Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Me Encanta Mexico y Toallas Animales

What was the best part of the cruise?  Every day our room service friend, Kevin, made us a new animal out of our towels!

Elephant or Rhino?  Elephino!

Hanging monkey

Honeymoon Heart
The cruise hosted a seminar on how to make these lovely creations and can you believe I friggin missed it!  Who has a seminar before noon on a holiday?  Very disappointed.

But really, our favorite thing about the cruise was the clever t-shirts in the gift shop:

Just kidding, it was the dancing dinner waiters:

bad photo

That was also a joke.  Our favorite part of the cruise was getting off it...in Mexico!  We first stopped at a port in Cozumel where we had not planned a damn thing.  I figured the boat would drop us off right at the beach where we could just sit under a palm tree and drink margaritas for awhile.  Very nice and very relaxing.  But that was not exactly how it happened...

We pulled into port and we could see some beaches from the boat's deck. 

We get off the boat and pass through a gate which I was hoping would take us to a calm, relaxing beachfront Mexican paradise, but instead the pier lead us into some large, chaotic and stressful Mexican market with no clear sign of an exit. 

I seriously felt like some sort of victim.  Like one of the Mexicans had spotted our cruise ship on the horizon and had alerted everyone in Cozumel, "THE TOURISTS ARE COMING!!!! THE TOURISTS ARE COMING!!!"  And every Cozumelian was out on the corner screaming in you face "Want to go snorkeling? 200 pesos! Need some maracas? 30 pesos!  Mayan ruin tour for 300 pesos?  Scuba diving scuba diving?  You want scuba diving?  200 peso scuba diving.  I give you 2 for 300, 2 for 200!  Swim with dolphins!!  Swim with sting rays!!" 

Where was the guy screaming "trap door over here will take you away from all this madness?" or someone selling roofies  "30 pesos, take these you will black out immediately and instantly forget this whole experience."  I would have paid him triple.

Trevor asked me what I wanted to do and I said "get the hell out of here!"  So we put our heads down, ignored all the shouting, and eventually pushed our way to the edge of the market.  At the outskirts we found a large iron gate with barbed wire at the top.  Is this a trap?  Is this what cruisers think Mexico is like?  Some fenced-off mini-market which is technically on Mexican land but that tourists are only allowed to go this far into Mexico?   I finally find a car rental salesmen who would give me a free map of the island.  The map looked like this:

I may have started to panic a little bit at this point.   Regret may have started to seep in, just a bit... Why had we not planned this vacation better?  Why didn't we research what to do in Cozumel?  Why didn't we ask the cruise people if we could actually go into Mexico?  Why hadn't we made plans to tag along with our Alabama friends who have been on 9 different cruises before?  They would have known what to do.

We continued walking to the other side of the market and eventually found a door to the outside world where we could get on line for a taxi.  We were still being berated about scuba and snorkeling and dolphins and sting rays, but we eventually came across a Mexican salesman who Trevor and I both agreed had friendly eyes and who we, for whatever reason, trusted.   Our instincts were right.  We gave him 25 pesos and he drove us to a beautiful, excluded beach resort with palm trees and margaritas (just like in my dreams) far away from the tourists and the mayhem of the Mexican tourist market.  We went snorkeling with some crazy fishies and relaxed in the sun.  They even had a toucan there (but they charged you to take a picture and you couldn't get the picture without buying the $30 frame, so you will just have to trust me on this one).  We had some fancy Mexican drinks, and accidentally "drank the water" in the form of Mexican ice cubes, and we didn't even get diarrhea.  We were in heaven. 

We eventually had to get back to the boat.  We shared a taxi cab back to the Mexican market with a couple who was also heading back to the cruise.   Trevor and I sat in the back seat and soaked in the rest of the sites in Cozumel while our American friends sat up front with the driver.  I was not really paying attention to them but every so often my ears would perk up to their conversations...

American lady: "What are your walls made of?" 

Cab driver: "My walls?  I do not understand?"

American lady:  "You know like the walls of your house.  What are they made of?   Our homes are made of wood or bricks. What are yours made out of?"

Cab driver: "I am not sure I understand. Yes, I believe our walls are made of wood..."

American lady: "So you don't live in some sort of hut, like in Gilligan's Island?"

SMH (shaking my head).  Try to zone out.  Try to zone out.

American lady continues on:  "So who's 'Word' do you follow?"

Back at the port we run into our room service attendant at the outdoor Mexican bar in the Mexican market close to the boat. I order a Tecate and catch his eye.  He doesn't really smile and looks away immediately, which was a bit weird because he was so friendly on the boat we really did feel like he was our friend.  I ask Trevor if that was Kevin.  Trevor  nonchalantly glances in his direction, nods at him, and agrees it is.  We decide we should go say hello, however in the 3 seconds from when we turned our backs on him to discuss whether or it was really him, we turn back around and find his seat is eerily empty.  His beer is gone and he is no where in sight. 

We ran into him the next day in the hallway and he seemed slightly nervous and defensive "sooo did I see you in Cozumel?  Cause I was just taking a little break, ya know, just for a few minutes.  I only had one drink, then went right back to the boat, right back to work."   What kind of sad ship is this, that a guy feels super guilty for taking a break to have a beer in Mexico?!   This guy who works 7 months straight, out at sea, no breaks, no family, no friends besides his co-workers who he hopefully likes, and no escape from this boat, which is full of tourists.  Yes, I would say you deserve to have that beer and many, many more!  I also felt a bit guilty, that he could not tell that we were not the type of people who would tattle tail on him.  

You deserve that beer, Kevin!!  At least one for every towel creature.   

Obligatory beach photos:

They didn't have Tecate, so Corona will do


A Tecate in its native country!

back to the boat

in time for the sunset


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