Edit Blog Post
Published: July 23rd 2015
Water is the driving force of all nature
I started this travel blog many years ago to send out "one" update with pics to all of our family & friends. Never in my wildest dreams would I think anyone other than my family & friends would feel any obligation to read these blogs. When I was awarded "blogger of the week" this past year I can only tell you how very honored and thrilled and blown away I was. It sure was humbling because they are SO many fantastic bloggers on this site, and they all have amazing adventure stories. The honor was all mine & I'm still tickled pink about it.
With all the fantastic bloggers on here it's no wonder I feel honored. I'm not hiking the "El Camino" like our friend Keith did last year. Nor am I journeying through dangerous spots in war-torn parts of the world. I'm not traversing through any part of Africa helping the sick or poor like some of the bloggers I follow. One who is a young vet helping poor communities nurture their animals. Another is an eye doctor saving the eye sight of people in another part of Africa. Frankly geez now that I think about it,
I SUCK! But one day if Al and I take off on a world-wide trip (once the kids are grown) and do something very worthwhile on it, I will surely blog about it and feel I earned this award!
But somehow if I don't write about our every day "vacation" trials, tribulations, exploration and fun, then some of you get on the drum and let me know you are wondering where my blogs are.
So here you go. Read at your own leisure or expense... Cozumel Island
Weds we took the ferry from Playa to Cozumel. Boy that ferry is big...and boy that ferry is welcomingly air-conditioned. Praise the lord. This ferry must hold around 300 people in what looks like a movie theatre with rows of seat, and three levels. It takes about half an hour to get across to Cozumel and it was a very smooth ride.
Cozumel itself is a gorgeous island. It's like somebody designed this little proto-type and then stuck it in the Caribbean and brought it to life. The water is gorgeous and pristine and the waves tend to be gentle. Although there is an "iron shore" (rocky &
limestone), it actually offers world-class snorkeling and diving. The island is surrounded by more than 25 reef formations where divers come from all over the world to enjoy the corals, and immense shoals of colorful fish. It is just so idyllic.
There are SO many activities to do here it's hard to pick. Miles and miles of beach clubs, with snorkeling options. ATV tours, deep sea fishing, water parks (two big ones for kids), horseback riding, submarine tours, underwater museums, natural parks, great shopping - home to dolphins, manatees, turtles etc. You can easily cab around the island, or you can rent a jeep, car, scooter to see it. Next time we may do a jeep and see it at our leisure.
Cozumel is a cruise port destination, so it can be busy at different time of the year. It is cool to see the big cruise ships (including Disney) docked near the shore.
On the recommendation of one of the wonderful locals here (Edith) we took a cab to Playa Azul after we landed in Cozumel. WOW. Much like Isla Mujeres the ocean here is scooby dooby doo amazing. OMG. The views were stupendous - you
wonder how your eyes could look at nothing other than the water. We were transfixed by it. And once we stepped into it and could see how clear and warm it was, we were like kids frolicking in the surf.
There weren't that many guests there so we grabbed 4 loungers and Jose came to serve us. I am not sure if Jose was out late the night before, but the service was slow. At one point Al ordered a margarita, and Jose stood under our umbrella gazing out at the ocean for about 5 minutes. Al looked at me, I looked at Al and both of us rolled our eyes, like "OK Jose, get back to the bar". After about an hour of this service, we decided to hit the trail.
I asked Jose 3 times for "la cuenta" (the bill in Spanish) and he kept serving other people. Finally I said to the girls, "I know how to get his attention. Let's start walking out of here & you will see how quick the bill comes". (Of course I wasn't going to skip out on the bill but it was annoying as our time was limited).
Well Jose finally noticed & started running after us saying "hey".
So I stopped and turned around and said in Spanish "Jose I asked for the bill 3 times". He apologized, I paid and we left on a good note. We then wisely decided to visit Chankka Naab National Park. WOW. Chankka Naab National Park -
It costs us $21 per adult and $14 per child to get into the park and it was by far the best money we spent. Chankka Naab in Spanish means 'little sea'.
It is miles and miles of sandy beaches and lagoons that look like fresh water pools. And the lagoons are easy to access especially for little kids; you just walk right in as it's an inlet swimming area. I was in heaven floating around with Ava. Then there's the reef which is huge of course to snorkel, and an underwater museum which Al said was unbelievable. There is a crocodile expedition, sea lion show and the dolphins, manatees are close by in a somewhat natural habitat.
There are botanical gardens, nature trails, ancient Mayan ruins, clear bottom kayak boats, swimming pool with swim up bar
(I know a few of you that would enjoy that!), loungers, palapas with chairs, zip lines, snuba tours, snorkel tours etc. Included is life vests, showers, lockers, and I think a small fee to rent the snorkel equipment.
It's right out of a Corona commercial and yet has maintained a very natural feel.
We ordered food which was surprisingly good for a park. A BLT on freshly toasted focaccio bread, and the girls had a pepperoni pizza all of which was very tasty. And the drinks did not taste like watered down drinks like many large parks offer. Otis Redding & a "Change is Gonna Come"...
Race relations in the US is particularly a hot button topic these days and one of the biggest issues facing Americans. Terrible injustices continue to go on, and the news is full of riots and protests and I follow it closely in Canada.
And unfortunately I witnessed an event yesterday at the park that I found very upsetting. There was a kerfuffle that in the end made me feel that these two groups weren't fighting over chairs but something much bigger. I only reference the race of both groups
because it came into play as you will see if you read on.
Family A - Caucasian family. Family B - African American family.
After Al took the girls snorkeling I decided to get out of the sun. I parked myself by the pool in the shade. I had a table with 5 chairs and a family (Family A - see below) sat next to me and kindly asked if they could use one of my chairs. I had all of our bags piled up on the chairs, but of course I gave Family A the chair.
Family A - Caucasian family. Family B - African American family.
A short while later Family B (probably 15 people in total, all women, and a few kids) pulled up to the next few tables. They came to ask if they could take a chair too. I said OK my family isn't here yet so go ahead. Instead of taking the one chair, they took 2 (and moved a bag to take one of the chairs). So while a bit annoyed that they took 2 and moved our stuff, I'm thinking no big deal, another chair will probably open
up when Al and the girls come back, although this was prime property around the pool.
Both A & B family headed off to the pool and to get food. Next thing you know, Family A (2 mothers probably in their late 20s & a grandmother and 3 small kids) come back and notice their chairs have been moved (stuff taken off) and are pulled up to Family Bs table. Family A says to Family B "Oh you took our chairs, do you mind giving them back". Seemed a normal request to me. "Ten percent of conflict is due to a difference in opinion. 90%!i(MISSING)s due to the wrong tone in your voice". ~
One lady from Family B said "Oh sorry we didn't know anybody was using them". Family A says, "No big deal". How it escalated from there is beyond me.
Next thing you know 3 women in Family B got really upset and with voices raised one of them says, "You don't have to be so rude about it"! The two mothers basically say we weren't being rude we just want to sit down at our table with the chairs
that we reserved with it. Then another member of Family B says, "Do you know who you are talking to? I am a cop from (I think she said Atlanta) & not only am I a cop, I'm with the FBI. Wow seriously I'm thinking? "You have jurisdiction in Mexico?" I'm not sure why she'd say that to this woman; maybe she thought it gave her a license to take their chairs? I was confused over that. That's when I realized that this was not about the chairs.
Family B was angry. Maybe Family B had experienced terrible racial prejudice and this was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back and they accused Family A of being racist. Then of course the 2 moms in Family A are trying to clear the racist comment up, and everyone was yelling and it was a circus. People in the pool are now turning to listen to the fight and bartenders mixing drinks in mid-air stop to take it all in.
It heated up further, yelling, finger shaking in faces, I watched in rather stunned silence, and then security came & moved Family A. Family A is visibly upset and
the grandmother says, " This is ridiculous, we just wanted our chairs to sit down on & this has nothing to do with race". I'm the first to stand up to anything unfair & had I felt it was a racist situation I might not have held my tongue (you should've been with me on the beach last year when a massage therapist looking for business made a racist comment - his butt was thrown off the property pretty fast).
I just thought it was a courtesy issue and more of, "Hey man, you took our chairs, and we'd like them back". Given they took 2 of my chairs when asking for one kinda took the balance away from "in their favor". They are all probably great families but something really went wrong and I was a bystander to some ugliness. (And I didn't have a drink in hand to numb the whole situation).
Now more members of Family B start trickling in and the story gets passed around now all of these ladies seemed upset over the incident. I thought it might end there. Perhaps Family A had a "tone" in their voice? Maybe there was but
I overheard it all & I thought they were nice in how they asked for their chairs back. Now that I revisit it, maybe it had nothing to due with anything more than family defending family?
So it went from there with a few of Family B walking down to where Family A is now sitting. I could tell there was a bit of a further exchange. Then I hear Family B say "let's video them". So now 5 iPhones are out video-taping Family A just sitting there not knowing what to do. Frankly it was all just wrong about how it was kept going, especially due to the fact kids on both ends were witnessing this.
Sometimes kids are much smarter than adults because they remember what they were taught in kindergarten like "don't take things that aren't yours", or "play fair", or "share"...Things that went completely over the heads of the adults.
I was just glad no one brought me into it because I witnessed it all, and had given chairs to both of them. Imagine Al coming back and I'm embroiled in some pool brawl? I wasn't having any of that.
A was packing up to leave, I was going past to the bathroom, and the grandmother recognized me and said, "Well wasn't that something"? I replied that I saw it all go down and I was shocked where it went. It just got way out of hand. Now two families are fuming and upset over what?
And the kicker? Turns out these 2 families were all on the same cruise ship and all were scheduled to meet out front to take the vans back to the cruise ship. OMG. Can you imagine? Doesn't matter how big a cruise ship is; those are the very people you're going to run into because you always run into the people you want to avoid. (It's like the day you go to the grocery store in your sweat pants, ball cap, no makeup on, looking like somethin' the cat wouldn't drag in, hoping to slip in & out to get milk and wham - you run into an ex-boyfriend who is looking pretty fine. Wah)
In trying to lighten the situation, my advice to Family A was to stay away from the railings on the cruise ship...that's how mad Family B was.
I could only hope that it was left there and that was the end of it & everyone enjoyed their cruise.
I was relieved that my kids didn't witness the heated exchange that took place. It did leave a bad taste in my mouth watching that go on. It was more uncomfortable than sitting in my wet chafing bathing suit in 50 degree heat. Honestly it could've been an episode out of the Real Housewives reality show.
If we could just all live and let live and remember those kindergarten rules. If only we could all get past religious affiliations ("my god is better and bigger than your god" type of competitions), if only we could get past the color of skin, (and the thought that "your skin color is different than mine so we mustn't share the same intelligence, or morals, or values" stupid way of thinking).
And if only we could realize that children are watching and what poor examples we sometimes set over something as stupid as fighting over chairs at a beautiful park. If chairs are going to start wars what the heck chance do we have of having any sort of peace
in the world? And if that's all you have to worry about while visiting such a haven for tranquility and beauty then you are all fools. SO THERE.
So that was our day at the park. I think I need to start walking around with a huge pair of headphones so I am not a witness to the behavior that goes on around me.
We had a fabulous day overall, were back to the condo around 7 and enjoyed a leisurely evening of eating BBQ chicken and sipping a few drinks while watching a few shows with our doors open to the ocean.
I think the heat got to me yesterday - or maybe it was witnessing that fight. I was up all night pacing back and forth, looking out at the dark ocean, watching the twinkling lights from Cozumel, hearing the clock tick slowly by. Then I tried to lie down, tried counting sheep, then goats, then cows & I threw in a few pigs for good measure but nothing worked. I felt indigestion kick in, so back up at 4 am to do further pacing. Aye carumba. Meanwhile Al was out completely & I was
so glad he didn't witness the late night goings on with me.
I got an hour's sleep, and woke when Al got up to go diving. Ava was up making pancake batter and had the frying pan out for eggs. She made us a royal breakfast. Not bad for 10 years old!
It's one gorgeous day after another, but very hot on the balcony, so I put up my beach umbrella and sat down and closed my eyes to feel the ocean breeze take that night-before-restlessness away.
Grandma has taken the girls for a massage, Al is gone diving, Ray is relaxing on the balcony, and I'm getting ready to do some shopping for two special ladies who are celebrating special birthdays (HOLA Sue and Manon!)
Whatever you all do today, please don't fight over chairs. Fight over something important like who gets the last French fry.
Hope you enjoy the pics that follow.
Sal and the Dominos
Tot: 3.005s; Tpl: 0.072s; cc: 11; qc: 116; dbt: 0.0887s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb