Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Nearby, a stunning Mexican Yellow-headed Parrot watched the peanut maneuver, called out his name, “Lorenzo!” and received his own peanut. Erick told us that the Yellow-headed Parrot can learn 50-60 words, more than any other species except for the African Gray Parrot. Because it is so prized as a pet, poachers cut down the jungle to reach the nests, and this beautiful parrot is on the verge of extinction.
Crocodiles, on the other hand, are plentiful both in the wild and at CrocoCun, from small, limber 3 or 4-year olds to huge lumbering adults. We were allowed to hold one of the youngsters and were surprised at its soft belly. Nothing attacks a croc from under the water, only from above, and its boney, spiny back provides ample protection. Ana had no such protection 3 years ago when, distracted by a school boy in her tour group, she didn’t notice the crocodile reach for her hand. While she went off for 17 stiches and staples, the sobbing child was consoled by his teacher and classmates.
We walked through an enclosed area with about 30 crocodiles behind a foot-high stone wall. This may be the only place in the world where people can walk among crocodiles, which, when provoked, move with the speed of a horse! Erick pointed out the alpha crocodile, alone in the pond. The others stay on land. One male was lounging on the shore with his tail and back legs in the water. We guessed he could scamper away if her highness became displeased by his semi-trespassing in her pond. [Photo by Eric Lara -- he was INSIDE the little wall]
Occasionally a spider monkey would come close for a visit or peer curiously down from the trees. The name comes from the ability to use its prehensile tail to hang from trees while keeping its arms and legs free. Several females had babies clinging to their backs or stomachs. While the babies scampered up the tree trunk, the adults came down for the chunks of grapes we held out, prying open our fingers to reach the fruit.
Thank you to Erick and Ana for a fun and educational morning! For more information, visit http://www.crococunzoo.com/.
Becky and Nancy
The three robed wise men arrived with their gifts, and then it was time for fun and food. The massage therapists performed several traditional dances, including one with a tray of full water glasses and a bottle of beer balanced on their heads.
We caught a taxi back into Puerto Morelos and stopped at a vegetable and fruit store for pineapple, mangoes, and veggies. We were surprised to see so many stores open on Christmas —perhaps the holiday isn’t quite so revered among the Maya merchants as one would think. We like supporting local businesses—especially when so many all-inclusive resorts don’t give much back.
Sandra Dayton, the founder of the Jungle Spa, gives a lot back to the culture she loves, in part through her non-profit organization. She told us that massage as simple relaxation is foreign to the Maya. Her therapists “are from a culture where giving massages is a way of healing. . . . When they were born, a midwife massaged them out of their mother's belly. They were massaged all during the infancy and at 7 or 8 years old they were taught to massage their parent's and grandparent's tired bodies when they came home from working in the cornfields.”
We envision the day when more cultures incorporate massage into daily family life. Imagine girls AND boys running to give Mom and Dad a foot, hand, and shoulder massage when they return from work.We have a lot to learn from the Maya!
For info about the Jungle Spa, visit www.mayaecho.com/Jungle_Spa.html.
Becky and Nancy
Last September Nancy & I spent a week in Sedona, Arizona, to celebrate our seventeenth unofficial and our third official wedding anniversary. It was the first time either of us had stayed in the red rock town. We were both blown away by the beauty.
The sky takes on a deep blue against the red rocks, and the air seems crystal clear. We were surprised at how much vegetation there was—lots of pines, junipers, manzanita bushes, and many varieties of cactus, not all dust and desert.
We spent time at several vortexes, and finally admitted to each other that we felt no special energy…although
’s hair got some fetching swirls! Nancy
We spent a full day hiking at the nearby Grand Canyon. The Canyon is gorgeous, of course. Despite our altitude sickness, the intense heat, and the overwhelming depth of the giant chasm, we loved it.We would go back to Sedona in a heart beat, perhaps to see the spectacular color later in the fall. We loved it!!!
Posted by Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan at 12:29 PM