Sunday, March 27, 2005

Yo no sento bueno

We've been busy the last few days. We checked in to the hotel Patio last wednesday, in Cancun, which was small but charming, just like the guidebook promised. Ate in downtown Cancun at Rosa Mexicana, which for some reason our cabbie couldn't find. Nice restaurant, and we had it almost to ourselves.

On thursday, we took a cab to one of the local beaches, Playa Tortuga (tortoise). Unfortunately, I did not apply my sunscreen with sufficient diligence, so after a few hours at the beach, I had a couple spots of nice deep red sunburn.

By this point we had figured out how to keep from getting overcharged by the cabbies (Cancun was the only area where we had this problem). When we got somewhere in Cancun, the driver wouldn't tell us how much the fare was. This isn't as unreasonable as it sounds, as there are no meters and the fares are generally fixed price by zone. However, if you asked how much the fare is, the driver felt free to name any figure he felt like.

So, if you hand him (we never saw a female cab driver during our trip) approximately the right amount of money, he would charge you the right amount. Or at least not charge you more than you gave him. We did run into a few honest cab drivers while we were there, but for the most part I didn't worry about it – when you convert to dollars, our cab rides were $2-$5 in downtown.

Thursday night we signed up for an organized bar crawl, which ended up being a pretty good deal. They took us to four different bars – Pat O'Brien's, Dady Rock (sic), Congo, and Coco Bongo – but the part we figured was worth the money was that they ended up at the Coco Bongo, and they skipped you past all the lines. And given that our group was about 200 people, I'm guessing that the line could have been pretty long.

The group (“Party Hoppers”) overwhelmed the first three bars we were in, but Coco Bongo is pretty big. Our handler, Juan, was very good to us, so we gave him a nice tip at the end of the night.

I got some decent photos of the club, which was impressive not only in scale, but in the show that they put on. They had one guy wandering around that was part mini-me, part Beetlejuice, as well as Madonna and Michael Jackson work-alikes, and a trapese show, and they transitioned between them seamlessly. Then again, I had had a few drinks by this point, so I probably wouldn't have noticed any little hiccups.

On friday we made our now-familiar trek to the bus station, took a bus to Casa Del Mar, and took the ferry to Cozumel. Spent friday poking around town, since this is the major shopping part of our trip (as opposed to the buying-things-we-forgot-to-bring shopping we've done on the rest of our trip).

On saturday we took a submarine ride. The actual dive took about 45 minutes, but with the ride out to the sub and back to the harbor the whole trip took about two hours. We dove down to just over one hundred feet, and saw the drop-off where the shelf Cozumel is on ends. We saw lots of reef-life, including a shark and a group of scuba divers. We took pictures of them taking pictures of us.

After the dive we spent some time souvenir shopping. Shana hit a bunch of places looking for Blue Agave brand tequila for a friend of hers, which looks like a red herring so far – lots of tequilas are made from blue agave, but as far as we can tell, none of them are called that.

Spent an hour or so listening to the Cuban band (two guys) playing in our hotel lobby, then went to bed early. Plan for today was to rent a motorcycle and tour the island, but I'm not feeling well and apparently you can only rent scooters or cars, so we may just switch to a car.

And we have to figure out where our laundry went to.

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