I like the way Mexicans ride bicycles. When I encounter bicyclists at home, they are usually dressed in spandex and furiously peddling fast bicycles. The situation is much more relaxed here. No one ever seems to be in a hurry. I, who have hardly ridden a bicycle in a year, pass most of them without even trying. This has caused me to take note of my tendency to hurry everywhere. I am trying to slow down and move at their pace.
|Beach Looking East|
After breakfast, I rode my bicycle down to the beach. It was quiet down there at 9:00 in the morning. I took some pictures and bought a bottle of water. Next week, I will hit the beach in the morning while it is warm and then explore in the afternoons. Even Avenida 5, which is packed with tourists in the afternoons, was relatively empty.
|Avenida 5 Facing West|
|Deserted Beach Bar|
|The Cozumel Ferry Pier|
After class, I went to the beach with the other two students. I wanted someone to watch my bag while I went in the water but, unfortunately, I forgot to change into my swimsuit before leaving the school, so I still didn't get to swim. It was very windy and the fine, white sand was blowing everywhere. I tried to read for an hour or so before we finally gave up. It was rumored that the water was warmer than the air. I may never get the sand out of my Spanish dictionary.
The others met a friend and went off to do whatever twenty somethings do and I explored the area near the Cozumel ferry. There is a huge sculptured gateway with a Mayan design at the entrance to the plaza there. It looks like there are performances there sometimes. There was a group of men in native costumes lounging about, but they weren't doing anything interesting when I passed by.
I decided to take my bike and go off in search of the hotel where I will be staying next week. The hotel zone is a nice place to bicycle. It is shady and through traffic is limited. I could barely feel the wind that had driven us off the beach. I found the resort at the far side of the zone. I tried to slip in and take a picture, but the security was very tight and they wouldn't let me in. Pedestrians were passing unmolested, but I guess my Mexican bicycle gave me away. There are two Viva Wyndham resorts here in Playa del Carmen, the Viva Maya and the Viva Azteca. They are next door to each other. My teacher seems to be very familiar with them. She tells me that guests are free to use the facilities at both resorts. My friend, Erika, and I will be staying at the Viva Maya. Maria Elisa told be that a whole section of the Viva Azteca is given over to Italians, so maybe I can thoroughly confuse myself by trying to practice my Italian. There is a Starbuck's across the street, so I stopped there after my failed reconnaissance mission and had a frappuccino before leisurely riding back to the house.
Between my morning run to the north edge of town and my afternoon explorations, I have now seen most of Playa del Carmen. Unfortunately, I have seen (and heard) a lot of really obnoxious Americans. I often wonder why people who want to have everything just like they have it at home bother to travel? I feel sorry for people who can still be miserable when they find themselves in paradise. I do not, however, particularly want to be around them. One of the nicest things about staying with local people when I travel is not living with a bunch of other tourists. It's also a lot cheaper. I am paying less for a week here than I would have to pay for a night at a resort if I didn't have a timeshare. Food and drink is also about a third as expensive in this neighborhood as it is on Avenida 5. I am pleased.