Monday, November 24, 2014


One of the highlights in our recent Mexico vacation was our trip to Chichen Itza. It was memorable to me for several reasons:

1.  I had always wanted to see a Mayan ruin. From the moment I first saw a picture of a Mayan step pyramid in my high school history book, I was fascinated by it. After seeing Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, it went straight to my bucket list.

2.  We stayed in Cancun, Mexico, which is about two to two-and-a-half-hour drive from Chichen Itza. Going there by a tour bus would've been our best bet IF we didn't have Vonn Kaleb. Bus tours leave sooooo early, and having a toddler who loves to sleep in like her mother, there was no way we could get our arse out of bed by 7:00 a.m. So, that left us with our only other option, which is to drive ourselves there. Yay! (or more like nay???)

3.  With a little prodding, I was able to convince Vince to rent a car and drive ourselves to the famous tourist attraction. The first challenge we encountered in this plan was the rental car associate who was no habla Ingles. Oh dear! We wanted to rent a car with a car seat but language got in the way, and so we had to wait another day for an English-speaking associate to assist us.

4.  Car seat - check! Rental car - check! GPS - uh oh! Nada. Although the resort staff and the rental car associates were very helpful in giving us directions and were confident in saying that it's very easy to go to Chichen Itza, we definitely needed a GPS. Going from the resort to Chichen Itza was a no brainer. Vince drove while I sat at the backseat with senyorito Vonn Kaleb -- I was paranoid that the car seat would malfunction. Vince really didn't need any help navigating our way to Chichen Itza - it was pretty straightforward.  We took the scenic route as per the rental car associate's advice. There weren't a lot of cars taking the "scenic route" -- which could either be a good thing or a really BAD thing -- but anyway, it was a safe route and led us to our destination as it was supposed to. While driving, we entertained ourselves by once again pretending that the Valencias habla Espanyol. Hehe!

5.  So, when I said above that we definitely needed a GPS, you probably figured it out already that we did get lost. Yup, going back to our resort from Chichen Itza, what was supposed to be a two-and-a-half-hour drive at the most, it took us a couple of extra hours more. Oh Dios mio! First off, it was raining crazy -- thunderstorm, zero visibility, the like that reminded me of Philippines and made me want to shout, "Delubyo!" We drove inter-barrio on the way home, where I saw small houses and sari-sari stores that were (once again) reminiscent of Philippines.  Amidst the heavy rain, Vince drove steadily. We passed by barrios after barrios until we were back on the road leading to Cancun. We took the exit to Cancun, and by that time, it was already starting to get dark.

6.  I remember seeing a mall on our way to Chichen Itza earlier, so I asked Vince if he would like to check out the mall and grab dinner there. Might as well since we're not returning the car until the day after anyway. So he drove and drove to what we thought was headed to downtown Cancun, but the next thing we knew, we were getting deeper and deeper into the city without any sign of the mall nor our resort (or any resort)!

7.  It was getting late already. Vonn Kaleb had not had any real food yet. He had been sitting in the car for almost four hours already, so he was getting bored and antsy and starting to be really fussy that time. The maps we had on hand weren't very accurate, so Vince thought it best to ask people for directions. We saw a car dealership and so we stopped to ask. No luck for us, however, because the people at the dealership did not speak English. We tried to ask at the gas station when we gassed up, and as expected, we once again were lost in translation. Oh jeez! We were starting to get worried, so I turned to my last resort, Siri. Guess what, she wasn't very helpful either :( We were driving around in circles, trying to put together bits and pieces of English direction we were able to gather from the people we had asked, until we saw a road sign that pointed to where the resorts are. We were finally able to breathe!  It was already dark and still raining, and some motorists were not very cautious, so when we started seeing resorts we were familiar with, we were so relieved.

8.  Eventually, we reached our resort.  I was really grateful to God for his protection and travelling mercies and for bringing us back to our hotel safe and unscathed. Whew! We were very proud of Vonn Kaleb for being the trooper he was. He held on and cooperated and behaved himself very well the entire time we were lost. I am so thankful to my husband for being courageous enough to step out of his comfort zone and obliged wholeheartedly to do that road trip, albeit his reasonable apprehensions and fears. If it wasn't for him, we would've missed out on that chance to see one of the seven wonders of the modern world. A big hooray for team Valencia! Woohoo!

Anywayz, now that I've finished outlining why our Chichen Itza trip was memorable to me, I think it's high time to share pictures of the astounding Mayan ruins, right? ;)

This mango smoothie was a lifesaver. It kept Vonn Kaleb hydrated during our drive back to the resort!

To read about Chichen Itza, here's the Wikipedia link:  Chichen Itza

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