Cancun 2010

We were lucky to find cheap flights out of Richmond this year, but it was  a 6 am flight, so John and Megan opted to stay up all night. We had to be at the airport by 3, so that made sense. I tried to stay up too, but caught some zzzz’s in my recliner. KK got about 4 hours sleep. Of course, when we got to the airport, we saw that the Delta counter didn’t open up until 4;15, so we could have slept after all.

We got to Cancun at 11:45 am (CST), on a beautiful sunny day (of course–it’s Cancun), and headed to our condo at the Coral Mar. After checking in, and having a few drinks at the bar, we headed downtown for our favorite Mexican restaurant, La Parilla. John had the Manud Special: beef, mushrooms and cheese, $132. I had Grilled Tampiquena: pepper steak, guacamole, enchiladas, beans, $175. KK had Pibil Fish Filet: wrapped in banana leaves, orange, achiote paste, and aromatic herbs, $170. Megan had Mayan Chicken: fajitas, chicken breast marinated in OJ, achiote paste, red onions, and pepper, $145.

Orientation Sunday morning, then to the beach at Coco Bongo. Rented an umbrella and table for $200. Had nachos and drinks at the table. Then took the bus to Market 28, and ate ceviche at Cejas.

We were picked up at 8:45 for Boca del Puma. KK’s birthday, and she started off by having a wreck on her bike, but then got rejuvenated and joined John and Megan for zip lining through the treetops from a 72 foot tower. Got back to Coral Mar around 4, and took a nap. Fiesta at the pool at 7:00. Dancing, food, and games. It was actually great fun–John and Megan really enjoyed the games and dancing.

We also got contact information from our driver, Jose Sanchez, for a trip to Chichen Itza. We decided to use him for the trip, as it was a little cheaper than the condo’s agency, and it would be customized for us. We ended up saving $40 US over the $300 we would have spent with the agency. But, we were able to control the time of departure and where we stopped on the way.

Slept in Tuesday morning, read and napped by the water. Headed back to Market 28. Ate Yucutan cuisine at Labna downtown. The lime soup was fabulous, and the marinated steak (Arrachera) was good, but the rest was so-so. They did have an awesome guitarist that wandered around the table and played romantic background music.

One of the funniest events was on a cab trip when one of the cab drivers had a working TV on his dash (the antenna was duct taped to the roof), and showed us a Lucha Libre match), with his favorite wrestler, La Parka (The Death). Hilarious.

We used Jose for the trip to Chichen Itza. We left at 7 am, and got there at 11. Just in time for a downpour. We made it all the way through the entrance and were at the base of El Castillo, when the skies opened up. We didn’t even have time for a quick picture. I was very concerned that we would not get out to see anything for the rest of the day, but about an hour later, the rain was reduced to light sprinkles. The day was saved.

Wednesday was recuperation day. Slept late, then decided to head to the local grocery for a cookout. Kind of surprised that these local stores don’t carry hamburger meat, so we settled for hot dogs. We did get the on-site grill functioning though, but by the time we tallied up the price of the taxi to the store, I think we could have had burgers at the palapa for about the same price.

Slept late again Thursday, and then headed downtown for more Market 28 shopping. Then, we decided to try a new restaurant for dinner–La Placita, in the far south hotel zone. Surprise–it was closed. So, we settled (John really, really wanted Hooters) for a small place called El Sombrero. Had burgers, wings, and calamari (so-so).

We decided to finish off the week by snorkeling on Friday. But first, we just had to have a genuine Mexican breakfast. Barbara, one of the front desk ladies (originally from Wisconsin), recommended La Cafe de la Nader, downtown. We tried it, and it was very good–incredible pastries to start off the meal, followed by omelets, enchiladas, and sopas. It was somewhat guesswork on ordering, since the menu was all Spanish, but the waiter was very helpful.

Snorkeling was in the afternoon, with a guided tour to Puerto Moreles, about 30 miles south of Cancun. KK and I did this once before, when Bill and Deanne were in Playa del Carmen. We met them there for snorkeling. It was interesting to see how that same beach have been built up in the years since. KK, John, and Megan saw many fish, and said it was definitely worth going on. I, on the other hand, relaxed on the patio, and read Vince Flynn’s Act of Treason.

We took our last meal at La Parilla, everybody’s favorite Cancun restaurant. We weren’t so hungry, since we were fed on the snorkeling trip, but the food was as good as ever, and we got a table right next to another great folk dance show. It was a great evening for our last taste of Mexico.

So far, so good, but the trip home was a disaster. Our plane was late leaving Cancun, and we got into Detroit too late to catch our connection. Delta couldn’t fly us out until 5:30 pm Sunday, but they could get us to DC early in the morning, so we opted to try that route. Delta was nice enough to put us up in a hotel, and gave us meal vouchers, so it didn’t cost us anything extra. The plane to DC left at 7:35 am, so (groan), we had to get up at 4:45 to make the shuttle.

It should have been easy to get to Richmond from DC, but our first surprise was finding out that Dollar and Thrift wanted $400 for a rental–they said it was hard to get cars back to DC. I finally tried Hertz, figuring they had a bigger fleet, and shouldn’t have this problem. It worked, and we got a car for $150. However, the car was not on site, and we had to take the Metro to a Hilton near Dupont Circle. We finally got on the road about 1:00 pm. Then, just as I had 395 practically in sight, and was breathing a sigh of relief, we were rudely blocked by a parade on 14th St. Foiled again. We had to head west out of town via I-66, to I-495. We finally got on I-95, and thought our problems were over. Ha. Gridlock on 95, most of the way home. It took 4 hours to go 100 miles.

We were running so late, Megan had to go directly to work in Chester, and she didn’t get to see her mom until after her shift, around 8:30 pm. We couldn’t call because we were stuck in traffic, and my cell phone had died because my charger wouldn’t work in Mexico. After I got home, it worked fine–it must have been something with the difference in AC. My PC though, worked fine in Cancun.

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