Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Very Long Update

This is gonna be a long post, folks, so pour yourself a tall one and settle in.

We (Senor B, myself and our friends Dave and Marny) arrived to Cancun on Oct 30th after an uneventful flight. We were an hour late leaving but the pilot put the pedal to the metal and, combined with a strong tail wind, we arrived only 20 minutes behind schedule.

Senor B had booked a van to take us, and our luggage, to a quaint boutique hotel in Playa del Carmen called The Aventura Mexicana* where we spent 3 nights.

The first day there we shopped along Fifth Avenue. Marny got her hair braided and got a henna tattoo. I passed on both. Eventually, we ended up at Senor Frog's* and had a blast there.

The second day we went to Xel-Ha.* The weather was cool and rainy in the morning but by noon it was warmer and sunny.

The next day saw us switching to Kin-Ha Villas* in Cancun. We got another van to take us there. Marny ended up being sick enough to see a doctor which the receptionist at Aventura was kind enough to call. Our friends were amazed that doctors here make house calls. Poor Marny ended up having bronchitis. On the way to the other hotel, our van driver stopped at a couple of pharmacies so she could fill her scripts and went in with Dave to translate and to make sure everything was good.

We spent that day just relaxing at the hotel so Marny could rest up. The next day we went to Isla Mujeres. We rented a golf cart and went motoring around. We stopped for lunch at the little restaurant at the south end and then made our way back to the ferry. We had brought bathing suits in case we went to the beach but we all decided to pass on it.

We had planned on doing the pirate ship excursion in the evening but we had a big mixup with the bus getting back to our hotel and got back too late to be able to go. It was just as well. Some wet weather moved in and Marny still wasn't feeling well. The wet and the wind wouldn't have been good for her so it was just was well that we were late.

The next day, we left for Progreso, stopping at Chichen Itza* on the way. We pulled into Progreso late in the afternoon, stopped to get groceries and then went the condo. Aaahh...home sweet home!

The following day was the Blogger's Conference.* Before leaving Canada, I had Google Earthed the street view from the Autoprogreso station to where the conference was. It was within walking distance and I had no problems.

The next day was Sunday in Merida. Several streets around the big square (Grand Plaza?) near the bus depot are closed to traffic to allow people to walk around. There are many vendors, both food and handicrafts, around the square. We ate street food and I introduced Marny to churros, which she loved. I wanted to take her to the big market, Mercado de Galveraz (?) but I couldn't find it. By this time it was late and we were tired so we decided to go home.

Monday we had a down day and just chilled at home. That night we went to Le Saint Bonnet* for supper. It was ok. Not great but ok.

Tuesday we went to Uxmal* and spent a great day there. We also stayed for the light show which was pretty spectacular. Senor B had booked a room at the Hacienda Uxmal but when we went to check in, they sent us to the sister hotel, The Lodge at Uxmal*. We got a free upgrade which was pretty cool.

Las Grutas de Loltun* was our destination the next day. Of course, Senor B didn't ask for directions before leaving Uxmal and he turned left instead of right. We drove and drove and drove and ended up on a one lane back road. We finally found someone to ask where the caves were and discovered that we had gone the wrong way. We'd gone a long way so it was a very long way back to the caves.

It was late by the time we got back to Progreso so we got pizza at Domino's. There was a hair salon across the street so I stopped in to buy some shampoo and conditioner. I had forgotten mine at home. Can you believe it? A hairdresser and I forgot the most important thing a woman needs! I did have a travel pack of curly-hair products that my boss had picked up and wanted me to try, so I had brought that to try in Mexico's much more humid climate. Still, there wasn't enough there to last me 5 weeks with this mop of hair that I have.

Thursday our neighbour, Liz, took me and Marny in to Merida to do some shopping. Marny has a good eye for decorating and I wanted her to help me add some flourishes to the condo. She gave me some ideas and, as much as I hate shopping, I did manage to spend some money. Got some new lamps and a big floor vase with some stick things in it for the living room. Also new placemats for the kitchen table. We stopped at the store that made our bedroom furniture and I ordered a mirror. I didn't like the ones they had there so I'm having one custom made. I'm just waiting for a quote.

For supper, we took our friends to Flamingos for their last supper here. It's my favourite place to eat. I had my usual there...Yucatecan chicken. It was as yummy as ever. Theirs is the best of any I've had. Everyone had a good meal and I was happy about that. Marny was having a hard time finding things that she liked.

Friday we took Dave and Marny back to Cancun to catch their flight. It was an early day and a long one. We returned the van we had rented for this past week and rode back on the ADO Platina.* Senor B had planned out how to get from Cancun to Merida but he hadn't figured out how to get us from Merida to Progreso. A guy at the ADO station showed us where we could catch the Autoprogreso across the street. We just had to wave it down. Easy enough to do in the daytime but very difficult in the dark when you can't tell which bus is which until it's whizzing past. A security guy must have been watching our failed attempts because he came and asked us if we were trying to catch the AP bus. When we said yes, he showed us where the actual bus stop was, over on the next block...where a bus was just pulling away. Luckily, the buses run every 10 minutes or so, so it was no big deal to wait for the next one. We finally made it home.

We tried to give our friends a variety of experiences, both touristy and "the real Mexico". We showed them how some of the very poor live and showed them some very nice homes that rivaled many back in Canada. We took them to places they said they never would have gone to had we not been with them. We took them on the combis and the Autoprogreso during the day as well as in the evening. We took them uptown at night. We made them try new foods.

Today was a much more relaxing day. We just sort of hung out. I did a bit of housecleaning that had gotten away from me. Went to the pool for a couple hours and one of the guys mentioned an event that was happening tonight in Chicxulub.

Some locals had decided to share Hanal Pixan with us foreigners. There was an explanation on what it was and of some of the customs that go with it. We then had the opportunity to view a couple of different alters that had been set up. Some dancers did several perfomances and one had dance steps that were remarkably similar to those of the native people of Canada. After all this, we could buy food that had been prepared for the event. The money raised went to support the food bank. I had tamales which I'd had, and enjoyed, in Merida on Sunday for the first time. They also served pib which was delicious. Both would have been better if they'd been hot but they were still good cold. I even tried some atole nuevo. It tastes like very thin cream of wheat. It was tasty but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had had a bit of sugar to sweeten it. It was a very enjoyable evening and we were both glad we went.

Now that our friends have left, I'll be able to blog more often. It just seems very anti-social, to me, to be on the computer when other people are around.

*These will all get separate posts later.


  1. I thought I recognized your wonderful curly hair in photos from the bloggers conference. What a great tour for your friends. I'll look forward to the follow-up posts. And...your expert advice on managing hair with the hard water in the Yucatan. Mine always feels like strands of concrete after a few days!

  2. I rinse my hair with vinegar water once a month.I think if you are blonder you can use lemon water.
    Wow, I got tired just reading what you did! If you get lost in Merida, you can always call me (I'll email you my phone #).
    I always used to get so turned around when we first moved here that I had to call Husband and ask him how to get home again!

  3. Wow, you were busy. Makes me tired just reading about it. I am glad you will have some time to relax now.

    We'll have to get together later this week...

  4. Debbie, this was our friends first time travelling in Mexico so we wanted to give them a variety of experiences so they could see the diversity. I think we succeeded. We did succeed in showing them that Mexico isn't as dangerous as the media portrays it.

    We have hard water back in Canada so I'm not sure what kind of advice to give you for your hair. Because of my job, I use salon products but I don't know if it makes a difference. Soft water makes my hair feel really limp. I hate using I guess it's what we get used to. I have found that it's better to wash my hair in the kitchen sink because it has better pressure. I was using the shower for the first while and my hair had that concrete feeling you mentioned.

  5. Theresa, you know...we don't have a phone. We hardly ever need one. Maybe onced we're here for the winters we'll get one.

    Marc, sounds good. Just shoot me an email.

  6. Sounds like you guys got to see a lot in a little time. We have yet to make an excursion outside Mérida. That has to change. I'm hoping for Uxmal on the next trip. I'm itching to photograph the ruins, plus a nice stay at the Pickled Onion.

  7. J&A, Uxmal won't disappoint. It's amazing. Far better than Chichen, in our opinion.


  8. Awesome post.
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