Archive | November, 2011

Time slips away…..

30 Nov

Hey everybody we are finally back online.  The last couple of days have consisted of non-stop boozing and 3hr spa sessions!  Between bad internet connections and my laptop power source biting the dust I have not been able to post.  I drove to Playa today and found one at the Office Depot, YAY!

The wedding was awesome.  I am not one for weddings (you all know my opinion on that) but I was blown away.  In the morning the weather was iffy but as if by magic, the clouds cleared and the blue skys came back.  Mel and Clint said their vows on the beach with a perfect back ground of crashing waves on white sand and the sun setting through the jungle.  We enjoyed an amazing reception with some of the fanciest food and drink I have experienced.  After that we retired to the bar and entertainment area and celebrated into the night!  It was an amazing day!

We have experienced some of the coldest weather we have seen in Mexico.  I dont know if you heard but there were areas that got down to 4 degrees celsius overnight on the mainland.  That might not seem cold but it could be deadly for some because there is no heating in most homes here (just A/C).   It didn’t slow us down, we just shivered more when at the pool bar and joined more activities to keep the heart rate up.  We have gone for some amazing dinners and seen some good entertainment.  Last night was Mexican night (go figure)  featuring mariachi bands, authentic foods, and even a mechanical bull for the brave!  Today I dropped of the crew at the Tulum ruins but since I had seen them before I went into Playa to get the much needed supplies.  The weather is already improving and it is now 27 degrees out.  tomorrow we leave the resort and head to the Chichen Itza ruins then we are back on the island by the end of the night.  I can’t wait to get back to the “real Mexico”, there are too many Gringos here!  LOL!

wedding pictures

 

More wedding pictures.

 

Drunken fun at the Asian resturant!

 

Mechanical Bull!Sweet band!

 

Resort Fun!

28 Nov

Hello again.  We have been so busy (drunk) that I have not been able to find time to do a blog.  It is just a few more hours before Mel and Clint’s wedding so we have remained sober enough to finally write an entry.

We left Cozumel on the 26th on the 11 am ferry.  The seas were the roughest we had seen so far and the ferry ride felt more like an amusement park ride.  We sat on the sun deck and held on to the rails while riding the swells like a rollercoaster.  It was still a beautiful day and we were lucky enough to see schools of flying fish take to the air around the car ferry.  At times there were dozens in the air, flying 50 feet or more before tucking there long fins/wings back against their bodies and diving back into the depths.  It was amazing to watch!

We arrived at the hotel and were treated with five-star services from the second we pulled up.  I guess they don’t have a lot of people drive to the resort, so we had all the door men at our service.  We are even getting the car washed while we stay here!  Everybody was waiting in the lobby and after a round of hugs we had our bags sent to the room and hit the resort running.  It has been really fun so far with many trips into the pool and ocean, accompanied by many trips to the bar.  There has been good entertainment nightly and we have enjoyed great food at the amazing restaurants.   This afternoon is the wedding so we have taken it easy and remained mostly sober.  Tomorrow we have 3 hours of spa service and massage, just another day in paradise.

 

Leaving Cozumel.

Flaming Spanish coffee at the coffee bar!

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Party!

 
 
 

 

Resort kitty!

 

Good times at the resorts Mexican restaurant.

 

Chantel and Liz enjoying their tequilla shots!

 

Pre wedding pep talk.

El Moro

26 Nov

As I am writing this entry we are preparing to leave for Tulum.   It is already a beautiful day and we are on track to make the 11 am car ferry.  I just checked my email and Dave and Wanita say their flights are booked and they will be joining us in paradise from January 12th to February 8th 2012.  Yay we cannot wait to have some more good company!

Last night we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.  We went for a walk to find El Moro, a resturant owned by a friend we met the other night.  It is an amazing restaurant that serves classic Mayan, Mexican and Seafood dishes .  We were greeted like family, with big hugs and handshakes, then we continued to enjoy the best service I have ever had!  I ordered the Steak Cubana (I highly recommend it) and Liz ordered the enchiladas 1/2 Mole and 1/2 Red sauce.  After ordering we were served a giant basket of baked tortilla chips with pico-de-gallo and another basket of warm toasted bread.  Midway through eating that we were served a mouth-watering baked nacho dish covered in black beans, red sauce, queso, and who knows what else.  Needless to say we were super impressed and were near full after the free appetizers.  Our main courses came out of the kitchen on giant silver platters and simultaneously our chips and bread were topped up.  We dug in and could not believe the flavours!  We had never tried Mole before but after this experience we were left licking the plate just for one more taste! After dinner we were served a big 2 oz shot of a Mayan liquor mixed with honey called Xtabentuna (I think that is spelled correctly) on the house.  Needless to say we left full and satisfied feeling a buz from the shots.  Total bill: 285 peso ( $21.50 CAD) for a meal with better quality and service than I have experienced from any restaurant in North America!  Amazing!

The rest of the night we spent swinging in hammocks and enjoying a couple Negra Modelos.  The bats flew around the court-yard catching bugs and the frogs came out to play while we chilled out and enjoyed 4:20 somewhere….

 

Turkey with No Key.

25 Nov

Buenas tardes amigos,

Most Canadians probably did not notice (or care) but  yesterday was the USA’s Thanksgiving.  It normally would not mean anything to us, but this Thanksgiving we were invited to dinner by an American.  Our friend Jimmy and his wife Ida own a house a few blocks away.  It is a nice property with a giant court-yard, a fish pond, a big 2 story  main house with three condo style apartments in the back.  We arrived and joined the table of people who were already there.  After introductions we sat down to turkey dinner with two nice couples.  One owned a nearby mayan seafood restaurant, and the other owned a dive shop/buggy rental/restaurant on the water front.  We enjoyed good food and drink, then played a couple of games of billiards on Jimmy’s table.  On the way home we realized we had no keys for our apartment, so we phones Angelica to let us in to the compound.  She did not have a backup key so we stayed the night in another apartment that had already been made up for Chantel and Paul.  In the morning I went for a small walk and came back with a locksmith.  150 ($11.20 CAD) peso later the problem is solved and we were in.

Today we are going to say goodbye to Ricky because he is heading back to Canada for a couple of weeks.  We are going to hangout and help him pack up his bikes before we drop him off at the ferry.  The rest of the day should be spent packing our clothes and prepping out suntan for the Saturday start to our vacation within a vacation.

Adios!

This picture is for Nicole and Justin.

 

People are training everywhere for Iron Man on November 27th. 100k USD for 1st place!

 

Bill waking up and wondering where we have been.

To the beach!

24 Nov

Hola!

Another great day in the sun, another amazing adventure on the books.  Yesterday, after writing the novel I posted on the blog, we decided to go exploring for a new place to snorkel.  We drove back out of town and into the jungle once more.  After passing a couple of resorts we found a clearing on the side of the road that we could pull into.  We parked, grabbed our beach bag and headed to the shore.  The area we were in was off the beaten path to say the least.  There was no beach to talk of just endless rocky outcroppings and tidal pools.  We could see life everywhere; small lizards and big iguanas sunned themselves on the fossilized coral.  It was a scene from a dream as we watched crabs ran for safety as sea birds and giant herons poached fish from the massive tidal pools full of colourful corals and spiky urchins.  We tried to find a way into (and more importantly out of) the crystal clear water without having to do any rock climbing but after exploring the shoreline for half an hour we decided to try another place.  We drove down the road a couple more minutes and spotted a nice way in.  There was a small amount of bush cleared on the side of the road so we squeezed the Volkswagen in and headed for the shore.  In front of us way a sea turtles dream!  The water was striped with different shades of blue and green letting us know that there was plenty of coral, sea grass, sandy areas and rocky areas.  We knew that meant amazing snorkelling!  We found a sandy route from the shore out to waist deep water, donned the snorkels and swam into a wonderland.  We were snorkelling through massive schools of fish in all shapes and colours.  We found forests of fan corals in some areas, plains of sea grass in others and large collections of brain corals shooting up from the sandy ocean floor.  Everywhere we looked there were flickers of life and activity.  There were schools of the biggest parrot fish I have ever seen, accompanied by colour changing flounders, stingrays, puffer fish and many creatures that I could not name. By the time we decided to exit the water it was late afternoon and we were very hungry.  We dried off on the sun and the +34 temperatures then headed back to town.

We were driving down the main drag when we passed the Hatch.  We caught a glimpse of a familiar face on the balcony and it turned out to be our friend Ricky.  We stopped for a cervesa and a plate of nachos, but before we knew it we had retired across the street to hang out on Ricky’s apartment’s deck.  We met another friend named Charlie and the good conversation let hours slip away.  Soon it was dark and breeze off the ocean cooled the night air.  Suddenly we noticed the banana trees lighting up like it was Christmas.  I investigated further and found the flashing lights were the result of many fireflies.  The ground and air around us lit up with a green glow and I was able to catch one of the floating lights in the palm of my hands.  We all watched my personal flashlight pulse green in my hands until it flew away to continue on with its life.  I wish I could have taken pictures but of course they are very hard to capture with photography.  We headed over to the apartment of Ricky’s friend Ruy.  We socialized for a while and made another friend. A while later we were heading home for some late dinner.  We walked to our favourite taco place and ordered a table full of amazing of pastor and pollo tacos (total bill 81 peso or $6 Canadian) and then waddled home with full bellies.  We reflected on our day and went to bed knowing that another day in paradise was just a sunrise away.

P.S.  Chantel and Paul are amazing!  They have bent over backwards to get things we needed before coming to visit us!  We owe them 100 cervesas and tequila shots when we get to that all-inclusive resort on Saturday….

Kitty and Bill are always sleeping in this Box.

This is the beach we found.

Party at Rickys.

Rocking out on the balcony.

Cruising.

Island Time!

23 Nov

Sorry about the lack of blog entry yesterday but we were having too much fun to stop.  Once our day had started and the chores were out of the way we let the cats explore the courtyard while we hung out in the swimming pool (normal morning).  It was incredibly hot yesterday, a nice change from the last few days of cloud and rain and humidity.  Sunscreen, shade and plenty of fluids were a must while working on our suntan.  A man from the states who was a friend of the Dave (the owner of our apartment) dropped by to say hi to Angelica.  We were introduced and found out he had lived here since the 70’s.  We talked to him for a while about island life and ended up making a friend.  A friend who owns a giant house (apparently with the best pool table in town), a giant boat and has a lot of free time.  We were invited to come over but we had to decline that day because we had made previous plans with Ricky.  Around noon we headed for the Hatch to meet up with Ricky.  The sky was blue and the temperature had already climbed to 33 degrees.  We followed Ricky on his motorcycle while he took us for a tour South of the city.   We left the fresh pavement and hit the old highway which runs around the island right along the shore line.  It was a sensory overload as we passed endless beaches and resorts with amazing coral and coastlines all visible from the road. We passed many people running the highway training for the iron man competition at the end of the week. Ricky pointed out the good places to check out (they all looked amazing to us) and we made some mental notes of where good snorkelling might be found.  Soon there were no more resorts and we had passed the last power poll.  We were officially in the back country and after driving kilometres of old highway, partly overgrown by jungle, we arrived at Bob Marley’s Reggae Bar.  We parked on the edge of the road that over looked the ocean and took in the view for a moment.  Waves crashed against a white sand beach and over coral and rock formations.  The salt air filled our lungs and brought with it the sweet smell of wild flowers. The breeze cooled our skin and we could not help but feel alive looking over the incredibly scenery of the national park next to the highway.  Ricky explained to us that for a minimal fee we could enter the park to watch the crocodile feedings and see some cool ruins.  We were already thirsty so we hit the beach bar and enjoyed some fishbowl Mojitos and a few cervesas.  The hot white sand filled my sandals and I was compelled to run through the giant breakers that are found on this side of the island.  Small crabs and fish scuttled away as I explored the coast line and the many small tidal pools housed within the fossilized coral and lava rock.  Once we were thoroughly refreshed we went back to the car, cleaned the salt accumulation off the windows, and hit the road.  We continued on through endless palm tree forests and rocky shore lines.  We drove by a couple more amazing looking bars and restaurants before stopping at our next destination; Coconuts.  The Coconuts bar is located at the geologically highest place on the entire island (not including manmade structures).  We parked along the highway, viewed the wares of a road side shop keeper that Ricky knew, and climbed up the stairs carved out of rock at one of a few entrances to the bar.  I could write a novel on what this place has to offer but I think to pictures could sum it up better.  We enjoyed some Jalapeño Poppers and more cervesas, accompanied by good conversation with some more new-found friends that Ricky introduced us to. We listened to the squawks and Spanish imitations of parrots and other tropical birds while the 2 beach dogs played around our legs.  The sun began to set and we watched the locals surf the giant breakers below well into twilight.  Soon after we were on the road back to town and ended up showing Ricky our apartment and introducing him to our cats.  We raided our fridge of cervesas and then headed to Prima for a 5 star dinner.  The restaurant is on the top of a condo development overlooking the ocean and is accessible by an elevator on the street.  We sat on the balcony and enjoyed some filet mignon, lobster ravioli, and triple-decker lasagna, while we were serenaded by the band.  The view was spectacular and we could clearly see Playa del Carmen and the resorts that dot the coast of the Yucatán peninsula.  Once full of good food and martinis we headed back to Rickys place to finish the night.  Once we left there and returned home we were surprised by a small social gathering in our courtyard.  The couple next door (a German guy and his Mexican wife of 5 years) were holding a get together for their friends who were vacationing from out-of-town.  We socialized and introduced ourselves (he works late at his dive shop so we never see them) and soon retired to bed just before midnight.

To sum it up I now more than ever want to continue exploring what this island has to offer.   It continues to impress me more and more, and I think it might take years for me to “see it all.”  I want to show all these places to my friends and family but I don’t know if we will have enough time to do it while they are here on vacation.

Esta isla es increíble!

                                                                                                                                                                   Work it like Mantequilla (inside joke).

Following Ricky into the jungle

The entrance to Paradise Beach.

Mojitos!!

One of the locals.

Climbing up to Coconuts.

This chameleon lives at the bar.

The view from Coconuts.

Just a raft ride away!

Bar Puppy.

Sunset from Coconuts.

The balcony at Prima.

Hit Me!

21 Nov

Yesterday was the most traffic we have ever had on our blog with a grand total of 61 hits.  That blew away our previous two high traffic days tied for 1st with 50 hits.  It is nice to know people care and/or live vicariously through us.  LOL!  We read and respond to all the comments that people post on our blog so keep them coming and make sure to check back for our response. Any suggestions to improve our blog for your reading pleasure would be duly noted as well.

I am still trying to get our underwater camera to upload photos.  I believe it is due to a small amount of corrosion in the end of the cable that connects to our computer. I have the tools back home to fix it but here I am left feeling like a mechanic with no arms.  I can’t find a replacement because it isn’t a standard USB mini cord.  Why would it be that easy?  I want to bypass it but Olympus cameras only use micro-SD so we cannot insert the memory card directly into our laptop.  Booooooo!  If anyone has a micro SD adapter that they would like to part with for a few months that would be super cool.  Just give it to Chantel or Paul before they leave for Mexico this week!  We will reward you with awesome underwater photos as well as a gift when we return to Canada.

Today our landlord Angelica showed us the room she was preparing for Paul and Chantels 1 week stay.  Five more days and we are going to meet them at Dreams Tulum for a week of more fun and more sun!  I am sure that time will fly by so we have already been making plans for the week they are spending in our apartment building.  Too bad the timing is off because that is the week our friend Ricky is out-of-town.  Also we will end up missing the Cozumel Iron Man completion while we are away at the resort.  We are still trying to find a place to put the “Timmy Stone” that Mandy gave to us.  We have talked to Daryl and Nikita and they suggested we check out the beaches on the east side.  Maybe we will find a cool place to geo-cache the stone there.  We will take a picture with our camera that records GPS cordinates so anyone who comes to the island can find it later.

Thanks for tuning in!

Bill loves tropical flowers (to eat).

Rain……….Parade

20 Nov

Saturday wrapped up with more precipitation in 6 hours than I have seen in Alberta in the last 6 months.  After watching some online videos and running back and forth between the pool and shelter all day we decided to go out for dinner.  Some of the streets were flooded curb high so we found a new way to wash the salt off the bottom of our car.  Everyone was still out on their scooters and bikes and did not seem to mind the wet, raincoat or not.  It is a challenge to drive around the bikes and scooters .while they dodge puddles, simultaneously trying not to soak pedestrians with our giant wake from the deep water.  After trying to go to Hugo’s restaurant, which was closed for a special event, we ended up grabbing some pizza at a Mexican pizza place a couple blocks away.  We stayed under shelter and enjoyed the cooler weather (mid 25 degrees) as it was a change from the last week of 30 degree heat.  The rain brought out all sorts of creatures to watch.  During the afternoon a big crab showed up in the courtyard, and he was soon followed by different frogs and toads once the sun went down.

Today started early so we could beat the scheduled afternoon showers and make the festivities downtown.  The last couple of days there have been some Mexican festival going on.   I’m sure there is some massive holiday at least every month in Mexico, so figuring out the reason behind each one would be an exercise in futility.  We are just here to enjoy them!  Later at the capital buildings we joined the crowd waiting for the parade.  The sweet smell of sugared and deep-fried empanadas filled the air while the marching bands and dance music set the atmosphere.  The official looking people in the balcony of the capitol building waved and clapped as each group preformed a dance or march below them.  The groups involved with the parade included; sports teams, schools, marching groups, etc.  After the fun was over the sun was still out, so we grabbed out snorkelling equipment from home on our way to the beach.  We parked down by the Hatch and took advantage of what the crystal clear, blue-green ocean had to offer that day.  There were schools of fish and groups of coral in a vast array of shapes, colours and sizes.  We could see dozens of species of fish as well as urchins, giant sand dollars, a barracuda, and as sorts of stuff I don’t know the name off.  We snorkelled around the docks until we worked up an appetite and filled the camera with pictures.  We exited the ocean as some sun showers started to fall, which was a good way to clean off the salt water.  This afternoon we spent our time lounging in the pool and enjoying the day off.  Sundays here are super quiet with little or no traffic because there are no cruise ships or ferries running.  When you live in Mexican tourist town you truly begin to understand the “silence is golden” thing.

Our neighbourhood crab.

Downpour.

The Cozumel Government.

 

This was the least impressed bandito around. Sweet mustache though.

The official looking girl in the middle is "Miss Mexico."

I was going to post a bunch of underwater photos but I think our underwater camera is toast.  (insert disappointment here)

Billito Hombre Pantalones (Bill Man Pants): Médica de Emergencia!

19 Nov

If you translated this posts title you may be concerned, but don’t worry everything is ok.  Over the last couple days we noticed that Bill was more tired than usual.  He was sleeping 22 hours a day, that’s a 9% increase from the usual 20 hours of cat napping.  We noticed that when he was awake he would favour his right paw and not put too much pressure on it.  When we investigated it last night he let out a pathetic squeak when I held his wrist.  First thing this morning we took him in to the “Centro Medico Veterinario” to see his new island doctor.  We got there and the place was filled with super cute puppies and kitties, waiting for their check-up or grooming appointment.  We talked to the front desk and he called in the English-speaking vet who arrived promptly.  We found out our Bill Man had hyper extended a tendon in his leg and that it was a common injury for cats (like tennis elbow for cats).  The doctor prescribed him a week of anti inflammatory pills and plenty of rest.  Bill crisis adverted for a total cost of 300 peso ($22.40 CAD) including medication! We were going to go snorkelling today but it after we got home from the vet a downpour rolled in.  We figured it was a good time to do a blog entry and clean the house.

Yesterday I went shopping at the MEGA which is a one of the biggest stores I have ever been in.  It has the reputation of catering to the gringos and I was told by friends to expect an inflated price on products.  I guess the price must be inflated from near zero because I could not believe the prices.  Back home I did all the grocery shopping so I know what things should cost in a store and this was cheap.

Examples include:

40 oz of Kahlua- 105 peso ($7.84 CAD)

40 oz of Smirnoff – 123.70 peso ($9.23 CAD)

1 litre of milk-13.80 peso ($1.03 CAD)

3 litre bottle of Coke – 24.88 peso ($1.86 CAD)

8 pack of microwave popcorn – 30.40 peso ($2.27 CAD)

Cheapest paralyser and movie night ever – priceless

The produce in the store was mouth-watering just to look at.  You cannot buy cold milk (seriously), pop comes in 3 litre bottles, but suprisingly  the same brand names exist here but have a Mexican flair to the packaging.  There are Mexican brands that don’t exist outside here (like Bimbo Foods brand) and the chip flavours here are nothing like back home.  Interesting flavours include lime, tomato (not ketchup), queso (not like cheese at home), and all sorts of spicy and pork flavoured stuff.  They only way out of the store was on an escalator for shopping carts, it held the cart stationary for you as you descend a 30 degree slope to the main floor.  Super cool stuff.  I feel like I am some hick who lives their life in the country and then goes to a big city for the first time.  I am overly impressed by everything I see here.  When that wears off we might look like less of a tourist to the locals…  Oh look a shiny thing!

Today we are going to have a face time session with Chantel at 1 pm.  Hopefully the sky clears this afternoon so we can hit the beach later on!

Kitty would keep Bill company and groom him while he was not feeling good.

That is a 3 liter bottle of Coke!

Flowers in our yard.

A friend Bill made at the vet.

Bill was trying to hide when he got home.

Fun in the sun.

18 Nov

Hello everyone!

We are waking up and shaking off what could be our first Mexican hangover.  Yesterday, after trading was finished for the morning, we brought the cats out to the court-yard for their first taste of lounging poolside.  We watched and took pictures as they stalked geckos, lizards and frogs around the court-yard and thoroughly investigated all the new tropical plants and flowers they have never seen before.  Later on that day we met up with our friend Ricky from Edmonton.  He was out cruising around on his bike so we met up at the MEGA store on the main drag along the ocean.  Liz did a little shopping while I got all the island info on where to go and what to do.  Soon we were following Ricky to Hugos restaurant for a nice afternoon snack.  Hugo is a great guy and a friend of Daryl and Nikita. I met him a long time ago at one of Daryl’s crazy parties (just a blur of a memory now).  We ate and drank while overlooking a nice court-yard and discussing Mexican politics.  We finally found out why all the Mexican roads were being re-finished.  It seems that the current president is finishing his last term and has to fulfil his promise to spend the money allocated for infrastructure.  It also may have something to do with the fact that he also owns most of the construction companies that are doing the work….  Later on we headed down towards Ricky`s place and went across the street to a wonderful bar named “The Hatch.”  The bar is right on the beach and overlooks the light house and the cruise ship docks.  We met up with a retired American that was one of Ricky’s friends and wasted the afternoon talking American politics.  He was refreshingly educated and well spoken which is hard to find among the American population of today’s world.  We drank back our two for one happy hour margaritas and watched people snorkel around the coral below us.  The disscussions ranged from making fun of Fox news to the fear based governing that now grips most of America since 9-11.  Wow, did I just make friends with an American?  No one would have seen that coming a year or so ago.  It was nearing 6 pm so we headed to the upstairs balcony and watched the sun set behind the behemoth ships as they sailed away from port.  It still seems so surreal to watch and I don’t think I will ever tire of that amazing view.  We cleared our tab and strolled across the street to Rickys apartment.  We grabbed a 6 pack to wet the whistle and found out that even in Mexico it is still 4:20 somewhere.  Suddenly our appetite had increased dramatically so we headed back to The Hatch for a late dinner of chicken tacos and pastor chimichangas.  For all of you who don’t know what pastor is, you are missing out.  It is a marinated pork mixture that is prepared similar to donair meat but tastes WAY BETTER than any donair I have ever ate.  You can get pastor in almost any form (tacos, tortas, etc), but much like a donair you should not eat it a lot if you are on a diet.  Soon we realized it was after 11 pm so we wondered home so I could get up and trade in the morning.  Today I plan on getting most of the boring stuff out-of-the-way (work, banking, groceries, cleaning, writing letters to family, etc) so we can spend the weekend exploring new beaches and coral reefs.

P.S.  To Clint, Melissa, Chantel, and Paul; we realized that the car ferry doesn’t run the day we are supposed to meet you at the Dreams Tulum Resort.  No worries, we called our travel agent and now we will be showing up one day earlier on Saturday November 26th.  We cannot wait to see you there!

P.S.S.  Hello Nicole and Justin!  Sorry I missed you guys on our shout out yesterday.  We would also like to see you down here, just let us know your plans.

Bill Stalking!

Kitty lounging pool side sipping on delicious drinks!

Bill can see you...

Our new favourite bar!

Dissing Fox News while wearing a Che shirt. If this were the U.S.A. I would already be under arrest.

To bad the sun only sets once a day.

The Cozumel light house guiding a giant cruise ship.

I wondered who was knocking on the door...