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Published: August 17th 2017
"Family. An anchor during rough waters".
Hoping this blog finds you all well and living the good life wherever you are. Hola Mom! Nice video chatting with you. You're looking great!
Life has been treating us kind where we are. We have thoroughly enjoyed 5 solid days of sun here and it is nice to see smiles on the girls faces after a tough stretch.
We all arrived safe and sound on Sat., and it was a great reunion with Ray and Pat. We were beat from the feet up after getting up at 2:30 in the morning, catching a flight at 6 am and finally arriving almost 12 hours later. That's what you get when you book last minute. I know, I know - you are not feeling sorry for me at all given where I am...
It was clear to Al the following day that I was tired when we were vying for bathroom space & as he brushed his teeth he looked at me quizzically. Apparently I was using sunblock under my arms instead of deodorant. Well - ahem, in my defense, you know, you never know where a girl might get a
sunburn in the tropics!
Every day I've been up early, and out walking after coffee. First day we headed to a local outdoor farmer's market about 6 blocks away from us that I love visiting. This place has amazing fresh fruit at cheap prices. They will chop fresh fruit of your choosing and fill a big plastic container with it. Watermelon (sandia in Spanish), kiwi, apple (manzana), coconut, banana (platano), papaya, grapes, orange etc. A big container cost us $2 CDN. At home you pay a heck of a lot more for a lot less. If you wish, they will top your fruit with granola and yogurt. It carries fruit and veggies I've never laid my eyes on before. They are so warm and friendly there - the guys are real jokers too. Stop in if you are in Playa. (2nd Str. and 25th Ave.)
We then headed to a big supermarket called Chedraui to avoid Walmart & stock up on groceries. And they have an extensive wine and deli section with imported cheeses and deli meats. They also have a wine cellar behind locked glass doors with Champagne and fine wine. We peeked thru the glass windows
like kids in a candy shop drooling over the vintage wines. Then we wiped our face-marks off the glass.
I've come to realize, the more Spanish I speak here, the lower the taxi fares are here! If I speak English, the cab ride home with groceries would be 70 pesos. When I speak Spanish my cab ride is 30 pesos!! I guess I'm becoming a local yokel. There is a huge ex-pat community of Canadians that live here so it's not unusual for the locals to think you live here and give you the respect of being a local. When I google my name in Spanish it comes up "Salida". Has a nice ring to it...
We've been doing a bit of everything...Mostly acting like we are on vacation 😉 Reading, relaxing, walking, swimming in the ocean and pool, and eating some great food. Lots of card games at night. Al & Ray have enjoyed trying some local craft beer. I've put the blender to use to make Pat some light and fruity cocktails with whatever fruit is left over. I am officially her favorite daughter-in-law. OK she's only got one so I've elected myself 😊 Anyhow, we've
enjoyed lunch on the beach, and then cheese and deli on the balcony. (Bring back memories anyone?) to fully enjoy our accommodations.
One day Al and I hit an Italian bistro for a glass of Prosecco (por moi) and a Mexican wood oven pizza that was delish. With Italian sausage, onion, jalapenos, pepperoni and olives topped with fresh Parmigiana. It was so flavorful and cost around $11CDN. That's a pretty fair rate for that quality of food. Ray & Pat have been enjoying some seafood - one night grilled shrimp topped with crab, and another night spaghetti topped with seafood in a garlic tomato sauce. In between pico de gallo, nachos, quesadillas, tacos etc. and freshly grilled shrimp with ajillo chilies. So darn good. This update is for all you foodies out there. (God I hate that term 'foodie'...must find another word. Gourmand? Heck that sounds even more pretentious).
What I like is we don't have to go far to see things. The other day we were sitting out on our balcony and saw a pelican standing by the water. Looked like he was waiting for a bus. So patient. Then he continued to stand there. HELLO? HOLA?
Are you OK? Then he starts grooming himself. Then he sees folks come along to take his photo and poses. This pelican was heading to Hollywood! Finally he flew off. We certainly have interesting viewing from our vantage point. Paddle boaters, swimmers, para-sailers, and lots of cruise ships since Cozumel Island is a docking point.
The daytime high has been around 32C which is pretty consistent here in the summer months. Add in the humm-idity and you're topping out at 43C. Night the low (if you can call it that) has hovered around 26/27C with a real feel of 39C. This is not the place for long pants and frankly if I see you wearing long pants here I'd be very suspicious of you!
I think I read that the Riviera Maya is breaking heat records here. Global warming or is it global melting? Luckily we have an air conditioned condo with individual controls to suit everyone's tastes. But the breeza (in Spanish) has been wonderful and welcoming. We are keeping well hydrated if you catch my drift. 😜 Yes it's 'tres calor' (very hot). How hot is it you ask? Are you all asking again how hot
it is for heaven's sake. (Insert googly eyes!) OK here's one for old time sake. It was so hot I saw a chicken lay an omelette.
(It was a great addition to our breakfast - heh heh).
The days are hot and sunny but the nights are spectacular. One night we were sitting out listening to the waves, and listening to the music at the bar next door, and the next thing you know fireworks are lighting up the sky. Must have been coming from the new swanky hotel down the way. Once that died down, it was quiet. The rooftop with hammocks is the best place to lie under the stars which some nights are sprinkled across the sky like grains of salt. The lights from the ferries moved across the ocean bouncing off the water in a gentle rolling way. We are blessed to be able to have such interrupted beauty from our perfectly situated condo.
If you recall last summer Marth and I went on our Big Mayan Adventure (well that's what I named my blog) which kind of sounds like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. We went to a nature resort, the Fairmont Mayakoba
and it is unlike any resort you have ever been to in Mexico. Situated on over 240 acres of tropical forest that is intersected by crystal clear water and surrounded by the pristine Caribbean shoreline. The natural lush surroundings are set among five different ecosystems – mangrove and tropical rain forest, lagoons, water canals and coastal dunes which makes it such a unique spot to visit. And it's set between the jungle and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean making it a real jewel of the Riviera Maya. It truly is one of Mexico’s most impressive, environmentally-friendly developments. And their focus continues to be on the eco-systems which I really respect. I will stop here because as I said in last year's blog, I ran out of superlatives.
I met the Royal Guest Manager Silvia at the FM, and forged a really nice connection with her over this past year. She offered to give Al & I a tour the next time we were in Playa since Al has not been there. Wow, yes siree Bob. The resort doesn't typically do private tours for guests (business groups only) so it was very thoughtful of her to offer this. She's
a real sweetheart. We were to go the Sunday after we ended up having to go home due to Dad falling ill. So now that we are back I contacted her and our tour was yesterday afternoon.
It was a great afternoon altogether. Silvia personally assisted us on the tour, taking us around the massive property via golf trolley. We enjoyed a fabulous lunch at one of the restaurants by the ocean. The FM did an extensive rebuilding of their beach last year and it's probably equal to Tulum's beaches in width and beauty.
What we really enjoyed last year was the hour and a half long boat tour through the mangroves and lagoons to see wildlife, in particular the birds. Al was dying to go on this, and Silvia arranged this despite us not being paying guests at the property. Under the shade of an electric boat we enjoyed a 90 minute tour with a well versed captain and guide who narrated the eco system and whatever wildlife we came upon. It was SO fascinating. We saw egrets, moor hens, cormorants, crocodiles, turtles and a trained harrier hawk which is used to keep the nuisance grackles away.
That was cool. There is no more magical experience for me than being one with nature. And especially surrounded by lush greenery of mangroves, lagoons, canals all brimming with wildlife. Brimming with birds we would never get to see at home.
It was good timing to visit the Mayakoba as Silvia has been offered guest manager at the newly built Xcaret Hotel. This hotel will be opening in December and is owned by the Xcaret developers. So I can imagine they too will incorporate nature and the Mayan culture into this new spot. Guess who will be getting a tour of this place?! I thoroughly enjoy touring places even if I don't have the pesos to bring family there for an extended stay.
ONWARD AND UPWARDS
Otherwise, this has been a therapeutic spot to try and absorb the loss of Dad. I just wish more of you (my loved ones were here with me). There's been more than a few times I've thought of picking up the phone to call mom and dad at their old phone number to see how they are. Yes they
. I know Dad is gone. But it's the trying to absorb it
part that is difficult. Many of you can relate to grief and loss. And it's still pretty fresh for all of us. But it's a reality that needs to be reckoned with and we will band together for support. As they say when you are going through hell, keep going.
Or a more popular quote for tough times is "When life gives you lemons make lemonade". Frankly I prefer these other quotes.
"When life gives you lemons, freeze them and throw them hard at the person who's making your life difficult. No? Not how the saying goes? OK let's try this. "When life gives you lemons, it's time to open some gin". NO? Still not right? 'When life gives you lemons, demand to see life's manager"? Hmmm? Try this... "When life gives you lemons, make grape juice. Then sit back and watch as everyone tries to figure out how you did that". Oops finally got it. "When life gives you lemons, throw them back and ask for chocolate". OK officially this is how the quote goes. "When life gives you lemons, try and find someone whose life gave them vodka and have a party". Now we are talking.
Well mi amigos and amigas, Ava is making pancakes this morning and Al is off diving and I've got work and errands to do. Wishing you all a wonderful day and hey, if life gives you lemons, you now know what to do!
*Thanks to Marth, Cin, Dan, Lara, (Rocky our dog) for all you are doing back home. I heart you all.
*Some of you email me that you aren't getting my blogs consistently. If you log in here, https://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Playagal/
and click on subscribe in blue on the right side & enter your email, you should get them. WARNING: You may be stuck with me for life... ;(
*If you wish to read my "Mayan Adventure" blog here goes. I am especially tickled three shades of pink since a fellow blogger who I greatly admire (Dancing Dave) nominated it as the "Treasure Blog" for the month of July last year on TravelBlog. (Aww thank you Dave). :> https://www.travelblog.org/North-America/Mexico/Quintana-Roo/Playa-del-Carmen/blog-940148.html
Sal and her peeps! (*Lots of pics probably on two pages...)
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