Tag Archives: mexico

Diez cenotes, o, cenotes sobredosis!

Ingredients: the Yucatan peninsula; three free days between business events; a great desire to check out cenotes and bathe in them.

Something to be factored in: No Rio Secreto this time; been there a few times, done that, swum that – without the t-shirt.

Decision: Uno, dos, tres – let’s check out 10 cenotes!

There are four types of Cenotes: Cantaro (a cave with a hole in the roof thereof); cilindricos (with strictly vertical walls); aguagas (with shallow water basins); and grutas (cave cenotes, with a horizontal entrance with dry sections). Now, for some reason, along the coast of Yucatan there are mostly the latter to be found – grutas, while if you drive further from the coast inward they are overtaken by cantaro. Why, I don’t know.

Anyway, we set off to study the cenotes in the Dos Ojos park. Here, there are a full 28 cenotes, with around 10 accessible to folks for entering and bathing in. Apparently all the cenotes are part of one and the same system and interconnected as a single labyrinth (underwater river) – which runs to a total length of… 80 kilometers! And it’s all just 15km from Tulum.

Sources

All righty. Off we go – to Dos Ojos…

Read on…

Mayan pyramid duel – Chichen Itza vs. Coba.

Ancient Mayan sites are scattered over rather a wide territory, covering parts of what are today Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. But if you want things narrowed down to just former cities with pyramids, the internet obliges – in competing ways; for example:

10 Most Beautiful Ancient Mayan Temples
13 Most Beautiful Ancient Mayan Temples

On our three-day car-based excursion around Yucatan, besides Coba, we also made a visit to the famous Chichen Itza, including its centerpiece, El Castillo, aka the Temple of Kukulcan. Have a read of what that link takes you to – especially about the steps and the platform (=365), and about the ‘snake’ that slithers down the pyramid on an equinox.

The Maya were masters of astronomy and light-and-shade-architectural effects, but there was no equinox while we were there, so no snake. Still, this was just as well since the serpent attracts huge crowds, which I can’t be doing with.

We were there early morning; accordingly – very quiet.

Frontal view:

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • Japan / Jun 2024
  • Japan / Jun 2024
  • Japan / Jun 2024
  • Japan / Jun 2024

Instagram photostream

Coba: My-oh-Maya!

Sometimes I regret not being a historian. I mean – to study different, unusual cultures, for example the central-American ancient Mayan one, and to do it as a job, not a hobby… – sounds ideal!

Now, the Mayans existed for 3000 years! They invented their own writing system, were advanced astronomers, mathematicians and architects, but then, for some unknown reason, they died out completely – around 400 years ago. They never got round to creating a single state, yet ruins of more than a thousand towns remain to this day, scattered across the Yucatan Peninsula and further south into Central America. The number of temples and pyramids is off the scale. And talking of temples and pyramids, that’s where we were headed early morning (since all architectural places-of-interest in the region open at 8am every day) on the second day of our three-dayer in Mexico recently (but we’d have been up at crack of dawn anyway for, as usual, we wanted to see as much as we possibly could – plus it would be uncomfortably hot if we’d have left it till later).

First up for us – the ancient city of Coba, whose ruins cover a large territory, and whose main pyramid is the tallest of all Mayan pyramids, at 42 meters. What the pyramid may have been called by the Mayans themselves nobody knows, but today it goes by the name Ixmoja.

Read on…

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Yucatan 2019.

After a spot of business in Cancun (for the last time!), we rented a car and headed off toward Yucatán cenotes and Mayan pyramids. I’d been here plenty of times before, but for some reason only got as far as this here trinity of toursims: the ancient city of Chichen Itza, the ‘classic’ cenote Ik Kil, and the Rio Secreto underground river.

Since there are a great many cenotes and pyramids here, we carefully studied the internet first – determined which we still hadn’t seen but really should, and off we popped…

Read on…

Hi Cancun – for the last time!

“Buenos tardes!” said the hospitable Yucatán native. And then, smilingly, ushered us toward a particular line for passport control – which took a full 90 minutes for us to get to the front of!

“Buenos noches!”, we answered, while muttering other phrases under our breath I shouldn’t repeat here. But it got worse: out of a full 30+ passport control windows only six (6!) were working! And it was clear the border control staff wasn’t in any way speeding up its work given this avia-logisitical collapse. But then, it turned out, upon our asking if this was indeed a one-off collapse, that this happens all the time: several flights arrive around the same time all the time. So, like, they’re fully aware of the problem, but do nothing about it! I mean, they should be happy for all the dollars all these (many!) tourists arriving in Mexico every day will be spending, but they treat them with contempt! At one point I thought there could be some kind of revolt and lynchings; indeed a fight did break out in the next line to us (I think with tourists from Canada): someone got punched in the face for jumping the line!

Actually, we love(d) Cancun: since 2011 we’ve put on a full 12 (!) business events here – including the one I’m about to tell you about! Good infrastructure, safe, ocean, beaches, sun, tequila, and venues able to handle 500+ guests for large conferences (like our Security Analyst Summit (SAS), which, incidentally, took place here a full three times, in 2012, 2015 and 2018). And what else do we ask of a destination for our bashes? For all our guests to NEVER have to wait in lines at the airport for hours after a long flight. But this clearly is unattainable. Therefore, accordingly, this is the LAST event of ours in Cancun. Buenos huegos. No, better…: Buenos &!#*%!!

The basic ingredients for the format were present, as per: first work hard – then play hard! But the world is changing, audiences are changing too, and then there are all the geopolitical cataclysms that come in waves – which we sometimes even try to surf ). Accordingly, we made a few changes to the basic format.

Read on

10 years of sensational SAS.

Many different cyber-professional events take place around the world every year. Out of all of them I have one special favorite – our own special one for cybersecurity analysts: SAS (Security Analyst Summit). And every year they just get better and better and bigger and bigger. This time we had 320 guests from 30+ countries – mostly from the Americas and Europe, but also seven experts from Australia, and participants from Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. Representatives of large companies were in strong attendance as usual (from Microsoft, Google, Apple, Cisco, Sony, Honeywell, Cloudflare, Pfizer, SWIFT, Chevron, Citibank and others), but there were also folks from the cyber-police of different countries, plus government agencies and departments from the UK, Netherlands, Canada, France, China, South Korea, Switzerland, Austria, Romania and Kazakhstan. There were non-commercial and educational organizations (like, among others, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the University of Texas, respectively). And a big thanks to our conference partners and sponsors, namely: Qintel, Avast, Telstra, Microsoft, ThreatBook, Talos, Security Week and Threatpost. In short, folks from all over and from diverse fields, demonstrating the degree of trust in and respect for our company.

Like me, SAS likes to travel the world, avoiding the large Congress centers of big boring cities, preferring instead stunning exotic locations with a warm climate and in the immediate vicinity of warm ocean.

SAS has been held in Croatia, Cyprus and Malaga on the Mediterranean; in Mexico’s Cancun in 2012 and 2015; on the Spanish island of Tenerife; and the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten in the Caribbean. And here we are once again back in Cancun for this, our 10th SAS! Hooray!

It all began in the year 2009. 60 guests – 55 of which were KL staff! – each sharing their notes on research and experience in cybersecurity. Those humble beginnings quickly grew into large-scale industry events with more than 300 high-level delegates (only ~30% of which were from KL). This year’s event was extra special because of the jubilee, and the participants didn’t seem disappointed…

Read on…

Mexico Secreto.

Hi folks!

Cenotes. Gotta love ’em.

What’s a cenote, you ask? A cenote is “a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Especially associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings.”Wikipedia.

Cenotes of the Yucatán Peninsula – gotta love ’em especially. For these aren’t just pretty lakes somewhere deep down below in huge pits (like Ik Kil); these are rivers and pools that are completely underground – invisible from the surface. Yucatán’s climate is well and truly tropical, meaning there’s plenty of rain too; all the same, on the surface there are practically no rivers at all to be seen. Why? Before the limestone bedrock collapses the rivers run underneath it. When a collapse does eventually take place, only then do the rivers show their faces rapids to the world once again after millennia underground.

Btw, you aren’t allowed to take camera/video equipment into the cenotes; accordingly, none of the pics here are mine.

Here are a few pics I found on the net: oh my grotto!…

Read on…

Worldwide Swimming – Pt 1.

Recent extreme water-sports up in (surprisingly) sunny Greenland got me thinking. Maybe I could try and reach into the recesses of my memory to come up with accounts of my most unusual, interesting and enjoyable swims I’ve had around the world – a ‘Top World-Swims’, if you like. For swimming – or mere bathing, or just plain getting into bodies of water besides those in a hotel room bathtub – I’ve done rather a lot of, in all sorts of far-flung weird-and-wonderful locations…

Taking dips: it’s an interesting topic – especially now during the summer season of R&R, beaching & resorting, and the attendant water-based activities is upon us. For maybe some of you are near pools, lakes, seas or oceans right now and may be in danger of missing the very best spots – as attested to by Yours Truly. So, without more of a do, let’s get these aquatics started.

All righty. The plan here is as follows: I’ll be telling you only about swimming/bathing in natural water bodies. Mega swimming pools, aqua parks, spas and so on won’t be included. Here it’s all about the most unusual organic bathing experiences. I’ll work across the globe from left to right, top to bottom: Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia. I’ll be missing out Antarctica as I didn’t manage to get any bathing in down there, if you can believe it :).

Oh, and btw: If anyone can see any glaring gaps to my global natural-aqua-must-swims, please don’t be shy; let us all know about them in the comments. I for one would be most grateful…

Ok. Let’s go. North America…

I’ve been to Alaska, but much like on Antarctica, I had things other than bathing on my mind. Therefore, I’ll jump straight over to Greenland, which is still technically North America…

1. Bobbing up and down among chunks of Greenlandic ice.

To swim bathe float in a Michelin-Man costume in among big chunks of floating ice and icebergs, to touch them, or even clamber up onto them, is an unforgettable experience. There’s nothing to fear: those brightly colored costumes are dry and comfortable. Only your hands get to feel the water – but even then only a bit: just a little water gets inside the mitts.

Read on: glaciers, caves and dolphins …

From Mexico to China.

Your attention please! This is Tijuana Airport broadcasting! I’m now now starting a reality show about the adventures of a traveler trying to fly from Mexico to China. Welcome aboard!

So, the most convenient way of getting from Cancun to China is to fly Cancun -> Mexico City -> Shanghai (with a stop to refuel). This time, the attempt to follow this route was a total failure. Shanghai Pudong Airport closed for technical reasons – that is, due to some dense dog fog. So I’m sitting in Mexico’s most northeasterly city, Tijuana, waiting to depart.

This is a very remote part of Mexico, most people will never make it here and you’ve probably never even heard of it. Which only makes it all the more interesting! It’s known as the third most prosperous city in the country (after Cancun and Mexico City). Perhaps, that’s thanks to the United States, right across the border, which has set up all sorts of manufacturing plants here, uses the local inexpensive (but decent) medical facilities, etc. It’s also one of the most criminalized places in Mexico, supplying drugs and illegal immigrants to the States. Bad stuff…But it looks (downtown, as seen from my hotel) pretty decent – could be somewhere in California or Florida or suchlike.

Tijuana-airport-1

Read on: But the weather is nothing like Florida…

Cancun sunrises.

The 2016 season is in full swing, with winter and spring events following one another in quick succession. We have just completed our annual North American partner conference.

It was pretty much the same as always. Presentations, meetings, discussions. Products-technologies-services, strategies, promotion, problems, opportunities, ideas. Lunch, entertainment, networking. Two whole days. Got there – got together – got down to work.

cancun-mexico-partner-conference-1

From dawn to… dawn, pretty much :) Speaking of dawn, the sunrises were gorgeous:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BClHYOcuiYI/

Read on: looking for a better new place…