On Our Own

Monday, September 19, 2016
After a morning of packing, Andy and Jayme left for the airport shortly after lunch. Sue, Dave, and I were now on our own in Mexico for five more days. I had picked up some cultural cues and Spanish words in our stay so far, but there was no denying we just lost our resident translators! We (probably, mostly me) were determined to prove that we could make it on our own though!

We hit the ground running with a stop at the bank and taxi ride to downtown to finish our souvenir shopping! Our taxi driver was the friendliest, most talkative one we'd had all trip. We weren't sure what the name of the shopping square was, but he dropped us off at a large store down the road from the main square. We looked around, but weren't too impressed so we continued on. We found the "Isla Cozumel" sign Jayme and Andy had found days earlier and stopped for pictures. We got our bearings, found the shopping area we visited the other day, then had our Mexican public bathroom experience...

With my previous international travel, I wasn't surprised that we had to pay to use the public restroom (5 Pesos). I was very surprised by what happened next though! Once Sue and I paid the lady attending, she gave each of us a small bundle of tissues. We entered the bathroom and soon discovered there were no toilet seats on the toilets. The bundle the lady had given us consisted of four squares of toilet paper wrapped in two small paper towels. I didn't realized there were two paper towels until I was washing my hands and had nothing to dry them with!

With that experience behind us, we continue shopping. After getting a blanket from a very nice and helpful shop-owner and his wife, we went into a store and I asked for the price of a bracelet. It was more than I was willing to pay, so I said "no gracias", but the owner would not take no for an answer. He continued to lower the price and I continued to refuse. (I didn't want it that bad; I just thought it was pretty, and was curious how much it cost). We walked out of the store and the owner followed us down the street and beckoned us to a kiosk he owned. I eventually gave in to a price that was much lower than he originally told me. Thankfully souvenir shopping was done and we walked to Mega!

Throughout our time in Mexico, we had noticed a plethora of high-end jewelry shops. Out of curiosity, we decided to count how many jewelry shops were on each block as we walked to Mega: 5! On each block!

We were very hot and exhausted (a common theme of our trip) when we arrived at Mega, so we got a cold treat at an ice cream shop inside the Mega building. Sue and Dave got fruit popsicles, and I got a frozen banana with chocolate and cocoa pebbles on it. We did pretty well with finding everything in Mega. We searched and searched for canned chicken, but couldn't find any, so we asked a worker. She either didn't know what we were talking about, or didn't know where to find it either because she asked a deli man. The man stopped in the middle of what he was doing and came out to help us. He then asked another worker walking by, and walked us right to where it was. We were very impressed with how everyone was so nice and went out of their way to help us!

We took a taxi back to the resort, and cooled off in the pool (another common theme of our trip) where we met a couple from New York and chatted with them before we put that canned chicken to use for supper!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
This vacation was just what I needed in more ways than one. I was coming off a summer at camp where you go to bed late, get up early, and are on the go all day. In Cozumel, we regularly went to bed early, and most days were free to sleep in. I had been getting so much sleep that our second week there, I naturally woke up between 6:30-7:00am each day feeling fully rested! On Tuesday, I woke up at 6:30am, ate breakfast on our patio, and waited for the others to join me. Sue and I went to the hammocks under the pool deck, and it wasn't long before Adrian found us and started a conversation. Azael found us as well, and then we were all off to feed the fish!

The next activity: Salsa dancing lessons!! As much as I tried, I couldn't convince Sue to join me, but I was ready to learn! It was good size group - three older women, a young boy from Cancun we met earlier in the week, Adrian, Azael, and me. Another very young boy joined us partway through. We started with learning the three steps, then put the steps together in partners. It was easier to learn than I thought it would be, and a lot of fun!

Learning the steps of Salsa

We had planned for lunch to be a giant sundae at Hard Rock, but when it was delivered to our table it was very disappointing. There was a brownie on the bottom, one scoop of ice cream, and mounds of whipped cream. Not satisfied at all, we got a small tub of ice cream at Oxxo and shared it in our room.

Ice cream lunch: take 2!
Ice cream lunch: take 1

Sue and I went to Spanish lessons led by Azael, then cooking lessons with Adrian that afternoon. The guacamole Adrian taught us how to make was incredibly delicious! By the end of the cooking lesson, the heat got to us and we retreated to our room to rest. When we had semi-recovered, we hit the pool where Christopher, the older boy from Salsa lessons chatted with us.

After supper was another movie night on the pool deck! This time we watched Now You See Me. I went to the lobby before bed, and had a very nice conversation with an employee about my age, maybe a little younger. We recognized each other, though we had never talked before; she said hello and we talked about the movie a bit. I went to bed feeling I had just made a new friend.


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