I'm back!

So, everything is getting back to normal here... My parents are back above the Mason-Dixon line, everything is back in order after the Cruise and work is back in full swing. The cruise was fun but not as relaxing as I had hoped it would be. Lots of late nights, early mornings, Dark and Stormy's, Dirty Shirley's, club music and unlimited food.

I know in my previous post I mentioned that we wouldn't be doing anything paranormal on the trip but turns out it is hard to avoid.

We left from the port of Tampa and made it to the Gulf of Mexico by crossing under the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

Our intention in Mexico was just to hoof it around and find some good, authentic food. Once onshore, I found that they dump you off the boat into a 'Downtown Disney-esque' version of Mexico. It was going to take more walking than anticipated to get to a beach or anything interesting... And this is where our own little episode of Destination Truth/Expedition Unknown began.

My mini version of Josh Gates and I rented a beat up, manual, open air jeep meant for off-roading on a whim. Yes, there were a million things that could have went wrong but it is these crazy adventures that are the best. ​

We took the jeep jalopy around the whole island. I was surprised at how untouched most of the island and beaches are. I expected beaches lined with resorts but that wasn't the case. The beaches were picturesque.

We then followed our little tourist map to the Mayan ruins, San Gervasio. ​ Even if you don't care for ruins, I would recommend San Gervasio because it was a nice little hike in the woods; which was very welcome after being trapped on a boat forever.

While walking to the ruins there were many exotic birds, colorful butterflies swirling about, a rare Coati, and I was startled by many 15lb+ iguanas. If you plan to go, bring bug spray or you can always pay $1 for a local to spray you down...like I did. The mosquitos were furious.

San Gervasio is a Mayan settlement which dates back to sometime around 100 BC and was still active as late as the 16th century. At the heart of the village is a temple to Ix Chel, the Mayan goddess of fertility. It was a custom that Mayan women would make a dangerous pilgrimage across the bay from mainland Mexico once in their life to pray and leave offerings at the temple. Offerings are still found at the temple today.

The settlement met it's end unfortunately like most native cultures... The Spanish arrived with small pox and took out most of population. There were so many dead that they were buried in mass graves on the property. I wonder if the mass graves are marked by the stone piles at the entrance to the site? I couldn't find any information on the strange stone piles or large wells along the road.

The site features an ossuary, which is really not explained thoroughly at the site or is even looked over because of the sad state of the structure. An ossuary is a box, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains. In most cases, a body is first buried in a temporary grave, then after some years the skeletal remains are removed and placed in the ossuary. Oddly enough, the ossuary is the structure closest to the 'alter' at the center of the main village.

What people find most interesting about the site is there are still existing murals on the walls of the ruins. The most mysterious are those of red hand prints with only four fingers. Why no thumbs? There are other prints with thumbs on other ruins... but not this one. Aliens? Mutation? Amputation? No one really knows. If you want to read more on this, there is an excellent article here from Mysterious Destinations Magazine.

Reported paranormal activity is phantom chanting that can be heard at night and a ghostly processional of white cloaked figures has been seen by San Gervasio employees. Pretty cool, huh?

Overall, it was a great trip and I'm already wanting to plan for the next. Where should I head to next?

- xoxo, Pretty Scary

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