Friday, November 11, 2011

Down in Mexico

We didn't do any beach lounging -- Margie T and I both being Very White People -- but we did sit in one of the beach 'beds' with the shades pulled around the sides and our towels thrown on the top mesh to block the suns evil rays while we read our books and we strolled the waterfront a couple of times.  Unfortunately not enough time was spent truly watching other people.  Not as much as I'd have liked any way.  I think that's pretty much my favourite vacation activity.

But so you won't think of me as a total slug, we also did a guided day tour of some Mayan ruins in a buried village called Coba.   I'll do a separate post about that excursion.  It's worth it's own title. 

Some things I've learned this week about Mexico (or maybe I just think these things and they aren't actual facts):

-Since they are so close to the equator, the sun rises and sets about the same time year round -- a more-or-less constant 12 hours of sunlight per day.  (I could stand for about 16 hours of sunlight a day.)  They don't do "daylight savings" here.  And by 6 p.m. it's dark outside.

-All yellow lines, solid or dashed, look exactly the same to Mexican drivers. If they want to pass you? Oh, they will pass you. Steep curve, steep hill, or steep curve on a steep hill makes no difference. Fortunately, they are very good at it. I, however, am not the best passenger.  The Mexican version of windshield death or grill carcasses is much more intimidating and scary than our pesky little Canadian mosquitoes...take a looksie!

-There are a lot of dogs in Mexico, mostly ones that look like they were crossed with dingos.  They just wander, all over the place (so do the children for that matter).  I saw two cats.  A black one I petted who loved me and then immediately tried to bite me.  And an orange one that hung around our favourite restaurant.  I fed him so much steak tonight he actually walked away from me.  The restaurant staff gave him the moniker "Garfield".  He might now have a severe case of gout. 

-Most male animals in Mexico are not neutered. I have not seen that many testicles in... ever. C'mon! How can you not look?  I even started out the trip with a set of balls on the highway in Canada.  Must have been some foreshadowing. 

-The water quality is not great. It is not properly purified so it's not recommended for gringos (like me, only I'm not American) with delicate systems to drink, but it is OK to brush teeth with, cook with, wash produce with, etc. I hear it bothers some people but not others.  I wasn't taking a chance, especially after taking my first shower and smelling feces.  I think I showered in e-coli.  Thankfully I don't sing in the shower or my intestines might have revolted. 

-The police in Mexico are very corrupt.  We were warned immediately on our bus ride from the airport to the hotel.  Don't rent a car in Mexico, you become a target for money extortion.  They also always drive around with their lights on.  All the time.  We asked why and were told by many that it was a new rule created by the 'President' of Playa del Carmen ( I think they mean Mayor) to show the tourists all the police presence.  That it is safe in Playa.  I then asked, "How do you know if you're being pulled over when their lights are always on?" and was answered with "That's a great question!  I don't know!"  "Maybe all this time I've kept driving and they wanted to pull me over!"  Uh, Yikes!

-No alcohol is sold after 2 p.m. on Sundays (Bars and restaurants excluded).  Uh, what?  After 2 p.m.?  Yes, clearly it perfectly acceptable to be intoxicated before church but never after church. 

-A dirty monkey is a mono sousous.  I'm not sure I'm spelling that right.  But I sure like to say it and consume it.  (It's a frozen drink by the way)

-Mexicans enjoy both a 24 hour South Park channel on TV and a 24 hour Sponge Bob Squarepants channel. 

-There is no seaweed on these magnificant beaches.  Turns out they basically sweep it up at night when we are all snug in our alcohol induced slumbers.  I love that little bit of extra effort. 

-Instead of squirrels running amok they have iguanas.  So amazing. 

-Forget origami, these Mexicans have mad folding skills when it comes to towels.  And if you tip them well enough they leave animal towel surprises for us to find in the hotel room when we return.  It's the little things that make our day. 

-On our first venture into town, we came back with 5 propostions for Mexican boyfriends, 4 requests to be tattoo'd, one request for drinks, 6 offers of weed and one offer of something better?  Cocaine.  They allow no excuse for a dull time here!!  Today it was just a blunt (no pun intended) "Wanna get high?".  I like that straightforward approach though this is the only man I wanted to take home. 

-The food here is unbelievable.  I'll do an entirely separate post about the food alone. I took so many pictures.  I really wish you could taste pictures.  The fresh squeezed orange juice from green oranges (irony not lost on me) was like eating an actual orange.  And for the first time in my life, we did ROOM SERVICE!!!  Usually that's so far out of my budget. 

-Their 'paper' money is made of plastic.  And I think I might finally have the conversion of pesos to dollars down.  Might.  Provided it's in bill format and not coins.  Coins are still winning the battle.   Their plastic money also has a little clear window in it.  Money with windows.  So much cooler than ours.  The Canadian government should take notes on how to make cooler, well...notes for that matter.  Hooya! 

-When we went for dinner the other night I had to give my last name and when I said it, the hostess in broken english said "Rousseau?  Like Karate Kid?"  Oh sweet Marcelo you have won my heart.  It was then I had to give a lesson in French vs. Italian.  But clearly Danny Russo lives on, in Mexico at least.  Or maybe it's Ralph Macchio that actually lives on now that I think about it more carefully.

-People come here just to get married.  Do they have to come back here together for one last hoorah if they decide to get divorced too?  We saw a bride on the beach, a bride at the buffet (I think someone has low standards though I didn't get a look at the groom), a bride in an alley way getting her picture taken in town, a bride in a church and some really annoying, slutty, drunk brides to be. 

-Shopping is kitchy.  There is a road north of the hotel that is lined with storefronts and set ups almost similar to a festival or outdoor flea market.  We were told not to pay the original price ever.  Immediately counter the offer at half of what they ask for and then negotiate from there.  The prices here are redonkulous!  It's almost as if they believe we fell off the turnip cart or something.  Most of it is trinkets and trash.  I couldn't bring myself to buy much of anything.  I got the boys each one thing and Eric a couple of things.  The only thing I really wanted was something to do with the Day of the Dead festivities, but they were so expensive.  Typical of me.  I ended up with a couple Day of the Dead fridge magnets.  Such a tourist.  They also have a strange obsession with a male appendage.  They are everywhere.  I took a quick photo inside a shop.  It's below.  One of those things are not like the other.  Can you find what's out of place? 

I can't believe how quickly this week flew by.  I miss my three boys but I'm also really going to miss this 'lifestyle' as well even though I know it wouldn't be like this if I actually lived here.  That being said, I have no doubt that I will be back to this resort and town again.  Gran Porto Real is truly the place to be if you are heading to this neck of the woods/world.   I'm thinking same time of year in 2012.  Though that's when the Mayan calendar starts again so maybe it will be busy or something...but I'll have Eric and the boys in tow.  Maybe a separate trip with mine and Margie's moms too!  Like I'm actually going to need an excuse to come here.  P-lease!  Or rather Por Favor!   

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