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Photographer's Log: Oct. 2004
"This set of pictures was taken over the week of December 15, 1995.
The only reason this page exists is because it represents the kind
of pictures one takes as a typical tourist who never really thought
about photography even as a passing interest. I never really though
seriously about photography till around 1997. Still, at the time I
shot these pictures here, I thought they were really great; I had
fantastic reviews from my friends and family, and even the people at
the photo lab were impressed. Since this still happens today, I never
really if I ever really improved! :-)"
(Note: Similar touristy pictures can be found here.)
Travel Log: My first vacation with Backroads!
I arrived in the resort area of Cancún, where the beaches are
soft and sandy, the water has lots of rocks, and the bars are full
of college kids who were... uh... studying! Yeah, that's it! Studying!
The entire town is pretty much like a never-ending frat party.
Though I took lots of pictures, I lost my camera in a Mexican Toga
at Señor Frog's.
After a few more margaritas, I actually found it again a few bars
down the road. The next morning, I left my wonderful friends that
I'd just met the night before to meet the Backroads group in
Chichén Itzá to see the architectural ruins of the Mayan
The Mayans lived in this region between the years 1200 and 1600,
back when Señor Frog's great, great, great grandfather was
still a mere tadpole. They (the Mayans) were very sophisticated in
many areas of architecture, accoustics
and astronomy. For example, they had two
separate calendars for the Sun and the Moon, which meant that you never
really knew when your birthday was. Some would claim several birthdays
a year, which helps explain why the Mayans lived to 80 or 90 years old!
They built enormous pyramids and other structures with such detailed
accoustical precision that their voices could be heard miles away.
The problem was, there wasn't really anyone to talk to that far away,
so they stopped building these things.
When they weren't killing each other, the Mayans developed a funky game
where you try to get a tiny rubber ball through hoops high above the ground
using a netted stick, sort of like lacross.
The game would end when anyone would get a goal, which may have
taken several days. In the spirit of the culture, the winners were awarded
by (you guessed it) sacrafice! (No wonder the game took so long to end!)
Yes, the losers were also sacraficed, but it was less honorable to be
sacraficed as a loser than as a winner.
Needless to say, no one really ever got good at this game.
One very fascinating fact about the Mayans is that, as sophisticated as
they were about architecture and accoustics and calendars, they never
discovered or used the wheel. We suspect they probably killed the guy
that did. "Did you kill him?" "Yes. He almost got away in this car, but we
got him first."
The Mayans lived inland for almost 400 years to avoid the hurricaines on
the waterfront, but wars eventually forced them toward the beach anyway.
No one really knows what happened to them after that, but ancient etchings
in stones found in neaby caves seem to suggest that they "hung ten" often.
The Yucatán Peninsula is a great place to visit, and a very
relaxing, simple bike tour. There are no hills whatsoever, as the
entire peninsula is flat jungle sitting on top of limestone.
It is hot and humid, but fortunately, there are plenty of cenotas,
underwater rivers that can be accessed through holes in the ground.
Usually, getting to one requires going through deep caves, but if you're
daring, you can just jump in from the top and avoid the $5 entry fee.
The picture on the left is a "bar" on the beach of Cozumel, an island off the
coast of Mexico. It's got great diving, snorkeling, and of course, plenty of
This particular place plays reggae all day and makes the best
mexican food ever. We hung out here for several days, even after the
rest of the group returned home. So, all in all, this mexican trip was
the epitome of relaxation, fun, a little education, mild genocide, and
other fun activities.
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