A day in Puerto Morelos

The beaches of Puerto Morelos.

Soft, white sand hugs my feet as I walk towards the ocean in Puerto Morelos. The surf is so calm, a sparkling blue hue as far as the eye can see. Children on spring break are laughing and splashing in the clear shallow water as adults relax and watch from beach chairs on the sand. The cool, clear water water laps around my feet as I walk further from the dry sand. The water is amazing. It is cold and refreshing and well worth the sunny, three kilometer walk from the bus stop. Occasionally, quick boats pass by carrying happy tourists, excited to snorkel and dive, out to the nearby reef. There are shallow places to snorkel near the shore too, providing a  beautiful home to colorful coral and fish and turtles.

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The peaceful little port town is just a thirty minute bus ride from the crazy and crowded Cancun beaches. Not many tourists come to the area as large hotels are limited. However, good food is abundant. Beachside restaurants offer drinks and snacks, or for a cheaper alternative vendors walk down the beach carrying boxes on their heads of delicious fresh fruits, coconuts, and sweet trProcessed with VSCO with hb2 preseteats.

For dinner after a day at the  beach there are endless Mexican and seafood restaurants on the town. Booths of interesting souvenirs are scattered about the lively park in the center of town. Energetic kids slide and swing
on a nearby playground.

At the end of the day a natural color show of blues, and yellows, and pinks light up the sky. A bittersweet goodbye to a beautiful day in an even more beautiful place.

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What is Privilege?

What is privilege?

The dictionary defines privilege as a special right or advantage available only to a particular person or group. Most people think of privilege as something you are born with such as your race, where you live, how much money your parents or their parents had. Growing up in a very wealthy white neighborhood as a far from wealthy kid I noticed the kids going to my school had shiny new cars, expensive clothing, and parents with jobs as lawyers or company owners. The abundance of wealth there influenced me to think that money is privilege. Having more than what you need. However, living in and around villages in Mexico where the income gap is so large that, according to Business Insider, the richest 10% make 30 times more than the lowest 20%, who don’t make enough money to put food on the table, has shown me that having privilege is so much less than being wealthy.

The people here work so hard to survive. The minimum salary is just 70 pesos (4 dollars) here, and for jobs that in America pay 50,000 USD a year Mexicans make just 12,000. So many people sell fruit and vegetable in the market, or work in convenience stores to provide for their families. Or they spend hours making selling home made sandwiches for just 10 pesos (50 cents) each. So many children can’t afford to go to good schools because the good ones are a luxury only the wealthy can afford. If you look out the bus window when you enter towns you can see fully furnished new houses and then next door a hut made of cement blocks and a tarp for a roof. 

 

Privilege is three warm meals a day and a roof over our heads. Privilege is being healthy and having help if you are sick. It is feeling safe in your home and surroundings. Privilege is not having to drive down the highway with young children and baby on the back of a moped. Privilege is education. Privilege is shoes on your feet and clothing on your back. It is knowing you can have a bright future. It is clean water and showers, and people who love you. Yes, having money is a privilege but real privilege is having the things that we so easily take for granted. The things that so many people don’t have.

Chichén Itzá

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Chichén Itzá is one of the most visited places on the Yucatan peninsula, around a million people a year, and is one of the new seven wonders of the world. Prior to Spanish conquest, the city was the major urban center and hub of trade of the Mayan empire from A.D. 750 to 1200. It was a very diverse city, which can be seen by the varied artwork on site. However, it is not known why the city was abandoned in the 1400’s. Historians think it may have been because of drought, over farming, or Spanish quests for treasure.

Seeing this place in real life was an amazing experience. The history and artwork are very interesting as well. The site was a little touristy and busy, but it is definitely a wonder to behold.

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The Mesoamerican ball court on site is the largest in the Americas. It is 225 feet wide and 545 feet long overall. This picture is of the stone hoop that players would try to hit a 12 pound ball through. The two goals were 20+ feet high. The competition was fierce, and the winning teams’ captain would be beheaded by the losers’ as this was the highest honor…

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This is the stepped pyramid known as El Castillo. It has 91 steps on each side adding to 365. Not only did the Mayans invent the calendar but they were so talented at astrology that they could predict solar eclipses.

 

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The Plaza of a Thousand Colunms

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Cenotes (sinkholes) in the city where the primary source of water. They were also used for sacrificing young girls to the gods. The Mayans believed that sacrificing to the gods was necessary to the life of the empire.

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The Plaza of a Thousand Columns

Yucatan Local Travel

In a place with so many transportation opportunities it can be hard to decide how to get around. I mean you can rent a car, a moped, or a taxi, taxi bus, bus, bicycle rickshaw, moped rickshaw and the list goes on and on and on… But in my opinion here are some of the best ways to travel.

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For going from place to place around town we usually just walk, as do most local people, but if you want to get around faster you can take a rikshaw. The prices vary depending on the driver and so do the sizes. My family took one from the bus stop to a mayan ruin about three miles away for 100 pesos (6USD) for six people. You have to be careful though because some drivers will try to overcharge tourists. Make sure you ask the price before you get in.

Further distances from town to town cannot be traveled in a rickshaw. If you really want to IMG_20160217_122206699.jpglive like the locals do, the local 2nd class bus is a good way to go. They are very far from first class but if you don’t mind some graffiti and a bumpy ride they are a great way to get around.  Local buses are usually called “semi-directo” or “ordinario” which means provide the flexibility of getting on and off wherever you would like which is great for seeing the area. A 1st class bus is usually called “directo” which means that they don’t make any stops. First classes busses are more expensive (usually 20+ pesos depending on how far you are traveling) but they usually have either a  bathroom, TV entertainment, or on bus wifi. Another local option is the taxi van, these are the most common way in mexico for locals to get around. They usually seat 12-15 people depending on the size of the van, and are generally nice and have air conditioning. They can be a little tricky to get on if you don’t know the route it takes.

Where and How Much?

2nd Class bus ticket fare very inexpensive just around 7 pesos and taxi vans are the same. Buses follow a specific route to get from place to place so if you are along it you should find one, otherwise they can be found at the local bus stop. Taxi vans are generally the same, however sometimes you have to go to the cities taxi collective if you are looking to go to a specific place.

 

Helpful Tips

You need to know how to flag down the bus: All you have to do is point two fingers out in front of you into the street while the bus is coming your way. Make sure that the driver can see you and they will stop. To tell the driver to stop you just get out of your seat and stand at the fount of the bus.

 

7 Best Things About The Yucatan So Far

After about two months of living here with my family I have compiled a bit of a list of some of the best parts of living in the Yucatan Peninsula.

7) Internet Parks!! Just about every park or monument has free internet which is awesome and very handy. (Parks are also awesome for people watching)

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Mercado Lucas De Galvez in Merida

6) Markets: I can’t say enough how much I love markets,they are cheap, colorful and a great way to practice Spanish with the locals.

5) Mexican Food: Tacos, ceviche, tortas, sopa de lima, hamburguesas, marquesitas it’s all amazing.

4) Limes: Limes get their own slot on this list because the limes here are the best in probably the entire world.

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3) The people: The people we have met here are so friendly, welcoming, kind, and hardworking. On my families’ first morning in Merida we were looking for food for breakfast and we came across this woman who was selling omelets, hotcakes, and hamburgers inside her home to make a living. She welcomed our large family to sit in her living room where she preceded to serve us all delicious food which ended up costing a total of 100 pesos, around 5 dollars (top). (below) This woman is our next door neighbor who my sister and I talked to in Spanish, and I asked if I could take her photo.

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Relaxing in a hammock at the Pickled Onion BB in Santa Elena (awesome place btw).

2)Hammocks: Hammocks are the best and here everyone sleeps in them and homes are actually built with integrated hammock hooks which rocks. They are great in the hot weather as the air circulates through them.

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(Taken at Tres Cenotes of Cuzama)

1) Cenotes: Cenotes (or sinkholes) can be found all over the place in the Yucatan. They are fresh water pool and sometimes caves which early Mayans would use to get fresh water. The water is amazing, cool and clear, and oftentimes filled with fish and plants (and sometimes waterfalls). Sounds great right?

Thanks for reading 🙂 -Izzy

March 5: Starting fresh(ish)

 

Today marks just about two months since leaving my home in colorful Colorado, to embark on an incredible journey of  full time slow travel with my family around the world. I originally started this blog to share interesting stories and experiences, and to give tips to other teens, travelers or anyone really. However, I don’t feel I have accomplished any of these things. I took a month long break from blogging because I needed time to think, accept, and adjust to my new life, which are things I have really struggled with in the recent past. I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to appear as my life is perfect and I have been afraid to take this whole traveling-the-world thing seriously because it just didn’t feel real yet.

The title of my blog is Amateur World Travelr because yes, I am still figuring things out. I don’t know how to be a blogger or a traveler or an adult for that matter which is something I thought that first time travelers would be able to relate too, or that people would find interesting. Being a teenager in this type of lifestyle brings on a whole new set of challenges I hope to write about in the future.

So basically I wanted to start fresh. I want to use this blog as both a creative outlet and social tool. I hope I can share both positive and negative experiences. And most of all I hope that my experiences, hardships, stories, tips, and amateur-ness can inspire others to get out of their comfort zone, do something different, and learn new things too.

Thanks for reading, expect new things to come. 🙂 -Izzy