Dec 31, 2007

Chrissy + Andrew

The wedding was in Tulum, simply gorgeous. Chrissy is my closest friend to get married, so it was a bit emotional, but mostly just a fun and joyous event! The view from the wedding venue. Sunset wedding vows.
Kelly before...

and after (15 minutes later)....
Aly and photo-loving Andrew.Steph and Aaron breaking it down.
Happy and sweaty. Late night photo of the bride and groom, Chrissy still looking beautiful!

Dec 15, 2007

Partyin down in Playa

Chrissy, my friend of 16 years, got married in Mexico (which is why we were there again this December), so from Holbox we headed down to Playa del Carmen to meet up with friends before the wedding in Tulum. Chrissy's brother Marky stayed buried in the sand for at least an hour, he was just hanging out as usual:
Chrissy's team went out one night to a 'Swedish-Thai' fusion restaurant, in Mexico; I was dubious, but it was really wonderful. The girls all ordered these ridiculous blueberry margaritas. I stuck to my new favorite drink: Caipirinha, Brazil's "national cocktail". WHAT? Do we have a national cocktail? The name is based on the word caipira which is equivalent to "hillbilly". It's delicious - crushed limes, sugar and rum. (Traditionally, cachaça instead of rum.)
As we left the restaurant, we went to find Andrew's team, which was of course quite drunk. While Steph and Mike and I were loitering outside on the street, this Mexican guy came up selling these cool grasshoppers made out of leaves. I just had to get one (10 pesos, totally worth it). Mike named him Pepe. From that point on, Steph and I turned the night into a Pepe photo shoot - Pepe on the bike seat, Pepe on the disco ball, Pepe drinking a beer... you had to be there I guess.
With such a big (and intoxicated) group, we had a difficult time deciding where to go. We ended up at this boutique hotel called Basico, with a rooftop bar and hammocks. It would have been cool if it didn't seem to be trying so hard to be cool. Plus, one cerveza was $8. We hightailed it out of there after the bill for round 1 arrived. I thought this photo turned out kinda cool - Aly is swinging Nancy on the hammock. Someone said it looked like a picture of Nancy's soul. spooky.

Dec 12, 2007

Black Hole Sun

Isla Holbox. I hesitate to write about it because you three will all swarm there on vacation, thereby ruining the most attractive aspect of this island - very few tourists. Holbox evidently means "black hole" in the Mayan language, which might be attributed to cenotes (sinkholes in the limestone) - otherwise it has no obvious link to anything we saw. A 3-hr bus ride from Cancun brings you to Chiquila, and from there you take a 25 min. ferry to Holbox. The whole trip costs $11.
The island is 25 km x 1 km, although only a few sq km on the NE corner are inhabited. It is so beautiful and peaceful!! The streets are made of sand, so transport is by golf carts ("hol-cars"), bikes, or piedras.

It's basically a chill and somewhat sleepy fishing village. The kids build sand structures in the middle of the street. Everyone knows everyone, and it's great to see them greeting each other all the time. There are tons of dogs around, most of them descendants of chihuahuas. We saw one woman at a shop greet a dog visitor "Mi Amor!" Check out the little guy napping in the taxi:

Perfect weather, water, waves, white sand, sunsets, seashells, walks, hammocks... we did a lot of just laying around reading.

There are quite a few Italian immigrants on Isla Holbox, Joceline is one, she owns the cute little Cafe Azul, with good food and music. Plenty of other Italians came in to visit her while we were there, stopping in to hang out, smoke cigarettes, drink cappucinos...

We met a super cool couple, Kai and Kirsten from Köln, Germany on the first night at this beachside bar, and we hung out with them every night - same time, same place - thereafter. The bar, about 10m from the water and with swing seats, attracted an interesting mix of tourists and locals.

There was a german shephard that adopted our friends, it was really funny b/c the dog just followed them everywhere and would even wait at the bottom of the stairs or outside a restaurant for them. Mike didn't want me petting the dog so that he wouldn't follow us, but I assured him we were safe b/c we weren't German.

Dec 10, 2007

Who needs a heater in December?

Well our trip to mexico began with a broken heater. Mike was trying to fix it all day and about two hours before Natalie picked us up to go to the airport, he had a brainstorm - what if there's ice blocking the oil from coming out of the tank!? So we're out there around 10 pm, me with a hair dryer pointed at the heater nozzle, Mike with a screwdriver stabbing at the ice chunk in the tank... Just as Mike says "there's no f*ing way we're going to break this", the screwdriver stabs through, oil starts spraying out of the heater, splashing me and Mike, pouring all over the ground. I was excitedly trying to close the valve (first turning the wrong way), while both of us yelled and screamed. We got it closed, but then couldn't reattach the copper tubing b/c it turns out you need a special copper tubing flarer tool. Our dear friend Dan Naber came by to fix it the following morning, we owe him big time.

With that excitement, we showered up, packed in a hurry and were on our way. Fairbanks - Seattle - Cancun. Really easy flight for how far Mexico is! Our first night we stayed in Cancun near the bus station at the coolest "eco-tel" - El Rey del Caribe, an oasis of tranquility in El Centro. This place is really neat, solar power, low-flush toilet (uses almost no water and still very clean!), your key is attached to a key for the AC so you can't leave it on when you're gone... brilliant. We awoke to a gorgeously sunny day in the tropics. We had a heck of a time calling Alaska (seems the Telmex card doesn't work for AK?), and ended up using the hotel phone to call Dan. It seemed strange to worry about a heater when it was 85 degrees outside.

Dec 9, 2007

trek to tolovana

I was in the checkout line at Freddys buying food for Tolovana, and noticed this!

Tolovana is a 'remote hot springs' destination, privately owned with 3 cabins on the property. It's a two-hour dirve, and an 11-mile ski each way, and the difficulty is highly dependent on the weather. On the first day of this year (2007), Ted and I headed out there to meet up with friends and we were pelted the whole way with snow and wind, in -15* or so temperatures. It was a bit brutal, and Ted nearly froze his face off. Literally. On the dome, I noticed two large white patches on his cheek and nose, which he couldn't feel and to me felt like cardboard. We covered them up just in time and although the spots later turned purple, no major frostbite.

This trip was much more chill. Thankfully, because it was Natalie's first time out there. The snow was marginal, as you can see from the photo, and Nat took a few wipeouts, but she was cheery the whole way.

These two look more like they are at a KGB meeting than a ski cabin. Maybe a KGB meeting in a ski cabin!?:

a man and his dog. Dan and Skye:

Here's Mike on the way to the tubs:

Ed and Mike in the old bathtub found next to the actual hot tubs: