Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Mexican Experience

Paul and I are currently sitting at the Sports Bar in sunny Mexico at the BlueBay Grand Esmerelda on the Mayan Riviera. The internet connection, while free, is a bit slower than I’m used to, so I thought I’d give a quick recap of our holiday, and post later. The memory, she ain’t what she used to be!

View from our balcony. The Oriental a la carte/bar/outdoor breakfast area.

It’s Friday, and I have to admit that neither of us has been keeping track of what day it is except where the Excursions are concerned. We arrived Monday afternoon (March 28), spent a leisurely time on the beach, drinking tequilas and banana daquiris, giggling while we negotiated the fairly well-lit paths on the way from the beach to our hotel. The hangover gods were kind to me, as a well-timed Aleve kicked it in the arse. Paul, well... the usual “argh, why did I drink that last couple of cervesas?!” routine... but he was “best kind” quick enough. :D The man has to learn to drink, ya think? I mean, really... he’s a former rugby player! 

The Swing Bar

Tuesday, March 29:
View at the Poolside
The orientation meeting with the Nolitours representative shed a lot of light on the rules and rights of the all-inclusive, and with  light and happy hearts, we headed off to the beach after lunch. The lightweight drinker turned into “Lobster-Boy.” *sigh* Again with the Aleve... and the Solarcaine with topical anaesthetic. He’s better now. I can’t talk much about the need for sunscreen, as the next day, Tulum Extreme took care of my shoulders. Ouch!

Wednesday, March 30:

Tulum.  What can I say. The whole event was ... entertaining. It’s about an hour away from our resort and we went with a couple of families from another resort. One of the first was a heart-stopping moment when the 6-year old daughter disappeared. One moment mama was applying sunscreen to her, the next... she was gone! The police were called and everybody looked around for her. Except for the other kids (older than the missing one) who were told to stay where they were on pain of beating. And Paul, who figured things would iron out by the time he finished his beer. He was right. Child was found at the entrance to the Tulum ruins. She’d followed another tour group, clambered onto the trolley bus, and hey presto! Gonzo! Tour guide and mama hyperventilated, but all was well in the end. Tour continued. Or began... depends on your idea of adventure.

Tulum is an archaeological site, nothing like Chichen Itza, but wow... My heart went pitter-patter when we passed through the gate. An hour later we emerged, amazed, exhausted, hot, hungry, thirsty. The best tacos were to be had at a little taco stand and we moved on to cervecas and the tour bus. 

The best best best tacos!!

The next stop was the “Yucatan Yungle” as Carlos, the tour guide, said. He described the fauna. It made me decide to not wander around at night... ocelots, yaguars, boa constrictors, on and on... Zip-lining wasn’t sounding nearly so bad anymore! Photos to follow. Maybe a video.

(I wish it were larger. Sorry. I tried uploading it directly from the computer, but the Blog video uploader was kind of slow. REALLY slow... I gave up after 10 minutes of sitting and watching. YouTube took about 3 minutes total.)

It was fun!!! I could’ve done with a few more runs, but hey... who knew?! Rappelling down a 100’ tower into a cenote was anti-climactic. Hands got a bit heated about 2/3rds of the way down... braking and releasing. I think, with a bit more practice, I could get into it! The final “adventure” was snorkeling in a cenote. *sigh* Dark, mysterious, soft calcium-rich water. Lobster-boy *ahem* ... PAUL... says that his burn felt immensely better after the immersion. 6 times the calcium content of milk. No osteoporosis, but problems with kidney stones for the locals. 

The temple at Tulum

The doorway through the wall of Tulum



Snorkelling in the cenote (pron. sa-no-tay)

Thursday, March 31:
We took a cab into Playa del Carman where we wandered 5th Avenue. A true tourist-trap. The same tokens of tourista-ville on every block. We finally ditched and headed to the beach. Words fail. Blue azure water, fluffy waves, gorgeous golden sand... a policeman with a sub-machine gun. Yes... I got a picture with him. Cervecas and cigars for Paul, a sundress for me. We caught the shuttle back to the hotel and arrived back in time for last lunch. Beach from 3  - 5. Good time for non-heat, but some sun-tanning. A refreshing dip in the ocean followed by dinner at the Oriental a-la carte. Bed. 

Hand-made cigars!

A bronze sculpture of an Agave being harvested (Agave = Tequila)

Think he'd let me touch it?!?

Hard-packed sand at Playa del Carman

Yes, Kyle. They have 7-11's in Mexico. Sorry, man.

Friday, April 1:
Paul’s Facebook birthday. We spent the morning pool-side. Sunning and swimming. Wasting away in Marguerita-ville! He’s celebrating with lime margueritas, tequila, losing track of the days (“It’s Friday?! Hey! Happy Holiday!!!”) and going to the beach this afternoon.  Steak dinner at the a la carte tonight.

Stuff I didn't buy

A leather thing I DID buy

Coatimundis. Apparently they're quite delish. They eat ants and termites, and occasionally take a nibble of tourist.

Sandpiper kind of bird



Further to the Steak dinner, Paul had the flank steak (the very special “Butcher’s cut”), which is what they use to make their fajitas. Super tender and tasty! I had the hard-to-mess-up if you remember it’s still supposed to go “Moo” tenderloin. Delish. Paul didn’t want any of the desserts on the menu, so the waitress fetched a bowl of ice cream for him! Vanilla ice cream. I can’t begin to tell you how absolutely delicious the vanilla ice cream tastes out there. Amazing. Creamy. ... great service everywhere, but this was a very nice extra touch.
Saturday, April 2:
Our 2nd and final excursion was to Rio Secreto, the Secret River. A large underground river system which sustains the Yucatan Jungle. It’s the 3rd largest freshwater reservoir in the world. Discovered by the property owner about 7 years ago (a large sinkhole found in the jungle), it’s been open for tourism for the past 3 or so years. Before we entered, we had to follow some stringent guidelines. No sunscreen or bug repellent (shower was mandatory on site), no cameras or jewelry, no touching ANYTHING. Not the walls, the stalactites or stalagmites, and we had to be careful not to step on any of those new formations on the ground. The stalactites (hanging from the ceiling) and stalagmites (point up from the ground) are amazing to see. It’s awe inspiring to realize that drops of water combining with the calcium carbonate (limestone via coral) created all this over hundreds of millions of years. They took us through only a small loop. Seven miles are mapped and still more is being explored all the time.  We walked, scrambled, duckwalked, dodged, and floated through 1 1/2 kilometers of cave, stopping here and there to gawk. At one point, we turned all our headlamps off and listened in complete darkness of a cathedral-like cavern. Tiny musical plinks of water droplets was all we could hear. The perfect meditation chamber. Other than the undulating walls, ceilings, and floors, there were holes in the ceiling where bats flew in. We saw blind cavefish, strange spider-like insects... not much lives in the dark.

Sunday, April 3:
Sunning and beaching. We took a walk up the beach, wading through a couple of small fresh water rivers. I hooked up with a German couple from Dusseldorf (2 of 4 Germans on the resort!) and spent a few hours chatting. Many lime margueritas met their doom that day. Hey! It’s one way to replenish our lost-through-sweating salt stores. :D

Mexican a la carte finished off our day in fine fashion. While the cream soups throughout the week had been great, the Mexican Truffle Soup topped them all. It was like a mouth orgasm with every spoonful. Gorgeous flavour. Fajitas x 2 (there’s that flank steak again!) and chocolate volcano cake for dessert. I’d rather have had an extra bowl of soup.


Monday, April 4:
We checked out after a leisurely 7 am breakfast on the patio, and spent the next hour hanging out in the sun. Last minute sunning on my part! Our shuttle picked us up at 9:50 for a 1:30 pm departure from the airport. Pass security, stop at the Duty-Free for a bottle of D’Aristi Xtabentun Dulce (Omigod it’s delicious!!! Anise liquor with honey) and Baluarte Reposado Tequila. (It has a full-mouth feel with a smokey flavour. Paul says it’s sort of like a single-malt scotch. I say it’s tastier.) 
Our flight was delayed an hour, so we had a burger at Johnny Rocket’s, a retro burger joint. Thank goodness we did, because no sooner were we about to step on the plane, than we were all turned back. Why? Well, it seems somebody on the Mexican ground-crew overfilled the gas tank, causing jet fuel to spew out of the overflow vents on the wing! We watched it for a while... Kinda funny... mops and buckets and a large garbage bin, followed by an application of Zorball to the tarmac to sop it up. Between the clean-up and the paperwork, it was another 2 hours. We didn’t mind the wait! Better they check it out thoroughly before sticking us on a flying Death Can.

Some odds and ends:

A Banana Tree

A cool-looking frog hanging out at the buffet light

We had a great holiday. Relaxing as all heck. I’d go again. Tomorrow sounds good.


  1. Gotta say, I last visited Mexico in 1972 when I was 12 and I was unimpressed; but THIS...THIS is AWESOME!!!! I suddenly want to go! Who am I kidding though. I getting excited about an 8 hour drive to new South Wales at Easter :-(. My life is so exciting. Thanks for sharing this. It was good to vicariously holiday through your words and pictures.

  2. lol... You are so very welcome! I'm so glad we took the trip. The airline flight wasn't so bad, as we were able to fly direct from St. John's to Cancun. I wasn't totally impressed with the CanJet airline though. Air Canada and Westjet are a nicer crew to fly with.

    More pix on my Facebook album if you want to enjoy more of Mexico. :D


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