Hey everyone.  There’s a whole lot for me to talk about today.  Firstly, last Saturday I attended a car control clinic which was pretty cool.  People brought anything from BMWs to SUVs and everything in between. There were four evolutions: slalom, skid pad (cloverleaf onramp type thing), braking strip, and a lane change.  The first is self explanatory, but I’ll explain anyway.  The goal was to get to whatever speed you could swerve at comfortably and complete the slalom without hitting any of the bright orange cones.  I actually learned something valuable on that course.  Ordinarily, you would think to look at the cone in front of you to give you the best control, when in fact you are supposed to look at the very last cone and use your peripheral vision to go in and out of the cones.  It helps a lot with handling.  The cloverleaf skid pad was pretty complicated and basically what you do is leave the steering wheel at a certain angle and then just use the accelerator to control swinging outward or not.  When you accelerate, the car takes a wider turn and then when you let off the gas (but not braking), the car will grip the road and make a tighter turn, all without turning the steering wheel.  It’s pretty neat.  The braking strip was fun.  You floor the gas until the instructor (sitting next to you in every evolution) tells you to brake.  When they say that you slam on the brakes and stop as quickly as possible.  That evolution simulates both ABS and lets you know how much time your car actually takes to stop when you’re going at approximately 60 mph.  The last one was pretty intense…there was a line of cones in front of you and then several hundred feet down a guy with a flag.  Right before you hit the last cone, he would through the flag in a direction and you would have to swerve in the direction of the cone (as if making an emergency lane change), regain control and keep going straight.  Many people anticipated the direction of the flag and would end up going the wrong way, but it was tough.  The max speed anyone could get in the distance given was 45 mph which was nearly impossible to turn at.  So that’s first on my agenda for this post.

Second, I hadn’t gone to the beach a single day this summer until Friday.  I guess my story is out of order since the clinic was Saturday, but this was the day before that.  I went with a friend and the water was pretty cold, so we took a break.  After building a 5 foot mountain of sand (for no particular reason), I asked him if he wanted to play frisbee.  He said he was not good, but decided to give it a try anyway.  He through the frisbee to me and the very first step I took, I stepped on a bee.  The bee then proceeded to sting me until it died.  This was my first bee sting (yay), and I guess it wasn’t too bad, but I also didn’t know if I was allergic; luckily I’m not.  I tried hobbling to the lifeguard tower so he could pull out the stinger.  I got half way and then just dropped, so my friend got him and then after he pulled it out he made me sit by his tower for five minutes, which felt like an eternity.  The swelling went down two days ago and you can still see a mark of where the venom (or whatever it is bees sting you with) had spread throughout my foot.  So that was Friday’s excitement, which subsequently affected my hobbling for the following two days, including the car clinic.

I’m already getting tired from writing, which isn’t good since I’m just getting started.  Anyway, I’m in Cancun right now; we got here on Tuesday.  The first thing we noticed upon arrival was the heat and humidity.  You start sweating just standing still.  The upside to this is that, unlike San Diego, the water is amazing! It’s probably 75 degrees, and the same goes for the pool.  No wonder winter is the busy season here; where else can you go and warm up in the ocean in the winter?!

You can see all of my photos in my Flickr album that I’m updating daily:

I’ll talk about one last thing today.  Yesterday we visited a place called Chichenitza, which was a Mayan village…you will probably recognize the temple from this picture I took.

Chichenitza Mayan Temple

Chichenitza Mayan Temple

Well we took a four hour bus ride to get there and when we arrived, it was a scorching 98 degrees outside.  Add the humidity to that and it was painful.  On the tour, our guide would have us hop from shady area to shady area.  It was pretty interesting seeing their village being uncovered.  That’s also home to the world’s largest ball court.  They played this wierd game with their elbows, knees, hips, and shoulders to get a ball through a hoop about 20 feet up.  The Mayans were definitely the ultimate basketball players.  They were ingenious engineers though.  At the ball court on each end there were seats for the important people.  They could talk to people at the other end (300 feet away) at a normal tone and hear each other perfectly.  The catch is, however, that the players only ten feet below these bouncing sound waves couldn’t hear a thing.  We actually studied most of this particular village when we were looking at ancient civilizations in 6th grade.  Now it’s all coming together 🙂  I highly suggest you take a look at the link above for some of the other pictures of Chichenitza.  I’m sure I’ll be writing again in a few days before my Cancun trip is over.

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