Dobbs Away II

Joined April 2017
  • Day618

    Oaxaca

    January 14 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 70 °F

    Mexico City was great, but Oaxaca is even better!
    After a short flight here, we got a taxi to our Airbnb in the Colonia Reforma neighborhood. It’s a bit out of the center of town, but a cute suburb with lots of restaurants. On our first night, we had the best mole of our lives (better than Pujol!) cooked by several older ladies who run a restaurant out of their garage. Every meal we’ve eaten since has also been delicious. No wonder every Mexican we met who we told we were coming to Oaxaca got starry-eyed when raving about how wonderful it is. The area is also known for producing most of the country’s mescal, so we did a tasting one night to learn about this strong, smoky alcohol made from agave. It’s interesting, but we prefer our Mezcal in cocktails vs. straight. We’ve enjoyed walking through the town’s historic center, doing a little shopping (Oaxaca is famous for wood carving, weaving, pottery and other crafts) and visiting some impressive churches. Oaxaca has become our favorite town in Mexico – a great way to finish off our time in Latin America. We would definitely have spent longer here had we known how wonderful it is.Read more

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  • Day601

    Mexico City

    December 28, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 70 °F

    Despite some reports of “road assaults” on tourists, we took a public bus into Mexico City’s Northern Bus Terminal and then hopped into an Uber. We’ve felt safe here and highly recommend visiting Mexico City, despite what bad stuff might be going on in some other parts of the country. The scariest thing we’ve encountered are the almost daily earthquakes. They’ve been small, but unnerving.
    We’ve been very impressed with this ginormous city packed with beautiful, old buildings, distinct neighborhoods, incredible restaurants and cafes, and – most impressively – an amazing cultural scene. Within the city we’ve visited Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul, the Anthropology Museum, Chapultapec Park and Diego Rivera’s mural and sculpture there, the National Palace and more murals from Rivera, The Plaza of Independence, and more.
    One day we took a bus out to Teotihuacan – the impressive pyramids built starting in the first century by unknown people and eventually lived in by the Aztecs starting in the mid-fourteenth century. It’s interesting to see similarities among these great, ancient ruins. These ones reminded us of the pyramids in Egypt because of the incredible size and scale, though they’re a few thousand year’s newer.
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  • Day594

    San Miguel de Allende

    December 21, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 55 °F

    A short flight into Leon, then a few hours by taxi and we arrived in San Miguel de Allende (SMA). SMA is a very charming colonial UNESCO city. It’s very popular with expats and tourists, yet still feels lived in and not overdone.
    We spent our time here walking through the hilly, cobbled streets and admiring the many beautiful old buildings, many of which have been converted into shops and cafes. John also got his haircut at a very hip barbershop where they used lots and lots of products with names like “beard lube” and the barber had tattoos of a barber pole on one side of his neck and a pair of scissors on the other. We had been looking forward to some cooler weather, but were a little surprised how cold it was with nighttime temperatures dipping below freezing. Enjoyed shopping at a local farmers market for Xmas dinner complimented by some Mexican bubbly and catching up on some Netflix (Narcos Mexico – Yikes! - and The Sinner).Read more

  • Day592

    Merida

    December 19, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 82 °F

    We drove back to Merida as a base for our visit to Uxmal, a site of more recent (mid-800’s) Mayan ruins just an hour's drive out of the city.
    This UNESCO site was refreshingly empty and the ruins were distinct in that the pyramids and structures were more rounded and you were allowed to climb to the top of some of them, offering fantastic views over the old city and surrounding jungle. Some of the architectural details were maybe more interesting and better preserved than Chichen-Itza. John remarked that it seems crazy that the Star Wars filmmakers had trekked to Tikal, in the middle of a civil war, to film one short scene instead of coming here.Read more

  • Day591

    Piste

    December 18, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 81 °F

    We’d rented a car so we could overnight near Chichen-Itza and arrive at opening time as the crowds coming in from Cancun and cruise ships are overwhelming by mid-morning.
    On our way to Piste we visited Yokdzonot Cenote - basically a beautiful sinkhole in the jungle where people go to swim. We really enjoyed this experience – the water was pleasant, there were cute tiny fish, not too many mosquitos and even fewer visitors.
    The Mayan ruins of Chichen-Itza, dating from the 600’s, are exactly what you might imagine and are truly iconic in scale and detail. The pyramids are similar to Tikal in Guatemala, but the two sites are very distinct and impressive. What struck us most about Chichen-Itza were the very well preserved carvings visible on many of the structures. It was also easy to imagine what it had looked like when it was a functioning city. We were so happy we had arrived before opening time. When we first pulled up to the site we were complaining to each other that there were 20 or so cars in front of us waiting to get into the parking lot. By the time we left, the large parking lot was completely full, the tour bus parking area was completely full and visitors had to park a 20 minute walk away to get to the gates in the increasing heat and humidity.
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  • Day584

    Merida

    December 11, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

    Took a comfortable bus from Tulum to Merida.
    Merida is a large, colonial city that’s home to around 900,000 people. It was once very wealthy and the center for agave twine that was exported around the world in the early 1900’s. The massive scale of the many crumbling (and some restored) mansions lining the main boulevard, hint at the former affluence. In the center of the city, many buildings have been restored to charming homes, cafes, and shops and it felt a safe and pleasant place to walk around. The people were friendly and the food was good, though we’re really looking forward to Mexico City for a more vibrant food scene.Read more

  • Day579

    Tulum

    December 6, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

    The ferry crossing from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen was very rough because of heavy winds that were strong enough to shut down the harbor for small boats. Luckily, we didn’t get seasick during the short trip. Once on the mainland, we took a public bus to Tulum, just a few hours down the coast.
    Tulum wasn’t what we expected and it’s one of the few places we wouldn’t go back to if we had it to do over again. While the beaches and Mayan ruins are beautiful, the main town isn’t and we were shocked to see huge, expensive resorts built near shantytowns that housed migrant workers. Exploitation like this is something you never get used to seeing and it’s infuriating that all the tourist money being brought in isn’t filtering down to those who need it most. Also, the city has grown way too fast and lacks any infrastructure - we read that only ~30% of residential properties are connected to sewage systems – most ends up in the ocean. You can smell it in some parts of the city. Greed is gross.
    I’m sure if we’d stayed on the beach in a high-end resort and not ventured into the town, we might not have noticed the other side of this place. We should have heeded JV’s advice and given Tulum a miss.
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  • Day575

    Cozumel

    December 2, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 82 °F

    What a culture shock! We love Cozumel and this was our 5th time visiting here to dive, but it’s been an adjustment.
    After getting into the water and seeing all the beautiful fish, coral and lots of turtles, our longing for Japan receded a bit.
    We’ve been lucky to dive many places around the world and Cozumel continues to be somewhere we will re-visit (hopefully with Marisa and Casey). It’s simply incredible under water (not so much above water – it’s truly about the diving here) because of the abundance and variety of critters and the beautiful seascapes of huge coral formations, caves and plunging drop-offs into the deep blue below.Read more

  • Day574

    Chicago

    December 1, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 41 °F

    We had a very tight connection from Japan to Mexico, and as expected, missed our flight. While we contemplated going downtown for the day, the cold, slushy weather and extreme tiredness led us to choose trying to rest in an airport hotel instead.

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