SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 2013
My wonderful boyfriend, Thomas, and I were up early so we could get to the airport and fly to Cancun. We stopped at Shipley's Doughnuts for a morning pick-me-up before heading to the parking lot and taking the shuttle to the airport. Once inside, we saw a Nestle's Cookie kiosk and we bought a couple of cookies and some Icees. Definitely on the vacation diet already. We headed to the gate to wait for my Dad who was flying in from San Antonio and then joining us on the flight from Houston to Cancun.
This would be the first time Thomas met my Dad. They are Facebook friends and communicate some that way, but this was the first time they would be meeting. The meeting went well, which I knew it would. My parents are very good that way - they like our significant others unless and until they give a reason not to like them. My Dad also lived in Germany for 9 years total when he was in the Army (4 years one stint and 5 the next) so he knows the culture and the country and has traveled extensively throughout Europe. So he and Thomas had a lot in common.
Since it was Father's Day, I gave my Dad his gift - a box of Caramel deLites Girl Scout cookies. He loves them and, as all real Americans know because real Americans eat these cookies every year, you can only buy them between January and March. I had bought a box and back in March and saved them for Father's Day. My Dad loved them!
So, finally we all got on the plane and I slept for most of the flight. I was tired. We arrived in Cancun and took the bus to Playa Del Carmen. There is no direct flight to Playa, but it's only 45 minutes from the airport via bus. The trip was easy and quick and we were in Playa in no time. We exchanged some money at the bus station because they give a good rate for dollars to Pesos and then we headed to our hotel, Aventura Mexicana, via taxi.
We checked into the hotel and then trekked over to Subway, where we always eat the first day. It's nearby and quick. We're always tired that first day so we have a simple meal. Afterwards, we bought some water at the Oxxo store and brought it back to the hotel before heading down 5th Avenue, the main tourist street, to scoop out some restaurants for the rest of the week and to go to Dairy Queen, another treat we allow ourselves while we're here. But, we were aghast upon discovering that DQ wasn't where we left it last time we were here in January. It had closed. The disappointment...it was great. But have no fear, we soldiered on because we are adept travelers and our mission for ice cream had a happy ending. More on that later.
We trekked the streets for a short time looking for a restaurant called Grillmeister, a German place my Dad had read about on Trip Advisor. The menu looked great so we wanted to try it. We didn't find it, but we decided to try again on Monday.
We came back to our rooms and headed to bed early because Monday was going to be our first Scuba Diving Day! While my Dad and I are certified divers, Thomas had never been diving, but he was getting certified here in Playa on this trip. He had done the academic study online before coming here and now he was going to do the practical work. I was very excited for him to get in the ocean with us and see all there is to see. But first, he had to get in the pool.
MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013
My Dad headed to the dive shop early to take care of the scheduling and payment stuff (the non-fun items), while Thomas and I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. They offer a free continental breakfast at the Mayan Bistro and it's good.
Around noon, we headed over to Dive Mexico, which is the best dive shop ever anywhere. EVER!! We always dive with them when we come to Playa and it's always a great time no matter what. They are safety conscious, friendly, and always make sure you have a great time.
Thomas had to complete some paperwork and a quick refresher for the academic portion of the dive instruction. He only missed two of the 18 questions. I am so proud of him! He's very smart, which is one of the many things I love about him. Dad and I then suited up in our wet suits and headed to the beach while Thomas spent the afternoon in the pool at the shop. The first day of dive instruction is in the pool so he can get familiar with the equipment and basic dive procedures. He enjoyed it and the instructor said he did everything right the first try. Again, very smart man!
Dad and I had two reef dives in the ocean and we enjoyed them both. I always have trouble clearing my ears on dives and today was no exception. The pain was immense, but I got my ears cleared and really enjoyed our dives. We went out with a dive master named "Machete." Not his real name of course, but everyone calls him that. He was very nice and we both liked him a lot. He's from Spain as is our favorite dive master, Andrea. But Andrea was out on another dive so we had Machete. Nice guy and he was very understanding that I would need a lot of time to descend so my ears could clear.
The reef dives were great, we saw a lot of eels, a lot of beautiful fish, we swam through an arch that had a lot of fish. It is so incredible to be underwater. I just can't explain it. Scuba diving is almost like a cult in a way. Once you get involved with it, it's hard to explain to others unless they too are involved, and you want to recruit everyone you know to get involved. It's just so amazing.
We finished our dives and returned to the shop where we met Thomas. We got our equipment rinsed off and we returned to the hotel where we showered and then began our trek to Grillmeister. We had gotten a good address from one of the dive shop women so we headed that direction. We didn't find Grillmeister, but we did find another German restaurant in the same area. They told us Grillmeister had closed so we opted to eat at Manne's Biergarten. The food was good. I had chicken cordon bleu, Thomas had schnitzel, and my Dad had the pork roast. It was all delicious and we will definitely return there for another meal this week.
Thomas thought the ADO Bus Station might have a Dairy Queen. He thought he saw a DQ sign there when we arrived so we went to check it out. They did not have a DQ, but they did have a McDonald's ice cream shop so Dad got a couple of cones there. We hung out at the bus station for awhile because the rain was coming down hard, but it finally let up a bit so we headed back to our hotel and to see if we could find an ice cream shop that the folks at Manne's had told us about.
We stopped by a couple of places including the ice cream shop we'd been told about, but they were very expensive so we decided to head to the Mega (supermarket) to buy some ice cream there. As we walked into the Mega, we saw an ice cream shop on the ground floor with good prices and great prices. YES! SUCCESS!! Dad and I had banana splits and Thomas had a coconut drink. He also shared some of my banana split. It was all so good.
We bought a coconut at the Mega because Thomas had heard fresh coconut in Mexico was very good. We got back to the hotel and broke the coconut holes with some scissors (we are a resourceful group) so we could drain the juice. Thomas will break the actual coconut Tuesday evening to begin eating it.
We headed to bed early because Tuesday was going to be our first dive together. I couldn't wait for Thomas to see everything. Stay tuned for a recap of Tuesday's dive!