Mexican Giraffe (OWPC: Giraffe)

There were a lot of things I expected to see whilst we were traveling through Mexico but I have to admit a giraffe, albeit a very colourful giraffe, was not on my list!

He was extremely charming and most definitely served his purpose. Into that store in Huatulco we went in search of a smaller version of this well-read fellow, exiting with many a jewellery purchase forgetting all about the quest for a cute creature!

 

 

 

 

 

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge #20

 

When attempting to escape the hot, burning sun of Huatulco, Mexico via the shade of the trees, we happened upon this gentlemen standing guard outside a shop.

Odd Ball Huatulco

It was love at first sight for Darling Daughter and myself. If we could have stuffed him into our beach-bags we would have. Oddly, he reminded me of George Clooney’s Batman with those unnecessary nipples!

 

Cee's Odd Ball Challenge

 

 

Pelicans of Mexico

 

Having grown up on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of Australia and having property still there, going to the beach anywhere else for a holiday now just feels wrong. However the blue, blue waters of Mexico almost had me reconsidering… almost!

Pelicans of Cabo San Lucas Mexico

Even now as the children and I go through our holiday photographs from our Panama Canal cruise, the colour of the waters off the coast of Mexico and Miami still leave us catching our breath.

 

 

Pelicans of Mexico (MM2-11)

 

Pelicans are by far one of my favourite birds although I don’t know that I will ever get accustomed to seeing them in the shades of grey that they are here in North America instead of the glorious white as they are in Australia.

And speaking of glorious white, judging by the glowing white of the top of this rock, these three pelicans appear to be regulars here. Talk about marking your territory, enough already!

Pelicans of Cabo San Lucas

We spotted these three pelicans off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico as we were going out for a morning tour of the reef, rocks and nearby caves.

It was an amazing morning as our boat’s hull was clear glass ensuring we had the best of both worlds both above and below the ocean’s surface!

 

 

 

Another tick off the Bucket List!

For our last port of call of our cruise we finished on quite the high in Cozumel, Mexico. How beautiful was this sunrise?

Sunrise over cozumel - beautfiul!

The lighthouse looked a tad different once the sun had risen but the best was yet to come.

Cozume Lighthouse

For the longest time both children (and parents for the that matter) have wanted to swim with the dolphins but age restrictions prevented it so had to console ourselves with merely feeding and kissing dolphins. Not really the same but NOT so today!

HLR loving his dolphin ride

Today we all SWAM with the dolphins!

MMR enjoying her dolphin ride

We also danced with the dolphins.

Hubby enjoying a dance with a dophin

And cuddled the dolphins!

Mama having a snuggle of a different kind

There were also kisses and dolphin whispers to be had before we headed off to snorkel at the same establishment followed by a lite lunch. What an exhilarating day – these dolphins were just magnificent!

Jumping Dolphins

With temperatures nudging the mid-30’s again, once we’d finished our incredible dolphin encounter we took the children back to the ship to kidz club before Hubby and I headed out again ourselves.

You see, this was our fifth Mexican port of call but we’d yet to have a Corona. This situation needed to be rectified immediately and Hard Rock was the perfect venue.

Finally having a Corona in Mexico

This would have had to be one of the smallest Hard Rock’s we’d ever visited. There wasn’t a crumb in sight unfortunately as we’d been looking forward to a Hard Rock Nachos so finished our beers to walk 20 meters to Hooters for this. We weren’t disappointed!

Afternoon snack at Hooter

Making our way back to the ship, we marveled yet again at not only the brilliant blue of the water, but as to how clear the waters were. When docking this morning, we were able to see the ocean floor. Not often that happens!

The Blue Oceans of the Day

Our last port of call, an absolutely brilliant day, a fabulous end to our fabulous cruise… sniff, sniff 😦

What happened to my sea day!

I was expecting a sea day today, instead the schedule for Hubby and I of touring Puerto Chiapas, Mexico and the neighboring areas was brought forward a day, and what a day. On hearing the plans being made the children begged to be left on the ship today sooo… they were!

The day began quite early, watching as we always did as we sailed into port. Watching the mountains in the distance appearing from the mist was just breath-taking. Photographs don’t do it justice.

Mountains in the mist

As the mist lifted even the colors beside us appeared brighter.

Sailing into Puerto Chiapas

Once breakfast was finished we were on-shore visiting all the little markets set-up at the port before we boarded our bus for our adventure. We drove an hour to Tapachula where we toured a museum exhibiting artifacts excavated from the region.

Check out this skull decorated with turquoise mosaic, gold for eyes then completed with a jade ornament in the forehead!

An ornately decorated skull from the Izapan ruins

We went onto visit a couple of churches. The first one old with the belief if you want a long marriage then you must marry here. It certainly seems to work for the pigeons!

Church and pigeons

Then there was a new church. It was certainly attractive, especially with the stained-glass windows but has yet to gain its history and feel like the church previously.

Inside a church

The architecture as we drove around seemed to jump from one style to another. This building is what I envision when I think of Colombian architecture.

Chiapas Architecture, very Columbian

This appeared to be a very busy area with not only many businesses but a lot of street vendors in front.

Downtown Chiapas

Then as we headed out to Izapa, the home of what archeologists believe could be some of the very first Mayan ruins, we past a lot of buildings like this…

Different architecture of Chiapas

Izapa is located on wet and hilly land made of volcanic soil, very good for growing cacao. The cacao tree and its fruit were not what we were expecting. Nor were these “water balls”. I have yet to discover their correct name but the bus driver advised me that the locals will cut these “balls” open for water.

Water balls, what the?

These Mayan ruins at Izapa weren’t quite as large as we were expecting but on hearing these could actually be the first, therefore the oldest, of the Mayan ruins being well over 3,000+ years old, it quickly changed our view of it all.

Donald and the Myan Ruins

When I first saw this rooster I thought it was plastic. How gorgeous is he?!

Colorful Chiapas Cock

It was a shame it was so hot and humid as we wandered around these ruins, it drained us of energy and sadly enthusiasm. Thank goodness the children stayed on-board.

We IGUANA have the BEST time!

With today’s port of call of Huatulco, Mexico being a mid-afternoon departure, the only want on the children’s agenda was to swim at the beach. Which was odd as when we left the ship they were neither wearing swimmers, nor did they have them so… exploring the streets it was.

The first official building we saw after leaving the pier was this one, hidden away and unassuming. As is the way of Mexico, full of contrast, it appeared quite out-of-place when nearby were mansions and expensive boats.

Federal Police Mexican Style

We strolled on down along the marina, past some very lovely shops which we later visited sans children. 😉

Looking at the Marina

We turned the corner and voila, contrast!

Work in Progress

Then just a little way from here was a lovely church. No doors or windows which was perfect for the climate as I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet the weather.

Church Mexican style

Yes, it was beautifully sunny along the west-coast of Mexico but the heat, oh my gosh. The locals would joke there were three different temperatures – hot, hotter and hotter – or as I preferred to say, friggin’ hot which was most days and when its hot one must keep hydrated!

Cocktail Cruising

As we enjoyed our cold drinks and local seafood we had the pleasure of meeting “Barcode”. That obviously wasn’t the correct name but we couldn’t pronounce his name correctly so we all agreed on Barcode.

Meeting Barcode for the first time

Isn’t this Iguana just GORGEOUS!!!

Up Close with Barcode

Even Hubby was up for a cuddle!

Barcode was popular

Oddly, as I was chief photographer, no one thought to ask me if I’d like a snuggle with Barcode. One was NOT impressed hence vowed then and there the next Iguana was MINE, lol! Anyways, as it was only getting hotter we took the children back for lunch on the ship. Do you think Miss Ten was happy with the decision?!

Yep, cruising makes us happy

Master Twelve on the other hand was suffering mixed emotions after seeing this. Initially he was overjoyed but quickly became frustrated when he remembered he didn’t have his fishing rod. The Needlefish look quite gross in this photograph but in reality were quite incredible with them on mass.

Needle fish

Once the children were settled into the Kidz Club Hubby and I ventured back on-shore for a “spot” of shopping. Oh the jewellery one had to leave behind but who did we bump into on the way to the store, guess? Yes, it was Barcode!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For a day with no plans it was a wonderful day. The day after tomorrow is our last port of call in West Mexico but please someone, anyone, please turn down the temperature… please!

When in Mexico… SHOP!!!

Today we are in Puerto Vallarto, Mexico and once again as we sailed into port we were amazed by the number of high-rise on the horizon. Why I don’t know considering the number of people we know who go quite regularly to Mexico, but nevertheless, we were still amazed to see these tall structures.

High rise on the horizon

Coming into dock at Puerto Vallarto with the Mexican flag flying proudly and the morning haze still sitting over the city was rather lovely. It softened the edges of the modern architecture somewhat you might say.

Coming into dock at Puerto Vallarto

As our previous day had been so busy we decided to keep this day rather low-key by staying close to the ship. With the Vallarto Mall directly ahead of us and within walking distance we knew where our first stop would be.

Vallarta Shopping Mall - a good way to kill a few hours

Never fear though as we saved the best until last with thees wonderful little markets almost on the docks. These little stalls were filled with quite the assortment of treasures.

Vallarta Flea Market

Whilst in port we had the crowning of Miss Puerto Vallarto 2013.

Miss Puerto Vallarto 2013

And there was also the crowning of Master Puerto Vallarto 2014 also – oddly in the same costume!

Master Puerto Vallarta

As glamorous as these beauty queens were however, the most alluring beauties were in the skies.

Flight of the Pelicans

Yet no matter how many I see, I still have a hard time reconciling the fact that these are dark pelicans, not the white pelicans I’ve grown up with. Even with these dark pelicans appearing to be commonplace here in Mexico, I still have to do a double-take to ensure they are pelicans.

If only we could talk to the animals!!!

As we waited for our tender into Cabo San Lucas, Mexico this morning, our one and only for this entire cruise thankfully, we looked over to the shoreline in front of our cabin and wondered just what sort of day we were in for as it all looked very… commercial you might say.

Viva Mexico - NOT what we wanted to see! - Copy

However, once we swapped our tender for a half-submarine boat heading in the opposite direction, it was if we were transported to another place. It was such a welcome contrast!

Heading out for some fish spotting!

This vessel was completely different to anything we’d ever been on before as it was the sides that were glass not the floor so you could actually sit and look out as you would normally. Then again, maybe not so normally when you’re seeing this just inches away!

The fish are RIGHT THERE - Copy

One of the main attractions to this area is the rock formations and quite rightly so. Seriously, how gorgeous is this against the different blues in the water?

Natural Arch - how beautiful!

What you can’t see up amongst the rocks though are just how many birds are resting there. It was incredible the number and the variety.

Birds hidden amongst the rocks - Copy

Birds weren’t all that were resting on the rocks – this was quite unexpected. Trying to count these big boys was a lot harder in reality then it is now looking at it let me tell you as the blended into the rocks so well!

How many sea lines do you think you see

I know, a rock’s a rock but sometimes there’s a twist. How on earth does just one rock become like this? Seriously, how?

This stays like this just how exactly - Copy

It certainly left my family in awe… and taking bets as to when it would be toppling down!

Photogenic Family

After such a wonderful morning out on the water we worked up quite an appetite so headed around to the marina for something tasty. Everything looked so good that eventually we ordered eight starters thinking they’d make maybe three main meals. HA, how wrong were we. This was just the complimentary guacamole they made at the table for us. It was divine!

Guacamale Mexican Style

And what does one do to work off such an enormous lunch? Wrestle with a lion of course! As you can see from Miss Ten’s posture, a lion’s a lion no matter what the age, lol!

Wrestling with a lion after lunch

Although, once the cub was on the ground it was behaving like any young cat and who can resist a cute little kitty?!

Lion Cub and kidz

Then it was on for a spot of day-dreaming of catching a reasonably sized marlin. This is an actual cast of a marlin that someone caught – yes, a BIG challenge has been set for Master Twelve!

The Marlin-Dreaming Family

There was even time for a little bird watching – check out the smile on Young Sir’s face would you? He who never smiles for photos!

Harrison and his birds - what a collection!

So after seeing HIS reaction there was no way I was missing out on some of this action…

Even Mama played with the birds

Then after a quick stroll around the markets it was onto Senor Frog to chill-out before catching our tender back to the ship.

Mr Super Cool

All in all it was an amazing day. There’s no denying Cabo is very commercial and touristy but there’s also no denying it’s a lot of fun also. A great first port of call!

Cruise time begins in Los Angeles!

Let the good times begin!

Flying into Los Angeles late Thursday night was just beautiful, as was the hotel Hubby chose. Although we did almost embarrassed ourselves when we saw these cookie barrels sitting in the foyer of the hotel full of cookies and went to help ourselves. Fortunately we saw the “Doggie Deli” sign before we helped ourselves!

Doggy Treats

We treated ourselves to a sleep-in the next morning, then after breakfast yesterday we went for a wander around Long Beach before heading over to the ship. We stumbled upon some very interesting artwork.

Miss Ten looking cool in Long Beach

The fire-hydrant though was our favorite.

Gold Fire Hydrant - how glamerous!

Arriving at the ship terminal we didn’t have to wait long at all, especially once they took our booking confirmation. It was so funny as there was obviously a “concern” with our booking as many people were consulted. Master Twelve convinced himself our booking had been cancelled but it was quite the opposite.

Turns out we were “VIP’s” so were immediately escorted through security before being introduced to our “on-board” concierge who then had us taken to our cabin. Needless to say Master Twelve was more than appeased with this new situation, especially when our “butler” arrived with a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries. Now you see them, now you don’t!

The beginning of Vacation time!

What a way to begin our vacation, and what a way to farewell Los Angeles, sipping our champagne and nibbling our canapés. One could become accustomed to this life, lol! Watching the police zipping around the ship on their jet ski was quite interesting also.

Police on Ski-doo

Others weren’t too fazed either way with our departure. I just adore how sea-lions, no matter how large, still have to lie what appears to be right on top of one another!

The farewell committee

Watching the sun sink on Los Angeles was just glorious.

Farewell Los Angeles - hello wonderful cruise!

Tomorrow is our first port of call – Cabo San Lucas – VIVA MEXICO. Bring it  on… “mum, how much longer?”