Saturday, December 30, 2023

 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico    December 30, 2023

I had a very slow day, not leaving my apartment until about 2 o’clock. I finished a book I just started yesterday which was pretty good called The Leftover Woman.  It’s an easy beach type read. I talked a bit with my neighbours who are from Ensenada just south of Tijuana. I walked to the grocery store looking for some seafood to fry for supper but only found frozen Basa which I didn’t want. I tried to buy one beer but they only sold them in six packs so I stopped in a nail shop and got my fingers gellished for 200 pesos or $15.62. The woman did a really good job and the boss spoke excellent English. I visited with a family from Denver who are originally from Jaipur, India so we had a good talk.

I came home hoping to eat street food close to my lodging but they weren’t open until 6:30.  I read another very short book and then set my alarm. I’m not sure how much sleep I might get because I’ve been listening to the neighbours sitting right out in front of my thin metal door visiting and playing loud music for three hours. Every time it kind of goes silent I hear another snap and another beer is opened. I’m not feeling that great – this cold is dragging me down otherwise I would be out there with them.  They listen to mariachi music- it’s everywhere and people of all ages play it loud.  I compare it to me listening to Lawrence Welk or something like that and can’t believe it’s so popular!  However, music is a huge part of a culture and they aren’t letting that go which is admirable.

I’m getting up at 4:30 because I want to leave by 5:30 for the bus depot, which is a short 10 minute walk away . I’m taking a bus to the airport to arrive at 6:30. My flight is at 8:00.  

Anyway, it’s hard to believe these two months are over and in another way some days I never thought it would end. I have enjoyed my time and look back on a lot of it with great fondness but I am also looking forward to being home with my people. 

Adios y gracias Mexico!  Te quiero!  

Friday, December 29, 2023

Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico   December 29, 2023

I had a great day even though I woke up feeling kind of shitty.  This cold is dragging me down but after breakfast I forced myself to go exploring.  Along the way-

I wanted to visit Mercado 28 which is near by and souvenir heaven.  I thought I should get the kids a little souvenir even though they won’t care nor will it have any meaning for them but… I ended up getting letters for the boys, that they can tie to their backpacks or who knows what and Andi a unicorn. Frida will hang from the rearview mirror in my truck-

I came home feeling pretty well, read my book for a while and then decided to hit the beach even though it was only 23 degrees with 90% chance of rain. I caught local bus R1 which goes from the main bus depot to the hotel district-

There are condos and hotels along the beginning of the route and the water isn’t visible even though you’re on a narrow strip of land-

Then it becomes Las Vegas with a beach-

There are lots of hotels, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops.  I loved it!  It just felt so alive and like a big party.  The first beach I went to was Playa Caracol-

It’s small and there weren’t many people there.  I had lunch with a nice view-

First they brought a paper cutlery placemat and put the fork and knife exactly on the pictures-

For the antojitos the nachos were packaged.  I guess this way you know or at least think you’re not eating someone else’s leftovers-

I had chili relleno stuffed with mariscos which was disappointing.  The vegetables were not cooked, even for me and there was very little seafood in the chili.  I’d have been better off getting a filet of some sort of fish.  Oh well-

After, I walked about 5 minutes to Playa Forum where music was blaring and it was hopping-

There were lots of people on the beach- 

and in the water-

I bought a drink at the corner 7-11 and sat on the beach.  The sand is like crumbled shortbread cookies- so soft and beautiful.   I wanted to see the rest of the strip so got back on the bus thinking we would do a complete circle and end up back at the main bus depot but we got to the south end, did a u-turn and came back the way we had come.  I didn’t mind.  

Along the way are lots of hotels, condos, shopping malls, restaurants and a large Ferris wheel-

as well as a golf course-

and the letters, always the letters-

I really enjoyed my day and might even go back tomorrow for my final day in Mexico!  I’m feeling better tonight so that helps too.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

 Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen to Cancun, Mexico   December 28, 2023

I was packed and walking to Central Park by 9 o’clock for my 11 o’clock ferry departure. It was very windy and only 24 degrees, a much nicer temperature than the 35 yesterday.  They were doing some road construction so my plans to sit in the park were foiled. There were five big ships carrying a total of 20,000 people but maybe I was there too early because very few Cruisers were milling around. I found out that about 34% of cruisers do not leave the boat at ports. I decided to go into the ferry terminal and just wait.  At about 10:30 we started to board and in no time we were on our way to Playa Del Carmen. The water was very rough and sometimes the windows were completely covered in waves. As when I went to Cozumel, the workers were walking around with plastic bags in case someone had to throw up.  It reminded me when I was with a group of students and we were going from the mainland of Italy to Capri.  The boats had been cancelled because the water was so rough but all of a sudden there was a hovercraft that we could take. I have never seen green people and what a mess!  Many had to lie down for the whole trip and we had a girl who took two or three days to recover. She could hardly walk once she got off the boat.  I remember feeling like I was going to throw up but I didn’t thank goodness -

There are ferries every hour so this one wasn’t crowded at all-

Once in Playa, I walked quite a few blocks to catch a colectivo to Cancun.  They go when they’re full and the bus of course has a schedule. The bus costs double what the colectivo does but that’s not why I took it. I feel less like a tourist in a rattling van. I was sitting in the front by the door and a man wanted to also sit in the front so I made him sit in the middle. I understood what he was saying for the first 10 minutes but then all of a sudden my head just went click and I couldn’t understand a word he said. I have a cold, I feel very tired and rundown so that didn’t help with my Spanish comprehension-

Once at the bus depot in Cancun, it took about 15 minutes to walk to my room. I have a really good feeling here in Cancun but unfortunately the streets are not on a nice grid like Merida and Playa Del Carmen. They weave all over the place and so it’s hard to figure out where you’re going without constantly looking at Google maps.

I like my place – 

It has all I need and super hot water!

I walked to a burger joint for lupper and it was less than mediocre. From there I walked to the supermarket and they probably had 200 tomatoes that were all rotten. Along the way –

I am in an area where there is lots happening and so I am looking forward to discovering more tomorrow. I only have two days left and one will be going along the hotel zone and beaches. Hopefully I feel a little better tomorrow and if not, I will wait until Saturday to go exploring.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Cozumel, Mexico     December 27, 2023

I had a very slow, restful day - only leaving my apartment twice.   I went looking for a pescaderia which didn’t exist, so walked to a large supermarket for a few groceries.  I came home drenched in sweat so had my second shower of the day.  According to the weather network, it felt like 35.  I read my book and played Scrabble.  What a mindless waste of time that is!  Later I went to Bodega, a closer supermarket for fresh fish as well as an avocado which cost $1! and was as small as the ones we get at home.

Tomorrow I catch the 11 a.m. ferry back to Playa del Carmen and then will take a colectivo to Cancún.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

 Cozumel, Mexico,  December 26, 2023

I decided to rent a scooter and ride around the island.  I walked to the ferry pier and as soon as I left my place, my body was disagreeing with my decision.  I was very tired and aching from yesterday.  I also may be getting a cold.  My voice is always the first to be affected - I get a deep vodka voice - you’d think I’d been partying and smoking all night.

The first booth I approached wanted 500 pesos even though I only wanted the scooter about 3 hours.  If I thought yesterday’s sidewalks and streets were busy, today was even worse.  There are two cruise ports so at least the cruisers are sort of spread out in the city-

Perhaps this is good because it gives more retailers a chance.  The downtown square was just crawling with mainly extra large people.  I don’t understand cruisers.  First, they’ve paid a lot of money for their trip which I believe includes all meals.  Why would you leave the boat to eat at a restaurant whose quality of food probably doesn’t nearly compare with what you get on the ship?  Maybe not everyone gets off at every port or maybe they only get off at one or two stops.  I’m not sure.

Anyway, I walked to the ferry terminal because when I arrived it was worse than the airport at Vallarta with numerous booths and people trying to sell you a tour or rent you a car or a scooter.  I found a booth that would rent to me for 400 pesos so we walked to their “office” which was a hole in the wall a few blocks away.  When I pulled out my driver’s liscence this morning from my money belt, I noticed it had expired.  I’m not sure why I didn’t get an email from SGI the end of October about that.  Anyway, the crazy Mexican noticed, mentioned it and shrugged.   Once I’d signed whatever I signed, he suggested I take pictures of all sides of the bike just like a rental car.  Fine.  This scooter was a wreck-

I headed south from the ferry pier-

amongst a lot of taxis transporting cruisers to nearby beaches. Today there are 5 ships and 18,500 people here for a few hours.  Fricking hell.  It so disgusts me but it allows some of the people, probably a lot of the people to make a living while increasing prices substantially for the poor locals.  Anyway…

I putted along, trying to get used to this bike that listed to the left, trying not to get taken out by passing taxi vans and trying not to hit topes at a great speed.  There’s a bicycle lane I tried to stay in but also didn’t want to get stopped by the police and have to show my liscence.  Once out of the city it was better with a wide road and big shoulder.

For the whole west and south sides of the island, I drove through trees-

I stopped at a couple of places; the first was a marina where they were loading divers into boats, the second was a beach club where it costs $40 U.S. for a chair, umbrella and wifi as well as access to the blow up toys-

People seemed to be having fun and the sand looked lovely.

I carried on and came to Mirador which is a lookout rock.  The waves were really crashing in-

There’s also a reggae bar called Rasta’s-

I thought it best not to have a drink and I had no intention of going in the water so I carried on. 

Some beaches had soft waves and others were wild.  Some had sandy shores and others had hard lava-

There are a few thatched roof bars/restaurants along the way-

I continued around the island and the further I got away from the town, the quieter the road became.  I liked that.

Eventually I made the full circle and now had the task of finding the bike shop.  I had decided I would get to the main square and call them to come and get me because I had no idea how to find the small office especially with all the oneway streets. Street signs do not exist except on the major boulevards but thank goodness for google maps.  I was in a bit of a traffic jam when I heard someone yell “hey amiga!”  I turned and looked and a man was walking towards me; he knew me but I did not know him - I am so brutal at remembering faces.  I hope that improves once I have cataract surgery in early January.  Wouldn’t you know it - I just happened to be on the right street and had gone right by the other bikes they had parked on the street!  How lucky is that?  Of course I don’t believe in “luck” like that but anyway… I parked at a yellow curb and he sent me back to the shop and he brought the bike around.  I had made arrangements to have them drive me home and the man who did did not have a clue where my street was.  Finally I mentioned Sam’s Club which is a block or so away and we were off. 

I got home very tired, had left over chicken for lupper and spent the afternoon reading and enjoying my room.

Tomorrow I will take a colectivo to the main square and wander a bit - it won’t be a strenuous day!

Monday, December 25, 2023

  🎄🎄 Cozumel, Mexico    December 25, 2023 🎄🎄

Merry merry Christmas!

My sleep was okay and after a good breakfast of bacon, spinach and eggs, I was out the door at 9.  I thought it best to get going before it got horribly hot and rain was in the forecast for this afternoon.

My route-

It was very quiet with Christmas and Easter probably being the only 2 days of the year most Mexicans don’t work.  It was pleasant walking and once I got to the shore I followed it-

There’s a resort that has penned dolphins and there were groups in the water probably waiting to “swim” with them.  That’s sick-

In the distance is the car ferry-

and the monsters-

Today there are 4 ships in with 9000 passengers.  I walked to the entrance to the ships, and there were a lot of what seemed to be Americans milling about. There were a lot of taxis, and while I was walking, I met quite a few big white buses, and I’m presuming they were taking groups to the eastern shore. I waited for the Harley Davidson shop to open, but they had practically nothing. That was good and bad because I do not need another T-shirt but I was slightly disappointed.

I walked home and got in the shower immediately because I was dripping with sweat. I read my book and cooled off, searched for a burger joint and found one 1.1 km away. It didn’t open until five which was OK because by then it had cooled off a couple of degrees, probably to about 35. Unfortunately, Flamingo Burgers was closed so I stopped at Bodega and bought a chicken for supper.  I passed two houses that had their front gates open.  In behind I could see beautiful yards and swimming pools, all kept so private because of the great street wall.

I’m relaxing in the cool and just listened to it rain for about 30 minutes. I am considering renting a scooter tomorrow to zip around the island because that’s about all there is to do. Rain is in the forecast again tomorrow, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Looking forward to another day. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

 Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel, Mexico   December 24, 2023

Merry Christmas Eve!  You would never know it is Christmas.  It’s all business as usual except you do see decorations, lights and hear music .

I had my fifth horrible sleep in a row thanks to a very bad bed.  I think I’m run down and feel a cold coming on.  I’m in my new room and the bed feels awesome - so far anyway.  I let Adolfo know and he said I should have told him and he’d have changed - either the mattress or me to a different room.  Really?  Too late now.

I wandered to the beach-

It was a warm, cloudy and windy day.  I caught the 10 a.m. Winjet ferry-

on the advice from Adolfo because they are cheaper.  Not sure why anyone would travel with the other company but they do.  

It only took about 35 minutes-

The shore is a typical one filled with restaurants and hotels-

I could see one sea monster-

but according to the cruise ship schedule there are four ships in port with 10,400 people.  Gross!

I walked through the main square-

and easily found my place but it’s about a 25 minute walk from the water.  I like it-

Lupper was ceviche mixto which was shrimp, conch and octopus.  It was delicious-

After I ate I went to a large grocery store for breakfast supplies that was only a block away.  Very convenient!

I want to rent a bike to tour around the island and maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.  I’m really needing a good sleep tonight.  Hope Santa doesn’t wake me up!  

  Cancun, Mexico to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,     December 31, 2023 I was up at 4:30 and walking to the bus depot by 5:30.  I wore my headlam...