Thursday, March 14, 2013


The Mendoza Family

Saturday, I got up fairly early and went to the beach.  I had hoped to get there before the wind came up, but it got windy early that day.  It wasn’t cold, so I did lie on the beach for a couple of hours, enjoying the sun, and then went back to Rossy’s for a shower.  I packed up my belongings, said goodbye, and trundled my suitcase a block and a half to Avenida Benito Juarez, where I found a taxi immediately.  My taxi driver was a friendly guy and he gave me a local’s perspective on nearby attractions on the way to the hotel.

Lobby of Viva Maya
Our Room
Main Pool at Viva Maya
Sun Shelters
Erika’s plane didn’t get in until 3:40, but I wanted to be sure to get to the hotel before she arrived.  Hoping to miss the temptation of the lunch buffet, I arrived at 2:45.  They met me with a glass of champagne.  The desk clerk gave me a wrist band, told me he would finish checking me in later, and hurried me off to the dining room because lunch was over at 3:00.  I managed to select a healthy lunch of fruit and salad, which was probably a good thing, since my room wasn’t ready and I downed a couple of pinacoladas while waiting in the bar.  I finally got a room around 4:00, although I had to wait a while longer for my very sweet chamber maid to finish making up the room.  I went back to the lobby to wait for Erika and spent a frustrating hour and a half trying unsuccessfully to connect to the internet.  The wi-fi seems to be overwhelmed by the number of guests trying to use it.  While I can connect to the network, I never seem to be able to get any internet on either my computer or phone.  Data roaming doesn’t function, either, so I am incommunicado.  Erika arrived just in time for dinner.  We had dinner, wandered around the complex, drank a couple of fruit drinks and then went to bed early because Erika had had a long day of travelling.
The Main Bar

Sunday we had breakfast and then went to the beach for a little while.  We swam in the ocean and then tried to lie in the sun, but kept getting thrown off our chaise lounges by people who claimed we had taken their places.  Finally, we gave up and went back to the hotel.  It was our intention to go downtown and check out the prices of excursions outside the hotel, so we ate an early lunch at the snack bar and then rode bicycles into town.  We explored a bit and talked to a couple of dive shops about excursions to Cozumel.  Unfortunately, the travel agency owned by Rossy’s friend was closed on Sunday.  We finally booked a snorkel trip in Cozumel for Monday.

The Adult Pool
After riding our bikes back to the hotel, we ate lunch again (fortunately, I was eating mainly fruit) and then lounged about, trying different fruit drinks until it was time for dinner.  We had dinner reservations at Hacienda Don Diego, the Mexican restaurant at the hotel.  We had tacos al pastor for an appetizer and I had a rolled, stuffed skirt steak with flambeed bananas for dessert.  We were served strawberry margaritas with dinner.  Then, just as we were finishing dessert, the manager came over to our table and slammed down a couple of shots glasses.  Next, he produced three bottles of tequila.  His hobby was producing flavored tequila.  We sampled mango, coconut and pineapple tequila.  I liked the mango best, so he then poured me a full shot of that.  Usually I suffer when I drink tequila shots, but these went down very smoothly.  Neither of us was in the mood to do much after all that alcohol, so we skipped the evening show and went to bed early again.

The Cozumel Ferry
The No Problem, Our Dive Boat
Monday, we walked into Playa del Carmen and took the 10:00 ferry to Cozumel where we had booked a snorkeling excursion.  We booked the trip through Scuba Playa and went with a company called Blue Angel.  The dive boat met us at the main ferry dock and then took us to their dive shop where we stopped for a few minutes while the divers got outfitted.  They have a small hotel, dive shop and restaurant.  It was a  pleasant spot.  Downtown Cozumel looks like any other place where cruise ships dock.  There were the usual expensive tourist traps and jewelry stores.  Cozumel is very flat and the coast is mainly rocky.  It is, however, surrounded by reefs and the continental shelf drops off sharply there, making it a famous dive spot.

Erika on the Way to the First Reef
The first place we visited was a reef that was fairly deep down.  We were the only snorkelers and we went with our own guide named Bernie who didn’t speak much English, but was good at finding wildlife to show us.  It was overcast, which made it hard to see a lot, but we did see quite a bit of large sea life including a nurse shark, three eagle rays and several large sea turtles.  The bubbles rising from the divers below us made a fantastic show against the cobalt blue water.  I think that was my favorite part of that first spot.

 The second reef we visited was much shallower and the sun came out at that point, which was a good thing because we were pretty cold after that first swim.  Bernie put a piece of pineapple in his pocket and we were mobbed with tropical fish of many types that followed him everywhere, even when he dove down deep.  We could see much better in the sunshine and I enjoyed swimming with all the fish.  I felt like I was swimming in Finding Nemo.  At times, fish would swim right up to my mask and look me in the face.
Blue Angel Dive Shop Complex

Playa del Carmen at Sunset
After our second snorkeling session, we returned to the dive shop complex and had a nice lunch of delicious grouper fillets.  Then we took the 5:00 ferry back to Playa del Carmen and walked back to the hotel in plenty of time to make it to our 7:30 dinner reservation at the Miramare.  The Miramare is a Mediterranean restaurant on the second floor near the beach.  The whole thing is covered by an extremely lofty palapa.  I had a cold avocado soup, followed by cheese ravioli with sage and chicken breast stuffed with cheese and spinach.  Dessert was strawberries in Grand Marnier over vanilla ice cream.

We went to see the show after dinner.  The theme of the show was a “Mr. Maya” contest.  The four contestants were a 65 year old Italian named Giuseppe, a Canadian in his early 20’s, another very attractive Canadian in his early 40’s and an 18 year old Canadian who often looked mortified, but was a good sport and always managed to make a good effort.  There were various contests, including one where the men worked with a female partner to pop balloons by smashing them between various body parts.  Giuseppe won by a mile.  His wife was a trooper during the balloons smashing contest, especially since they were slipped one filled with whipped cream.

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