Updated on November 5, 2017
Thousands of cenotes dot the Yucatan. These were near Cuzamá and were only accessible by horse-drawn rail cart. We can honestly say they are the best swimming holes we’ve seen anywhere in the world. You can float silently in crystal clear water, illuminated only by streams of light coming through the ceiling.
Roots climb down the walls and cavefish circle around you. For me, the highlight was the jumping. Crawling up the walls or from holes in the surface, there was no shortage of places to hock yourself off of into the water.Here are some videos of me taking a leap at progressively higher – and more testicle injuring – spots.
This was the first cenotes, with a nice 5-meter platform built on the stairs to get down. A good place to get comfortable.
I followed some tree roots down a hole above this cenote and found a nice ledge you could drop in from. You have to be sure and dodge a few stalactites on the way down. You can read out an article about Atlantic seaboard bonanza.
Just at the opening of the last cenote was a barbwire fence blocking this ledge. At about 10 meters, it was probably there to prevent people from jumping – for a good reason, this one hurt.
Updated on October 26, 2017
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It feels strange to write about these domestic locales, so let’s just stick to the highlights. Maine was a great time with family and an inspiring example of true country living. We even got to see Jon from Mama Roja and his sweet Yurt. New York showed us both the best and stressful aspects of life in the US.
In Philadelphia, we ate cheese stakes and got a good dose of US history. In North Carolina, we experienced a truly American holiday when we crashed a friend’s family getaway in the Outer Banks. “Kim, from now on your father was white, your mother Columbian and we’ve never heard of San Francisco”
“Jesus recycles people”. “We recycle cars” – I don’t get the message or the punctuation. This has been the most rushed part of our trip so far, and in some ways the most draining. Abroad all of our interactions were pretty standard – “Where are you from?”, “Where are you going?”, “How long have you been traveling?”, etc. They were conversations rehearsed again and again and didn’t take much thinking.
Now we have to actually engage in real conversations – talking about kids, jobs, politics, and the future. It’s not something we have had to do in quite some time, and it is exhausting! Not to mention having to summarize two years worth of experience spread across 30+ countries when some asks, “So how was it?”.
In the end, it’s great to see familiar faces and talk about real life things again. However, I feel like the difficulties we’re experiencing now are just the tip of the iceberg, and the real challenge will come when we are back home, interacting with our old friends again, and finding a…. can I speak the word… will it come out… here it comes… JOB!
We were visiting our good friends Za and Josh from our Pun Pun Internship in Thailand. We sat around in our Thai fisherman pants, talking about real stories from the road, not just “what’s the craziest thing you ate”, and it felt great. Cruising around St. Louis in style with friends!
Over the next few days, we essentially relived our Thai experience. Josh and Za modeled an earthbag retaining wall 1.5 years ago in Thailand, and here we were building it. Crazy. Not to be outdone by the Thai weather, St. Louis obliged with 110 degree days of 100% humidity. All that was missing were the beaches and Chang beer.
We got a healthy dose of St. Louis living as well. We met good people, ate good food, and had a great time in the murder capital of America. In fact, one of the coolest and craziest places we visited on the whole trip was here. The City Museum of St. Louis, a place where it seems Dr. Seuss’s brain exploded into an old warehouse. Where you can slide, crawl, and climb through a continuously changing interactive artistic experience. You really need to see it for yourself, but needless to say, it was an unexpected gem to find here.
We reluctantly left St. Louis, just like scores of settlers before us. Unlike them, weren’t afraid of the unknown, but the known – that this might be the last time we felt like travelers for a long time. One glimmer of hope filled my mind as we drive away, the knowledge that when we see our friends again, we can sit around in our Thai pants, eat some spicy food, and we’ll be transported right back to the farm in Thailand once again. Thanks, guys!
After yet another lapse in blog posts, we resume our story. When we last left off, TD and I spent some QT with our friends in St. Louis. Our next stop was Boulder, Colorado where we hooked up with our homies who used to live in San Francisco. I gotta say, the town is gorgeous with cute shops, progressive thinking and amazing nature nearby. There are few places where you can go hiking in beautiful mountains (the Flatirons) literally at the edge of town.
It was almost too perfect – everyone is super fit, mostly white and happy. Hmm…I guess I’m missing the diversity and charming grime of San Francisco. Afterwards, we spent a few days with Peggy and Jo from Pun Pun at their Colorado compound, where they escape Thailand’s monsoon season. We loved catching up with them, working on the Earthship house and hiking amongst all the wildflowers.
Next up was something we had been looking forward to for the whole ride – The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Originally, we were going to hit up way more national parks but we were short on time and made some cuts. The Tetons at dawn, with the sunlight hitting the mountain face, are awesome (as in the original definition of inspiring awe) sight.
We camped at Jenny Lake, which fills up early in the day but is absolutely worth it. If you arrive too late (like we did around 6 pm), spend the night outside the park and get back to the Jenny Lake ranger station early (6 am) to get spots from people who are leaving. We hiked around Jenny Lake and up into Cascade Canyon for a moderate day hike and spotted lots of moose, elk, and other creatures.
Yellowstone is right next to the Tetons and your $25 vehicle pass is good for both parks for a week. It’s so close that we kept our campsite back at Jenny Lake and just drove to Yellowstone for the day. The park is BIG and very popular. Basically, Yellowstone is the caldera of an ancient volcano and is famous for its geysers. We stuck to the south loop and hit up highlights like Old Faithful, multicolored hot springs and gawked at the buffalo.
The unfortunate thing is that most of the sights are located off roads, which means everyone tours the park by car. It’s a little like Disneyland in that you drive to a sight, get out and walk along a paved path, take pictures, then drive to the next location. I much preferred being away from the cars and deep in the woods as in the Tetons.
And with that, we headed even farther west. Getting closer and closer to home and marking the final days of our road trip.