I took the bus from el centro Cancun to Playa. This was not the 1st class bus you would ride today. The bus was pretty old and rustic. There was myself, a young Canadian couple and everyone else were locals. There really was a woman with a chicken on the bus.
I arrive in PDC hot and tired from the bumpy road. The so called highway was still just two skinny lanes with topes at every village.
Arriving in Playa del Carmen- Avenida Juarez
This was how 5th Avenue looked in 1993.
I walked to the Albatros Royale on Calle 8. I tried to check in and was told “no reservations”. What the heck? I show him my information from the travel agency. The man walked me over to the Albatros which used to be where the Pelicano is now. (Ironically that is the hotel my daughter and I stayed at in April 2000).The rooms were individual cabañas that were geared for backpackers and were absolutely tiny.
I get unpacked and go to the office to put my valuables in the safe deposit box on the way to the beach. Now I am told I can’t stay there either because “no reservations”. Here we go again! I am about ready to cry. The young man waits for me to pack up and takes me back to the Albatros Royal where I now have reservations. Finally a room. I hesitantly unpacked for the 2nd time that afternoon. All turns out good here. The hotel if still pretty basic but was new, very clean and right on the beach.
I had a very pleasant 8 night stay in PDC. It was low season and most of the travelers were German. I rarely heard English spoken except haltingly by waiters and shop employees. I remember there was a wicked thunder and lightening storm that knocked out the electricity of the entire town for almost a full day. There were no generators running to keep the few restaurants open. I did go out in the pouring rain and found one restaurant open that had lit candles and was cooking on a big grill. The next day I started to buy a bag of ice everyday to keep some snacks and cerveza cold in my bathroom sink incase the power went out again.
One afternoon I was sitting at a table on 5th Avenue when these two very drunk guys asked me if they could join me. I recognized one of them right away. It was Billy Idol and a friend on holiday. We sat and chatted for a couple of hours or I should say Billy did all the talking.
I took the bus to the ruins at Tulum. They sure looked different then they did when I went back there in 1996. I wonder what they look like to day. I mean the facilities not the ruins themselves. There were only a couple of shops set up under awnings and a very iffy bano.
The road I walked down to get to the ruins.
The entrance to the ruins
This view wouldn’t change
Nothing else memorial happened in PDC. I just remember how much I enjoyed the beach and the good food. I was a bit lonely with no English speaking travelers to talk but I sure got a lot of reading done. There were no pay phones, no ATMs and no internet cafes and only one bank on Avenida Juarez coming into town.
The photos aren’t that great because the camera I had at the time decided to quit working. With the short time before I had until my trip I didn’t want to rush out and buy just any camera so I bought a couple of disposables. I also thought that it would be better not to take a brand new camera since I was traveling alone and would be leaving my stuff unattended on the beach when I went in to the water. As it turns out it would not have been a problem.
Next installment: My first visit to Isla Mujeres