Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mexico, Vegas and LA

Well it's been a while since the last post. The internet in Mexico was very hit and miss, in Vegas it was very expensive and in LA we've been very busy.
When we crossed the border to Mexico our first stop was at the Mayan ruins in Palenque. They were a bit similar to the ones in Tikal, but different at the same time.

Then we had a bumpy bus journey to San Criostobal, literally. They have so many speed bumps in Mexico, it's crazy! San Criostobal was a lovely little town up in the highlands. There wasn't all that much to do there but it was a nice place just to wander around. It was freezing while we were there though. In that region of Mexico (Chiapas), the Mayan culture is still really alive. We went to visit a Mayan village called San Juan Chamula. It was nice to see that although they have kept there traditions, and in many ways live similarly to their ancestors, they're not stuck in the dark ages. The church in the village was really interesting. Technically the people would say they are Catholic, but they banished the priest a long time ago. They don't celebrate any masses in the church, instead it's like a communal place for prayer. They have some very un-Catholic prayer rituals that involve lighting different colour candles in different arrangments what they're praying for, hanging mirrors around the Saints necks', and sacrificing chickens!!! Unfortunately we couldn't take pictures in there but it was very different to any church I've ever seen.

From San Cristobal we headed to Puerto Escondido on the Pacific coast. It was 6 days of nothing but sun, sea and sand. We loved every minute of it. The weather was perfect and the beaches were spectacular.

Our last stop was Mexico City. After getting so lazy at the beach we didn't really do too much for our 2 days in the city. We stayed in the Old Quarter and really just spent most of our time strolling around there. We were amazed to find out that because Mexico city is built on land reclaimed from the lake, it's sinking rapidly. Some of the buildings would rival the Leaning Tower of Piza. A disaster waiting to happen!

Two flights later and we were in Vegas. It lived up to up to our expectations. It's like nowhere else in the world. In one day you can climb the Eiffel tower, see the Empire State Building and  ride a gondala through Venice!
We just about managed to get out to the Grand Canyon. Our flight was initially cancelled due to SNOW but it cleared up and we got a later flight. Once our 18 seater plane toucher down we were straight into a helicopter that brought us down to the canyon floor.

The views down there as we floated along the Colorado River were breathtaking. It's really spectacular. After the chopper took back up we had a bit of time to admire the views from up there too.

The next day we took a spin out to the Hoover Dam. That was amazing too, and even more so when you think about how it was made without the technology and modern tools we have nowadays.

We did manage to squeeze in a little bit of gambling. Had a little bit of luck at the start but of course put it all back into the slots. Well, it was only $20. It was crazy to see some of the amounts that some people were gambling ... and losing.

We flew to LA then and landed to lovely Irish weather. A perfect day to hit the mall!
Yesterday we went to Disneyland. We both loved it. Our favorite ride was definitely Thunder Mountain. We did it 3 times. Meeting Mickey Mouse was another highlight.

The parade was wonderful too, really magical and Christmassy.

And they had a brilliant fireworks show to top off the day.

Today we took a tour of Hollywood. Got to see the homes of some of the stars including J-Lo, Cher, Justin Timberlake, the Spelling Mansion and the Playboy Mansion (no bunnies in sight though.) We did the Walk of Fame too.

So it we haven't too long left now. Let's hope it won't be so hectic. Can't wait to see everyone.

Jan and Paul.

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