DAY 2 – Saturday
First order of business on Saturday was get some local currency. The hotel clerk had told us about a bank nearby so we checked it out and discovered that it was not open at 7:15am on a Saturday. The NERVE! Ok, fine, whatever, let’s go get some breakfast.
Right next door to the Barracuda is a highly recommended breakfast restaurant called Jeannies. We went in and ordered the Mexican equivalent of a scramble as well as a plate of fresh fruit. The coffee and juice hit the spot as well.
We really felt no sense of urgency so we just sat and talked while enjoying the activities of others preparing for their dives or whatnot. A group of locals were cleaning and preparing SNUBA equipment. That looked like it might be fun as well. Putting that on the list for next trip.
When we felt like the bank should probably be open we paid our bill and wandered on up the road. OK, so the bank is also an electronics / furniture / Scooter store among other things. Interesting. The bank required my passport to exchange cash (not even a large amount) so bear that in mind if you make a similar trek.
With pesos in hand, we set out for El Mercado. We really wanted to experience true Mexico island life on this trip and my research indicated that El Mercado was a perfect place for starting that. It is where all of the locals go for fresh produce, meats, spices, fruit, and curios. So it’s where we wanted to go too. We decided to walk to get a close up and slower window into the community. We saw a number of interesting things: many private residents have built small storefronts onto their properties where they park a younger member of the family to operate the Mexican equivalent of a yard sale or garage sale.
We saw a very old ruins of a building that looks like it was burned out decades ago. Whereas most of the structures are cinder brick, this one was locally manufactured stone. …very old looking.
Then we also came across a cute little bungalow that is still screaming at me to inquire for purchase. How cool would that be to be able to rent it out and then schedule annual trips when its empty.
We arrived at El Mercado and wandered in wonder for a while; people watching, comparison shopping, visiting with the merchants, learning little bits of their daily reality. It dawned on us that we would need stout bolsas for carrying our purchases home so we went about checking those out as well. We finally ended up with two beachbag sized waterproof zip top bags in a Winnie-the-Pooh motif. Perfect! I’m quite sure there will be a picture later that has these bags in it. We used them all week long for carrying gear and supplies to the beach and back. They were so useful and are now a permanent addition to our CarribeGear.
So after browsing through every aisle of the Market at least twice, we finally decided to trade our pesos to a lovely little family with the most adorable special needs daughter. The boy was so patient helping me figure out the right words. Food stuff is probably the area where I am the most challenged in the Spanish language. He was so helpful. The Mom was helpful too, offering recipes and explaining the differences between some of the varieties of fruits and vegetables. We ended up trading about $350MX for some awesome food supplies. When we were done, the boy gave us a bonus, a 1+ as I like to call it. After we were all bagged up and paid, he handed me a perfectly ripe half papaya. Yummy delicious. Friends and happy customers. I’m so glad that Brenda thought to run back and take their picture.
*Edit note: As I am posting up the picture I see that the price for those seedless limes is $5/kilo. Five pesos is about 30centsUS. A kilo is 2.2 pounds. Good lord, those limes were even cheaper than I thought. About 12 cents per pound - between one and two pennies each!
We bought one of those bottles of honey too. Unfortunately I forgot it was in a carryon and it got trashed by TSA in Houston. More Lame Government BS
At a few other stalls, we bought a mess of black beans, fresh tortillas, and a few other things and then suddenly I felt like it was time to go. No explanation, just, Let’s Go. I can get that way sometimes. I considered getting a taxi back to the hotel and I probably would have but one never passed us so we ended up lugging those heavy bags all the way back to the hotel. Our arms got very tired and MAN that sun was hot. We were strategically planning our path according to whichever side of the street offered the best shade.
Back at the hotel, we relaxed for a few minutes and enjoyed a couple of Coronas each before heading over to the Mega for the rest of our week’s groceries. Checkout time was 1pm and it was only about 11 so we had plenty of time.
…or so we thought.
Perhaps we shouldn’t have spent so much time just wandering up and down the aisles wondering what this-or-that product was, or how it would be best prepared, or what it or a comparable product would cost back home. In any event, we found ourselves running out of time with a sizable portion of our list remaining. We kicked it into high gear and got it done. I made sure we had the essentials: Five 12-packs of Corona longnecks, A bottle of Rum, a bottle of Cuervo Gold, a bottle of 100 Anos, a HUGE bag of limon (limes in Omaha go for about 50c each. In Coz at Mega they were on special for $10mx/kilo or about 20c per pound. And these were those delicious seedless ones too! Unbelievable.) Chorizo, pappas, huevos, pollo, carne, Sunblock, I’m struggling now to remember much but we had a full cart.
Since it was now just a few minutes before 1pm, I went to the checkout and sent Brenda back across the street to get all of our stuff ready to haul out to the taxi. Everything is tallied in pesos of course, and it can get a little unnerving to watch the running total punch effortlessly through the $1000 mark. But then they get to the end, push a couple of more buttons and announce a total of less than $100US. Mega has the best exchange rate that I found but it’s only for purchase. They do not sell pesos. So I paid with dollars and headed outside to the taxi stand. As we loaded bags into the cab, I confirmed that the fare to the condo was $150 and made sure he didn’t mind stopping at the hotel across the street to load the luggage (and the wife). That stop took only about two minutes and we were on our way.
When we arrived at the condo, one of the gate guards escorted the taxi to our building and I gave the driver $200 (he helped us with the groceries) and we went in to check out our Shangrila. Five thousand square feet of luxury with a full wrap around balcony and private roof top infinity pool. You may be wondering about how I got a condo like this for so little. Be sure to read the Backstory post.
The condo check-in time was not until 3 but the housekeeper was kind enough to let us invade her space long enough to put away all of the groceries and get the perishables into the refrigerator. After that strenuous effort we rewarded ourselves with a brief relax in the hammock chairs on the porch...
then headed on down to check out the beach which would be our home for the next week or so.
The beauty of this crystal-clear water is completely indescribable so I will not even try. Just look at the pics.
There was an assembly of six palapas with built in tables and a large number of loungers that were reserved for the condo owners and guests. We scoped out “our” palapa and used the same one every day.
It’s almost as if everyone knew that was Bruce & Bren’s palapa and they knew better than to mess with it. I would have gladly shared, honest! We hung out at the beach for the rest of the day. We went back and grilled a chicken when we got hungry but I don’t have any pics. They were on my phone which went swimming on day 5. I will save that story for later.
The sunsets were always so spectacular. I checked the weather forecast each morning and the threat of rain was ALWAYS three days away.
Aside from the shower on our day of arrival, we never saw a single drop.