Mexico – Week 1

Well we have been here a week and done very little. Its been a time to sit by the pool (again) and look at the beach.  The sun has continued to shine almost every day – I’m not sure monsoon weather counts as it is so warm its like taking a shower.

Our trip over from Cuba was by Aero Mexico. We were offered an upgrade at the airport which we accepted as we then didn’t have to pay for excess baggage and we got really comfortable seats in the plane with dedicated steward services – LOVELY! and worth doing

The Harris Hawk bird scarer
Just one of the birds who bathe outside our condo
Sign on the footpath
Pancho – just one of the enormous crocodiles in the lagoon.
Chocolate making the Mayan way
Ixchal – Female Mayan Goddess

Our hotel/resort is right on the main road of the Cancun ‘strip’ of Kukulcan, so we are hearing an awful lot of road noise.  This is helped along by the building site next door who start work at 0630 and heavy machinery at 0700 and also the kitchen staff trundling their trollies along outside from 0500hrs when they open the storeroom opposite my bedroom window.  But it is a lovely hotel.  The staff are fantastic and always so friendly – a lot different to Cuba.  They aren’t well paid so rely on tips to increase their take home pay. They are also aware that tourism is the main income for this region.  We are in Mayan country.  A land of tradition, culture and architecture.

I am happy to say that we have made use of the local bus service which runs past our hotel about every 5 minutes.  It doesn’t matter how far you go; 1 stop or 20 it only costs 12 pesos a trip (about 70p).  The drivers skills are amazing as they just pull out in front of moving traffic and lurch their way forward screeching to a halt with an emergency stop when someone puts their hand out to stop the bus.  Some are a lot smoother drivers than others but if you are standing you just really hang on tight.

We booked some excursions before we arrived using the tour company we used last year.  We did manage to bag a few bargains as they were having a sale.  Our first planned trip was to be to Tulum to visit the ruins but on arrival at the collection point we managed to change our booking and we are yet to visit. But we did make some chocolate!

Although I booked the chocolate workshop I wasn’t too sure what to expect as we had no details from the tour company.  But we got on the local bus to the workshop area which was in the Plaza de Fiesta which at first glance looks like any other souvenir shop (which it is) but look closer and you find some wonderful Mayan and locally made arts and crafts.  The colours used in the knitted and embroidered cloths are so bright and vivid.  Really ‘happy’ colours. And it is inexpensive.  Sadly I have no space in my suitcase or luggage allowance to take home anything more than a keyring and a bottle of vanilla essence.

But we met Jorge our chocolatier who was running our workshop.  And it was just two of us.  Jorge is of Mayan origin who speaks 5 languages (which includes Japanese apparently) and has a terrific personality.  We learned of the origin of chocolate and its place in Mayan culture and then started the process of making it by grinding the seeds by hand and adding flavourings at the start (I chose coffee and vanilla) and then pushing the ground chocolate through a mincing type machine a couple of times before tasting the finished article.  It was great fun and the chocolate tastes like nothing you get in the shops. 

Our next trip was to Isla Mujeres (the island of women) which we can see from our hotel.  So we trundled off to the meeting place just up the road ready for our departure.  The day was dull and overcast so we didn’t take any swimwear and we were expecting more rain like the previous days monsoon.  We  were offered a  couple of ‘upgrades’ which we declined (we later found out that everyone is offered this and the upgrade is a bit of money making scam) and settled into our comfortable seats at the back.  The drinks start to flow almost as soon as you board but I waited until 1030 before I had my first gin of the day.  I just felt that 10am was a little early. Near the island there was a quick snorkel option – cut short because the weather was turning and then onto the Island and lunch.  It had taken us 2 hours to get here.  The lunch was surprisingly good.  And then it was onto the optional golf buggy tour of the island which we opted for. The island itself is a mix of rich and poor as it is across the rest of the Caribbean with the tourist areas cut off a little from reality. We saw the temple of Ixchal which is the first place to see the sunrise each day but had just 10 minutes to look around.  Before we knew it our hour long trip was over and then it was back to the catamaran; where we were told that the trip was to be cut short as the weather was becoming worse and the waterways were being closed to all shipping.  This meant we didn’t pay the extra for the buggy. Result! Especially as we found on our return trip that you can hire one for $20. 

When we arrived back at the ferry terminal in Cancun we found that most other trips had also been cut short and we pulled up alongside the party boat from the hotel ‘Temptation’ which looks innocent enough from the road.  We never realised that it is an adults only hotel which means anything goes and is known the world over apparently.  Anyway the naked people shared our dock and were then directed to the left whilst we all went to the right.  It would seem that you can’t be naked on the street – but it looked as though they had lots of fun and didn’t have to worry about their clothes getting wet.

The wildlife outside our condo is lovely to watch as the birds are lovely colours. I don’t know what any of them are called except the hummingbird which comes along occasionally.   The hotel employs bird scarers for the pool area who bring in a harris hawk each day to fend off the blackbirds and seagulls so they don’t steal food from the holiday makers.  And I have seen a miniscule frog in the gardens which was probably no bigger than my thumbnail.  But there aren’t many lizards or geckos though and the ones we have seen are very small.

Sounds quite a dull week really compared to all the other weeks.  But I have made use of the hotel gym – which has a fantastic view from the treadmill. Thee Pina Coladas keep coming and I really don’t have any calories to spare as the food is gorgeous.  I might have to make my own guacamole when I get back.  It tastes so different to the stuff you buy in the shops.  And there will be an avocado season in Spain when they practically give them away.  And it has been a chance to relax and recuperate from the previous few weeks.

2 thoughts on “Mexico – Week 1

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