A Travellerspoint blog

Our Current Location = Bay Area (new home)

entering the workforce.

UPDATE: we are on USA soil! check out a little preview of our travels and the dates of our west coast tour by watching this 60second clip:

And our 35 minute summary video...

For those of you who do not know, we are engaged and are taking time off to test our relationship by travelling around the world! On October 13, 2011 we left the US and went west following the itinerary on the map below. Since we will always be a bit behind real time posting to this blog, we will always keep this post up to date so that you will be able to know our current location and our future plans, in case you want to join us!

To follow our blog, you can subscribe to http://robin-kevin-atw.travellerspoint.com in your RSS feed reader, or sign up for emails by clicking 'subscribe' on the right navigation of the page you are reading right now!

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 07:57 Comments (5)

Mexico City, Mexico

New York south of the border

sunny 80 °F

The bus system in Mexico has been phenomenal. The terminals are like airport with gates and waiting rooms, and there are multiple daily departures to almost anywhere on plush new busses with lots of room.

Who knew that Mexico City would be the hippest place we’d visit on our entire trip. The city was alive with people, art and culture and if there wasn’t a need for truckloads of armed police, it could possibly give NYC a run for its money. We stayed in the Zocalo district, and enjoyed its many plazas, cathedrals, and stunning buildings that give you the sense of being in Europe, but at much cheaper prices and with way different culinary flavors. For example, one of their specialty drinks is a spicy Michelada (Beer and Clamato) which robin demonstrates how to drink in this short video:

It appears as though Mexico City has made some huge progress in terms of air quality as we enjoyed beautiful blue skies each day filled with white fluffy clouds. On Sunday, the city shuts down 8 lanes of traffic around Alameda Central and Paseo de la Reforma for runners and cyclists, and we were excited to find ourselves out amongst the locals, enjoying a nice run through parks and major streets. Mexico City is famous for having more museums than any other cities including lots of Frida and Diego info. Luckily we ventured out to a couple fo them before getting hit with our last round of stomach issues. Here we are at the Museum of Anthropology, home of the Aztec calendar. MexicoMexi..4__600x800_.jpg

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 07:57 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Oaxaca, Mexico

Mole chocolate and more chocolate

sunny 77 °F

The culinary reputation Oaxaca has acquired is well deserved. Every day we feasted on some new and delicious grub, and what made it so fun was that each ‘restaurant’ was basically someone’s house that opened up to sell food. So, it was as if we were going from neighbor to neighbor for a home cooked meal! At the Sunday market in Tiacolula we gave cooking a shot ourselves at one of the many ‘grill it yourself’ stands.

The amount of chocolate in this city was unbelievable. There were chocolaterias on every corner and sometimes the same brand would have stores across the street from each other like Starbucks in Seattle. The best part about these shops was the endless amount of samples :) Each shop had its own variety of mole sauce, chocolate bars, and roasted beans. Locals would come in and buy beans by the kilo and the shop would grind it all up with almonds and cinnamon.

Another big culinary treat in Oaxaca is the Mezcal and Pulque culture. There are loads of farms in the hills around the city that you can pay visit to and learn about the agave distilling process, and there are even more Mezcalrias in and around the city streets for sampling! So far we have had the most amazing tequila in Mexico, but as for Mezcal, we haven’t yet developed a taste for it.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 18:16 Archived in Mexico Comments (2)

San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

The mountains of the EZLN

sunny 75 °F

We were super excited about escaping the sweltering weather that we had been in for the past several months, so when we reached San Cristobal we couldn’t get enough of the cool mountain air. The smell of pine needles in the city was something unexplainable. Even more so was the church in San Juan Chamula, which has its floor carpeted with pine needles. We watched as the villagers would come inside to perform healing ceremonies involving countless candles and chicken sacrifices.

We took our time venturing around the city and also started heavy production on our “full-feature adventure film” (premiering in June 2013). The old colonial town is filled with beautiful churches and delicious food. Although it seems like we have now eaten about a million corn tortillas, we still love them fresh off the grill!!

However what we really, really enjoyed was the Pozole soup with big thick maize kernels and super smooth tequila!

Lucky for us, Robin has a nose for sweets and discovered our new favorite treat from the local lacteria – ice creams in little bags made with real cream and for only 2 pesos (16 cents).

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 19:42 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Palenque, Mexico

More ruins…

sunny 93 °F

We were immediately in heaven with the food in Mexico and were eating all of our favorites and lots of things that we had never heard of. Including lots of chilies and hot pepper sauces!

The ruins of Palenque were managed a lot differently in Mexico than in the other Central American sites. The biggest two differences we noticed was the excessive number of guards and the full access to the site that vendors had… making it much more pleasant in the morning before they all arrived. But nothing could take away the extreme beauty that the massive jungle that surrounds the ruins provided. We found a good spot to get creative with pics and decided that planking Palenque was in order.

One of the most interesting parts of the Mayan civilization was their written language. Archeologists claim to have deciphered their little cartoon images, but it seems hard to imagine that we can really understand why and how these people thought so long ago.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 08:32 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Crossing from Guatemala to Mexico

Sneaking between the Cartels

sunny 93 °F

Our crossing from Guatemala to Mexico included a minibus, boat, taxi, and another minibus. After all the bus hijacking stories we read about, to say we were a little nervous, is an understatement. We had traveled so far over 51 borders without any problems, and we were hoping that our last border crossing would be a smooth one.

We stamped out of Guatemala and enjoyed a pleasant 30 minute boat ride down the river to the Mexican immigration station. Why the cities don’t have their immigration directly across the river is a mystery to us.

Thankfully our over preparation and stashing of our valuables was in excess and we made it safely without a hitch. Unless you count the bus driver stopping at his house for a quick bite to eat, or waiting in a gas station to meet up with his buddy’s truck load of passengers.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 06:50 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Flores, Guatemala

A tourist hamster wheel

sunny 95 °F

The first day we walked around Flores, we found the water’s edge and strolled along looking at the shops. . . eventually we ended up right back where we started! We took advantage of this by running laps around the island (each taking slightly less than 10 minutes). The island is mostly for tourists, with all of the colonial streets filled with hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops. However, a short tuk tuk ride away and we were in the heart of a bustling market and the most delicioso banana bread we have ever had!

We then discovered where the locals ate, and we were in a schmorgusborg heaven! Every evening, 6 or so ladies set up food stalls that looked like an supersized bake sale on the water front. They sold tortas, burritos, tacos, tamales, and our new favorite way to cook a banana: plantains stuffed with frijoles and topped powdered sugar!

At the supermarket we saw the biggest bag of refried beans, which gave us a real chuckle.

We also stumbled on a brand new mall between the island and the city that was pretty fancy for the neighborhood, but we didn’t mind the air-conditioning or the Mayan artwork.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 06:50 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

El Remate (Tikal), Guatemala

On top of the Mayan world

overcast 96 °F

This ancient city once dominated the landscape of the ancient Mayan Kingdom. We stayed a few days near the ruins in the small village of El Remate and took some time to enjoy the tranquility of lake.

We headed into Tikal at 3:30 in the morning so we could make our way up to the top of Temple IV before sunrise. The howler monkeys were out in full force, echoing throughout the forest. it was a truly an amazing experience to look over the ancient Mayan world from atop the tallest of the Mayan temples.

Navigating through the masses of complexes took about 6 hours, at which point had seen about 90% of the uncovered complexes and an abundance of wildlife. There are so many animals in the park that this place should actually be marketed as a nature park! Scientists have counted more than 3,000 individual structures at Tikal, and lots of them still appear as mounds of dirt and trees that could still contain some important undiscovered artifacts.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 06:50 Archived in Guatemala Comments (1)

San Ignacio, Belize

Mayan ruins in a cave!

sunny 93 °F

Following the Mayan Route, we visited Xunantunich and the ActunTunichilMuknal (ATM) cave to get a little feel for the Mayans that lived here so long ago. Xunantunich is very accessible from San Ignacio, and has one of the largest castillos.We traveled to the site early one morning by bus and then hand cranked ferry.

We found ourselves to be the only people at the whole site for the first hour of the day, before being swarmed by endless amounts of Belieze’s finest 3rd graders!Climbing the Castillo made for an epic view of the surroundings, including views of Guatemala.

Our visit to the ATM cave included spelunking, wading and swimming through a beautiful cave.

We snuck past the batsgoing 1.5k deeper into the cave to find Mayan remains, including huge pottery vessels and 15 skeletons believed to have been sacrificed in this entryway to their underworld.The cave is most famous for the Crystal Maiden which is a skeleton of a young girl in which the bones have calcified, giving it a glimmering look.

We frequented the local farmers market and had a little culinary tour sampling lots of different foods including fry jacks, papusas, salbutes, panades, and garnaches!All are pretty much the same ingredients (corn with some filling) in lots of different forms :)

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 14:18 Archived in Belize Comments (1)

Placencia, Belize

Shoes optional!

sunny 93 °F

You don’t have to find a secluded island to live the island life, but you still might have to take a boat! With only an email reservation for a “ferry” with just one departure a week, we were happy to see the boat waiting for us at the Honduras dock… even if it was the smallest ferry we’ve ever seen! Belize had one of the most interesting immigration processes we’ve experienced. We docked at some unknown place about a 10min boat ride away from our destination (think Ellis Island) but weren’t allowed get off the boat. Instead, the immigration officer actually boarded our boat and did a role call from the passenger manifesto. Gringos were last, so we had plenty of time to prepare our passports and sneak a pic.

The ferry was supposed to take 2 hours, but since one of the engines blew up after a half hour, our journey took a little over 4 hours, but it was worth the wait! Placencia sits at the end of a very narrow peninsula so everything is covered in sand except for the road out of town and the world’s narrowest ‘main street’, which is actually more like a sidewalk.

Despite it’s size, this cute little main street had everything we could hope for – food stalls, hotels, tour operators and cinnamon rolls! – all possible to visit barefoot. The locals in Belize speak Kriol – which is like a mixture of severely stunted English, Spanish, and slang. It sounds very Rastafarian and was fun to try to figure out what people were saying. We took full advantage of the peninsula by watching both the sunset and the sunrise.

One morning, we were chatting with a nice lady who introduced us to her neighbor, Francis, who offered to take us on a snorkeling/spear fishing trip. We decided to take him up on the promise of a fresh fish BBQ on one of nearby Cayes. Snorkeling suddenly took on a whole new meaning and instead of saying “look at that cute fish!” we kept asking “can we eat that one?” Heh heh. Luckily, Francis has been doing this for years and we ended up with quite the tasty BBQ.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 17:05 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

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