit too impa­tient for these things…

Me lying in a ham­mock on the beach in front of the Le Meri­di­en hotel in Can­cún.

You can’t real­ly go to the Yucatán penin­su­la with­out vis­it­ing Chichén Itzá, one of the (new) sev­en won­ders of the world. After a lengthy (but pleas­ant) bus ride from Can­cún we were for­tu­nate to have heav­i­ly over­cast weath­er with occa­sion­al drops of rain, since it is usu­al­ly unbear­ably hot in July this far inland. Recent dig­ging revealed pre­vi­ous­ly hid­den ter­races right in front of the great pyra­mid, an area that is fenced off. Along this fence line are the only posi­tions from which you can take pic­tures of the pyra­mid with­out also hav­ing a whole bunch of peo­ple in the pic­ture. So I did.

I’ll admit the hotel isn’t that spec­tac­u­lar and may not nec­es­sar­i­ly war­rant being post­ed in my pho­to­stream, but I did get up ter­ri­bly ear­ly to shoot the sun­rise dur­ing which this pic­ture was tak­en. It is the elder­ly hotel in which we stayed dur­ing our vis­it to Can­cún. What you don’t see is the con­struc­tion site of a huge hotel on the oth­er side of the build­ing. Ini­tial­ly, we had a room towards the con­struc­tion, which was ter­ri­bly loud very ear­ly in the morn­ing. But after some com­plain­ing we got a bet­ter one on the oth­er side. So at least we could sleep late (unless I got up ear­ly to shoot the sun­rise).

Unlike just a few years ago, most of the ruins at the Chichén Itzá site are off-lim­its for tourists nowa­days. You used to be able to climb right to the top of the pyra­mid if you were fit enough to do that (prob­a­bly not an easy feat in the jun­gle heat there). Today most of the ruins are fenced off and may not be entered. But here and there are a few pil­lars and walls, rem­nants of old tem­ples, that are more acces­si­ble. Can you find Julia in the pic­ture?

The first few igua­nas we saw in Tulum, MX were awe­some, nov­el, and inter­est­ing. Had to pho­to­graph each one of them. But when we noticed that hun­dreds of them made their home in the old Mayan ruins, the nov­el­ty quick­ly gave way to mere recog­ni­zance of their exis­tence… Any­way, every now and then one of them would let me get very close for a por­trait shot before slow­ly run­ning away anoth­er meter or so. Mr. Igua­na here is one of the big­ger ones.

This is a part of the Mayan ruins in Tulum, which was the only Mayan city to be locat­ed at a coast (instead of deep with­in the jun­gle). The struc­tures seen here helped the Mayas fig­ure out when the var­i­ous sea­sons start­ed – depend­ing on where their shad­ows fell. The thing in the cen­ter is sup­posed to have been the tem­ple. Even though we were there pret­ty ear­ly and it was only part­ly sun­ny, tem­per­a­tures soon climbed beyond 30°C with around 120% (felt) humid­i­ty. I couldn’t drink the water we brought as fast as I was sweat­ing it out.

This is what we saw com­ing into Mex­i­co from Atlanta. Fore­bod­ings of a rainy week. Awe­some clouds, though, at least from above. I always feel kin­da guilty when pulling out my cam­era on a plane, since car­ri­ers are so picky with elec­tron­ic equip­ment being turned on in flight. But I’m proud to say that no plane has crashed yet because of me turn­ing my cam­era on. Most of the time pic­tures tak­en from a plane suck any­ways. Espe­cial­ly mine. But this one is pret­ty okay, just couldn’t miss the chance to con­tribute more to the “Cloud­porn” group…

View from behind the main tem­ple in the Mayan ruins of Tulum. It is sup­pos­ed­ly the only Mayan city that was built right at the coast (instead of some­where in the jun­gle), and I can under­stand why. Spec­tac­u­lar view. I assume the stairs are not of Mayan ori­gin, though. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, you can’t see in the pic­ture how hot it was on that day…

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