After a weekend of convalescing and feeling a little better, I decided to get out and about as well as investigate an internet service provider alternative. Where I’m located I can pick up other secured wifi signals, so I thought I would go to Playa Wireless’s main office and discuss what options they offered. First, though I needed to return the keys to the property manager. I thought maybe I’d see what type of service he uses or recommends.

I must say, having wheels is so much better than hoofing it and catching a Collectivo to where ever I need to go. So I am enjoying the added mobility convenience. I did speak to the property manager and was disappointed in what he said. He does use Playa Wireless and they require a tower on the property which he pointed out. He said he didn’t think the owners of Rancho Amor, where I am staying, had such a tower and it would be pretty costly to have it installed just for the duration of my stay. Disappointing to say the least. I’m stuck using Telcel and am using 2.5 GB a week. With six more weeks here, that a total of 15 GB divided by the 3 GB they sell at a time for $30 US. We’re talking about $150 US for internet service. I’ll just have to bite the bullet, plus it means running into Play del Carmen every week and half to pay for additional gigs.

It seemed pointless to talk to Playa Wireless so I decided to go to the WalMart in Playa de Carmen and see what they were like here in Mexico. I didn’t know exactly where it was but had a general direction. Anyway how hard can it be?? I did find it after traveling though some areas that were typical local neighborhoods and not tourist areas. It’s incredible how beautiful the large shopping malls are but the Mexican local shopping areas tend to look a bit on the shabby side. When I can upon the WalMart there was no entrance from the side of road I was traveling on. So I thought I’d circle the block and find an entrance. No luck, ended up turning around and traveling back in the opposite direction to get in. I found this odd as I would have thought WalMart would have wanted to maximize their accessibility. Just prior to the WalMart location, there was a large shopping mall anchored by Chedraui, a rival of WalMart. I do know that WalMart has been accused of bribing to get their stores placed too. Any way I could see a difference in this WalMart compared to US stores right away. See for yourself:

WalMart in Playa del Carmen

WalMart in Playa del Carmen

WALMART IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN

Maybe the attempt to provide shade was to offset the lack of accessibility. Also, the parking area has oil and chemical catches where the cars park. I’ve never seen these at US malls. Anyway the idea is to contain the oil dripping from vehicles to prevent it from getting into the runoff or soil. I suspect this maybe was part of the requirements in order to build at this location. When I entered the store it seemed pretty typical but laid out quite differently than US Walmarts. I wasn’t too long before I recognized some products that are similar to US stores. I wanted to find a rubber drain stop because there was none at the casita where I was staying. I’m fearful of dropping a contact lense down the drain. I also wanted to find hydrogen peroxide. I use it to disinfect my toothbrush and as a mouthwash. It’s also good for disinfecting scraps and cuts. I found neither, but I was able to find a plastic screen to lay over the drain that would serve my purpose. The products in the grocery section was more recognizable to me than the other grocery stores I’ve been to. It also was the first time I saw frozen pizza by Red Baron. The only brand they carried. As with other the other grocery stores I had been to, the bakery and delicatessen were great. I also liked their produce section better than Chedraui or Soriana. I decided to pick up some cilantro for dinner tonight or so I thought.

After roaming the store, I made a mental note to come back for a big shopping trip when I was more prepared with a list. As I left the store, I looked across the street at some local apartments that I thought I’d share with you to see what they look like.

Apartments 2 across street from WalMartTypical apartments in Playa del Carmen local residences

The individual units seemed small by US standards, but I have found that the average Mexican is not typically very tall in stature. I’ve also learned from Tim Anderson of Marginal Boundaries that there is difference in the look of the indigenous Mayans and the Spanish decedent Mexicans. Mayans typically have a more rounder face and likely will speak English. Spanish Mexicans are well ……..Mexicans.  Spanish is typically the only language they speak unless they are employed in the tourist industry.

By now it was way past lunch and I was starving so I thought I’d head over to the McDonald’s at the Centro Maya mall. Not that I favor their food but I wanted access to their free wifi. While there, I unbelievably was able to Face Time (Apple’s video phone product) my grandson in Maryland. I didn’t have headphones with me so it wasn’t much of a private conversation, but it was good to seen him via video phone. I also was able to download a few books onto my new Nexus 7 that my son’s family had given me over my Christmas visit. It’s very useful and I will use it even more once I’m regulary connected to wifi again.

After getting back to Ranch Amor, I began to prepare dinner, Lime – Cilantro Pork Tacos. I successfully got everything put together and started chopping the “cilantro” only to discover it was parsley. I had to leave it out. It still tasted good but I’m going to add some cilantro to the leftovers to give it an even better taste.

I’ve found that the challenge here for cooking meals is being able to utilize what is sold locally to prepare recipes. I can get recipes on the internet, but whether I can get all the ingredients here is the big question. Once I identify what recipes work here, it will be easier. Not starving just confused about what to prepare.

 

Adios Amigos

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