Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Yes, we are off to Mexico again! I didn’t even bother to blog about the 5 day trip to Puerto Vallarta earlier in February! This time we are off to the Mayan Riviera, then Guadalajara and finally PV again. A stop in Edmonton on our way to Cancun early Thursday morning gives a better representation of the weather we are seeking to leave than just heading out of Vancouver, where it is already Spring. A frigid minus 10, and the views of snowy fields from the plane’s window are good reminders that it is still winter here in the north.
However, the Mayan Riviera seems to be experiencing the opposite of El Nino as it is just barely warm during the day and downright cool at night. The wait staff in the hotel restaurant wear jackets and mutter “un poco frio” – a bit cold – when we arrive for breakfast in the morning. Our first day here is sunny but the clouds roll in at noon on Saturday, the sun disappears and the wind kicks up.
Playa del Carmen, our first stop, is more sophisticated than we’d expected and just a tad generic. Victoria’s Secret, Hugo Boss, Forever 21, the ubiquitous Nike store all can be found along a strip called Calle Quinta Avenida, 5th Avenue in gringo speak. The locals are quite proud of it, and even Craig is charmed, but I think it is too much like the Kardashians were allowed a free hand in the design and selection of shops. It is worse at night when klieg lights and techno-pop music blast from clubs with names like “Mandala” and drunk tourists bob around with sugary cocktails in plastic go-cups. I mean, come on! Maybe it is spring break somewhere in the US and we have just timed our trip badly. I’m glad to have just two days here.
We cope by staying away from the tourist centre, walking for hours on a beach of fine white powdery sand. The turquoise caribbean – much calmer than the crashing surf of the pacific – laps at our feet. We stop for mojitos or margaritas of cervezas when we get tired and thirsty.
Our hotel, the Be Playa, is a hipster type place with lots of concrete, mid-century modern furnishings and a sushi bar. The roof features a pool, bar and lounge that beckon late in the afternoon. A perfect setting for sunset. The bar boys are cute and their musical playlist is a global compilation of blues and jazz. It doesn’t always feel like we are in Mexico. But then the margaritas arrive … and we know exactly where we are. And why!
Sunday we board a ferry for Cozumel, a 35 minute ride east. Don’t expect to see photos from the ferry trip as the photographer was busy with her head in a barf bag. There went breakfast! It is a rough crossing, to say the least, and I begin to wonder about scuba diving. I have barfed over the side of a dive boat before and I know it is not fun. But I keep an open mind and hope the weather changes and the seas calm.