Once again we’ve done a ton since our last post. We had a wonderful visit with my family and friends for a week in Pasadena, toured the ruins of Teotihuacan outside Mexico City, walked for miles on the beach in Acapulco, and surfed the “Mexican Pipe” in Puerto Escondido! I’m writing now from San Cristobal de las Casas where we are for a night before heading into Guatemala. It is a large traditional Mexican town and much different than hustle of the capital city, and the relaxed beach character of Acapulco and Puerto Escondido.
So our long awaited visit at home…
Mom picked us up with Vikkee as an additional surprise and we went to Peter’s for fun dinner with the family. After washing our laundry around the world in hotel sinks, it was such a relief to have a washing machine (and a Mom to do it!), unpack our backpacks, and rest those vertebrae! We hit the gym, had lunch with Dad, walked around Old Town Pasadena and did some shopping before having Vikkee, Karl, and Kim over for my first attempt at the Pad Thai and Sweet and Sour Pork I learned to make in Koh Phangan. Thursday morning we hit the road to Santa Barbara with an ever so important stop at the Camarillo outlets. After lunching at our favorite IV spots (Silvergreens, I-N-Out), we met up with friends before heading to Jess’ house for the night. Sami flew down from San Fransisco, Jackie drove up for the night from La Verne despite her 5am wake up call for work the next day, and Julia came up from Hollywood. Morgan even joined us briefly and a friend of mine from Triathlon, Stephanie came along too. We went out for a night downtown and a much needed catch up. Friday morning we headed to Bagel Cafe (I know you’re thinking Vikkee..) before the drive home. Bubba arrived Friday from San Diego and we went for Japanese before a night out in Old Town. It was another excellent night out and awesome to spend some quality time with my brother. The next day Mom had organized a gorgeous party so I could see all of our family and friends. Apparently Vikkee needed to spice up the party a bit so she and Karl decided an Ice luge would do the trick. Ben, Bubba, and Karl were out in the back building this oversized yet impressive stand for the ice blocks while later Vikkee administered shots of who knows what for all the willing guests. Since the girls from Santa Barbara, my high school friends from Pasadena, Vikkee’s college friends, and some of Bubba’s friends joined it turned into quite the house party. Thanks Mom for organizing a great party and to everyone that made the trip – it was wonderful to see you all and I hope to again in the not too distant future. Sunday morning was brunch at the country club with my grandparents and Aunt Holly before a Super Bowl party at the Miller’s. Watching all the men trying to teach Ben about football was pretty funny while all the women kept complementing me on my ‘taste.’ Monday was our last day and we finally met up with Amy and Annie (friends of Ben’s from Singapore) for lunch in Downtown LA, ran a few errands, picked Allee up from school, and had a delicious home cooked meal. It was so sad to say goodbye on Tuesday morning since both Ben and I wished we were staying longer. I’m still missing home a week later. Can’t wait to go home again soon and thanks again to the fam for an incredible week together.
We made it to Mexico City in the evening, checked into our hostel, and checked out the historic House of Tiles for dinner. The next day we’d arranged a tour of Teotihuacan ruins (which I’d wanted to go to for years!). On the way we stopped a three different Mexico City ‘highlights’ such as the sight where the Virgin Mary’s image appeared on a cloth and people come from all over Mexico to see it. We then went to a obsidian and tequila manufacturer (tastes tests included!) and then finally made it to the magnificent city of Teotihuacan. I can’t begin to do it justice so check out the photos. It is the oldest city in all of the Americas and the pyramids are as wide as those in Egypt (just not as tall). We definitely climbed the steep stairs to the tops of them and enjoyed ever minute of it. We also mets some interesting travelers on the tour and met up with them that night after dinner. The next morning (very early) we left for Acapulco.
We hadn’t arranged accommodation for Acapulco and at the station chatted to the information help who set us up with a bargain hotel in the center of the strip only a block back from the beach. It was perfect and a nice change from our loud hostel room with two other people. We grabbed some sushi, headed to the beach, and relaxed in the sun before exploring the town. That night we had a drink and watched the sun set and went to a delicious ‘100% Natural’ health restaurant! The next day we walked for miles on and off the beach, checked out the Fuerte San Diego, and at night headed to watch the famous cliff divers of La Quebrada. The five divers climb this giant cliff (literally without harnesses, ropes, anything) and then dive into the dark and ominous water below. Not only do they dive but they do flips! I was scared just watching them!
From Acapulco we got an a early morning (5.45!) bus to Puerto Escondido which ended up taking till 2 to get there since the driver seemed to need to pull over every 100 m for some reason or another. In Puerto we hopped in a cab and managed to ask him to take us to a cheap hotel on the main beach which worked well. The main beach was mainly for swimming and seemed more of interest to the mexican tourists but was a good place to stay. From our hotel it was a 10 minute walk along to the next beach, Zicatela, where a lot of the hostels are and where the surfing is. We both really loved just relaxing on the beach on lounge chairs getting tans, doing some body surfing, and even doing some surfing! Puerto Escondido is known as Mexico’s equivalent of Hawaii’s Pipeline so I was nervous. Ben had a quick surf and then we walked further along the beach to where it was smaller to do some more surfing. Ben was a patient teacher for once and I managed to stand up 🙂
At sunset we had 2×1 margaritas and pina coladas on the beach and enjoyed fish tacos and other yummy food at the local restaurants. We only spent 1 night in Puerto Escondido, and the following night at 9.30 we were off to San Cristobal de las Casas for our final Mexican stop after a shower at the poolside shower in our hotel!
The drive to San Cristobal was 13 hours over night along winding roads but actually passed quite quickly, and we’ve had a lovely afternoon in San Cristobal today. We had considered continuing straight to Guatemala but it would have meant another 7 hours and was difficult to organize. Instead we wandered the streets of this cute traditional town, ate tacos from a street stall, and enjoyed relaxing around the hotel.
That’s about it for now before we head to Guatemala tomorrow morning at 7.30. Sorry if this was long again…but thanks for making it this far!
Enjoy the photos 😉
Love to you all,
Jackie and Ben