Friday, June 6, 2014

Duplantis Family Does Campeche

I was over the moon excited when my parents and brother planned a trip to come visit us in May. I couldn’t wait to show my brother around for the first time and have Mexico feel even more like home for a few days with my family in town. Not wanting to spend too much time in the car, we all decided a visit to nearby Campeche would be the best use of their time. 

We got to Campeche late on Friday night and stayed once again at our favorite, Socaire hotel. We woke up Saturday morning and headed out to explore the streets of Campeche. I was looking forward to showing them the beautiful cathedral and charming colorful buildings that line the streets. We had fun checking out local shops and posing with the statues along the pedestrian streets.

Once we finished with the city of Campeche, we stumbled upon a car rally set up in a nearby parking lot. I knew that we HAD to stop. Growing up in a car family, I’m constantly in awe at how much my dad and brother know about cars. It was probably their favorite part of the trip :P

When we decided to spend the weekend in Campeche, I was most excited about our plans to visit some of Campeche’s famous forts. Billy and I had not yet seen them, mainly because we could never find them :p. After a few photo ops with the sea front canons, we headed off with the first stop at the Fort of San José. 

The views from the Fort of San José were amazing. We had to drive up the steepest road and pass a giant statue of Benito Juarez before finding the entrance. Unfortunately, the museum of arms, located inside of the fort, was closed for remodeling. We walked around, and possibly on (shh!), the walls taking in the scenery.

The Fort of San Miguel was our next stop. This fort, located closer to the water, had remarkable old canons stationed along the wall. It was really amazing to see the actual fort in such a genius location and imagine it in its glory.

Now for the sentimental stuff...

Brother, it was really fun having you around to remind me that I’m still your little sister. I don’t think anyone will know me as well as you do and love me anyway :p. I enjoyed going to the fish market just me and you and driving you down the wrong way on a one-way street. :) I was just trying to keep you on your toes. My favorite part was the random guy asking to take a photo with you because you looked like “that guy from The Hangover.” Classic.

Special thanks to my parents for coming, yet again, to Mexico to visit us. We really love when you’re here and always wish you could have stayed longer. 

Dad, my cheeks hurt from all of your jokes. You're the funniest person I know. From rolling your eyes instead of your “r’s” to saying Bill Murray looked old because Brother’s shirt was wrinkled, you always make me laugh. Thank you for taking time off of work to come see your little girl. Mancha enjoyed it too.

Mom, I hope you enjoyed your last solo Mother’s Day. :) You always bring us all together and reminds us that our family is most important. I wouldn’t have survived the trip without your stash of peanut butter crackers. You’re always prepared and a truly remarkable mom. I have tough shoes to fill.

I enjoyed being the ‘baby’ for one last family vacation before Baby L takes over my role. Love y’all!
Ps. Wish you could have been here with us, Kris!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Adventures of Katy and Memo: Calakmul

When Billy and I moved to Mexico, we made a list of Mayan ruins that we wanted to see before moving home. As of last week, we had visited six of the seven. The last one on the list, Calakmul, just so happens to be located off of the highway we were taking to Belize. We decided to leave a day early and check the last ruin off of our list!

Some notes if you’re visiting Calakmul:
-Expect a little over an hour drive once you leave the highway, so fill your gas tank.
-Bring cash. You will pay for the maintenance of the road to Calakmul. You will pay again to enter the ruins (twice). 
-Pack bug spray, water, sunscreen, sandwiches/snacks, and a camera!

This site is unique because it’s located deep in the jungle where you can see tons of birds, spider monkeys, and (hopefully not) large cats in their wild habitat. While climbing up one of the first structures, a random guy motioned me over and told me to sit on the edge of the ruin. A little apprehensive, but my mind focused on monkeys, I did exactly what the stranger said while Billy followed closely behind. What followed was nothing short of remarkable. Two monkeys appeared from deep in the trees and began hooping and hollering at me while making the cutest faces and swinging around. It seemed as if they were posing for the camera and loving the attention. I was in heaven.

After spending some time photographing the monkeys, I spotted the tallest structure at the site, Structure II. When we visit Mayan ruins, my favorite part is climbing the tallest structures. Sometimes Billy joins me and other times he reads the informative plates at the foot of each ruin. I have him give me the cliff notes and take off climbing. The views from the top are totally worth the heart racing, air gasping climb. You can see over the trees for miles; we could even see another structure in the distance. 

I was glad we saved Calakmul for last. It was probably my favorite ruin, although they all have special qualities that make them unique. I liked being in the middle of nature and imagining how the Mayan city thrived back in 500 AD. To my expat friends living in Mexico, if you haven’t yet, check out Calakmul. For those that have visited, thanks for the tips beforehand that made our trip a success!

Can you find the pregnant woman?