Spring Cruise on Royal Caribbean

3/18 to 3/25  starting Sunday- Visiting Key West, Cozumel, Belize City, Costa Maya

KEY WEST, FLORIDA

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Key West Flamingo, “cribbing”

Since we’ve been to Key West a couple other times, we decided to walk about 15 blocks down Duval St. to the Butterfly Conservatory, my favorite place. I bought my 4th butterfly, encased in clear acrylic. Each time we’ve been to Key West since the first, I’ve bought at least 1 butterfly, displaying them in our kitchen. We also walked through their butterfly room, meeting a sweet Flamingo who, someone near me said, was “cribbing”, out of boredom. We even saw a female there but it didn’t seem like she wanted to have anything to do with him. On our way back to the ship we stopped at “The Key West Key Lime Company”. We watch “The Profit” on CNBC and this is one of his small companies. The pie was to die for-ice cold straight out of the refrigerator on a really hot day.

COZUMEL, MEXICO We had signed up for a tour of “Secret River” where you go into a cave via a river . Because we’d learned that the water was very cold and we’d need to swim much of the way. We decided to cancel that trip. We also didn’t leave the ship since we’ve been there before.

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Towel Creature Here is one of the adorable towel folded creatures our room steward made for us.

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE

On 3/22/18 we snorkeled off a tropical island near Belize City. Since we didn’t bring any camera, I have no photos to share. This place has been on our bucket list, to snorkel on the 2nd longest coral reef (after the Great Barrier Reef off Australia). The water was crystal clear, affording us views of the most diverse and largest coral I’ve ever seen. There were all sorts of fish as well, though not as colorful as those in Hawaii. Still, our guides were wonderful, even diving down to bring up a live conch (Kahnk). We stayed out so long the backs of our legs got sun burnt.

COSTA MAYA, MEXICO

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Costa Maya, Mexico ruins – Mayan iconography

On 3/23/18 we took a tour of Mayan ruins, a good 2.5 hour bus ride from the port. It was good to see the land and homes that lay along that route. Lots of poverty, places with old rusted things lying about. As we traveled our guide explained much about the Mayan people. She was extremely knowledgeable about the Mayan civilization but her accent made it a struggle to understand her. The civilization began around 2000 BC, spreading through Guatemala into Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. Their rulers were considered divine and had temples built to the sky so they were close to the gods. Their elite were also literate, using the only hieroglyphic system of this early time. Our guide tried to explain that they used inscriptions (epigraphy) and symbols (iconography) in their writings. Below are the ruins we saw at two different sites.

DZIBANCHE RUINS  –  Building 6 – a pyramidal platform with a temple with two vaulted galleries at the top 600-900 AD).

Note that one must go down sideways because of the limited width of the steps. This was deliberate – so the people would not turn their back on the gods (or rulers who were seen with divine rights).

Some other Buildings and Spider Monkeys we spotted on our way back to the bus.

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KOHUNLICH RUINS This is a National Park yet still owned by a private party who live there with the responsibility of caring for the grounds.

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These are Kohun nuts (on the Kohun tree) that these ruins were named after. Lich means rich (the Mayan people don’t use the sound for “R”, so they used “L”). This is a large area with many ruins that happened to be rich in Kohun (Cohune in English) nuts. The Mayans would boil the shell to extract oil. They’d also enjoy the food inside.

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To the left is a “poison tree” – our guide (on the right) said that just touching the black sticky stuff on that tree would kill a person is just a few hours. The red tree to the right of it has the antidote – you would rub its bark onto the place where the black material touched you. Isn’t nature fascinating? The Mayans knew about the antidote tree. Not to mention that red was a special color for them.

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Ball Court, where games and ceremonies were held.

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Place of sacrifices; blood letting and sometimes killing .

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Building of carved images. They are being protected by the organic hatched roofing.

Figureheads. These are looking towards the setting sun, revealing members of the ruling Kohun lineage, represented in the form of the sun face.

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Acropolis: the largest building in Kohunlich

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Palace. In 600 AD this was a simple one story house. Later it was partially dismantled, with a large platform and elegant residence built in its place.

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The dark hole at the top is suspected to be an underground escape route for the royalty.

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The line in the midst of the rocks denotes where the original (below) and reconstructed (above) rocks are.

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Commoner Residences near the Palace.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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