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Vacation Journal
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Day Six - Catz Trippin Again 2005

By: catz (View Profile)
Date: 1/24/2006

Catz Trippin’ Again 2005
June 10-21

Wednesday June 15, 2005

99% verses the 1%
The Good, the Bad and the Comical Moments

Unconscious for five hours.

An uncharacteristically long - giant yawn brings me to the state of the living around 8AM. Nestled with my head on my pillow I stretch like the Catz that I am. Bones popping, muscles stretching, legs and arms extended. I am refreshed. Never slept so soundly in my life. I know the two I have to thank for the gift of a good night’s sleep. God and Isla…in that order.

Bob is already up and made his ritual run up the stairs to check on the boys. It’s Garrafon Day for them. Again. They want to forgo breakfast. Dressed and ready to take a cab, the bus or walk to their ultimate vacation spot. Anxious to get waterlogged.

I decide I do not want to get out of bed just yet. It’s too early for a cab ride for me especially since I’ve done my time at Garrafon last year. Besides, I just want to linger a while. Bob’s taking them by cab to Garrafon. I get my good morning hugs from Aelias and Mason, hand them cash and the rules (which they know by heart and recite along with me).

Alone with my pillow and AC. I find myself drifting into a fifteen-minute baby nap. Yes.

With my body, mind and spirit ready for action – I hit the showers, roll into an outfit and await Bob’s return. I turn the TV on and get caught up in a Spanish soap opera.
Male teacher
Student’s Mom
Teacher likes Mom.
Teacher invited to dinner.
Teacher kisses Mom.
A few dates.
Unexpected breakup.
Teacher has a son from previous relationship.
His child is handicapped.
Camera pans to Mom looking to comfort Teacher and his son.

One hour just to get to this spot in the show. Oh well, learned a few Spanish words.
Bob returns and shows me the photos he took around Garrafon and the lighthouse. Bob loves this end of the island. Give Bob time to cool his body temperature. Too late for coffee. More of a brunch/lunch is in order. We decide to head to Manolo’s. Ken and Kandy, Lisa and Chris say it is a very nice place to dine.

We found Manolo’s no problem. Giant sign over the establishment. Looks deserted or we’re just way too early. We enter a tastefully decorated place. Hand painted murals on the walls, soft music coming from the speakers on the wall. The wait staff was prepping the outdoor dining area. Too hot to eat outside. Besides, hear the ‘skeeters are a nuisance. Settled for an excellent bit of lunch. Couldn’t wait to dive into some grilled fish. Extensive and expensive menu ranging from $7-$16 PER ITEM. New prices written on white paper and taped over previous prices adorned the menu. Hmmm, must be worth it if they are raising prices. Oh well, we haven’t had an expensive meal yet. We deserve it – it’s vacation. So I ordered the $9.90 Garlic Fish; Bob selects the $11.00 Pollo Pibil. Cristal Water all around at $1.50 per bottle. Our waitress still had on her school uniform of white and red plaid. Out of one pot into another. The children on this island really do help with the family business. These parents are teaching them work ethics early in life. Too bad it doesn’t work so that way in my neck of the woods.

While we are waiting, I go to their bano. Dark - very dark and humid in this little room. I find the light switch and PA-YOW! Bare fluorescent bulb shocks my pupils. Then I get the giggles – almost pee myself I am laughing so hard at the bathroom surroundings. Pink toilet. No seat-cover. Toilet had to be made for people under four feet tall and six inches wide. Folded paper towels for toilet tissue. Blue trash bin that looks like it used to be a milk crate. The rest of the folded paper towels are sitting by the sink to dry your hands. The used to be chrome water faucet has seen better years, the sink is worn with water stains and chipped edges. Rusty can of air freshener under the sink. All view-age aside - when you gotta go, you gotta go. So I went. And delighted to get back to the ceiling fans over our table. Bob said he was a bit concerned I took so long in there. Sorry Dude – just got a case of the giggles in there. He investigates and comes back a few moments later with a comical grin on his face.

Bob takes a few photos of me while we wait.
We talk of what to do after our meal, which was pretty much nothing – just following our feet as they plop along the cobblestone streets. Not long after our meals arrive. And so did some vacationers from Italy by their accents. They light cigar and cigarette light up immediately after they order two beers. The smoke doesn’t bother me, oh but Bob…

Bob’s Pollo Pibil was a vibrant orange-red. Looked pretty decent. A smattering of grilled veggies and a baked potato the size of a child fist. No butter. Whuzupwithat? A scoop of colorful rice. He was disappointed with the side items but liked his main dish.

Note – Bob fell in love with this dish that our housekeeper Lily prepared for our first night in Tankah (outside of Tulum) at our villa Casa Carabena in 2003. I tried to stuff Lily into my suitcase. She was divine in all aspects but too big to fit properly in my luggage.

What arrived in front of me wasn’t what I was expecting.
I think that was fish. Not a neat filet – kinda like it fell off their spatula or something. It flaked like fish. Smelled of burnt garlic to be honest. It was covered in a crust of some sort. Same grilled veggies, rice and minute potato. I took a bite of my garlic-grilled fish and gagged. Did it go down the wrong pipe? Maybe. SO I try another bite – Gagged again. The fish was covered in a thick layer of garlic salt and a few chunks of burnt garlic slivers. The worst thing I’ve had in a mighty long time. No way I was eating that thing. And they want me to pay how much? I nibbled on the raw grilled veggies, ate my potato – and ate most of the breadbasket. Highly disappointed. I didn’t complain much, just didn’t eat it. Our smiling waitress asked if everything was all right. I lied and said I wasn’t as hungry as I thought and declined a doggy bag.
$25.00 for this meal – I let Bob handle the tip. Maybe next trip and that’s a big maybe, I’ll try Manolos again. This was the 1% BAD. The only BAD of the day. Thank goodness!

Tummy still howling at me, we walk towards the Caribbean side. Lightbulb! I want Pollo from the chicken house down the way from DigaMe. We had passed by this spot on numerous occasions and the aroma tempted me every time. Now I was going to satisfy my craving.

Can you say THREE DOLLARS? All this food for $3.00
I am so excited, can hardly wait to dig in. It’s a bit hot in the chicken house so I get it to go. We head to our spot – The Blue Wall by the Sea.
Bag of beans
Bag of Spaghetti (pretty tasty stuff)
Four pickled peppers – sweet and tangy
¼ chicken – yeah baby – legs, thighs- my favorite pieces – roasted and tender!!
16 tortillas – to sop up all the delicious goodness!

Once I laid out my three-dollar feast, this dog comes ambling by. I tossed him a piece of tortilla. He didn’t want it. I then took another piece of tortilla and dipped it in the chicken juices. He gobbled it up and remained with me throughout the meal. I dubbed him One Fourth.


And so we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon in the shade….






Must have taken me an hour to eat. I feel so much better. So does One Fourth. Bones, tortillas dipped in the juice of the chicken and the beans – he even liked the spaghetti. Go figure. I’m feeding the blackbirds tortillas as well. (Like I can eat sixteen tortillas!!!!!) Took eighteen shots of the birds. When I played them back (while chimping the photos) it looked like they were dancing. Cute at the time. Here’s one eating his ninth piece of tortilla – minus the juices.

Darn it! I’m too full! Why am I complaining? There goes the Ice Cream Man, that’s why!! Maybe I’ll catch him later!

Up for a stretch and a belch. Walked over to the wall and took a shot of the waves. Windy today but in the shelter of the blue wall, you don’t notice.

Bob and the waves.



And random shots around us-

The couple smooching at the empty soon to be remodeled hotel next door:
We had beaten this couple to this spot. They’re lover’s cuz they keep looking to see who is watching them. She was getting up when I snapped this photo. They were both lying side by side a few moments ago. Love IS in the air!!

Empty building or where the young adults hang out at night? Directly across from Half Moon Bay Beach and the broken steps that once led to the beach from the malacon walkway.
We spotted a party going on here the other night. Lots of dancing and beers flowing like the sea….looked like a good time!

I love these chairs. They are at the hotel where we are leaning against the wall.

Looking south from our favorite spot. The red flag stayed red the entire week. Didn’t see many locals swimming on this side of the island.
There were a few tourists brave enough to get in the ocean.
This is the same spot where I took this shot last year.


The upper part of our Blue Wall by the Sea.

The heat is getting intense now so I dive back into the shade. Here comes some photo ops (ops=opportunity to the great unwashed!)!





Now into my “What in the world could that be” phase:


[img][/img] What remains of a light pole along the Malacon Wall.

[img][/img] The stairs next to where we were sitting

[img][/img] What was at the bottom of the stairs next to where we were sitting.

[img][/img] A fallen coconut baking in the late afternoon sun.


[img][/img] The bark of a palm tree.

[img][/img] The backside of a building.

Not knowing what time it is other than we are mighty thirsty – we leave our breezy spot and head towards a refreshing agua fresca. Here are a few inhabitants of the Zocalo gazebo


We ask our Fresca Guy what the time was – close to Five he says. Okay – we’d better be on the lookout for the boys. They are to head back in a cab (by themselves) from Garrafon. Maybe we can spot them in the cab or the bus. But first, my Grande Sandia por favor. Bob gets Limon.

GAWLEE it is steaming out here – I’m ready to go back to my Blue Wall by the Sea. We opt to take a spot under the nearest and biggest shady spot on Medina. Right across from Gomars and a block from the main bus stop.
Bob’s looking mighty parched!!

Didn’t have to tell him to drink it instead of using it as an ice bag!


This guy is using dried palm leaves as an umbrella.

[img][/img] Bikes

[img][/img] Zipping right along! She should be wearing a helmet, such is the island law these days.

[img][/img] Biker Family

[img][/img] This little darling was playing on the phone across the street from us. Little did we know that she was waiting for her mom to get off the bus from work. It was a happy reunion but I missed the shot – bus rolled by!
[img][/img] Hey! I know that bus. It’s the one I took yesterday – same driver and all!!

[img][/img] That sure looks like the golf cart we had last year!!

[img][/img] Hope she has a good grip on the little boy.

[img][/img] I almost missed this shot. I couldn’t believe this woman has her baby STANDING while the bike is in motion. Good Lord!

[img][/img] The Dolphin Discovery employees are heading home. There’s the trainer. Wonder what he does.

I don’t know how long we stayed out here. We watched people go by and they watched us watching them. Captain Tony Sighting! He stopped his golf cart long enough to say hello and see if we wanted a ride somewhere. No thanks man – we’re watching for our boys. Ok. See you later – and he was off – too fast for me to get his photo. I’ll catch him later.

No sign of the boys and the sun is hanging low like a testicle in the sky. We’ll wait for them at Posada. Besides, I’m tired of my clothes sticking to me .
Snapshot of “Boat and Chair” on the way…

The cooling shade of Posada near our room.

There’s the boy’s room upstairs on the far left. Wonder if they are there? Not here, which is around the corner from our room. Looks cool and inviting but the dreaded sand fleas are in wait for my ankles. Not today guys, not today. [img][/img]

Bob checks as I take a quick cold shower.

The boys have been back for a while. They’ve been chillin’ in their room. After my shower, they come down and tell us of their adventures.

[img][/img] sorry it’s outta focus – a wet body and frigid AC will do that to a person!

Mason informs us “some guys says we are famous. He saw our photos on your message whatever.” It was Eric in S.C. Think you may have scared them – they didn’t know they were famous – how could they not be, hanging out with me!! It was an excellent compliment for them and their chests were sticking out the rest of the vacation.

Well, all decide to veg awhile at Posada. Besides, it’s Happy Hour! There’s some guy trying to decide what tropical but not to ‘dainty a fruit drink’ to have. I hated to order before him since he was there for quite some time but hey – Excuse me, Romy?
[img][/img] We’d like: Virgin Pina Coladas for our boys (they still like Sergios’ Pina’s the best), Bob would like Lemonade Sangrias
and I will have Tequila Sunrises. Someone should check Romy (the bartender) wrists; they seem to be stuck in the “pour position”. Strong Drinks!! $14.oo and we are mildly plastered – Bob and I anyway. The boys gulp their virgin drinks down and spend time in the pool. Bob and I, hmmm, the brain is fuzzy, what did we do? Oh yeah – we sat at the bar for a spell, chatted with some strange strangers – shielded our ears from the blaring jukebox [img][/img]
and found the Prime Seats near the bar unoccupied. The guy who didn’t want a feminine drink FINALLY ordered Margaritas on the Rocks and sat not to far from us. Donna and her crew were nearby with a new set of friends. We chatted awhile with them. Watched a father trying to teach his toddler daughter how to hold her breath underwater. She would barely put her face in the water and come up sputtering like she was a fathom down. Tickled me. I knew that’s what I looked like trying to snorkel. Time crept by – we noticed the Posada guests came out in droves at Happy Hour. It wasn’t long before the noise level rose to a steady stream of giggles, guffaws and the Splish-Splash of those in the pool. Bob and I had enough of this. I didn’t come all this way to get semi-comatose by a swimming pool when the ocean is yards away.

The sun is starting to set. We won’t make the show on North Beach but do want to walk along our beloved shore. We inform the boys that we are going for a stroll and some snacks to absorb the alcohol in our systems. They decide to have their dinner later at Pinguino’s. Check ya later fellas. Mini-Super stop for water, smokes and peanuts. We pass by Color de Verano on the way back and seriously check out their menu. Wonderful desserts that I must try. We’ve always wanted to dine here. Rumor has it their salads and quiche are excellent and the homemade coconut ice cream is worth the stop. A family of five is also checking out the menu. The mom wants to try the ice cream, her two boys want anything chocolate, their daughter wants just an ice cream cone. The dad promises them all a treat. They just ate and needed to walk a bit to digest their meal from fifteen minutes ago. I know how they felt. So many places to try – too tiny a stomach. A lovely lady with long dark hair and glasses was standing on the landing of Verano, watching us all trying to make decisions of whether to eat now or later. I smile to her and tell her we will be back in an hour or so. I located a dessert I must try. She smiles and says, “We’re open til eleven.”

Bob and I cruise to the beach across from Posada. We walk towards Sergios, but there’s a soccer game going on that is getting lively. Plenty of locals playing against tourists. The language barrier makes for a hilarious game of “You’re Outta Bounds and “In Yo Face”. We continue strolling with our feet in the water, catching the final rays of the sunset upon the water. Five more sunsets to catch I am thinking. It amazes me that before we arrived, we swore up and down that we would spend 99% of our time on the beach. It ends up that 1% is all we do this trip. Notice I said this trip!

Too dark to walk properly to North Beach since the shoreline has shrunk since our last visit. May as well stay in front of Posada’s beachfront. I spread two of my sarongs (always keep a few in my bag) on the beach and cop a squat (sit) while Bob continues his search for creatures in the sea. He says he feels something touching his ankles.
[img][/img] OK. Good for you.

I prefer to see what is in the water in the daylight, thank you very much. Shadows and reflected light from streetlights and traffic create odd formations in the ocean’s current and the deserted beach. My imagination went wild seeing patterns of faces, fish, a bit of this and that. I could happily spend the night on the beach, or at least ¾ of it. Bob retreats from the water’s edge to sit next to me. We then recline, smooch and look at the stars. We talk as usual of everything and nothing. We watch the ferries cross the black sea and take photos of the street lights and pier using the ‘bulb setting’ on our cameras. [img][/img] (this is Jax and palm trees – gonna make this an abstract photo at home cuz I like the colors!)
Through my zoom lens, I see Aelias and Mason at Pinguino’s (across the street from where we are seated) [img][/img] They are in there somewhere!
[img][/img] – (I call this one Lightening Palm)

There are two groups of teenage girls exchanging giggles and lively conversation on the brick wall. A man in a baseball cap is wandering aimlessly through the locked beach chairs. I believe he sleeps on the beach between those chairs. A guy so obviously drunk heads in our direction. My nerves prick and Bob gets in a protective mode. The guy is swaying left, then right, then heads back towards the street and decides to do an about-face. Again he heads towards us. He stop a few feet short from where we are. We hear the unmistakable sound of a zipper being pulled and oh my Gawd – he’s peeing on the beach! I contain my laughter so he wouldn’t be either embarrassed or pee down his pants. Sorry. I had to laugh. The guy then realizes someone is there. He slurs out a “zzzzzzzo zzzzooooorrreee” and stumbles to his next destination. I shook my head, laughed some more and made a mental note not to walk in that direction when we leave a few minutes later. The locals are now coming out and setting up for a night’s fiesta. Tables and chairs, coolers and baskets of food. Music is coming from a portable boom box and the noise levels increase. Bob and I watch the locals for a while and decide it is time to check on the boys and head for Color de Verano for dessert.

The boys had already left Pinguino’s. Must be in the pool again. We head towards CdV and sit outside to the left of the front door. I see the family that was looking at the menu with us earlier were inside having desserts, salads and coffee. The same waitress who smiled at us earlier arrived with menus. Small talk with Bob in Spanish and excellent English with me. Her name is Ursula. She is 27 and from Merida. She fell in love with Isla and decided to move here with her young daughter. She’s been at Verano for a few years. Bob fell in love with her. If it couldn’t be with me, he made a smart decision. We asked Ursula
about the menu. Bob goes for the Apple Pie with Caramel Glaze (and her smile). I opt for a beautiful creation called Amenecere. A waffle bowl filled with home made strawberry ice cream, topped with blueberries, starfruit, raspberries, strawberry slices and fresh whipped cream, placed on a glaze of pureed berries. Heaven on a plate. It was so pretty, I had to look at it for a while. Forgot all about taking photos of it. (I did get a photo of my favorite dessert the last night we were on Isla though – got a photo of Bob and Ursula as well. – here they are, a few days earlier than I expected to show)
[img][/img] my Gawd – Bob is looking like his father! Use your sunscreen Bob!!
[img][/img] – The Amancere -The Sunset
Divine desserts, great conversation with Bob, waved to the family as they left rubbing their bellies and grinning. As we were eating, a scooter pulls up and sits idle in from of CdV. I think he was waiting to pick up someone who worked there. The owner (tall, gray ponytail, French looking, well tanned, honest eyes) comes out and asks the driver in Spanish to move or turn off his scooter. The bike fumes were disturbing his customers. The scooter dude moved his bike to the other side of the street and turned it off without giving foul looks or words. Let me clap my hands. I like that man. Concerned about our dining experience. Top notch businessman. I will be a loyal customer of Color de Verano. The owner smiled at us, shook our hands and gave apologies for the man on the scooter. Ursula informed me that the scooter dude was waiting for his girlfriend who was a housekeeper there. Not a problem. We like the way it was handled.

Moments later, the bill arrives $150P no problem. We are not rushed to leave, Ursula checks on us and brings us fresh water and her pleasant smile. Ursula tells us there is a computer inside if we ever want to e-mail home. Apparently the computer is for CdV hotel guests only. Bob’s charm must have worked on her since she extended the welcome use of their computer. We left a generous tip and a promise to return. Why we never dined here before escapes me.

We again head to Posada – the boys are in the pool and the place is jumping. Donna and her crew are leaving day after tomorrow and seems to have invited the whole island over to party with them. Ken and Kandy are celebrating with their daughter and granddaughter who leave in the morning. Bob hangs with the boys. I head to the room to chimp photos.

The TV lures me into watching another round of infomercials. I was channel surfing for the soap opera that I was watching this morning - not to be found. “But for $49.95 this set of screw drivers can be yours, plus shipping and handling.”

The boys yell goodnight to me through the wooden slat windows at some unknown hour of the night. The jukebox mercifully has been unplugged but the splashing from the pool and the AC upstairs makes the usual noise I have come to expect. Don’t much like it but that is to be expected. Bob showers and climbs into bed – asleep already in 30 seconds. Blow a kiss his direction and continue channel surfing.

Dare I ask for another decent night’s sleep? Yes I do. I remember what I do at home when sleep evades me. I have a scoop of ice cream or take a sleeping pill. Something about milk makes you drowsy. Well, I had a delicious ice cream creation a few hours ago – delayed lactose? Probably. I’m not going to grumble tonight. I just had a 99% perfect day. Who cares about the 1% being ca-ca?
NOTE TO SELF: Buy some sleeping pills tomorrow.

I say my prayers on bended knees, which creaked and crackled as I stood up. I turn the TV volume down - I was trying to drown out Donna and her crew next door earlier. The usual kisses blown to the boys upstairs and a kiss planted on Bob’s forehead. I place two comforters on my side of the bed and snuggle deep in the folds.

I find myself in the realm before sleep – floating on a sea of Sandia Aqua Fresca on a boat made of strawberry ice cream; with sails made of flour tortillas, borne upon the winds of Isla’s goodnight whispers…

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