Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico May 31, 2021
The breeze was warm and balmy and at only 60% capacity we always got the best tables.
Tonight we overlooked the lagoon with the ocean in the horizon. This was our second time dining at El Pescador, the resorts seafood restaurant, and by far our favorite.
The bread arrived immediately and while I procured the menu I slathered those carbs with garlic butter. Then without much thought jammed that delicious bread down my throat.
I had my heart set on Salmon tonight … but what is this? I can have surf and turf!? Salmon and steak! Yep! I typically wouldn’t order something so expensive, but it’s already paid for with this all inclusive thing. Right? So I’m going for it! Bring it on!
The waiter asks “Would like an appetizer?” Well hell yah! What have you got? He begins to talk about the Baby Squid and I say that sounds good while Allan’s not so sure. Well what else you got I asked? We can fix you up with some fish cocktail he says. I say yes that sounds great!
After the waiter left Allan said “Wow did you just order a lot of food?”. Umm did I? Not sure? Then I leaned forward and gave him my little “sad face” and said I was hungry. Actually I lied… I wasn’t.
Hoping against all odds that my over zealousness didn’t equate into some type of glutinous sin, the waiter arrived with my “first” appetizer.
While this little lady admired the presentation of ALL her food, I also felt a little melancholy. Without the assistance of some Mayan cocktail I thought about how I hated wasting food and dwelled on the many food insufficient people around the world. I felt very lucky and sad at the same time.
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico June 1, 2021
Within Xcaret park there is an outdoor museum for bromeliads (jungle plants for you fellow hillbillies) and orchids. After consulting the map a few times we gave in and asked for directions.
The bromeliads are near the river entrance yet off the beaten path, the trail wanders through the jungle and is thankfully well signed. After a couple minutes the ambient sounds of the park are muted and there were times I was pleased to find the next sign reaffirming our direction. We came upon a small green house with orchids and bromeliads and it was nice yet underwhelming.
After some more walking a mad scientist lab appeared showing the propagation of the plants in hundreds of glass bottles. There was no one around as we peered into the lab waiting for Igor to return from procuring Abbey Normal and tap us on the shoulder. It was eerie, were we trespassing?
After some more twists in the path there was THE bromeliad green house, it was huge Marla was in her drum shop heaven, and in her own world.
After taking time to stop and smell the bromeliads we moved on following the signs that lead us out into the main park.
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico June 2, 2021
With mandatory testing many of the resorts in Mexico offer free COVID-19 testing…. except at our hotel. So for $20 you can go to Occidental Xcaret’s on site clinic or pay $30 and they’ll come to your room. We choose the cheaper route.
We were a bit anxious about our test today. Not because we weren’t looking forward to having a long q tip swab jammed down our noses. Nope. It was because we weren’t instilled with confidence when we scheduled our appointments through guest services. Not to sound like a “Karen” but really they should’ve had this down by now. Maybe something was lost in translation??
The conversation went something like this: Is this where we schedule our COVID-19 testing? Yes they replied…. long pause… “But that other person over there can help you. Please wait, he’s with another guest at the moment.” Ok, no problem we said.
I surmised, as I was eavesdropping, that the other guest was having issues retrieving his test results. Oh I thought… hmmm that’s not good. Poor unlucky fellow! I wonder when he’s checking out?
Next, this fellow leaves and a beautiful young couple walk up. The guest service guy says “Can we help you beautiful young couple and please sit down”…. or at least that’s what I heard. I said What???? No! We’re next! I felt like a troll.
So we now sit down and start to schedule our COVID test… I think?? I’m wondering why this guest service guy isn’t pulling out some type calendar to figure out the 72 hour window of testing thing? Right? He asks us what day we are leaving? Good. We reply Wednesday the 2nd. Then he asks us two more times. Ok probably language. That’s ok. Room number? Name? Ok good. So we are scheduled? Yes he replied.
He didn’t volunteer information on where the clinic was or the cost or that they can do it in your room for an additional fee. Although I already knew most of this information we would’ve felt more comfortable if we didn’t have to ask. He did tell us to bring money and our passports. That was helpful.
Ok so our appointment day arrives. We go to the clinic, scan a bar code, fill out the information and stand in line in a hall that is very warm and humid. A large family before us go in and the door closes. We wait and we wait… Should we knock on the door? As we wait and wait….we start to get all sweaty. Allan now looks like he has COVID but I choose not to tell him that.
Finally the nurse steps out with a clipboard that has all the appointments… and no we are not on it. Our room number is on it with someone else’s name that has been checked off. Ugh!! I quickly glanced over the entire list, huge HIPA violation in the states btw, as I was still in disbelief. The nurse said not to worry. We will take care of you. I’m thinking perhaps this happens all the time??
Once in the clinic the medical team was great and very efficient. We were very appreciative of that. They told us our results would be available within the hour and sent to our email. I asked if us boomers could get a paper copy too? Absolutely after 4:00pm… at guest services. Hmmmm….
Well we did receive our negative results within an hour. Great! Then after 4:00pm we shuffled over to guest services again and yep, you guessed it, they didn’t have a copy and couldn’t find the record. Here’s what you do they said… email us your results and we’ll print them out here. Ok this probably does happen all the time….. it’s Mexico.
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico June 3, 2021
Today we slept in, all the way until 7:00AM which was 5:00 AM California time. Breakfast at the Steak House was nice and quiet getting us fueled up for hitting the river at Xcaret park. The walk wasn’t bad today the start of my blister had faded enough to walk normally, yippee, but I did start to lose a toe nail on the other foot. Bad feet suck and Marla had the foot issue today from walking in her wet river shoes. As I write this at lunch we have walked 4 miles according to Big Brother Apple.
We picked a different river today to float and had the whole routine down like pros. The float trip takes about 45 min and snaked us around and under the park. We took advantage of the many photo ops from the cameras triggered by scanning our wrist bands.
The end of the river put us next to a beautiful beach where we dried out before slogging back to the hotel.
Lot’s of walking here, like a nerd I measured 200 paces or 200 yards from the lobby to our room. From the lobby to ticket booth is 400-500 years, from the ticket booth to the heart of the park is probably another 400 yards. I wore my best running shoes and changed into river shoes once at the park or pool. I also slipped in an additional insole for comfort into the river shoes. You will get your steps in.
Marla tried to to get some bandaids for her feet and they were suppose to deliver them to the room, but it had to be from a security person for liability reasons. Liability in Mexico? It’s counter intuitive. A Mexican liability lawyer? What’s that?
There are so many things here that the lawyers in our culture would never let happen in the states. Just walking around the resort there are uneven stairs, stairs made of rock in a do-it-yourself fashion, wild animals and all kinds of fun stuff that us Americanos would never see state side. If you trip in Mexico it’s your own fault not the stairs, don’t do it again, watch where you are walking ya idiot and don’t be a cry baby. We saw just one security person in the river, one, you are on your own and don’t be a cry baby.
Lunch for the third day in a row was at the Pool Buffet and had the same thing a vegetarian patty with onions, tomatoes and chips with guacamole and pico de Gallo. Our Diet Pepsi habit has increased and we promise to go straight after returning home, but it’s Mexico don’t be a cry baby.
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico June 4, 2021
You will typically regret the things you didn’t do more than the stupid things you did do. With this in mind we made another trip to Xcaret Park with the goal of doing the third and last underground river.
We got there early, as the Browns do, jumped in using our floating on our backs with our modified half-assed breast stroke technique and off we went. This river was more open meandering through mangroves and natural canyons, it was also the shortest river however still had several underground stretches of a few hundred yards.
And. And. Holy hell, it had blood sucking vampire horror movie bats. We didn’t have a clue, I’m sure it was in the waiver we signed every day upon entry, the one in Spanish and let’s be honest if it was written in English we wouldn’t have read it.
So as we were waiting for a fellow floater (a floater is also known as a dead body that has drifted ashore) to enter the cave and she pointed up at the top of the cavern about 20 feet over us and in perfect English said “bats”.
Wha-wha-what? I didn’t see any- holy crap those leafs on the ceiling were bats. Hundreds of, according to Hollywood and Brad Pitt, blood sucking bats hanging upside down. Cool! And here and there a “ leaf” would fall from the ceiling and fly around like a bat.
We floated underneath more in awe than uneasy and a minute later we floated out of danger and down the cave we went.
Can you imagine this in the litigious USA?
Toward the end as the river drifted through the mangroves, we took some more photos by scanning our wrist bands for the Xcaret cameras to memorialize the Brown floaters.