Quick nomadic visit to Cozumel

February 8, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

Going to Cozumel today! First though I need to make a bank stop and TelCel stop at Centro Maya in Playa del Carmen. Thought I’d get a jump on getting more internet gigabytes while I’m up that way. I also had purchased a nifty attachment for the Nexus 7 tablet that I have. It is a short power connection cable to a USB port, so I can plug in the USB modem I have from TelCel to it, but I don’t know if it will work so I thought I’d bring it all along to the friendly, hopefully english speaking TelCel customer service rep.

It seems I got to the mall a little early, things don’t open up until 10 am. So a little McDonald’s free wifi time was in order while waiting. The bank was open before 10 am. It was the shortest line I’ve seen at the ATM since I’ve been using it. Thank goodness the ATM’s are generally subtitled in english!

Well, I found out even though I had placed money into my TelCel account I can’t purchase another 3 gigabytes until I use up the 1 gigabyte I have remaining. The customer service rep. tried to explain how to add the addition gigabytes once the ones I have run out, but in his broken english I’m not sure if I got it.  As to the Nexus 7 tablet being able to use the USB modem stick, he explained that the tablet doesn’t recognize it as a modem but as a drive and can’t be used. I’m still not sure of that answer and will investigate further once I get to Cancun.

It was a little warm today and I was feeling the heat by the time I parked several blocks away from the feri (Mexican spelling) docking site to get to Cancun. Purchased a ticket for $310 pesos (about $24 US) and waited for a 1 pm boarding in the large open air palapa. The sea breeze felt pretty good as well as the taste of the bottle of water I purchased from a small shop next to the palapa. I noticed a bar with a pirate theme at one end of the palapa serving beer and tequila. Didn’t think I needed any of that prior to a boat ride. While waiting I took a couple of photos of the Playa del Carmen beach.

Playa del Carmen beach, travel, nomadic

Playa del Carmen beach arch, travel, nomad

Anyway 10 minutes later, the Mexico III waterjet feri arrives and begins the disembarking process. We all line up and as soon as the other passengers were off we boarded. Wow, they had the A/C cranked on the boat. Cooled me right off. For some reason the sun felt a little more intense today. It’s OK in the shade but the sun heats you up quickly. Anyway the seats were similar to those on an airplane without the armrests and were very comfortable. Most everyone was rushing to the back of the boat to the outside deck. I stayed inside where it was cool. After we shoved off they started the video monitors with the safety instructions followed by advertising of different places to go on Cozumel island. This also included Beyonce’ Super Bowl performance, which I watched since I missed it due to the bar dancing Mexican woman during half time. Anyway not one of my favorite artist, but passed the 30 minute transit time. When we disembarked at Cozumel we were accosted by several tour operators wanting business. I did notice a pair of Norwegian Cruise line ships in the port.

cruise ships, travel, Cozumel

My plan was to stroll around the town on foot until it was time to go back at 4 pm. Because carnival had started the town was in the process of setting up food and drink dispensing tents everywhere. Looked like they were expecting some partiers! As I strolled around I noticed a central park area that was especially manicured.

Cozumel, travel, parks, nomadic Cozumel, travel, central park

I was also accosted by the various street vendors and shop owners asking what I was looking for. Quite honestly I didn’t know how to let them down easy and tell them nothing. While I’m sure there are some great buys to be had on just about anything. I can’t fit a single thing in the overstuffed luggage I have. Thus, no buying of stuff! But it was nice to do some window shopping. One thing I was looking for was a drugstore to find something to stifle the itch I have on the back of my left hand. Seems I got into something that’s caused contact dermatitis on a couple of my fingers. I’m not a stranger to this condition having gotten into poison ivy on more than one occasion in the past. The itching drives you mad! I did end up finding a farmacia and the recommended a crème that appears to contain some hydro-cortisone. Hoping it helps. People kind of looked at me funny when I opened the package on the street and started rubbing some on my hand as soon as I left the farmacia. I walked for several blocks and noticed that many of the shops and vendors are similar to those in Playa del Carmen. I’m thinking the proper way to visit Cozumel is to plan for a minimum of a three day visit to enjoy some of the other amenities it offers. An afternoon visit will just get you to a very limited view of the island. I’ll have to keep this island on my list of places to visit again.

After roaming the streets I decided to take a break before re-boarding the feri. I saw a little corner bar called “The Thirsty Cougar” offering free wifi and saw some other patrons using laptops and handhelds, so I decided to give them a try with a “Sol” cerveza order. When I ask for the password to the wifi connection, it was “IWANT1BEER”. Ironic, because as soon as I tried to connect, their service failed and never did come back. Needless to say, I only drank one beer.

Hopped on the boat for the ride back which was much more rough and a few people got up because I think they were getting sea sick. I didn’t feel too bad, but had to endure Beyonce’s performance again. Still not a fan, but I could see the young folks mouthing the words to her songs. Guess I’m losing touch with the pop artists.

As I got off the boat and entered the courtyard to the street to get to the batmobile, I came upon this guy sitting on top of a 50 ft. pole playing a flute of some sort while 4 other guys were hanging upside down by some rope and twirling around the pole. Absolutely crazy, but I guess it is a traditional ceremony here in Mexico. You couldn’t pay me enough to do that. Looked worse than bungee jumping.  I did a little research online and discovered I witnessed some Voladores performing for the public.  According to legend, this ritual was performed as a petition to the rain gods in a time of drought. The old men of the village chose five young men to carry out the ceremony. Afterward the rains returned bringing life back to the earth.  Must have worked they are still doing it!  Pretty amazing to see though.

Voladores, travel, nomadic

All in all, I think Cozumel has a lot to offer, but you have to take the time to enjoy her amenities by staying for some duration. I’d like to go back when I can stay longer.

Hasta luego!

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