Samulá

Apr. 1st, 2011 08:20 pm
 'Cenote Samulá' from Turismo
 
Samulá cenote.  Cenotes are (mostly) underground rivers.  Though some of them are out in the open, many of them are only accessible through cave systems, formed by a badass meteor impact 65 million years ago.  This is one of my favorite ones, about an hour and a half away from where I live, and like 20 minutes away from Chichen Itza.  Those vine-looking things are actually the roots of a tree that's at ground level.  

The trip to Las Vegas itself was great: shows, concert, Grand Canyon, drinks... Lots of fun, in a way that was very different from other trips, especially since we spent most of it hanging out inside hotels we weren't even staying at. AND I got to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] boomtownrat , even if only for part of the length of my Charlotte layover!

Pictures: LV night skyline, The Claw, The Grand Canyon x2, lions at the MGM Grand x2 )

A couple of days before I left, my mom told me that one of her students (a very rich lady who's married to an even richer man) had given her a name and phone number for me to call about a possible job. Apparently one of her husband's many business ventures includes a very fancy beach club where tourists on cruises that dock at Cozumel* spend the day. Since this was a couple of days before my trip, I figured I'd call them when I got back. The night before I left, my mom said her student had told her "they were expecting my phone call".

*Cozumel is an island to which you get on a 30-minute ferry boat from Playa del Carmen, which is a town about 40 min. south of Cancun.

I called from the airport, and apparently, they had been putting off other people's interviews because the lady had put in such a good word in for me, and they really hoped I could go to Cozumel as soon as possible for an interview. I explained that I was about to leave the country, but that I would be in Cancun on Tuesday, and that seeing how I was just taking time off work, it would be great if I could come in for an interview that same day.

During the trip I looked into what making it home on Tuesday would entail: flying into Cancun at 10:30 after an overnight flight; then an hour long bus ride to Playa, then 30 minutes on the ferry... the most convenient bus back home from Playa left at 3:45pm, meaning I'd have to be done with the interview and preferably back on the boat at 3pm at the latest. The guy had assured me if I called them as soon as I got on the ferry boat, they'd have someone waiting for me at the dock, and even said he'd tell the interviewer to ignore my lack of interview-appropriate attire. Still, I knew it would be really tight, and probably stressful.

It was a short trip, so I was taking my little suitcase as a carry-on, but wanted to check it for the flight back since a friend had gotten me a framed print as an early Christmas gift; besides, I had bought some make-up remover and a metal manicure tool. Thinking about the time I'd waste waiting at baggage claim, plus the hassle it'd be to carry the print all the way to Cozumel and back, I had a bright idea: I'd mail the print, the make-up remover and the file to myself, since whatever it would cost to do it would be about as much as US Airways would charge for the checked bag, plus the convenience of not carrying it all over the Yucatan peninsula.

But post offices are harder to find in Vegas than you'd think, so again, for the sake of convenience, I used the Tropicana business center desk to have it FedExed.

Complicated enough so far? It gets better.

After an overnight flight and a 3-hour layover, I got to Cancun with one phone dead and the other one dying (yeah, I have two cellphones). Which one died? The one that had the beach club's number on it, of course. I called my mom and asked her to please ask her student for it so I could call them from the boat as I'd been told. She said she'd call me back, as I bought a bus ticket to Playa and waited forever for it to leave. 20 minutes into the trip, my mom calls.

"Uh, where are you?"
"On the bus to Playa"
"Oh, you're on the bus already..."
"... yes, why?"
"Well, [the lady] told me both her husband and the person who was supposed to interview you are away on business, so there's nobody at the club who can interview you"

So there I was, with about three hours to kill at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with a suitcase full of sweaters and not even a pair of flip flops.

I took a cab to this awesome little bagel place my sister and I love and ate bagels and drank pineapple juice like it was the end of the world. Then, bitter about being literally feet away from the beach in 90-degree weather in sneakers, I went to the bus station and waited two hours there for my bus to leave.

Operation job interview: Utter failure.

A couple of days later, the FedEx man arrived with my oddly-shaped package. The print was there, the make-up remover and the manicure tool were not. Enraged, I called FedEx. The lady who took my call said that, while it's not unusual for Mexican custom agents to confiscate items, there was no confiscation notice on my package's tracking record, meaning they're not really sure what happened to my stuff. Another CSR called me later to ask me to email him a detailed description and pictures of my items, which I did right away. He said he'd get back to me that day (Thursday) or the next. I never heard back. I called on Saturday, and was told someone would probably call me on Tuesday.

Needless to say, other than the Vegas trip, I can't say my week went all that well before Friday. I can't say I took it well either. Exhaustion, frustration, helplessness, all three combined? After my first FedEx call on Thursday I cried and cried about all that shit having been in vain, then took a nap and went to work. You know you're having a really crappy day when work actually helps you take your mind off it.

Unbelievably (or not), this isn't even the whole story, but I guess this is whiny, ranting and rambling enough. I think right now I'm at a place where I'm not as ready to track down the customs agent who went through my package and TPing their house as I was on Thursday, so I guess that's progress?

The weekend was good too, so that helped. More on that later.

Panama

Mar. 8th, 2009 07:08 pm
This is it! The final part of my Central America trip last year: Panama.

This little guy welcomes you to this post:



I don't know what it means, but doesn't it get you in the mood? HA!

Diving into an ocean-pool, a coffee farm tour, and the Panama Canal at work )
The trip in general was great. I had a great time and did so much, learned so much and met so many great people it's hard to even put into words. It's funny because I agreed to go on the trip with my friends since my plans to go to Japan fell through and it was cheap enough to not damage my finances at the time, and for real, it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Costa Rica

Mar. 2nd, 2009 12:14 am
Welcome to part two of my Central America trip pictures, now featuring gorgeous Costa Rica.
Invisible volcanoes, funky frogs, cloudy ziplines, best hot springs ever, bumpy surfing and more! )

Believe me: Costa Rica is so awesome it now seems like a waste having only spent about a week there.

Next (and final) stop: Panama.
Last summer my friends and I backpacked through Belize and Guatemala, flew to Costa Rica and went on to Panama, and then back to different spots in Guatemala.  This is part one of my Central America pictures.  I'm putting all of the Guatemala pictures here, since timing doesn't really matter anyway.

Belize

We weren't there for long, and did just small village/jungle hiking stuff.  Everyone (including belizeans) told us Belize City was not only horrible, but also VERY dangerous.  
You better Belize it! )

Guatemala
We're in Wowtemala )

Oh yes.  We made puns for every country we visited.  That's just what a gazillion hours in a refurbished school bus will do to your brain.

Costa Rica and Panama to follow!


Last September, my then boyfriend and I went to the UAE for ten days. We were visiting some friends of his in Abu Dhabi, so we didn't do as much sightseeing as I would have wanted, but I got to see and experience things I never thought I would.

Here are some of them:
Click for pictures )

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