Today is a long awaited first day of our vacation – our return to the Caribbean coast of Mexico. Since our journey here 3 years ago, we’ve changed our realm of thinking how the world is. Our horizons have been broadened and our minds opened to new and exciting possibilities. That was our 25th anniversary trip in 2004 and it was wonderful. Now we celebrate again 3 years later our 28th anniversary. This trip will be different as all trips are and yet it too will bring new feelings and thoughts on the world and life as we live it.
We were supposed to take this trip with both Jill and Steve, but the tragedy that was so very unexpected changed those plans…..and more importantly it changed Jill and Sara’s lives forever. Steve’s death, was not in the plans…….not even for Steve. I am glad that the girls have decided to join us anyway and I hope that we will be able to give them some joy and help them to feel this healing environment in their hearts and begin to make happy memories in their new life. They will be with us in two days.
After a easy and relaxing morning at the airport and a nice flight we are about to land in Cancun, where Continental Car Rental will pick us up and take us to our car rental. We are so excited to get on the road and head to Playa del Carmen and the Hotel Fiesta Banana.
Well time to turn the laptop off…….the battery has diminished……my movie, A Walk in the Clouds was wonderful! (Note: always pack a movie and extra battery for long flights.)
Before our plane landed, we were surprised to see our neighbors Lance and Annette Lane were on our plane with a group of friends headed for Cancun. They were surprised to see us as well. We spent many mornings and afternoons together on the baseball field with our boys over the years so it was nice to run into them and of all places at 35,000 feet in Mexican airspace. We’ll have to touch base with them later to see how they enjoyed their trip to the Riviera Maya. Claiming our luggage, going through immigration and customs went smoothly and fairly quick. The car rental representative was there with a sign that said “Brown”. Wow, did we feel special. We took a short and very Mexican drive to the office, picked up our car and were on our way down Highway 307 towards Playa del Carmen.
We found our hotel fairly easy as we remembered the neighborhood, Little Italy, from our last trip. We checked into the Fiesta Banana for the next 4 nights. It was a clean and hip little boutique type hotel of the almost 3 star nature but would suffice for all we needed it for was sleeping and changing our clothes. It was in the right part of town after all – easy parking, coffee shop below with internet and just a few blocks walk to Mamitas Beach Club. It’s location is at the quiet end of the famous Quinta Avenida where all the restaurants and shops are that the tourists love to frequent. We began our walk down 5th and felt elated to be back in this place after a 3 year absence. Our mission on this night was to take a long awaited look at the lovely Caribe and dip my feet into it’s warm waters…..and find good mojitos. After dining at Tango Taco, which was not as good as the first time we were here we continued on our walk down the Ave for our evening drinks. Our first stop was La Bodeguita del Medio where we sipped on delicious mojitos and met a wonderful couple we visited with from Argentina via Florida. After a while we meandered happily the opposite direction back towards our hotel and stopped in at Bourbon Street to try their recipe for mojitos. These were also quite good. When we arrived back to our room, we were feeling completely relaxed and ready for dreamland in paradise.
Of course waking up and knowing you are in paradise is one of the best feelings one can have, even if your night of sleep on the hard Mexican beds wasn’t the best. We were on a new adventure in the Yucatan and had a flexible yet full itinerary. Our first order of business for the day was to trade the rental car for the one we’d reserved. American (Continental) Car Rental promised to send a representative from the office in Cancun to our hotel at 9am sharp so that we could start our day and get on the road. We’d planned to go and visit Xcacel Beach and the housing subdivision in Chemuyil. After about 20 minutes of patiently waiting we decided to go to the local office only to find out that they did not speak a lick of English. I think they understood more than they spoke though and we didn’t feel comfortable with the communication. We just didn’t want to end up with any snafus over the rental car bill. We left and decided we’d just drive up to Cancun and take care of our business there. Unfortunately a curb jumped out at us (it did!) and we ended up with a very flat tire. We rolled into the Pemex and hurriedly a crew of about 5 young Mexican men came to our rescue. We were so frustrated by this point as our morning was not going the way it was supposed to be….but we knew that we’d eventually get where we were headed….and after all we were where we wanted to be. Even with the language barrier Mark and the guys were able to joke around about how to change a tire over the course of about 20 minutes. We filled the tank up with petro and were about to be on our way! Suddenly there was a man running up to our car who appeared to be from the rental car agency. I rolled the window down and he said “Mr. Brown, Mr. Brown we are very sorry for the confusion this morning. Please accept our apologies and you may keep this car and no extra charges will be made.” Pshew! What a relief – at least we wouldn’t have to jump through more hoops after an already tiring morning!
We started to drive down Highway 307 towards Chemuyil and decided that all of that commotion called for some shrimp tacos and beer! After all it was nearly noon. La Floresta was one of the restaurants on our suggested list so we pulled in and enjoyed a much needed reprieve and regrouping. The shrimp tacos here were quite good and the beer was nice and cold. We were ready for our afternoon. Mark had found the Chemuyil subdivision on a website a fews weeks prior to our leaving town. He was excited at the prospect of being able to buy a vacation/retirement casa so close to one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico and wanted to see these homes first thing! We found the town of Chemuyil and then the turnoff to the subdivision. It was a very quiet neighborhood with most of the homes still vacant since this “new” project was recently opened up to foreigners. Afterwards we crossed the highway and went to Xcacel Beach. This is a turtle protected beach and there’s actually a small palapa shack with a “guard” on duty. You pay him a few pesos to pull in and park and have a beautiful, quiet beach all to yourself. If he’s not there, come antother day. We only saw a few other people there the whole time – one of them was an ecologico worker and was counting nests. They say not to visit the area from May through November as you will disturb the nests. I love this beach! There’s a shell there that seems to have made its home there and I hope it is there when I visit again. What a nice ending to a day that started out a bit rough.
We ate dinner at Babe’s Noodle Bar, their 2nd location, which was right on 5th just a couple of blocks from our hotel. We’d eaten at the original location right in the heart of Playa on 5th when we were here before. The food is an Asian fusion of flavors and outstanding. Their mojitos were the bomb! Better than the others we’d tried. Another “must visit again” for our list…….and another night of peaceful sleep in paradise.
The next morning slept in until about 8am, woke up and went for coffee just down the street (no Starbuck’s for us) at a local shop. Afterwards we threw our suits on and went to Mamitas Beach Club where we claimed a spot under a palapa on some comfy lounge chairs. After soaking up just a few rays, we promptly threw ourselves into that beautiful boyount, soft and sandy beach. We thoroughly enjoyed sipping a fresh squeezed orange juice and relaxing – being here again.
Swimming worked up our appetite and we ordered an early lunch, lazed in the sun and swam some more. Every so often we felt a little sprinkle. It was getting a bit past noon and we decided to head back to the hotel for a shower so we could get ready to go and pick up Jill and Sara at the airport. A cloud burst above us on our walk back and we got drenched! We actually had to take cover in front of a pizza bar for a few minutes and then fnished our way home.