TRIP REPORT – PART THREE
February 21 – March 1. 2005
Gail in NYS
Saturday, 2/26/05 – As I have read over Parts One and Two, I realize things are a little out of sequence – days seem to just melt one into the other in the tropics. For those of you who are reading this and participated in these events, sorry if the days and events are jumbled. For the rest of you…who cares, right?!
Boo-Hoo – French Bistro is closed! Find out later they close on Saturday mornings – I am NOT PLEASED!!! I waltz down Hildalgo and settle on breakfast at Bamboo – first time visit. They have French-press coffee!! Nice touch!! Good breakfast – I walk back to Hortensia for something or other (can’t remember what!) and then to beach at Sergio’s. Though it at first looks like rain, it clears up beautifully, I meet up with Kathryn and we spend our last day together on the beach at Sergio’s. The surf looks a bit rough, and we wonder how Paul and Company are doing on their trip to Contoy with Captain Tony. Kathryn is leaving this afternoon to meet her son and daughter-in-law in Cancun for the rest of her stay. We shared some yummy nachos and we bid each other good-bye. We had such a wonderful time together, I am sad she is leaving me.
I return to Bucanero’s around 4:30, shower, change and wander in to an Internet shop to send another e-mail to Mike. This has become a regular routine with me, though some days the sending is not too successful. Though they all seem to have DSL lines now, the speed is very much affected by the weather, I think. Well, it is effected by something, don’t know what….changes day to day and hour to hour! Digame, Chris’ inexpensive phone service on Guerrero Street sends the phone calls out over the Internet, too. So when the Internet shops are having problems, he is having problems, too. When his connections are good they are great – but sometimes they are unintelligible – perhaps the Mayan gods are unhappy with all this foreign invasion of their space! I did use his service several times, though, and I recommend it, as long as you don’t expect it to work 100% of the time!
I wander up to the Zocalo early – too early to see any Saturday night activity…it is my first visit to the Supermercado this trip. I love their bakery in the back, where you get tongs and a pizza tray and choose your goodies – then you bring it to the mad, who bags it and puts the price on it – then you pay in the front. Illogical, but it gives him a job and I like the personal touch! I realize I am TIRED…and I have a book back in the room “A Tourist in the Yucatan”, I haven’t made much progress in this week! I choose some goodies for dinner – I especially love the turnovers that look like apple turnovers – but they have ham and cheese in them – I pick up peanuts with chili and lime, some bottled water and head back to the hotel. Back to the hotel – well, maybe a little nap before 8 PM mass? Oh, no, I fall asleep and wake up at 9 or later….guess I needed it! Decide to call it a night and get an earlier start tomorrow morning.
Sunday, 2/27/05 – French Bistro is open this morning – yogurt, granola and fresh fruit for me. Mass at 10:30 AM is the “children’s Mass” – it is not all children, but the mass is particularly for them. They sit in the front, boys on one side, girls on the other…the teachers hover over them, checking their behavior! Five girls about 12 – 13 years old, assigned to do the rosary, one decade each, on the microphone before mass. I giggle to myself, they remind me of my middle school students – trying to be serious, but giggling nonetheless! The choir is made up of children and teenagers – keyboard and guitar. Voices of angels. The church is hot, even with overhead fans, but it is packed. Standing room only, plus the crowd standing outside on the steps. Something we don’t see at home any more. The love and devotion for their church again reminds me of my grandparents generation and my Italian roots. It is a melancholy feeling, but fills me with happy memories, too. The priest’s sermon is passionate, though I only understand about 1% of what he is saying!
Back to the beach, I meet new people from Minnesota (Lots of Minnesotans this week) and Oklahoma. I leave about 3 to shower and get ready to go to Big Jim’s Sunday gathering of message boarders. Order some botanos, quesidillas, from Bucanero’s to take with me, I leave around 4, with the directions for the taxi drivier written out in Spanish in my hand! (Thanks to Eyder, Hotel Manager at Bucanero’s who also calls me a cab.) Jim’s house is a buzz with many message boarders and I reunite with my compadre, Paula, to hear about their trip to Contoy on Saturday. Well, I am told the ride back was rough – really rough, white-knuckle rough. I will leave it to Paula to describe, but Marc and John tell me they had to where their snorkel masks the whole way back on the boat, it was so rough and surfy! Gee, sure sorry I missed that!
Zina and Karen are there, too, I meet Linda from Frickin Freezin Michigan, and others from the board. Before I know it, time to go…Zina invites me back to her house to see the progress the contractors have made on her guest quarters – she is expecting her first paying guest on Tuesday! (She says it will be finished – I have my doubts!) But it looks great and anyone who stays there will be quite comfortable. Zina and I spend a quite time together, we share our memories of our moms, who we both lost not so long ago. I am sorry this will be my last visit with Zina until the summer, but I was glad we had this extra time to spend together.
I take a taxi home from Zina’s, who lives in La Gloria. It cost 90 cents. A taxi to Big Jim’s costs $5.50. They tell me it has to do with “zones”…Jim’s is further south (not much, though)…doesn’t make sense to me, but it was nice of Zina to save me money!
Wondering if I am going to get home on Tuesday, and if Marc, Page and Laura, will make it back to Boston tomorrow. Big snowstorm predicted for the Northeast. I go to the Internet shop, check NOAA, things looks not too good for traveling for the next few days – Aw Shucks, maybe I’ll have to stay longer??? Can’t get any info on my flights on Tuesday – and Digame phones are down again, it is raining. Walk up to zocalo, looking for the Sunday night activities, but it is too early – and the weather is uncooperative. On and off rain, but I do see the Churro lady. Is dessert permitted before dinner? Why not, I’m on vacation – and they are so-o-o good! I walk over to the sea wall, it’s dark now but I can hear the surf pounding – wouldn’t lights shining on the ocean here be nice? My next-to-last night on Isla…I never made it to the ball park for tacos – next trip – so I choose the next best thing – I was told Taqueria Medina has great tacos, too, so off I go down Hildalgo….and order Taco al Pastor – they have the pork and pineapple on a vertical spit, and serve the tacos with lots of extra condiments. They are fabulous! Stop for a night cap at Bucanero’s and my day is over!
Monday, 2/28/05 - I meet the Massachusetts gang at French Bistro for what was supposed to be a farewell breakfast for Marc, Page and Laura. They are supposed to go home today. Page polishes off her last double helping of French toast; our waiter continues to shake his head in astonishment. (The amount of French toast she consumes at breakfast weights more than she does!) Prior to our meeting Marc had gone to check on their flight – delayed, so they had some extra time.
They head back to the Internet shop to check on the flight again, Paula and I walk over to Posada together – Paula and John have checked out of Big Jim’s and are staying at Posada for four days – but they still need somewhere to stay for their last three nights! We stop at Vistalmar to take a peek – we had heard from the message board it is a nice place – Barracuda Bashers all stay there – we ask to see a room. Very nice, for the price! A/C, TV, two double beds, clean as a whistle – the price? $30 – $35 USD per night. I kid you not! Yeah, Paula books the room for the last three nights of their stay. We walk over to Posada, I see their new room – very nice, very nice. In a short time Marc comes back with flight information . There will be no traveling to Boston today – it snowing!!! Hooray, they get to stay another day (well, 2/3rds happy – Laura wants to go home – boyfriend awaits!) Page and I jump in the pool and paddle around through the raindrops! Afternoon is spent under the palapa at Posada, eating, sipping Pina Coladas and watching Page shrivel up in the pool. I am now wondering if I am going home tomorrow, or do I get to stay another day, too? Head back to Bucanero’s to shower and siesta, we all agree to meet at Fayne’s for our last dinner together.
It’s a really lovely night. Hildalgo Street is bustling. Still having trouble calling home at Digame, the weather seems to be causing problems with all DSL lines on the island. I send mike an e-mail, don’t know if it even went through. Weather report via NOAA is iffy – but it looks like I will be leaving tomorrow, I have a connection in Washington, DC, and it is not snowing there. Dejected, I go meet the group at Fayne’s.
This was my first visit to Fayne’s, but they had all been there before and loved it. I had a wonderful dish, whose name I cannot recall – but it was like seasoned pork and seasoned beef cutlets, very thin, seasoned, and it had a sauce made out of tequila – Called “Borracho “ sauce, or something like that….it really was great! (No I understand why so many people take pictures of their food and post it on the message boards!) A great time was had by all, but I was very sad to spend our last night together. We agree to have one more breakfast at French Bistro and call it a night about 11 PM.
Tuesday, March 1, 2005 Departure Day
After our last breakfast together at French Bistro, I go to the Internet shop to figure out if my flights are on time. I call Mike and he is off work due to snow…looks like flights, however, are on time. By 10:30 snow has stopped in New York, and I am resigned to returning. First I go to my favorite silver shop, up on the zocalo right next to the market. (To the right on the corner as you face the supermarket.) They have beautiful silver; I buy 5 pairs of earrings – 3 for me, two for gifts. They are beautiful, unusual. The owner’s uncle is a silversmith, and the more unusual designs are his. There are many other lovely gifts in his shop, but I have no room in my 70 lb suitcase! And I know I will be back in July.
I walk over to Hortensia to say goodbye and to buy myself the cutest little purple frog box I decide I must have for my desk to remind me of Isla. While there I buy my brother a shirt, “muy grande” she tells me (He’s a big, tall guy!), and we hug and kiss and promise to see each other in the summer. Wander down Hildalgo, buy another baseball hat for Michael.
As I wander I meet a girl named Julie, she is selling time shares for Mayan Palace, but she is not trying to sell to me. She tells me she is a former teacher from Cancun, still tutors on the side, but makes more money doing what she is doing. I have lots of time, so we chat on, soon we find out we have much in common, and have shared our life’s history in the space of 15 minutes! Then it is time for me to get ready, I go upstairs, finish my packing. It is a beautiful day and I wish I could go to the beach. But I am so grateful I was able to steal this week for myself and come to Isla.
Eyder calls me a bicycletta man, and off I go to the ferry. Everything goes so smoothly, I sit on the top to kiss Isla goodbye. No pictures taken, I know I will be back. Taxi from ferry to airport I make sure is only $20 before I get in to the cab…no problem – well, little problem, he had to get the other cabbies to give him a push to get the cab started! I am wondering, should I get out and get another cab? He says “No Problem”, I figure, “No Problem”, and off we go to airport. All goes smoothly, flight on time. Though I came down on U.S. Airways, with disastrous results, I have a code share flight on the way home, United all the way….everything on time. Go through customs and immigration at Dulles, which I was not expecting, but it goes quickly and smoothly…shuttle to other terminal, time for a sandwich. Arrive in NY at 11:15 PM….I am home. Happy to see Michael, but wishing I was still on Isla….4 more months, 4 more months…