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Los Angeles: My Sister Didn’t Kill Me…

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

I came back to the sunny Los Angeles late Thursday night 7/26 via Houston from Cozumel, Mexico.

Before I started my trip, I asked my eldest sister Hershey if it would be okay if I am not home for my beautiful niece Amanda Caitlyne’s baptism. She didn’t respond. I assumed, the answer is NO! How dare I even asked. The perfect little brother that I am, and now the greatest uncle that one can have, came back home. Therefore, my sister didn’t kill me! But joking aside, I really want to be home for the baptism.

Friday was a bit busy, helped out a bit preparing for Amanda’s big day on Saturday. Later at night, I went to a viewing for my distant Aunt. While I was in Mexico, my Aunt Landa passed away from cancer. May she rest in peace. Afterwards, I picked up my other sister Mimilanie at the airport. Her flight was 4-hour delayed. Me and my cousin Marie fell asleep in my car at the airport parking lot. Right when we got a call from sister, we woke up, picked her up, then we went straight to the Indian Casino for old time sake. We all lost fairly quickly and drove home half asleep at 4AM.

Saturday was my nieces christening. Woke up a little late since we chose to gamble instead of sleeping early. The chuch ceremony was really…um.. long. We kept standing.. sitting.. standing again.. sit some more… but overall, it was a good christening. Afterwards, there was a big party at my sister’s house. So much great food. My Mom made most of it. I miss her cooking since I’ve been away for a month. Not sure how I can survive without having my weekly fix of my Mom’s cooking.

The following day I still have family in town. Had lunch and dinner at my grandparents house. It’s always nice to hang out with my family. It never fails to make me feel at home. The following day, I wanted to hang out at the beach. Since my little cousins are off from school for the summer, I took them to the sunny souther California beaches. We drove to Huntington Beach. It’s so nice to go to the beach on a weekday while all my friends are working their butts off at work. Ha! Life is great! Southern California beaches are nice, but not exotic.

I met up with some friends while I was in town. It was a limited engagement. Monday night I realized that I have so much stuff to do before I continue on with my travels. I’m not sure why is that. I mean, if I flew to any parts of the states, but not at home, I wouldn’t be needing to finish so much errands before I go on to my next destination. One of them is to pospone my jury duty until May 2008. One reason why I wanted to be a US Citizen (ya right!). Well, for the people I didn’t end up meeting, as McArthur said to the Pilipino’s, I will be back! When? I guess when I am ready. Ahh!! I have to pack.. or I should say re-pack.

Yes, it’s a really short stay in LaLaland, but it’s always nice to be back home. And guess what, it’s Shark Week on Discovery Channel. Even better!!! I’m getting excited or really scared diving with them in the future. Tomorrow morning, I will fly to Seattle via Las Vegas. Hm… I should really restrain myself from gambling or I will be cutting my trip short.. or if I am lucky.. longer! This leg of my trip is with my family. We will drive to Vancouver sometime this weekend.

FYI – I’m loading my Mexico pictures as I write this blog. Wtf, It’s telling me it will take 7 hours to load 650 pictures onto Shutterfly. There will be a post with the pictures soon.

Tulum, Cozumel.. MEXICO

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Ah Tulum.. the place where cabanas along the white sands and warm blue water can be found. I arrived in Tulum late in the afternoon on July 21st. We checked in at a hotel just 1Km from the ruins. We stayed in one of the beach front cabanas. The cabana is pretty basic with mosquito net that can only protect my face. Once we settled in, we walked for about a minute and enjoyed the warm Caribbean water. The water is so pristine… we were in paradise. Although there is a ruin in Tulum, I opted not to go the following day. Beach towns just makes me…um.. lazy… or lazier than usual. I don’t like to do much, other than wake up, eat, and hang out at the beach. It couldn’t be better.. the beach is right there on my face!

The following day I was faced with a decision to either leave Tulum or go to Cozumel. I really like Tulum, but I have been itching to do some diving. I suppose I can dive in Tulum, but Cozumel.. it is world famous. After four hours just lounging on Tulum’s white sands, I came to my senses. I realized I should go to Cozumel so I don’t have to do any moving during last five days I am in Mexico.

The bus ride from Tulum to Playa del Carmen took about an hour. From Playa del Carmen we took a 35 minute ferry to the only Mexican island on the Caribbean sea. We sat on top of the ferry to enjoy the view. Once we arrived, fist thing on my really short to do list is to find a dive shop. Score, the dive shop found me! Right when I got off the boat, there was a man who solicits divers off the ferry. I’m really starting to like this island… everything just comes to me.

The next three days, island life means waking up, go to the dive shop by 9AM, do a two tank dive in the morning, go to the internet café after a dive, make lunch, take a nap, wake up, go back to the dive shop and see about a night dive, dive, eat, drink, sleep.. then repeat. Diving in Cozumel is pretty awesome if you ask me. The reefs and corals, and marine life are first-rate. We saw turtles, lobster, bunch of other fishes, and apparently we were swimming with sharks that I didn’t see. They told me, while I was doing my safety stop, three sharks came. Oh well, there’s plenty of other opportunity on this long trip to dive with sharks. Perhaps in the Read Sea or in Asia.

My days in Mexico is almost over. My flight leaves in about 3 hours (sad face.. ). I will be in Los Angeles until the end of the month. So if you want to hang out with RJ the Great, holler!!!!

In conclusion, you might be wondering what I think about Mexico? It’s an interesting place. It’s a place where everything is possible.. where you just ask, and pay, and anything can be arranged. A lot of times, I am taken aback with what I see in front of me that leads me to a non-stop hysterical laughter. Also, at times, I am in awe by the beauty of the architecture, natural wonders, and cultures of the town and places that I am passing through. And yes, the ruins. Mexico has a lot of them. It fascinates me to be in an old city like Chichin Itza and Palenque. It’s fascinating to be in a historical place, and have a glimpse of how life must have been like thousands of years ago. Finally the beaches. The beaches and diving in Mexico is fantastic! Pick one, on a given day do you want to dive and or swim at the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean Sea.. how cool is that.

Viva Mexico!!!

Campeche / Yucatan – My Camera Broke!!

Saturday, July 21st, 2007
Campeche.. such a pretty place next to the Gulf of Mexico. I arrived in Campeche half past three in the morning of July 18th. I hung out at the bus station for thirty minutes trying to figure ... [Continue reading this entry]

Chiapas: Cold to Hot…

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007
After over 13 hours sitting in a bus (first class mind you!) from Puerto Escondido I arrived in San Cristóbal de las Casas early in the morning on July 14th. My friend Ambien made the bus ride tolerable. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Puerto Escondido: What will I have for dinner??

Thursday, July 12th, 2007
I arrived in Puerto Escondido on Friday, July 6 via Pachutla. From Oaxaca City to Pachutla the ride took about 7hrs via the mountainous region of Oaxaca. Someone told me it was over 3,000 metres. Not sure ... [Continue reading this entry]

Oaxaca City: Ruins, Mole, Chocolate and Earthquake

Friday, July 6th, 2007
I arrived in Oaxaca City late Wednesday afternoon (4th of July). When I checked in the hostel Independence Day was being shown. The bus ride from Puebla to Oaxaca City was very scenic. It was a fine ... [Continue reading this entry]

Puebla: Free Tuesdays…

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007
Hmm... Puebla... it´s where Mexico won the battle against France almost by default. Most of the French army was handicapped by diarrhea. Hence, the Mexican’s won the battle. Hey, it gives all of us a reason to celebrate ... [Continue reading this entry]

Mexico City: The Blind and the Beautiful…..

Monday, July 2nd, 2007
Let’s start with the most cliché of all, but as Mark Twain puts it "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw ... [Continue reading this entry]