Nov 032012
 

After 8 days in Mexico it was time for us to get a little more serious. We had arranged with a local dogs and cat charity that we were going to help them with their stray problem, as well as helping out with animals that are owned by poor people in southern Mexico. We had agreed to meet the charity people at a bordertownt to Belize called Chetumal. They had not provided accommodation for us, but luckily I got in touch with a local Couch Surfer named Roberto.

Breakfast with the family


It turned out that Roberto was a really great guy. He lived in a small villa in the middle of the main street in Chetumal. The house was very nice, and we got our own bedroom with a private bath, quite luxurious, and much better than sleeping on a sofa. We discovered that Mexicans are very fond of collecting small trinkets, as there were porcelain statues everywhere in the house. Many of the characters were religiously motivated. There were many angels, and many small porcelaindiciples whowere having an eating party with Jesus. Jesus was very present there. On many of the doors and in the rooms hung Christ. Not exactly the decor I had chosen for my kitchen, but everyone has different taste I guess.
Roberto was living with his mum, his wife and a small daughter. 3 generations in the same house, as is common in Mexico.
We heard nothing from the charity we would be involved in, so we had to stay in Chetumal for 2 days with nothing to do. There is not much to do in Chetumal, Both the museums were closed and there was no beach there. We mentioned it to the grandmother in the house and she insisted on driving us half an hour to the nearest beach. It was very nice of her, but when we arrived there was really no beach anywhere, just a dirty swamp and dirty water. We skipped any plans of swimming and…headed for the local pub instead for some Coronas`…
After 2 chilling days in Chetumal an American named Steve drove us to Bacalar. A lady called Maedi was also coming as she was the one who had organized the whole thing. It is she who started the charity PAWS that me and Torunn had decided to work with.
Bacalar was an incredibly idyllic place due to a crystal clear blue lagoon. The first thing we did when we arrived was to jump into the lake. The water was really hot.
We were pre-warned that there were many crocodiles in this lake, and that they hunt at dusk. It had been a while since anyone had been eaten up, but I still felt a surge of increased adrenaline as I was having a little swim at dusk.

Lagoon of Bacalar


We got to stay and eat for free in a very nice little cottage right by the lake. There are some advantages when doing charity work :) :=)
They had collected 40 animals to be sterilized in 2 days, Most of them were bitches, which is one of the most difficult operations veterinarians do. It would be a challenge for us.

Stay kitten


We got up before the sun on the first morning, ate a quick breakfast burrito, and were ready for a long day of operating in improvised conditions.
The operating room was just an unfinished empty brick house at the edge of town. They had some makeshift operating tables and a fan.
Everyone was very excited when we came strolling in, They had been planning this for months in advance.
The 20 dogs who were there waiting for us was not quite as excited to be there, just very scared…and some were very aggressive.

Operating in a shed


BEfore starting we had told them that we wanted to start with some castrations, as it is a much faster surgery. This would give us a chance to get used to the anesthesia procedures. We had never worked with injectable anesthesia before, only gas anesthetics which is much safer and easier. If the animal starts to wake up druing gas anesthetics we simply turn up the throttle a little bit, then they fall asleep again, injectable anesthesia is an entirely different matter .. something we would experience the hard way.
My first dog was a large mix breed which turned out to be an abdominal Cryporchid, which at once makes it a bigger and more complex operation. Cryptochid means that one testicle has not descended into the scrotum, but lingers in the abdomen somewhere.

Bloody surgery


I began chopping away to get into the abdominal cavity, and there were abnormally many veins on the way down…which was bleeding constantly. There was much more veins than what is normal, and they bled considerably more. When I finally got into the abdomen and found the hidden testicle the dog began to wriggle and was about to jump off the table. The anasthetics passed quickly out of the system and the dog needed more, but I was a bit preoccupied with keeping it on the table to prevent it from running off with an open abdominal cavity !. Torunn came running and miraculously managed to find a vein on the squirming dog - Crisis Averted. I spent over an hour and a half just on this first dog, now there was only 9 dogs left for me that day.
The next dog ​​was a giant bitch who needed to be sterilized. I opened the abdomen, and experienced the same problem; all the small vessels in the skin and the muscle continued to bleed without stop, which is not normal. When you sterilize a dog there are many things that must go right; first you have to find the uterus and ovaries, Then you have to go and rip the ovaries to get them up so that you can tie all of the blood vessels. In large dogs, it is often very difficult to get the ovaries up since they are very large,thight and sits deep in the abdomen. Then it is like working with a blindfold. It's not as fun having to tie off the giant veins down in the abdomen when you can`t even see them.
With this dog it went okay; I got the ovaries and uterus tied of , but the abdomen continued to fill with blood. It's at that point that you start to doubt yourself and think; What if one of the knots have fallen off and the major blood vessels located at the base of the abdomen are bleeding….In this case the dog will bleed to death pretty fast, and this is something one wants to avoid.

Dog in wake-up


At this point I was sweating like a pig, and had 2 assistants who were wiping sweat from my forehead . There were 35 C in the room and in addition, I was beginning to get quite stressed from everything that was going wrong.
After a lot of digging around I eventually found all my knots and saw that they looked completely fine and intact, so it was just a lot of blood coming from the smaller blood vessels, so then I closed it up after well over one and a half hours. It turned out that all the dogs in this area are infected with a blood parasite that makes the blood unable to clot properly. It does`nt exactly make the operations any easier.
I was beginning to think that these guys must think I'm the world's worst veterinarian who is spending that much time on these routine surgeries. Next dog I chose was one that I figured would be fairly straightforward and easy, just to show them that I know what I'm doing(and to build on my own self-confidence, which had hit rock bottom). The operation went smoothly and painlessly this time. The only problem was that the dog began to wake up in the middle of the surgery so we had to give it a little more anesthetic. As I began to suture the muscles my assistant discovered that the dog was white and had stopped breathing. We began heart massage and mouth to mouth immediately . We gave epinephrine injection directly into the heart to restart it. The heart started, and we breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately the heart stopped beating a minute later and we continued with the resuscitation for 5 minutes before we had to declare it dead.

Our assistants


This was starting to feel like the worst day of my life, what a horrible day, and this was supposed to be my holiday !
I bitterly regretted that I had volunteered to be part of such a nightmare. I have operated over 1000 dogs and have never lost anyone before. It was not a good feeling, but at leastb I knew that it was`nt my fault as the operation itself went very smoothly. It was simply a dog that did not tolerate our anesthesia drugs.
The rest of the day went as planned. After some operations there we knew that all the animals would bleed, and we knew everyone was going to need more anesthetic at one time or another during the surgeries. So we put a catheter in all the dogs and had extra anesthetic ready on the side, While we had to ignore all the blood because there was little we could do about it anyway.
It was a very long day, we started at 07.30 and operated until it was 9 P.M, but at least we managed to do all the dogs we said we would do. Then we went back to the lake and jumped into the water to wash off all the sweat and blood. It was not very cooling as the water was almost at body temperature, but at least we did`nt get eaten by crocodiles .

nighttime in Bacalar


The next day we had another early start, but this day we knew what to expect, and started with the operations quickly after arriving. We managed to finish after 10 hours, just as sweaty and bloody as the day before. During 2 days we had operated 26 females, 8 male dogs and 6 female cats, 40 altogether. The local animal rights people were very grateful, some even bought us a proper luxury dinner in the moonlight right by the lake.
The local animal rights people are doing an amazing job for all the animals, and they are working against the flow and without any subsidies. Most people in this area see animals as a pestilence and plague, and would never lift a finger to help all the suffering street dogs there. These people used their own time and money to treat all of the hundreds of street dogs for common diseases and parasites, in addition to driving around with dog food for them. They have absolutely zero resources, but they still manage to help all the needy animals in the town. Our role as veterinarians was to get some of these animals sterilized so that they stop breeding, This is the alpha and omega in places like this. Without such projects the street dog population would explode in a short time, and then there are suddenly 3 times as many animals suffering unnecessarily.
You get a little humbled by meeting people like that. They thanked us repeatedly for all we had done, but there's no one who thank them for all they are doing. There are the people who live with these issues day in and day out, we just came to do some operations and kept on travelling.

The following 2 days would be very very different....

Operating


We went back to Chetumal and got back to our couchsurfing host Roberto. He was very nice in driving us around to show us everything there was to see in Chetumal(typical mexican small town.). He even bought me some local weird cake things, among other things, a kind of ice cream cone structure with Dutch cheese and chocolate topping(much better than it sounds). He also took us on a delicious breakfast where there was lots of Moleta, Tacos and quesedillas . Unfortunately we could not spent very much time with him as we would continue to operate the next day. In Chetumal we had aranged to work with many different animal care groups. Madi had found these other groups, and a place where we could do the operations. She had in fact contacted a professor at the medical school in the city and arranged it so that we could operate in proper operating rooms at the medical school.

Surgeons ready to start cutting

It was quite different than the brickhouse we had in Bacalar.
When we arrived at the university it was full of people with their dogs who were awaiting surgery. There was probably 50 people there in addition to a bunch of medical students and volunteers who would be helping out. The condition of using the surgery rooms at this school was that all these medical students should be allowed to watch when me and Torunn were operating.

Stig surrounded by medical students

There was also a political motive; they had hired a photographer to take lots of pictures so that they could publish how kind they are by operating all those poor dogs. This was a little bit strange since they had nothing to do with the operating scheme, they just gave us a room to operate in and were taking all the credit for everything that was beeing done. It did`nt matter too much for us as we were only there to neuter the dogs.
There was a lot of clutter and nonsense in the beginning, and we were tempted to just leave on the first morning. Everything were supposed to be so sterile, we had to wear 2 layers of surgical clothing(in the blistering), have bags covering our shoes, face masks and hairnets, while the instruments and surgical site were only ¨clean¨, not sterile. They had no gloves for Torunn, and yet they were complaining that she was operating without gloves, although she had sterilized her hands first. There is not much point in having a sterile foot bag when the instruments are not sterile. The instruments will actually be inserted into the abdomen of the animals, but we had no plans of sticking our feet into the abdomen. That would not be particularly productive.
But it obviously looks very nice in the photos if we are wearing lots of fancy surgical clothing, like very professional.
At least we managed to do very many operations in the 2 days we spent there; 50 dogs and cats in total, Most of them were bitches. We were very pleased with having neutered 90 animals in 4 days, Now the time had come for some well deserved relaxation at the nearest tropical island we could find.
After we were done with the surgeries in Chetumal maedi was very angry as she had found out that some of the groups had been profiteering on the dogs that had been operated by us. Maedi had accounted for all the expenses in buying the sutures, instruments, and medication and it was she who had arranged for us to go to Mexico. Yet she has not taken a dime for anything that has been done, And then she finds out that these other guys who have not contributed anything are making money on our work. There is so much corruption in Mexico, and if you are trying to run a charity there you will be fighting against it day in and day out. Maedi told us that another time she had kept all the medicines, which she would be using on the street dogs, with some women whom she knew. Eventually she found out that drugs were missing from her supplies. It turned out that these ladies had joined up with a corrupt veterinarian and used her medication to do operations on animals for high prices. They had made a lot of money by using the drugs that would be used to help the suffering street dogs. It's pretty sick.
We said our goodbyes to Roberto, thankful for the opportunity to be a part of his family for the last 5 days. We took one of the local chicken buses to Belize city. It took well over 4 hours, mostly because the bus stopped every 50 meters to pick up people who had not bothered to go to the bus stop to wait. Belize City was not a very beautiful place. The bus station is located in the worst slum imaginable, so we were pretty happy to get there when there was still daylight.. The people of Belize are different than Mexicans. It is easy to see that they have a different origin. There are very many tall black people with rasta braids. They are mostly descendants of slaves imported by the British when they colonized the country. They are also horribly religious there. There are Jesus quotes everywhere ! There was`nt a single bus stop without some anecdote about how cool God and Jesus is once you get to know them, mass delusion in practice..
Our taxi driver in Belize City was a chubby rasta woman. I reacted when we drove through town and saw another rasta woman with the most massive ass I've ever seen in my life. The backside was almost as big as the lady was tall- The taxi woman saw my reaction and explained; ” that`s the Belize woman, that`s how we are buildt” wheras I just had to ask: ” so it has nothing to do with diet at all?”. She was almost offended; "No maaan, it is just the belize woman, is how we born ya know!” . When she dropped us off, she showed us how she dances when the Belize ladies go out for a night at the town; ”This is how we dance maaan” , as she lifted one leg and put her arm behind her head and jumped around in circles like a headless chicken.
The boat to Caye Caulker from Belize city was painlessly quick.

On the way to Caye Caulker


Maedi told us that she had inherited the boat taxi compani from her father who started it. One day when she was sitting in the office all the men she worked with came in and threatened her at gunpoint to leave her company. They could of course not work for a woman. There was not much she could do about it, and the police do`nt care…pretty crazy.
Maedi has over 90 cats in her house , which is quite a lot of work for her. She has saved all these cats from a life on the street where the locals will often torture and kill them for their own entertainment. She told us that in Belize nobody respects the animal rights, not even the right to be left in peace without harassment or torture. Maedi feels quite alone on this island as no one else understands why she bothered to help all these animals. For the other residents of this small community she is simply known as the crazy cat lady. She also told us that teens here sometimes come over to her house to torment her and laugh at her. Many of them keep aggressive dog breeds(pitbulls) which they try to let loose on her property. One time they did it and the dog mutilated several cats while the boys stood outside and were laughing themselves to pieces.
Maedi have tried to change the attitude of the people by going around to the schools and talk about why one should not torture animals for fun. Then she experienced that the different kids boasted of all the different ways they had abused cats. It was just too depressing for her, so she stopped visiting schools. She has also written letters to the government to try to get them to make laws to protect animals, but no one cares. She works against the current all the time, it's amazing that she manages to keep on going. Her whole life revolves around cats, she does nothing for herself. She has no money because people continue to cheat her, and the cats eat for 200 $ every week.
We helped her a little in that week we were on the island. We operated some of her cats and came with medical advice for some of the sick cats There. What do you think about the way animals are treated ? Please comment , and let me know if you want to make a donation to help Maedi and I can provide the details.

 Posted by at 12:12 in the morning
Oct 272012
 

C hichen Itza was interesting. There were some absolutely absurd amounts of desperate people who sold all sorts of junk intended for the tourists.

Us with a small Mayan woman

Coba

Most of them were selling big wooden boards with pictures of pyramids, .Common to all was the price level at 0.5-1 $. Riddiculously cheap junk…but I would not have them if they gave me money to take them, in all honesty.. Can`t be carrying stuff like that when you are travelling around the world. We found out that we had arrived with perfect timing as 21 September is one of only 2 days of the year where you can see a special light effect when the sun shines on the pyramid. It looks like a snake writhing down the stairwell of the pyramid. Snakes were very important for the Mayans, .They worshiped them and were drawing pictures of them everywhere.

The 7`th wonder of the world

They were also very fond of sacrificing humans, it was pretty much the main reason for building the big pyramid . They also liked playing a ball game where the captain of the team that won was beheaded in honor of the gods. I don`t think I would put too much effort into the game if I was the captain. It is a very different pyramid compared with the ones in Egypt, a little easier to climb (but it was not allowed, unfortunately). After the Pyramid, we went to a small colonial village called Valladolid]This wasthe place were we would leave the flock of sheep(The tourgroup) so we could onece again go our own ways.. We checked in to a funky hostel which was completely crowded with people. There were only 2 beds left in a 14 people mixed dorm, but it was okay because I, in all my wisdom, had invested in both a sleeping mask and earplugs based on past experience with snorers and sharp morning lights. It worked like a charm:) , we were the first ones to go to bed, and the last to get up, so did not see to much of the rest of the gang there., Valladolid was a very relaxing place to spend some time, and felt like a much more genuine Mexican society than it did in Cancun. It is not without reason that the locals refers to Cancun as Plastico fantastico, which I suspect is a double reference to both the creditcards and silicon titties, Although silicon is technically not plastic.
We rented bikes and cycled from village to villageto go swimming in various underground caves that they call Cenotes. The caves are really cool as they are so quiet and the water is crystal clear, a complete contrast to the world over ground. There is 35 C in the air outside so a dip in cool water is the perfect activity.. A delicious cooling dip in this water is still warmer than the sea in Norway ever gets.
Cenote
The bicycle trip was a a fun way to see the local communities, but it was lethal at times, as we would come to discover. Torunn was about to cycle over a snake that was lying in the middle of the bike trail. The Snake jumped up after her and tried to bite her leg, but she did not notice any of it. It was worse for me as I was coming at full speed just behind her and had witnessed the whole crazyness. I just barely managed to avoid cycling on the aggressive beast, but not because I did anything smart, just because it managed to slither away at hairraising speeds. After all the drama we felt like it was a good time for a Corona beer .. This we enjoyed on an amazing original Mexican hacienda. It was a proper cool place where there were only us and they were playing the craziest mexican music at full speed.. When we got back to the hostel we met a bunch of original people. One guy sat in a trance and was meditating right outside of our room, while another hippie was giving lengthy explanations about how strong the energy in this area was, Apparently considering the Mayan influence. The Mayans had a lot of energy, it seems , considering that hippies can feel it 500 years after the collapse of the civilization. We continued to travel down toward the seaside town of Tulum after 2 days in valladolid. On the way there we stopped at a ruin called Coba. There are a lot of buildings in the middle of the jungle surrounded by wilderness, much fewer tourists as well. the cool thing about Coba is that you are allowed to climb the tallest pyramid there.

The top of the pyramid

We did it, and had some lunch at the top. Not much of a view, Only trees as far as the eye could see. i didn`t even feel the special Mayan energy either, even though we were sitting right on top of one of their finest buildings. I'm probably not spiritual enough for that kind of shenadigan. Tulum was not the most charming village I've seen. As Lonely Planet correctly notes; it feels a bit like a truck stop because the main road in the region is separating the city in two.. It's a good enough place to spend a few nights anyway, straightforward beach and some stylish seaside ruins. I think that if I were Maya I would much rather live there in a beautiful coastal pyramid instead of being deep inside the jungle with all the reptiles and mosquitoes like all the other(more stupid) mayas. In addition, it seems that these coastal Mayans were a little less interested in sacrificing each othe rto the gods all the time.

Despite the high prices we decided to go cave diving in some of the deepest caves in the area. It's like 'The thing to do' on the Yucatan peninsula for everyone who is a somewhat experienced diver.
The first water hole we were diving in was literally just a hole in the ground,a little puddle that is a 100 meters deep. What distinguishes this from other puddles is that it is a completely insane cave system that stretches hundreds of meters into the mountain. There was a bit of a semi-nervous mood when we got there and were jumping into the water preparing to dive to 40 meters depth in a dark hole in the ground. It didn`t help that my regulators were leaking like crazy and that the dive instructor brushed it off with "I`m sure it`ll be fine...". We jumped into the water and quickly descended to 30 meters . During 30 meterswe felt like we wre in a haunted ghost forest ; an old dead tree was standing upright inside of a circular foggy cloud. A gigantic floating cloud at 30 meters with ghost trees that are growing from it (or rather disintegrating into it), possibly not the first place you would want to descend into.
We started to go through the cloud…my legs were disappearing into the fog…then the upper body left…and suddenly my world went blurry; bye mum.... The visibility of the water was amazing, it felt more like floating in thin air, and we just fell in to a normal cloud (something I have experienced once when I was skydiving). The cloud is formed by a chemical called hydrogen sulfide that is in the water due to the decay of plant material.
On the other side of the cloud the water was crystal clear,but darker. We could hardly see a thing without flashlights. During 40 meters we started to go back up in circular laps along the walls of the hole. It was amazing to see the cave from all the different perspectives; enormous stalkites that have been there for thousands of years, and caves that went far into the mountains. This is the third longest cave in the world, and the deepest one in Mexico(120meters). There was even the remnants of Mayan pots that the Mayans have thrown down there a long time ago. They also used to sacrifice teenage girls in these waters..
The second dive was in a cave that did not go very deep, but a very long cave with some really cool sceneries. It was possibly the coolest dive I've ever done, and I have done over 700 of those. Cave diving here is high up on the list of things that must be experienced- to lie very still in the middle of a cave, surrounded by stalagmites and stalagkites lit up by the singular ray of your light, wide assortment of weird cave fish sniffing their way around the walls and crystal clear water that makes you feel like you're flying. This is however not the right activity for those with claustrophobia, as there are some pretty narrow passages inside the cave. I was suffering from the most bitersweet feeling as the dives were lovely, but my underwater camera , that I've bought just because of these dives, failed me. It was covered with dew on the lens because the water was much colder than the air.
later that day we jumped on the first bus southwards…We had had our fun, now it was time to get serious.... Keep tuned ! Did you ever see the pyramids or try the diving, or would you like to? Leave a comment in that case :) !

 Posted by at 2:20 in the morning
Oct 082012
 

The big day was approaching tantalizingly quickly.. This was the moment we've been talking about, dreaming of, and looking forward to for over 4 years. 4 years of working 9-19 ,as is common workhours in England where we worked. 2012 and 2013 is our time in the sun, quite literally as we are going to stick to tropical destinations.
All the money we've saved over the past 4 years would have been more than enough to put a deposit on a house, or raising a little screaming monster from the age of 0 to 18. But that is not the plan, not what makes us happy. We are doing something that very few others take the time to do; travel around the world for a year and a half.

Under a palm tree on a deserted island

When I say traveling around the world I am obviously talking about just the hot parts of the world. You will not find me in Siberia or Alaska anytime soon. That is why our journey includes all the continents except Antarctica.

After a week in Bergen where we said goodbye to family and friends the journey started by going to Budapest via London(only because our travel insurance is english and is only valid if the journey begins from England). Budapest was a week of cleaning and running back and forth to various offices to fix the apartment that I own there. Not much of a holiday, but at least we went from 8 C and rainy to 30 C and sunny.
Torunn insists that the week in Budapest is not a part of the journey, but I argue that it is not home, Thus it is a part of the journey.
Budapest is an incredibly bad place to buy an airline ticket.. Although Hungary is an incredibly cheap land, a cheap airline ticket is almost non-existent. We did not have many criteria for our ticket, just wanted to find a ticket to anywhere in North America from where we could get a ticket on to Mexico. We found a cheap ticket to New York with a Ukrainian airline, but after a quick Google search, we found out that it was a bad idea to fly with them. The standard was simply to low, even for us, and that's saying quite a bit !
They reportedly had the highest cancellation rate in the world in addition to some of the most dilapidated planes in the world. They also won the rather dubious price for the coldest service of any airline.

Our flight to Cancun….At least it was cheap…

We found another flight that went from Brussels to Cancun, so we went to Brussels and stayed in cheap motel before we flew with a cheap company that was probably just as bad as the Ukrainian company. There were 14 hour flight without any form of entertainment, and the coldest,angriest and most absent flight attendants you could ever imagine. The only hot meal of the trip was served shortly after departure when we were already full from the recent breakfast. Rest of the journey they only served was dry biscuits and hot water., so we were reasonably starved when we finally arrived in Cancun.
We checked in at the "hotel" , which for good reasons was the cheapest place to stay in all of Cancun, and then we walked straight into the first tourist trap we could find. As we were totally starved after 14 hours of only dry biscuits and water , we walked right into the first place we stumbled across

Fajiitas med frijoles

wich was a restaurant with English menu, Mariachi band and tourist prices. Even though we paid 4 times more than what a meal should cost it was still an unforgettable experience; my first Mexican meal in Mexico. Real tacos and burritos made in the way that only those with Mayan blood in the veins can do. that`s one cross of the bucketlist.
There are very few things that can beat mexican food when it comes to gastronomical experiences!, However, Indian food in India is also high on the list of foods that must be experienced…but that will be for another time...
Cancun is a tourist trap in the same class as Crete or Tenerife. The whole place was built in the 70 s as a counterweight to Acupulco, which even then were getting the first charter tourists.
There are parties all the time In Cancun...Bikinparty, long legs competition, and foam parties...you name it !, Lots of students from the USA go to Cancun in their spring break to get drunk and experiment with sex and drugs.. There are over 4 million tourists going anually to Cancun.
in Cancun city, which is where all the locals live, A peninsula with long beaches and dozens of hotels stretches from the edge of the city. The hotels are mostly owned by wealthy Europeans and Americans, and the guests are all Americans and Europeans. Mexicans can only be seen when they are cutting the lawn or washing the lobby. This is not a good way to experience the great country of Mexico..
I am very happy that we chose to stay in the city, far away from all the other tourists and all that crap. We were having more of a genuine experience sitting in our dirty ramshackle room in a family esablisiment where we had to pay 30 kroner each night(200$), instead of 1000 kroner(180$) each night in the hotel zone. We even had a grubby rooftop terrace and a communal toilet that seemed to work. Even the shower was functional !!
It was incredibly nice to finally be in a place with tropical temperatures of 35C +, even though it was the rainy season with frequent showers and thunder (be prepared for that when going in low season).
We soon discovered that the Mexicans were incredibly nice, smiling and friendly people, even when they were'nt trying to sell us stuff. They smile all the time and go out of their way to help whenever there is a problem or confusion. A lot of our meals took place in these small local shops that you see every 20 meters in the towns. They are called Taquerias, roughly translated as a good place to get cheap taco. At the first place we sat down to eat everything on the menu was like 5-10 Norwegian kroner(14$) ", so it was a pretty amazing lunch with quesedilla,burritos,tacos,moletas and chimichangaes. Amazingly enough, we have eaten at all the local food places that we've stumbled across in Mexico without any of us having suffered from the classic burrito belly. It would be a bit boring if went around thinking about these things all the time. We decided for this trip to eat where the locals eat, then whatever happens will happen.
We met a Mexican guy at our hotel who was planning a trip to Germany. He had never owned a pair of shoes, He had only sandals and shorts, and that was exactly what he was intending to wear in Germany in november, to the Alps no less. I suggested it might be worthwhile to invest in some shoes, a jacket and some trousers if he wanted to survive the journey.
He told us that the biggest news in Cancun, for the time beeing, was that the crocodiles in the lagoon (which is located in the touristic hotelzone) have been reproducing too much lately. It is a big problem since they have started to wander into the tourist areas in search of food. They had apparently chewed some limbs of a local drunk who was pissing in the lagoon one evening. Our new friend really wanted to show us pictures of this chewed-up drunk, but I politely declined.

The day after we had arrived in Cancun we strayed into a local tourist market where 100 people were selling crap, and we were the only tourists there. It was a quite exhaustive , to put it mildly. We were offered everything from cocaine to gold-plated sombreros .
A local tout named Freddy managed to suck us in with talk of riches and amazing deals, so we ended up booking Chizen Itca trip and Diving with this guy. These were things that we were going to do anyway, and it seemed like a fair price.
This was the day we learned to never book anything through a third party ,as it will never get you the real prices that you can get from speaking directly to the operators. We were so crystal clear on what we wanted - 6 Dive Package; 2 dives at Cancun reef, 2 dives at a Cancun wreck and 2 dives in freshwater caves. He gave us a price of 210$ which was cheaper than the price I had found online that was 235$. When we arrived at the dive site, he had not said my wishes to the dive operators, and when asking them they wanted 300$ for the package… we were pretty pissed off because we lost a lot of money because we had already begun to dive with them, and could no longer get any of the cheap packages. Even worse was the fact that Freddy had taken one third of the money for himself., He was the only winner in this deal, both the divecenter and us were loosing out. .
There was no wreck or cave diving for us, but we got some pretty decent dives on coral reefs. the water was riddicuosly hot, at least 25-30 C .

angry fish


Our first dive was at an underwater museum where they have made lots of concrete statues that they have dumped in the sea.

Us with statue


Over the years the statues have begun to grow corals and seaweeds, and lots of fish are circling the area, as fish often will do.
After the dive the divemaster gave us a 1.2 litre bottle of beer.

beer in boat


That is all it took to make us pretty happy .

After 5 days in Cancun, we felt quite ready to move on from our wonderfully shabby Mexican hotel room. We had booked a tour to go to one of the seven modern wonders - the Chiczen Itca pyramid. Yet again this was something our friend Freddy had arranged for us, although our original plan was to make our own way to the pyramid to get there in the morning before all the tourist.
At 4.30 That night we awoke as the whole room was beeing constantly illuminated by lightning. It was pouring down, both dogs and cats and cows,so loudly that we could barely talk. This kept on going for 1.5 hour, and the thunder got closer and closer. When it was at the closest it was so strong that the whole building was shaking and all the car alarms in the neighborhood went off. It was a proper tropical storm, It is what we should be expecting when we go to the tropics in the hurricane season..
We were supposed to meet at the tourbus at 7, but even though it was only 100 meters away from the hotel but there was no chance that wewould leave the bed in that weather, even though we had paid for the tour. The storm stopped 15 minutes before arrival,coveniently enough. 6.45 , so this was the time to pack our shit and move on.
It was luckily just us on the bus, and before too long list of those who were on the bus…so that was okay because we had not much need to go over to sheep.
Freddy had said that we should be arriving to the pyramid at 9.00, It meant that the bus had to be quite direct as it was 2 hours to drive from Cancun.
After an hour on the bus we got a nasty surprise. The bus dumped us off on a giant parking far out in nowhereland. turistkaos[/.] there we would remain stranded…at 09.00 came and went while we sat there. Another thing that came, was hordes of tourists of all shapes - fat,thin,White,black. The buses were rolling in , one after the other packed with tourists. We had hardly seen a single other tourist throughout our time in Mexico so far, but here all the tourists in the region had all been herded together.
2 hours after we had been picked up by the first bus we were finally located by an overeager touristguide who stuffed us into the next bus. There we sat neatly with a sticker on our shirts so that the tour leader would be able to herd us in the right direction. The trip leader was chatting annoyingly , and mostly in Spanish.
When we got to the place where we were supposed to have lunch, we had to stand in line behind 10 other fully loaded buses . Heaven knows how this place is in high season.
When we finally got inside where the food was, we were herded around like a flock of sheep. Thank you very fucking much Freddy !.

 Posted by at 4:33 in the morning