Well, today I woke up with what seems like a routine now of clearing the lungs of mucus from overnight. Since bringing a respiratory infection with me to Mexico, it is something I go through every morning now. My lungs seem to clear as the morning passes. Hopefully, it will stop completely in a few more days. It was noticeably cooler today when I walked outside to greet the day. Put on a t-shirt for the first time in the morning since getting here. A check of the thermometer under the deck of the palapa showed temperature reading of 69 degrees Fahrenheit. I must be acclimating to this warm weather, 69 degrees feels chilly.
I walked out by the pool with my cup of tea to check out how many leaves had fallen in. Surprisingly very few. Must not have been much of a breeze last night. It’s 6:30 am and already a tractor with a backhoe and bucket upfront are passing by. It was doing the same thing all day yesterday and likely will today. They’ve got to be digging something nearby and hauling the debri away bucket by bucket full somewhere just past the Rancho. Guess if you don’t have a dump truck you make due here with what’s available.
Today, I’m heading into town to get more gigabytes for internet access, do some shopping at the Walmart, and get to the downtown area of Playa del Carmen to see the tourist area and maybe the beach.
As I rolled into town, a 5 second shower happened and the wind picked up noticeably. Something is changing weather wise here. Walking into Telcel (my internet service provider) at Centro Maya I definitely could feel a difference in temperature compared to other days. By now, it was typically in the low 80’s, it felt like mid 70’s today. It was also overcast for the first time since I’ve been here. No rain, but pleasant mild temperatures.
Surprisingly, getting more gigabytes was fairly easy, I was helped by a woman that knew some English, but had to go to the cashier twice to pay just $30 pesos for an additional 1 gig and again for an additional 3 gigs once I got across to her what I wanted. For some reason, she said she added an additional .5 gig at no charge. I guess it was good will. Anyway I told her I’ll see her in about 2 weeks since I likely will use it up by then.
I went to the McDonald’s to get something to drink after having a coughing fit at Telcel. Also took the opportunity to connect to their free wifi. While sitting there I noticed through the window a Policia entering the bank with his automatic rifle in tow. These policemen are everywhere down here and in plain site with their weapon on their shoulders at ready. People don’t seem to think this is out of the ordinary here. To me, coming from the US it’s very intimidating. I guess that’s the perception they are after in this area, since violent crime is noticeably absent, at least in this area. Just outside of town there is a police check point where you’ve got to slow down to a crawl and go over a large speed bump to go by. There are several officers present fully armed at the ready. I have seen them with several vehicles pulled over before. Hope I’m not one of them in the future. Might have difficulty explaining what I’m doing driving a vehicle I don’t own.
I was hoping to covertly take the policeman’s photo with his weapon in hand when he exited the bank. Covertly, because I have heard they don’t want photos taken that could possibly end up in the hands of the cartels who may target them. Anyway in my haste as he exited I pushed the wrong button and ended up shutting the camera off. Maybe I’ll get a chance again later.
It was early enough and close to lunch so I thought I’d head downtown, park, and find a lunch spot. Parking was a challenge but ended up about five blocks away from 5th Ave. where all the tourist go. I was hoping to spot an interesting more traditional place to eat cheap but didn’t so I skipped lunch. The tourist area is like a carnival with the street hawkers trying to get you into their stores. Some are more aggressive than others. There were plenty of restaurants catering to the tourist at tourist pricing, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. 5th Avenue must run for 30 blocks and is absolutely full of craftsmen offering their wares, boutique hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs, massage clinics, tour operator offices, drug stores, liquor stores, general stores, etc. I saw open consumption of beer, margaritas, and some funny little cigarettes by people. It’s a real circus environment.
That afternoon, I also saw a squirrel monkey, a huge iguana, and a white tiger cub being used to attract tourist to have their picture taken with them. The tiger cub looked like he could care less because he was laying down at the entrance to a boutique hotel trying to sleep. I didn’t dare try to take pictures or they would have asked for money. I did get a picture of one handsome fellow from 15 yards away. He wasn’t smiling.
I beat feet after taking this shot.
Further down the street I noticed the restaurant bar called the Tequila Barrel. Notice the black barrel above the sign on top of the building behind it. That’s a cistern barrel and how water pressure is developed. They are everywhere and seem to be standard with all the buildings. As you can image the pressure is not that great. Like being in a mild outdoor shower. Just one of the noticeable differences.
Tequila Barrel in Playa on 5th Ave.
I was able to get to the beach area and was greeted by this impressive archway.
The sand seemed a lot finer than down in Akumal. I’m just wondering if they had it trucked in.
You’ll notice the large ferry at the end of the dock. It goes between Playa and Cozumel. It walked over to the dock to find that round trip pricing was $24 US. I’ll make this a day trip later. Also spotted a familiar tourist location chain restaurant.
Once I got my bearing of where I was I was able to relocate the bus station where I initially arrived in Playa del Carmen with the Scotia bank right across the street where I got my first pesos.
After a once up and down 5th Ave. about 30 blocks, I found one gentleman who had the right idea. It does look as though he has been resting a long time.
After a once over up and down 5th Ave. I decided it was getting late and I still needed to go to the Walmart for some groceries. Didn’t really want to be out after dark yet in surroundings still unfamiliar.
Overspent on groceries likely because I hadn’t ate lunch. Any way I’m stocked for a while. Made it to the Rancho at dusk. Very interesting day.