To compensate for the lack of snow around here (we only saw it once this winter and it was gone the next day), my parents took me to White Pass. Parna, Maha, Frough and Mohammad joined us for a two-hour drive split by a lunch break. Not only we saw a lot of snow, but also a big castle. Although originally made of snow, the castle had turned into an ice castle (it was very slippery everywhere one could set foot). We played about 30 minutes around the castle, then we retired inside the cabin to drink tea and eat cookies. By the time they were getting ready to close the cabin, we got out once more to slide down the hill, then we drove back home.
It’s been a few months now since khaleh Kathy gave me a set of 2-piece puzzles and it took me a while to figure out what to do with them. At the beginning daddy made it easier for me to solve the puzzles: he used to give me only two matching halves and let me struggle with the matching mechanics. In the next phase, daddy used to give me four halves, making sure that the matching pieces were easy to identify because of the their background color. Eventually I became pretty good at this game: nowadays we spread half of the pieces on the coffee table, then I find the match for whatever other piece I pick from a pile. Below is a set of pictures showing me in the process.
Now that I know how to use the spoon and the fork, it is time to learn how to use a knife. I have a utensil set that – unlike many other sets for kids – came with a knife. This knife cannot cut anything no matter how hard you try, it is mostly a shame for all the utensils called knife. Mommy says that it doesn’t need to cut because it is a spreading knife. So here are some instructions on how to use a spreading knife:
Disclaimer: My mommy might have helped a little with spreading the cream cheese on the bread, but otherwise I did most of the work.
This was my third Christmas and I spent it partying. I only had Parna to play with (poor Sara and Sina were sick), but the older kids also played with us. I ate a BIG apple (and that was all I had for dinner). Of course, we opened gifts, and I made sure one of them (a book) was put to good use (I asked daddy to read it). I ended up going to bed way later than usual.
You may remember that I take dance lessons. The week when parents are allowed inside the dance studio to see the progress of their children is called the observation week. Unfortunately my parents could not observe me with my class because I was sick that Tuesday. However, by the end of the week (on Friday) I felt much better and I got to make up the lost class with the older kids. Below are a few pictures of me trying to do whatever the older kids learned during this semester.
The resort has a club with all sort of activities planned for the little ones. We only took advantage of it twice during the last days we were there. Actually, the last thing we did after we finished packing our luggage and before leaving the resort was to drop by the kids’ club one more time. The pictures below show me involved in some art work that was going on at the time.
There were other ways kids could have fun at the club. There were toys, beds (not for me, for the sleepyheads) and they even had a playground outside. The pictures below show me playing at this playground.
There was no rush to get to the Coba archaeological site because it is larger and less famous than Tulum and Chichen Itza. We still woke up relatively early and left right after breakfast. We hired a guide who was much less informative than the one at Chichen Itza; or we may have had this perception because the site didn’t offer as much as Chichen Itza did. The site is divided into several sections; we started with the Coba group, where I slept through our guide’s explanations. My parents though learned about stelas: sort of bulletin boards carved in rock, seriously tempered by time, now protected by thatched roofs. They also learned about the elevated Mayan roads called sacbe; one of them was approximately 100 km long and almost reached Chichen Itza. We saw a few more structures and a ball court in the Coba section, then we took a pedibike toward Nohoch Mul group.
The only thing better than in Chichen Itza was that visitors can climb Nohoch Mul (the tallest pyramid on the Yucatan peninsula; 42 meters). Daddy climbed it while I was waiting with mommy, then mommy climbed it while I was waiting with daddy. Even though I appear in one of the pictures, it should be noted that I didn’t feel like climbing even a few steps at the bottom of the pyramid.
On our way back to the Coba section, we stopped in the Chumuc Mul section to see a few more structures, the most important of which can be seen in the pictures below.
Now just a few more pictures with today’s heroes:
I could not say “by night” because most of the pictures below were taken before my bed time (8:30 pm). It gets dark pretty early around here, around 6 pm to be more precise. With a few exceptions, daddy took these pictures before dinner or shortly after.
And a few pictures taken outside:
Now let’s talk about dinner. Even though our room was very close to all the restaurants in the resort, we could not be very selective. Upon arrival, we ate our first dinner at Kukulcan (the main buffet in the Coba section): it was too late and we were too hungry to start exploring right away. Among the limited options for lunch and breakfast, we restricted ourselves to the same Kukulcan buffet because it was just a few minutes away from our room and we could get in and out pretty quickly to take advantage of the daylight.
Our opportunity to explore other options came once the daylight was gone: for dinner. A range of other “gourmet” restaurants were only open for dinner, but the access was restricted based on the number of nights spent in the resort. Because we stayed a whole week, we could choose three gourmet restaurants for dinner (we chose Mediterrano, Mikado, and Le Gourmet). We also had dinner once at Riviera (the main buffet in the Akumal section) and twice at Yucatan (the main buffet in the Tulum section). Pictured below are few restaurants where we ate during our vacation:
We wanted to get to Chichen Itza before most of the other tourists (and especially before the tour busses), so we woke up at 4:30 AM and started driving at around 5:00 AM. Waking up early is not such a big deal, especially if you can continue sleeping in your mommy’s arms. We made it right after the site opened for the public (8:00 AM), but we had to eat some breakfast before going in.
We hired a guide to learn as much as possible about the place. Did you know that
- the Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo) is actually a calendar?
- the sunset light and shadows give the illusion of a big feathered serpent descending from El Castillo during the spring and fall equinox?
- if you clap your hands in front of El Castillo stairs, the echo resembles the call of the mayan sacred bird, the quetzal?
- the mayans were playing a ball game? Apparently, the captain of the winning team got the honor of being sacrificed right after the game with the hope of being reborn in a higher social class.
Here are a few pictures of us in front of the most significant buildings:
Now a few more pictures of buildings with the view unobstructed by us:
And a few stone carvings:
Even though daddy wanted to get to the ruins as early in the morning as possible (to avoid the crowds), we made it there only after 10:00 AM. After we got the tickets, daddy and mommy walked along the wall and pushed the stroller where I was sitting comfortably. The most imposing structure of the site is El Castillo, which may be the reason why we got so many pictures of it:
Walking among the other buildings with a stroller was not easy. In many cases (stairs, sandy paths) mommy had to hold me while daddy carried the stroller. But we managed to see the most important structures and even take pictures of them:
Now let’s move on to the fun part. Tulum ruins were built on a bluff ovelooking the Caribbean sea. The visitors can go down some stairs and spend time at the beach. Of course, we did that, too. While we were trying to build a sand castle resembling El Castillo (visible from the beach), the clouds quickly covered the skies and dumped some rain on us. We took cover under some rocks, and the clouds went away pretty much as fast as they came in (the whole episode was less than 30 minutes).
Here are a few more pictures of us throughout the site: