"Brain Plasticity refers to the brain's ability to change as a result of experience." (Wiki)
I love the notion that many aspects of the brain can be altered right up until you are anciently old! The concept of neuroplasticity speaks to me! It suggests that my own well being depends on jogging those little pathways into responses to new experiences and perceptions. So, What better way than to go off on a road trip to the Yucatán in Mexico with my fifteen year old great nephew?? This isn't just any fifteen year old, nor just any old great nephew. This is Mitch. Not a sulky, grumpy, silent teenager but a dynamic, brave, sharp-eyed, wide-awake human being. Here is his record of our road trip.
And here is mine!
Terminal Shenanigans: I scooped Mitch off the 4 a.m. Aeroméxico London flight. Easier said than done as my clever plan to stay in the Hilton Hotel which is actually in T1 backfired as his arrival was scheduled for T2...literally miles away! Strangely, the Hilton took it upon themselves to pay for a taxi both ways.
Information: Here's what we did in the Yucatán and you might like to do:
- Fly to Mérida (don't be tempted by Cancún)
- Stay at Hotel Peregrino (unless you are a snooty traveller). www.hoteldelperegrino.com. We loved this hotel which has roof top places to hang out, use of kitchen, delicious breakfast, off-site pool and very helpful staff. It's squeaky clean and cheap as chips.
- Love Mérida and pig out on all the delicacies. We particularly enjoyed the Mayan Museum. www.granmuseodelmundomaya.com.mx. It's quite far out of town and you can catch a yellow bus there for 10 pesos. We found the yellow bus but no bus stops so Mitch cleverly waved it down.
- Hire a car and drive to the Caribbean. Don't be disappointed if there is seaweed in the sea. Sometimes there is! Driving is OK in Mexico. I wouldn't do it anywhere else in Central America.
- Visit at least some of the archaeological sites: Tulum, Chichén Itzá, Uxmal and Ek-Balam. Tulum is the most gorgeous setting, unusually, for a Mayan site, on the beach. Uxmal and Chichén Itzá are more complete and I haven't made it yet to Ek-Balam but hear great things.
- Go to as many cenotes as you can pack in. If you want a real contrast go to the Sistema Dos Ojos - especially if you are prepared to put on diving gear as it's a massively huge network; then go to Cenote Car Wash which is an open cenote and we found turtles and strange birds. You can hire flippers. Finally, go to Punta Laguna Nature Reserve where there is an activity package (sounds ghastly but we were the only people there). Our five point package included a zip line across a lake, a canoe ride, a Shaman purification ceremony, and very scary cenote (you had to go down on a rope ladder with a harness - I chickened) and lots of monkeys - well to be honest only a few monkeys.
- We stayed at Cabañas Zazilkin. http://cabanaszazilkin.com/ It was a bit resorty for my taste, quite expensive and without much soul. I think you could do better. The coast near Tulum is not particularly cheap but it's a great place to be based.
Thanks Mitch for accompanying me! You were a great travel buddy and my brain is swimming with activity - especially after being consistently beaten at that evil game BLOKUS which I never got the hang of.