Our flight leaves today at 4:30pm. Due to several problems during the day, we make it to the airport at 3:58pm (2 minutes before the check-in closes). Well, at least we don't wait around for the flight. Even though I measured my carry-on luggage to compare it to the dimensions in the Signature brochure I am told it is too large to take on board. I am forced to decide what to take on board & they take my suitcase away. We decide immediately that Air Transat is not for us -- no movie on the 5 hour flight, cramped leg room, icky food, and the pilot doesn't know that there is a 2 hour time difference between Halifax & Cancun. Also, the flight attendants could not properly explain themselves in English - all the crew was French. We arrive in Cancun on time, pick up the wrong suitcases & head out through customs.
It is not until we are on the van waiting to head to the resort that we realize we have strangers' luggage. Rush back into airport to find panicked travelers looking for their suitcases (which match ours). The van ride to the resort is shared with four people from PEI. They have brought a few Coronas along for the 130km/hr trip (it's a 50km zone). A quick look around the resort & we're off to bed - it's been a long day. But first, we note that the toilet is broken (won't flush).
We wake at 7:00am to a beautiful day - sun, sand, and surf!!! Today we take it easy. We meet with our Signature rep, Leslie, who gives a bit of information & advice. Snorkel, kayak, lay on beach, drink something in a pineapple. We set up our excursions and diving for the rest of the week.
We head to lunch, but must wait 20 minutes to get in. I decide to get my hair braided & inquire as to the price - I am told 20 pesos (about $3 Cnd) - however after it is done the wench decides she meant 20 pesos per braid - that totals to 160 pesos - I am not impressed, especially since it happened at the resort!!! Many drinks later (did I mention the resort is all-inclusive?) the sun sets and it is time to eat again. But first we must wait to get into the buffet - 45 minutes - this becomes a recurring theme throughout the week, as well as our broken toilet (it is broken & repaired at least 6 times throughout the week).
When you go to Mexico do not, I repeat, DO NOT tell ANYONE you will call them - give them the phone # of the resort before you leave. The reason for this is that you can not always count on 1) a dial tone 2) the ability to reach Canada 3) the ability to use a calling card 4) the hotel phone to be capable of dialing a 1-800 number. I had to charge a call to a credit card, so that I could call my parents.
Later in the week, we found a store in the town that would allow you to call long distance to Canada for 20 pesos per minute - this would probably be your best bet, in an emergency.
In the morning we grab a taxi to visit Tulum, the only known Mayan ruins on the water. Before you get in a taxi, confirm the price of the trip - we found out that the taxi would take us to Tulum, wait 2 hours for us (no extra charge) and take us back to the resort. It is beautiful and we see many iguanas - it should be an iguana theme park. We spend a few minutes in the shops at Tulum, where Andrew buys his first chess set and first Mayan mask of the vacation.
We head back to the resort for lunch and snorkeling. There are many tropical fish (angel fish, blue tangs) within snorkeling distance of the resort, so we take full advantage of it. We are heading back to our room when we are dragged into a game of tequila volleyball in the pool, by David, one of the entertainment coordinators at the resort. Tequila Volleyball is an amazing discovery - if you screw up you must take a shot of tequila. It is during this event that I hear my name being called from the pool deck - Terry Chin is staying at the same resort, but he is leaving that night.
We head off to swim with the dolphins - an amazing thing. Those dolphins are very strong. After dolphins, we take our first walk around Pto Aventuras. That evening we have a reservation at the "fancy" restaurant - a delicious meal for both of us, including the homemade coconut ice cream for dessert.
Off to Chitzen Itza - the largest Mayan ruin excavation in Mexico. The day starts at 8am & gets us back to the hotel at 7pm. Shopping stop on the way so Andrew can purchase chess set #2 and Mayan mask #2. I buy a handmade leather purse & sunglasses to replace the ones that fell apart yesterday.
The guide takes us around Chitzen Itza for a couple of hours and then we head for lunch at the Mayaland hotel. At lunch, we are entertained by Mexican dancers who later beg for tips. After lunch, we climb to the top of the pyramid and then realize that we must climb down as well - OH NO!!!
Dinner that night is "Mexican Night" - a big hit with my taste buds - after a ½ hour wait at 8:50pm!!!!
Finally - diving!!! We take a trip with Aquaworld, the dive centre on the resort (also for non-divers). Participants have their choice of diving, snorkeling, sub-sea boat or shopping time in the morning. Off to Cozumel (a boat ride away) to dive the world-famous Palancar Wall & Palancar Reef. We see our first barracuda of the week, so I am now allowed to sing that old tune "OOOh, Barracuda!!" Other marine life includes angelfish, stingrays, parrotfish, zebra fish, and doctorfish.
After the 2 dives, we head to a hotel for lunch (lunch is included in all the excursions) and then back onto the boat. The boat then heads towards downtown Cozumel so that I can buy the necessary tacky tourist items for the family at home - huge sombreros, t-shirts, and a rain stick. Andrew picks up Mayan mask #3.
That evening, we head off to Playa del Carmen with a scheduled excursion through Signature Vacations - it's all you can drink at Senor Froggs. We go along for the promised shopping time. We see a mariachi band. We wander off the beaten tourist trail into the real city and see a whore house - El Chaterra - where you can get what you want for 5 pesos ($1 Cnd = 6.3 pesos). After the stores close we go back to Sr. Froggs & wait for the drunks until midnite.
Another diving day - this time in cenotes (underground freshwater river which is the area's water supply pre-purification). We see stalagmites and stalactites (don't ask me which are which) and must use lights in the caves.
A box lunch and then we are carted back to the hotel. That afternoon, Andrew decides to start a water fight in the room, which has a very slippery marble floor. He falls very hard and we think he may have broken his leg. Kim goes to find ice to put on his elevated leg, but the hotel staff treats ice like an endangered species. It takes several attempts to get a bag of ice for Andrew. Dinner that night is "international night", or, as we would call it in Canada, LEFTOVERS - a little Mexican, a little Italian, a little everything from earlier in the week.
The last diving day of the trip. This time it's local - right in front of our resort, about 150m out from the beach. We're in a smaller boat than before, and only 6 divers. There are fishies, fishies everywhere.
Between the 2 dives, 2 of the divers are so seasick that they request a return to shore. Just before we're ready to head back into the water for the 2nd dive, I decide I must feed the fish, so I projectile vomit. I believe it is seasickness. On the 2nd dive we see a stingray, a sea turtle & a moray eel, along with all the usual (by now) tropical exotic fish. By the time we make it back to shore, someone else is seasick.
We sign out bikes from the resort & have mechanical difficulties - do not take out bikes - they all fail!!! We wander around the town, picking up souvenirs, for the afternoon, and meet the Jewish owner of a small dive shop who hails from Ontario. We find the post office, which closes at 2pm.
We meet a lady that afternoon that is visiting Oasis for the 3rd time. She says that this is the 1st time she has had the food problems we encountered daily. We are stopped by several people requesting information on what to do, where to go, how to do this. By supper (oriental night) I feel sick again, take a Gravol and fall asleep by 8pm
Is it really our last day? I'm still feeling queasy & take another Gravol. We spend time on the beach, snorkel, and wander to the post office where they tell us they can't mail our parcel because they don't have a scale, so they can't weigh it. In the afternoon we go back to Playa del Carmen where we eat at McDonald's, which is combined with Domino Pizza & has a thatched roof. We do the last of the shopping - this time I pick up a bundle of pottery items at a little shop outside of the city. We head back to the resort for a last minute dip in the pool and then get the van back to the airport in Cancun. Our van was scheduled to leave the resort at 5:15pm - we were rolling the luggage out at 5pm and the van driver was waiting for us.
His comment was that we are lucky we were ready when he arrived because he has other people to pick up. By the time we get to the airport I realize that I have not been seasick, but saved the infamous Montezuma's Revenge for the end of the trip.
Back in Canada at 3:30am. I will soon find out that I have picked up a parasite - yes I've brought a friend back home with me - and require medication. Andrew, of course, is just fine. Glad to be back home.