Ahhhhhh. Playa del Carmen.
Sounds exquisite to some. Sounds like a town in Mexico to me. Ya see, I would be completely okay with never stepping foot in Mexico. EVER. In this particular area, you can consider me a terrified American. One that has taken in all the bad stereotypes from TV & Movie and filed them away as fact. So, I really don’t feel the need to visit Mexico. I like my kidneys thankyouverymuch. Despite these feelings, Mike and I agreed to a multi-couples vacation to this very place. I’ve never been on vacation with other couples, so the idea was intriguing. I would just have to get over the fact that our destination was going to be Mexico. Now that you have some background, let’s fast-foward to our day of departure.
Zwip Zwip Zwip (that’s my fast-forward noise)
Per our usual travel habits, Mike and I finish packing about three hours before we need to leave for the airport. Then, I have a hard time getting to sleep. So let’s say I got 2 hours of rest. Mike wanted to be out of the house by 6:30am. So, obviously, we were leaving at 7am. I couldn’t remember the exact time of our flight and I kept it this way. If I didn’t know, I couldn’t panic. However, all went well, we got through with 30 minutes before boarding.
Mike goes to Maudie’s for breakfast, I go over to Schlotzsky’s cuz I’m curious about these breakfast quesadillas they have. I wait about 15 minutes for so-so food. Mike waits an additional 5-10 minutes for his migas that end up being covered in sausage. He trades them in for some breakfast tacos and we head to our gate where the last few people are boarding. Awesome timing. Boop. We’re on the plane.
It may have been a 30-minute flight, but I slept the whole way. Which made me look forward to the longer flight so I could sleep even longer. Ahhhh, but that was not to be so. Our seats were not together and we weren’t able to switch. I can’t just sleep on a place willy nilly. I can only do it if I’m sitting next to Mike. So, no sleep for me. The flight was just under two hours, but the fun was just about the begin.
Once we arrived in Cancun, we had to enter the immigration area. It looked like a room full of crowded angry livestock. There at least 2,000 people in there. It was also very hot. There was A/C on, but maybe it was some tiny window unit on one end or something. Cuz it was hot and sweaty in there. My previous experiences with immigration went pretty fast, so I wasn’t too concerned. Not until about 10-15 minutes in and we’ve barely moved. Over two hours later, we finally get through. I will admit to not being in a very good mood at this point. But, we must carry on. We then have to get our baggage and go through customs. That took us about 15 or so minutes and luckily I get a green light when I pushed their inspection button. Red means you get searched.
It was at this point that Mike instructed me to put on my headphones and not talk to anyone. I couldn’t find my earbuds fast enough so I just decided to be brave. We went through this weird gauntlet of time share vultures first. I don’t know what it was about Mike, but they parted like the Red Sea when he came walking by. Then we were outside with 100-ish taxi drivers with signs. First I’m struck by the sheer number of people, then I’m struck by the disgusting amount of humidity in the air. Add that with the heat, and EW. Anyhoo, we quickly look for our driver and kept walking. We walked too far, but eventually someone showed us the way. We found our driver and we were off. We had an extremely well cooled van all to ourselves, so I was off to sleep almost immediately. I kept falling asleep, but Mike would keep telling me to look at stuff on the drive. At one point, I fell asleep in mid-air so Mike just palmed by forehead until I woke up again. I guess I was quite tired.
The drive to our hotel was pretty much my vision of Mexico. Poor, a bit dirty, but of lot of pretty beach-y bits. I think this was quite the highlight for Mike actually.
We arrive at our hotel, Mahekal Beach Resort, and poof! While we are checking in, our friends Chris & Stacy show up. So we put our stuff away, put on some shorts, and head out to get something to eat. My feet are so swollen from a recent blood pressure problem and traveling, so the idea of walking makes my skin crawl, but I am hungry. So, off we go. We walk down this main touristy street – 5th Avenue – and we eventually stop at a place called 1847. Mike had Chris had Sol, but Mike’s was substantially larger. Hilariously larger. I ordered a veggie burrito that had sweet corn, beans and rice in it. It was very tasty. I could eat that corn forever. We had some good chips too. They came out with six difference salsas/sauces, all of which were very different from the last. We leave there and walk further down 5th Avenue, where Chris & Stacy show us around. They’ve been here several times and really know their way around. My quick and dirty impression of 5th Avenue is I don’t like it. It’s not authentic to Mexico, it’s only a huge tourist area that has been made for white consumers (mainly Americans) to feel just like they are at home. Or to get them to buy as much as possible. Sad thing is, it obviously works.
We walk here, there, everywhere. At some point we stop at Senor Frogs and get a drink. We sit watching the crazy-ass choppy water and the ferry’s trying to negotiate that mess. It was making Mike have sea sickness flashbacks just watching that.
We eventually slowly mosey our way over to Sarah & Reagan’s condos – Aldea Thai. We wait there for a while and they eventually show up. After some hello’s and some mutual immigration horror stories, we head out to get some grub.
We stumble upon Yaxche, a Mayan cuisine restaurant. The first thing I see on the menu is Cochinita Pibil, and since my mom and brother would kill me if I didn’t try any, I did. It was awesome. The pork was so tender it was crazy. It was a bit fattier than I’ve had, but it really was out of this world. The pickled onions were not quite as pickled as I generally prefer, but the two flavors did very well together. It came with handmade corn tortillas that just sealed the deal.
After that we all disbursed and went to our abodes for the night. We made plans to meet Sarah & Reagan at 10:30am at the Starbucks. Yes, Starbucks. Every corner, and I mean EVERY corner also has a Haagen-Dazs shop. Anyway… after we meet up with them, we’ll walk them over to Chris & Stacy’s area for breakfast.