30 May 2011

Hellooo Senior Citizen Discount!!

It just so happened that Kent's birthday was on a Tuesday this year, which is the night he has Cub Scouts. So he invited his Cub Scouts and the kids in his Primary class over for his birthday party. His mother and two of his brothers were also here visiting, so we had quite a crowd! I spent my morning making three birthday cakes for the party.. Thank goodness the weather cooperated and we were able to have the party outside in the back yard.

Kent and the Cub Scouts presented a song they'd sung previously at a pack meeting. It was a song about seasons sung to the tune of "The Song That Never Ends," and it was very cute.

One of my gifts to Kent was tickets to the Medieval Times dinner and show in Maryland. We went with our friends, the Jeos, and had a really good time.
It was quite an experience, as you can see from the pictures below. We ate soup, chicken, garlic bread, potato and a pastry with our fingers as we watched the show.
There were jousts, sword fights, horses doing tricks, and a king and a princess.
Everyone was assigned a color, and we were to cheer for the knight wearing our color. Kent was so inspired he'd like to do a medieval banquet for the Cub Scouts next year!!
Happy 55th birthday, Kent!!

23 May 2011

Make Way for Goslings

Warning: Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures in this post, but they were taken from a moving vehicle.

So we were driving down the road and everybody in front of us had slowed down almost to a stop for no apparent reason. We couldn't see any reason why everyone was just crawling along, until we came upon this sight on the side of the road:Apparently it was time for the goslings to cross the road--reminds me of a joke--maybe to get to a water source?
Anyway, I wish we'd been able to capture it on camera, because the little yellow goslings below were on the left side of the median with Mama and Papa Goose, but two goslings on our side of the median couldn't get over the curb and kept falling back down when they tried. It was so precious! The parents were patiently waiting on the other side but offered no assistance.

I'm sure there's a metaphor about parenting in there somewhere.
Just thought I'd add another post with birds in it.

16 May 2011

Cancun and Chichen Itza

I found some reasonably priced airline tickets to Cancun for Easter weekend, so booked the tickets and figured Kent and I could consider it our 30th wedding anniversary trip. We spent five nights, four and a half days, and were able to see and do lots of interesting things. We're not really beach people; maybe because we're not really the lounging around types. One of the reasons I decided to go to Cancun (besides the fact I've never been to Mexico) was the attraction of seeing the Mayan ruins near Cancun. So for us the highlight of the trip was seeing Chichen Itza, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Before going I thought it was just a large Mayan pyramid. Now I know that it's more of a fortified complex with many buildings and temples. I didn't know the ancient observatory pictured above was part of that complex until I went.
Our LDS tour guide suggested that this was an ancient baptismal font, and the playing court pictured below was the ancient version of the cultural hall. (A little LDS humor there.) I didn't know that the captain of the winning team of the game played in this court was sacrificed to the Gods after the game was over. Apparently human sacrifice was practiced at most of the Mayan temples they've uncovered on the Yucatan penninsula.
I hope that the picture below can be seen enlarged when it's clicked on, because on the center stone in the bottom left-hand corner is a carving that looks like a pale-skinned bearded man. Hmmmm, I wonder if the regular tour guides point that out.

The children in the picture below were Mayan, and sang us a song in the Mayan language. Our LDS tour guide, Helaman, is standing next to them. I didn't know that when the Spanish conquistadors came they destroyed every thing they could with the Mayan language on it. So now there's no one who can read the Mayan heireglyphics found on all the buildings. The oral language has been written out in modern times, but no "Rosetta Stone" has been found to help figure out what the Mayans were recording in stone.

After Chichen Itza we went to see some more recently discovered and not as well-known ruins in Ek Balaam. We're were able to climb on the ruins, which wasn't possible at Chichen Itza.

Yes, I climbed all those steps with my bad knee. I actually got along better with my osteo-arthritic knee than I expected to on the trip. This is the LDS church in Cancun where we went to Sacrament Meeting on Easter morning. We didn't rent a car on this trip, just took bus tours and the hotel shuttle bus to get around most of the time. There were no bus tours to church, so we paid about $45 round trip for the twenty-minute ride.

The church was by far the most prosperous looking building in the neighborhood, and was surrounded by a large, gated fence. There were only about four cars in the parking lot when we arrived right at 9am, so we were afraid we were there at the wrong time. We went in and heard the opening song being song. We realized later that most of the people must have walked or arrived by public transportation to get to church.

Here we are heading off on a short raft trip in an ecological park called Xcaret where we spent a day. There was a butterfly area, an aquarium, monkeys, flamingos, and an underground river that we floated down. We don't have digital pictures from that because we took pictures with our waterproof cameras instead.
Here's what part of it looked like.
What's amazing about the scene behind me is that those decorations are made of small 3-D clay figures.
One of the highlights of Xcaret was a folklore show they had in the evening. It gave a history of Mexico in song and dance. The scene below is from the beginning when they were showing Mayan culture. It brought to my mind scenes from the LDS movie "The Testaments."
We did spend one afternoon on the beach, since it seeemed like something we should say that we did while we were in Cancun. We read books and got terribly sunburned, even though we tried to stay in the shade most of the time. As a matter of fact, my sunburn caused me more pain than my bad knee did.

Here I am at the "hands-on" part of the aquarium at Xcaret. From Kent's previous post you know how much he likes colorful birds, so he wanted to get his picture taken with the parrots.
Our last day was spent at the Mayan ruins of Tulum, which are built overlooking the ocean, and at a water resort at a nearby beach.
We didn't sign up for an LDS tour, but while we were there we saw a tour guide with a BYU hat, and we asked if we could join his tour. It was just really neat to hear the information from an LDS point of view.

This temple is famous for it's depiction of the "descending God" coming down from the sky. It would have been nice to have a bit more time in Tulum.

Our last afternoon was spent snorkeling and eating (a huge all-you-can-eat buffet was included in the admission price) at Xelha, the water resort. There were more colorful parrots.
We don't have many digital pictures at Xelha because we again took most of our pictures with our underwater cameras. The park was VERY crowded because it was the Easter holiday season for the Mexicans, but Kent and I were still able to see some colorful fish underwater as we were snorkeling (and dodging the other tourists on the water!!)
Other than the sunburns, we had a great time. We thought it was just about the right amount of days, with the right mix of sightseeing and relaxing.