sometimes paradise is sheer perfection…

courtesy of facebook.com/zenzibeach

courtesy of facebook.com/zenzibeach

I mean seriously I can’t make this stuff up.!! This picture taken yesterday in Playa is sheer perfection.!! An ocean view complete with a spectacular rainbow (arco iris) from one of the tables at Zenzi Beach Bar (a personal favorite I might add).!

Due to all the storm activity in the Caribbean, the sky is always a beautiful mix of azure blue, clouds, and rainbows. That’s the upside. The downside is Hurricane Matthew was in the neighborhood and is heading north. Wishing everyone in the hurricane’s path Godspeed.

sometimes paradise is maja’che….

tormenta

On May 5th, Playa del Carmen experienced a storm or tormenta. The winds came suddenly, furiously and fiercely.

tormenta1

Maja’Che is the Mayan name for sudden winds that can knock over trees. My very brave friend P., the photographer, took these amazing photos. There are also some videos – I’ll see if I can post them soon. Also, there were some lovely calm “after storm” photos I’ll share next time too 🙂

te extraño mi playita

Thanks..!!

Thanks..!!

The last few days I have been thinking about Mexico. The reasons I moved there in the first place. The reasons I finally left. So I thought this week would be the perfect time to talk about why I loved living in Mexico.

1) The sky.! I know I have done a whole post about the sky before, but it is definitely worth mentioning again. It is clear, blue and perfect.!

courtesy of gettyimages.com

courtesy of gettyimages.com

2) The beach.! I mean seriously where else is the water so blue and clear that you can see your toes.!

playa del carmen street courtesy of my friend K.L.

playa del carmen street

view from the ferry courtesy of my friend K.L.

view from the ferry courtesy of my friend K.L.

3) Akumal Beach in particular.! I think this is the best beach on the planet. The water is beautiful and clear. There are turtles everywhere.! Just serene and everything a Corona commericial looks like.!

Akumal

Akumal

Akumal Beach courtesy of my friend C.H.

Akumal Beach courtesy of my friend C.H.

4) The moon.! Whenever, there is a full moon, it is always clear and bright in the night sky.! Just amazing.!

la luna courtesy of my friend F.R.

la luna courtesy of my friend F.R.

5) The sunrise.! It is tradition here in Playa del Carmen to wait for the sunrise after partying all night on New Year’s Eve. And it does not disappoint.!

sunrise courtesy of my friend F.R.

sunrise courtesy of my friend F.R.

6) The Starbucks and the friendly baristas on Quinta Avenida and 28th Calle.! They make you feel right at home 🙂

feelin the love...

feelin the love…

starbucks on quinta

starbucks on quinta

7) The salsas.!! As you know, I have done a whole post on tacos and salsas.! So many choices so little time.! Yummy..!!

salsas courtesy of my friend K.C.

salsas courtesy of my friend K.C.

8) I miss micheladas.!! Especially now that it is warm in Chicago.! They would taste so good. I am going to have to figure out how to make them myself 🙂

michelada

michelada courtesy of girlichef.com

9) Meeting new people.! Playa is such an international town.! And I know, so is Chicago, but people are less likely to talk to you here. Whereas in Playa, everyone wants to get to know everyone.!

me and my friend A.A. courtesy of my friend K.L.

me and my friend A.A. courtesy of my friend K.L.

10) But mostly I miss my friends.! All of them.! And I think that is probably the real reason I miss Playa del Carmen.! In fact, you will notice, a lot of my photos in this post are courtesy of my friends.! But I know that through the wonderful social media platforms such as facebook, I stay connected. Plus, I will return one day to visit. And then, I will have a lovely cup of coffee with some of them and people watch on Quinta Avenida. And with the rest of my friends, I will have tasty micheladas at sunset on the beach.! I can’t wait to see their smiling faces again..!!

ula gula bar courtesy of my friend K.C.

ula gula bar courtesy of my friend K.C.

lido bar

lido bar

co-workers courtesy of R.C.

co-workers courtesy of R.C.

wana bar courtesy of my friend P.T.

wana bar courtesy of my friend P.T.

BBQ courtesy of J.C.

BBQ courtesy of J.C.

friends

friends

Sian Ka’an..?? Sean who..?? Ummm..can you spell that?

courtesy of cesiak.org

courtesy of cesiak.org

I love water..!! It’s so beautiful and refreshing. Even taking a shower can be a cathartic and exhilirating experience for me. TMI probably but true. So when you combine water with sand and beautiful skies – I am completely lost and found. It refreshes me and relaxes me. And nowhere is this more true than Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

Sian Ka'an - the Caribbean side

Sian Ka’an – the Caribbean side

Sian Ka’an is a biosphere reserve near Tulum. It contains tropical forests, mangroves and marshes. Sian Ka’an also has a marine section intersected by a barrier reef. It is approximately 1.3 million acres – the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. This is about 120 km from north to south. Part of it’s beauty is the combination of the land, the mangroves and the ocean. My favorite part is the bridge where the mangroves and ocean come together. Just gorgeous..!!

Sian Ka'an - ocean side

Sian Ka’an – ocean side

Sian Ka’an was established in 1986 as part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program. In 1987, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As part of the Man and Biosphere Program, Sian Ka’an faces the ultimate challenge of conservation – how to integrate human activities within the reserve without compromising the other forms of life found in the reserve. Sian Ka’an has three zoned areas covering 700,000 acres where scientific research can be conducted. Low impact human activities and sustainable development occur in an area called the buffer zone. In other words, fishing is allowed but not jet skis or other typical touristy activities.

Sian Ka'an - wetlands

Sian Ka’an – wetlands

In Mayan, Sian Ka’an means “Origin of the Sky” or “Gift from the Sky”. In fact, there are 23 known Mayan archeological sites in the reserve. Some of the relics, such as human remains and ceramic pieces, found in Sian Ka’an are as old as 2,300 years. Recently, a 24 km Mayan artificial canal was also discovered. The northernmost section of the biosphere possibly was an ancient Mayan trade route through lagoons and marshes between the cities of Tulum and Muyil. The current population in the area is still largely Mayan.

Sian Ka'an - mangroves

Sian Ka’an – mangroves

Sian Ka’an is home to many diverse animal, birds and fauna. There are 103 known mammal species, including jaguar, puma, white-tailed deer and spider monkey (to name just a few). 336 known bird species, such as frigate bird and greater flamingo, can be found in the biosphere. Amphibians, lizards and alligators are also present at the reserve; as well as, 52 different species of fish. Sian Ka’an is also an important nesting site for two types of endangered sea turtles. And let us not forget the roughly 1,200 different plant species, including coconut. Did I mention the trees? 100 types of trees and shrubs can be found. Interestingly enough, it is also home to 2,000 inhabitants of the people kind. About one percent of the reserve is privately owned.

Sian Ka'an - marshes

Sian Ka’an – marshes

There are five entrances to the reserve. You will definitely need a vehicle of some type. When you enter the biosphere, you will be greeted by a guard. There is a fee to enter the biosphere but it is nominal. Also, everyone is encouraged to sign the guest book upon entering. I really enjoyed this aspect of preserving my name as a guest of this amazing paradise. I know – I am a romantic, an idealist and most certainly a sentimentalist at times. But really, Sian Ka’an is gorgeous even if you can’t pronounce it..!!

Sian Ka'an - marshes and sky

Sian Ka’an – marshes and sky

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/410
http://www.cesiak.org/aboutsiankaan.htm

Look. Look! is it a bird? is it a plane? omg – it’s just the sky!

courtesy of gettyimages.com

courtesy of gettyimages.com

I miss many things about Mexico.  The people, food, micheladas, the beach and the weather!  Oh the weather…  But one of the things that I miss the most is the sky!  I have never seen a more beautiful sky than the sky in Playa del Carmen!

courtesy of shockgrafix.com

courtesy of shockgrafix.com

It’s a crystal blue like I have never experienced before.  And the clouds!  Everywhere!  Huge, puffy, nebulous!  So close that sometimes I would try to reach out and touch them.  But of course I never could…

courtesy of flickr.com

courtesy of flickr.com

The tropical storm season in Playa lasts from May to December.  But the rainy season lasts through January.  It is this constant flux of rain that brings the clouds rolling in and then rolling out again toward Cozumel.  You can get lost for long periods of time watching the clouds roll through.  You can actually see them moving across the sky – the winds blow them that quickly.

courtesy of R. Pena 2009

courtesy of R. Pena 2009

You can also stare at the clouds long enough that you see faces and animals and shapes of all kinds.  I would spend extra time staring at the sky every day.  On the drive to work and back home, I would sit in the car with my head half hanging out the window as I tried to visually breathe in the entire Caribbean sky to my memory!  Luckily I wasn’t driving!!  But my colleagues did think my profound silences while staring at the sky were slightly anti-social.  Hahaha…

courtesy of kootation.com

courtesy of kootation.com

The sky in Chicago is nice – it has crisp blues.  But not blues that shimmer like jewels and are as rich.  Chicago has clouds and sometimes you can see shapes in them.  But they seem so far away.  I would never think of trying to touch them.  Nor are they as fluffy.  I remind myself that I will return one day to Playa.  And I will either lay myself on the beach or hang my head out a window and once again stare into paradise…

courtesy of flickr.com

courtesy of flickr.com