Mundo Maya 2012 Video

This year, Mexico’s President Calderon has announced a new program called “Mundo Maya 2012” to promote the Mayan culture, archaeology and heritage as we get closer to the infamous year of 2012. I’m super excited about it because the Yucatan Peninsula is full of Mayan culture and ruins, plus Jorge’s family is of Mayan descent. (Does that make me an honorary Mayan? My suegra would probably say so.)

The Secretary of Tourism has put together this incredible video for the program. Enjoy!

Of these, I’ve only been to Palenque, Tulum and Chichen Itza. I’ve got a long way to go! Have you been to any of the sites shown in the Mundo Maya 2012 video?

Father's Day in Chabihau

**Note: If I normally follow you and I haven’t commented on your blog in a few weeks, it’s because about 1/3 of the blogs I follow have been strangely blocked on this computer. Trying to figure out what’s going on…**

Ok, I am a horrible blogger! But it’s been a pretty busy month, which is awesome. I still haven’t shared my photos from my trip to Chabihau, Yucatan with you, and that was almost TWO WEEKS AGO. For shame. We went to the towns of Chabihau and Yobain for Father’s Day to visit Jorge’s family, and it was relaxing as usual!

The best tamales I ever had!

Jorge in his natural habitat… in front of the table.

Happy dogs!

flamingos 🙂 That's as close as they get, though.

Arrow!

"chilpachole de langosta" with lobster Jorge's uncle caught that morning... HUGE!!

A new beach house in Chabihau... I'm going to steal it.

Cenote Tour in San Crisanto

I mentioned on Tuesday that during our trip to Chabihau, Yucatan, we stopped by the neighboring town of San Crisanto for a cenote tour.

The tour costs $40 pesos (about $3 USD) and lasts an hour and a half, taking you on a small boat through the mangrove jungle until you reach the beautiful cenote.

Jorge, Mike and Mau are ready for a nature tour with their carton of "chelas"

Since the water is only a few inches deep and they want to protect the area, they use motorless boats steered by a local, gondola-style

"Navajuela" (which roughly translates to "razorleaf") is a regional plant that looks harmless, but if you touch it, the sharp leaves will cut you. Jorge can attest that this is true from previous experience haha

There were tons of these trees right by the water. They had branches that grew downwards into the water.

The guides waiting for their groups at the cenote

This hole in the bottom of the cenote is where it connects to the underground river system of the Yucatan Peninsula.

San Crisanto has done a lot over the past few years to bring in tourism while still maintaining its natural beauty.

For my previous post on our day exploring San Crisanto, check it out here.

San Crisanto

We wanted to do something special to celebrate our civil wedding, so we decided to take a bunch of our Cancun friends to one of our favorite places … Chabihau. Set on the coast of the state of Yucatan (about 40 minutes north of Merida), this fishing village is where Jorge’s mom grew up and where a lot of his family still lives.

Here are some links to my previous posts on Chabihau:

Yucatan Seafood on New Years

Yucatan Seafood: Ceviche de Chivitas

Chabihau Beach at Sunset

Flamingo Photo Hunt

This time around we did more touristy stuff, with a cenote tour and some exploring. I’ve already posted about Chabihau tons of times here, so today I’ll focus on our trips to the neighboring village of San Crisanto.

San Crisanto has been focusing on tourism for the past few years. They have some interesting tours, beautiful salinas (salt lagoons) that change color with the season, dramatic beaches, addictive coconut pudding, and friendly locals.

This weekend the salina was bright orange

On Sunday we did a cenote tour in San Crisanto, but since that merits its own post, I’ll wait until later this week.

Yucatan Seafood on New Years Day (not for the squeamish… you've been warned)

Well, I had a very busy but very fun New Years weekend! Jorge and I went to visit his family in the towns of Chabihau and Yobain (near Merida, Yucatan) for a few days.

My first meal of 2011 was filled with traditional Yucatan cuisine, made mostly with fresh seafood caught by Jorge’s uncles and cousins in the beach town of Chabihau.

For my first meal of the new year, I had "Chilpachole", a soup made with shrimp and "jaiba" (a Mexican crab). I also got to try the jaiba meat straight from the shell. This is one of my favorite soups!

fresh local "jaiba"

Jorge's uncle shows me the "tikinxic" (Yucatecan dish with enormous grilled fish) before going on the grill. It's split open and covered in bright red achiote sauce.

Tikinxic on the outdoor grill

Tikinxic... ready to eat!

Would anyone like to venture a guess as to what this is? It's a mass of fish eggs! Roe! Yummy...

Jorge's family gathered around for a meal of tikinxic, chilpachole, and frijoles charros (Mexican version of pork and beans)

And just so we can end this post on a non-queasy note, here are some photos of Chabihau on New Years Day, 2011…

What did you have to eat/drink for New Years?

Double Rainbow in Temozon, Yucatan

I just realized that I never posted my double rainbow photos and video!!

It was from when we stopped to eat in the town of Temozon right on the way back from Ek’ Balam ruins. Jorge and I walked down the road to a furniture shop and saw a full double rainbow! It wouldn’t all fit onto one photo, so I made a video. Click here to check it out:

http://www.facebook.com/v/472479006479

And here are the photos…

 

Mayan Legend: The Xtabay Woman

Some of you may know that my husband, Jorge, is from the Yucatan Peninsula, along with his entire family. (Specifically, near the city of Merida.) This particular area is filled with Mayan heritage and culture, which can still be seen a bit in Jorge’s family.

When we visited the Ek’ Balam Mayan ruins recently, we saw a “ceiba” tree (SAY-bah).

The ceiba tree we saw at Ek' Balam

My mother-in-law told us the Mayan legend regarding the ceiba tree.

If a man is out wandering around at night and passes by a ceiba tree, he just might see an “Xtabay” (ish-tah-BYE). An Xtabay is a seductive temptress who stands under the tree, brushing her long, dark hair.

The Xtabay will seduce the late-night traveler. Then, one of two things will happen:

1. The man will be led by the Xtabay off the path, deep into the jungle, to die. (This is the version my mother-in-law prefers.)

2. The Xtabay will ensnare him in an embrace, and violently kill him right there. He’ll later be found filled with the thorns of the ceiba tree.

thorns on the branches of the ceiba tree at Ek' Balam

Most of the Xtabay’s victims are found dead, but over the centuries, a few have managed to escape and tell their story.

According to my in-laws, you’re more likely to come across the Xtabay when you’re drunk. I don’t find this surprising 🙂 haha

Ek' Balam Mayan Ruins in Yucatan

This weekend, my in-laws took us to see some Mayan ruins along with some family friends. It was an AMAZING time!

We went to Ek’ Balam (which means “Black Jaguar” in Mayan), a site located about 2 hours from Cancun, near the city of Valladolid in the state of Yucatan.

Words are insufficient, so I’ll just leave you with photos…

There are 2 hills like this. Each has a large, unearthed acropolis underneath.

The ball court:

The main acropolis… 106 stairs. I got halfway up and panicked. Luckily Jorge made it all the way and was able to take photos.

Beautifully preserved carvings at the entrance to a tomb:

And finally… Pepino the snake.

Yucatan Seafood: Ceviche de Chivitas

When we visit Jorge’s family in the fishing village of Chabihau in the Mexican state of Yucatan, we mostly eat at his aunt’s house by the lagoon. “Tia Lili” has her own mini-restaurant, specializing in freshly caught seafood.

My personal favorite thing that Tia Lili makes is fried fish, but second on my list is ceviche de chivitas.

I’ve been trying to find information online about chivitas so that I could out how to translate it to English for you. I had to do some very creative Googling, only to find 3 webpages with tiny tidbits of info on this type of seafood. Here’s what I found out:

-The best way to describe chivitas in English would be as small river snails.

-I can’t confirm this 100%, but they seem to only live in rivers/lagoons on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Chivitas translates literally into “little goats”. Why? Wish I could tell ya.

Anyway, the same evening that we went searching for flamingos, 2 of Jorge’s uncles took a rowboat out onto the lagoon to catch chivitas. They came back with HUNDREDS. That same night, Jorge’s uncle steamed them on his large outdoor stove.

The next day, I wake up, walk to Tia Lili’s house, and see my in-laws and Jorge’s uncles extracting the chivitas from their shells.

They use long, thick needles to get them out. Once they’ve been steamed properly, they seem to come out pretty easily.

*This might look kinda gross, but I swear it’s soooo good!*

On the left side of the board are the beautiful shells. On the right side are the chivitas.

a closer look

Konan maxin' and relaxin' under the table

They filled up an entire bucket with shells. I asked to keep them for decorating the house later (after a thorough bleach cleaning, of course)

Final product: Ceviche de chivitas with tostadas... great appetizer! and what Mexican meal would be complete without a glass of Coca Cola?

Chabihau Beach at Sunset

*A few of my commenters mentioned yesterday that they’d never heard of Chabihau. It’s not really a spot for international tourists. However, many people who live in Merida own vacation houses there. So, if you’ve never lived near Merida, you’ve probably never heard of it! 🙂 Population is just under 400 people. My mother-in-law grew up there.*

Right after we went searching for flamingos in Chabihau, Jorge and I drove down the coast a little bit with his parents and his two little cousins, Naivi and Naomi.

We stopped by a pretty beach that was covered in tiny shells. Right across the road was the lagoon.

Ocean on left, freshwater lagoon on right

Same lagoon I showed you yesterday, a few miles further east

Jorge's dad looking for shells

What’s your favorite trip you’ve made to the beach?