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Vacation Journal
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The Fab Five Family Isla & Ruins Tour Part VII first part of week on IM

By: Mark in KC (View Profile)
Date: 8/2/2008

Day 9 and we are finally waking up on Isla. And best of all no schedule. I did love the first 8 days of the trip. The family and I got to see and do a lot of things that if you don’t plan and hustle a little bit you just will not get it done, especially with a group of five. The hundreds were all but gone and it was time to get into the traveler’s checks. I had never had a problem cashing TC’s on the island before but things had changed. The cambio places on Heldago had stopped taking them and the grocery store not only did not want TC’s but they did not want American hundred dollar bills either. My first trip to the bank on isla and I had no problem cashing my last 6 hundred in TC’s. The line moves slow and you notice a lot of quirky little things like why do some people go and talk to the person at the desk and then go through the line. There is a lot of tag teaming waiting in line. One person is waiting and then gets replaced by another etc. There were also a lot female business people hitting the bank alone that feel very secure depositing, withdrawing or exchanging a bunch of cash. Were all the men sleeping off the festival or do they run the shop and the women the books? Or are these women running businesses alone or maybe they are the managers? I do not know but I found it interesting. It is also a compliment to the Island regarding the security these business people feel.

When I returned to the Condo everyone was up and they were enjoying the pastries etc. that Tina and I had brought back from the store the night before. Aaron especially loves those Buho pinwheels that are coated with granulated sugar. Those Mexicans sure know how to mix their oil and sugar. Everything just tastes sweeter down here. The skies were a little overcast and to me that is the best way to enjoy the beach. I love being able to be outside for long periods of time and not worry about getting burnt or too hot. We had brought some snorkel gear with us and I wanted Jaclyn to get a little more experience before heading out into the ocean to snorkel with Captain Tony later in the week. The area under the bridge to Avalon and the rocks between the bridge and the Caribbean side provide great shore entry snorkeling. Snorkeling does work up an appetite and fortunately for us. Alexis and Giovanni is right on the way home. We enjoyed the great food, friendly service and it was nice to get back to isla prices after a week on the mainland.

Aaron and I set out to rent a golf cart for a few days and drop off some dirty laundry. This was our first time using a laundry service here and we picked a little place east of the cemetery and were very pleased. We dropped it off and in about three hours we were able to pick up our first weeks of dirty clothes. They were wash, dried, folded and wrapped in plastic, all for about five bucks. I think that the next trip here, I am only packing dirty laundry. Of course that may make it hard to find someone to share a suitcase with me. As far as golf cart rental goes, I have always had good luck renting from Ciros del Caribe on Guerro. We rented for three days at $45.00 per day and both Aaron and I even got a free T-shirt that read “ I rented this golf cart at Ciro’s”. They also include a two page printed on both sides in Spanish contract that I have no idea what it says. Fortunately, no one ask you to sign it. I asked if I need a lock for the cart and they assure me that the key they give me only works with my cart. Well even that key did not work my cart as I could not get it started. So now they come out with a box of keys and we are searching through them to find a key that will work. Finally success, we find one that if I wiggle it a little and hold it half way in pressed towards the top of the cylinder it will work. No problem and off we go. We stop by and pick up the girls and head off to do some shelling and search of sea glass. This is by far my wife Tina’s favorite activity. We like to go an area just south of the airport, by a little sea wall park place on the Caribbean side. I have parked the cart way off the road in a secluded area. As the others descend to the shore to look for treasure, I check to make sure the key still works. Of course it does not; I tried everything and no luck. Now it is starting to sprinkle and as fortune would have it I look up and see a not full of riders golf cart heading towards town. I flag them down and ask for a ride. They were on a day trip from Cancun and had secured their 3 hour rental at the place across from the ferry for a hundred dollars. They were hurrying back as to not have to pay extra. I thanked them for the lift and did not spoil their day by informing them that they may have overpaid. I jogged over towards Ciro’s as I knew closing time was near and I had not informed my family as to my quest. At Ciro’s I explained the key stopped working and Carlos gave me another cart. When I tried to tell them where the broken cart was located. Carlos wanted none of it. “Please do not tell me”, he insisted “that is not necessary”. I asked “what do you have GPS on the carts?” Carlos replied very slowly “Mayyybeee”. I left with a different cart thinking… GPS on isla… I do not think so. Then it dawned on me, this must be a game to them. Find the golf cart. I am not sure but why else? I returned to my family just as they were returning to the cart. They did not notice I was gone but did wonder how we now have two carts. They had told me about a baby’s doll head they had found that was freaky. Also a big sea turtle the size of a wash tub was dead and washed up between some boulders. I was wondering how I can get that through customs back to the States. I thought it would make a good coffee table. On second thought I left it as it sat. We did take back a beautiful batch of sea glass.

We got back and made some virgin pina coladas for the kids and not so virgin for the adults. It was still a beautiful evening, even though there was no sunset as it was hidden by the clouds. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Don Cheapos in town. Ceasar was a good waiter and salesman. We were not even planning on eating and he pulled us in off the street for our meal. We had a little rain but overall a fun island day.

Day 10 and we let the teenagers sleep as Jaclyn, Tina and I took the cart to do some more shelling. I swear that Tina never gets tired of looking at the different sizes, shapes, textures and colors of materials (rock, glass, bones, and wire) that the ocean sweeps in. After returning to the condo and spending a peaceful morning there, we opted to head out on an island tour. We hit the shell house and notice that someone is cleaning up the beach across from it. It used to be covered with broken conch shells and rocks. Now the area is picked up, with the rubble in piles. It is now kind of a sandy beach bordered by big rocks exposed underneath. I am not sure if they are using the piles of rubble for construction (either fill or concrete) somewhere or trying to improve the look of the beach. We went on to Punta Sur where we climbed the light house and shop for souvenirs. We make are contribution to the turtle farm and reminisce at Crystal Mar. We notice the old pier that we were dropped off at, late at night several years ago, is slowly detiriateing away. We enjoy tix n chic at Playa Launcheros. An $8.00 order of fish with guacamole and a quesadilla can still feed us all.
We drove through the neighborhood a little bit trying to find ballpark tacos but still could not see it. It is most likely easier to spot in the evening when they are open. I know we had to drive by it several times. We drove back to the condo and dropped off the kids as Tina had her eye on a ring she wanted back in town. This ring has a big turquoise stone mounted in cut out silver sheet made in Taxco. Tina always appreciates the unique and unusual (lucky for me). We found the ring at “Noe’s” tienda de artesanias and bought that with a couple of silver charms and earrings. We returned to the condo an hour or so before sunset but again it was overcast. That is perfect weather and time to build sand castles on the beach. You could see a definite influence from our Ruin tours in our sand castles. We had many structures including a replica of the famous pyramid “Castillo de Kulkukan” at Chic Chen Itza. We had found a coconut on the beach (which I felt sure was someone’s lunch that they brought to work) and mounted it on our pyramid. We then named our settlement Coco Itza. We watched what we could of an overcast sunset and went to Rolandi”s for some delicious coconut ice cream with Kahlua. This was an excellent way to finish off another fun day on Isla de Mujeras.


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