Western Caribbean 2019:
Day 5 - Chichén Itzá, Mexico


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Western Caribbean 2019: [Day 1 - Great River Road] [Day 2 - New Orleans] [Day 3 - New Orleans Sailout] [Day 4 - At Sea] [Day 5 - Chichén Itzá, Mexico] [Day 6 - Roatán, Honduras] [Day 7 - Harvest Caye, Belize] [Day 8 - At Sea] [Day 9 - Costa Maya, Mexico] [Day 10 - Drive Home]

Tuesday, November 19, 2019: We were up and in the Garden Cafe by 7:00 as we were docking in Cozumel. We could see ships further down the coast, but we were the only ship at this dock.
Mmmm, breakfast.
There's the pier at Playa del Carmen.
We got in a very long line for our shore excursion. It seemed like half the ship needed to get on the ferry going to the mainland.
Fifteen minutes later, we were boarding the ferry.
We opted to sit outdoors on the upper deck of the ferry.
As the ferry was leaving, we got a photo of our room. It's right up there on the top deck of cabins, ...
... the very last cabin on the left of the section that sticks out.
Here's the Norwegian Getaway in all of her glory.
MSC Meraviglia, Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas, and Carnival Fantasy were already in port, ......
... while Carnival Freedom was approaching in the distance.
Within minutes, we were approached by our first vendor peddling water and souvenirs.
It's a 45-minute crossing from Cozumel to Punta Langosta Pier on the mainland.
Everyone on the ferry flooded onto the pier, ...
... and into a shopping center where we were grouped with our tour guides.
These tree decorations were pretty cool.
Our tour guide, JJ, led us out of the shopping center through the streets of San Miguel.
This drain cover has Quintana Roo written on it. Quintana Roo is the name of the Mexican state we were in.
Here's a cool mural.
We arrived at the excursion headquarters, ...
... picked up a sack lunch each, ...
... visited the bathroom if we needed (we didn't - yay for ferry restrooms!), ...
... and got loaded up on a bus.
Shortly after 9:30, we were on our way. This bus was much prettier than ours, ...
... and so was this one.
We just missed getting a good picture of a McDonald's. Dumb luck!
The colorful murals under the highway included a painting of Chichén Itzá, which was our destination for the day.
This mural contained some skeletons.
One of the features of the tour is that each guest got a tablet with additional information on our destination. We opened it and took a look as our tour guide told us about it, but we opted not to bring it along once we arrived.
We were definitely getting into an area that relies heavily on Chichén Itzá tourism.
Our guide passed around a chain he wore which had his name, Jose, written in Mayan characters. Shortly afterward, he let us know that we could have these made for ourselves if we wanted. We had seen this same sales tactic when we visited the Pyramids at Giza.
We expected that we'd be traveling on backroads through the jungle to get to the Mayan ruins, but instead, we were on a well-maintained toll-based highway.
We had a nice, long drive ahead of us, so we peeked at our sack lunches.
We got a juice box, fruit bar, chips, apple, sandwich, condiments, and mints.
Our tour guide told us all about the Mayan number/date system and all about how we could order our own colorful sheet with any important date on it.
Here's the scenery as viewed through the bus window.
Only 14 km to this pyramid-y thingie!
Just one more toll booth and we were almost at our destination.
We drove through the town of Pisté and spotted this clinical laboratory. They are always interesting to see in foreign countries if you ever worked on laboratory software, which both of us have.
Images of the Chichén Itzá temple are everywhere, including on this store sign.
Get your Pollo Mexicano right here! Don't know what that is? They've conveniently translated it for you.
Here's the Hotel Chichén Itzá, complete with pyramid-shaped logo.
In just a few more minutes, we arrived at Chichén Itzá, billed as Maravilla Del Mundo (Wonder of the World).
As our van pulled up to drop us off, vendors with stacks of hats on their heads swarmed us.
But we pushed past and were inside before noon.
Vendors lined the paths into the site.
We had less than an hour to spend here so we hustled on by, which was just the way we like it.
We stopped just outside of a large rest area, ...
... near a sign noting that the Pre-Hispanic City of Chichén Itzá is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While everyone else got in line for the bathroom, Debbie got the perfect shot of El Castillo (Temple of Kukulkan), which is probably the most famous step-pyramid in the world.
With the pressure off of her to get the perfect shot, she was more than happy to wait in line for the bathroom.
Our guide showed us some things on his tablet while we waited for everyone to gather, ...
... then we were off. Each of us had radios and ear pieces so we were able to hear our guide very well. We were happy that we didn't end up needing any bug spray, even in the shade.
Here's a closer look at the top of El Castillo.
Structures were spread out around the property. We'd be visiting each of them. Here's one, ...
... and another, ...
... and another.
We went around the corner of El Castillo, and all around it, ...
.. groups were clapping their hands at the pyramid.
The sound travelled back to us completely distorted, which was an interesting effect.
The base of the stairs feature carvings of a plumed serpent, Kukulkan.
There's another impressive structure further back that we didn't have time to explore. It's called Templo do los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors).
This area had been excavated ...
... and our guide told us lots about it, ...
... and about the carvings that have been uncovered, ...
... but really, who can pay attention when there are lizards around?
Here's a handsome fellow.
Debbie waited patiently for that one dude on the left to get out of her picture, but he just wouldn't budge. Yes, sir, right in front of the famous structure is the place to sit and play on your phone while you wait for your wife. Good call, dude.
We passed more vendor tables on our way to the next stop, ...
... but the really interesting thing to see was this hanging nest in a tree.
This is the Tomb of the Chac-mool, also known as the Venus Platform.
Here are some unidentified stone thingies.
This is the Platform of Eagles and Jaguars.
Nearby was the Platform of the Skulls. It was a long wall with skull carvings.
Here's another look.
We headed toward the huge Ball Court, which features Templo Norte at one end.
This is Juego de Palota, the Ball Court.
Here's one of the walls, ...
... and here's a closer look at the top of that wall..
Here is the view from the other end.
We're pretty sure that this older gentleman's much younger companion was a rental based on how they interacted. This is the second time we've knowingly seen this scenario on a vacation.
We headed back down the boulevard of vendors, ...
... stood in line for the restrooms in the visitor center one last time, ...
... and got on the bus just before 1:00 PM. Our bus driver passed out bottles of Coke and even though we only drink Diet Coke these days, those bottles were the most delicious, refreshing drink ever after an hour in the heat.
Now, there's a bus to envy!
Back in Pisté, school had just let out and parents were busy picking up their kids and walking them home.
Here's a colorful display, ...
... and another one.
On the toll road, we passed interesting woven things hanging over the road. Were they protecting wires within? Or were they bridges for wildlife to climb on to cross the road?
Back in San Miguel, we passed another clinical laboratory.
This fruit store was very colorful.
We pulled into the excursion headquarters at 3:20 PM - right on time to get on our ferry and get back to the ship. The entire tour was a very well-orchestrated process, and we were surprised to realize that we enjoyed it much more than we were expecting.
Chichén Itzá? Totally been there. No big deal.
We passed more schoolchildren as we walked the several blocks back to ...
.. the shopping mall.
The four horse sculptures on top of this restaurant were amazing.
That beach sure looked tempting, ...
... but we had a ferry to catch.
We opted for seats in air-conditioned comfort for the ride back.
Back on the ship, we did a little more looking around. Here's the entrance to the Illusionarium, a place we never actually entered because we never go to shows on cruise ships.
This display showed all of the male officers of the Norwegian Getaway, and a handful of women.
The elevators each had these large cool circles in the back. Shiny!
All aboard was at 4:30 PM, but the ship was still moored at 4:45. As always, an announcement came over the PA listing the names of the people who were still missing.
So we spent time looking at beautiful clear water below.
Zooming in, we could see that those little dots in the water below were sergeant majors.
Minutes before we were supposed to be leaving port, a couple was being carried back to the ship.
Here they are. They received a round of applause from dozens of people onboard watching for them, but they pretended that they didn't hear it.
We headed to the Garden Cafe to get some dinner ...
... and to watch sailout from our table near the back of the ship.
One by one, the other ships left port after us.
We headed back to the buffet for some dessert, but didn't take anything from the section of the buffet labeled Kids Corner. It sure was cute though.
Nope, we're here for the soft-serve ice cream.
It was Mexican night in the restaurant and the Mexican flag cake was going quickly..
After dinner, we headed back to our cabin to check out our location, ...
... watch the sunset, ...
... and enjoy our balcony.
There goes the sun.
Time to come inside.
We watched a little TV most nights, including the cooking show, "Chopped."

Day 6 >


Western Caribbean 2019: [Day 1 - Great River Road] [Day 2 - New Orleans] [Day 3 - New Orleans Sailout] [Day 4 - At Sea] [Day 5 - Chichén Itzá, Mexico] [Day 6 - Roatán, Honduras] [Day 7 - Harvest Caye, Belize] [Day 8 - At Sea] [Day 9 - Costa Maya, Mexico] [Day 10 - Drive Home]

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