The plan was…to not have one (La Isla de Mujeres)

(because of travel and time, these posts are not proof read very well) It is about 7:30 here in the morning in Cancun, and I am the only one awake. I am still a little bitter about having to abandon Peru. It was the destination that we had originally planned, but the families of the people I am with seem content. We have to make the best of the trip, but it is going to be a little more expensive that I had originally thought. We do not have the time that Alisa and I would normally have in each place when we travel. As a result, we have to take some tours to take us out to each place we want to visit. Normally Alisa and I would just move to an adjacent city and spend a couple of days there getting to know the area. We can’t really do that now. We have to try to fit in as much as we can. One of the reasons why it puts my mind at ease to not have gone to Peru is because of the political unrest with the upcoming elections and the very strict covid rules that they have in place at the moment. Would we have been happier having to wear two masks everywhere, even outside, and then have a curfew in the evening and weekends? I am not sure.

The only thing that would make me feel better this morning was a cup of coffee. Last night when we walked around the town, we could not find good coffee. We decided to get a bag of instant coffee from an Oxxo. The instructions said to boil some water and then to let it sit. I boiled the water, it sat, and it was not instant. I woke up Malachi and we headed out, with Caleb still asleep, to look for coffee. Malachi and I headed a few blocks down the road to a small market where they were serving breakfast and lunch. We ordered a two cups of coffee and a smoothie. The smoothie was good…the coffee was…

Malachi, “I am gonna see if I can get my tan back
Caleb: …

We left our AirBnb around 9:40 in the morning. We walked toward the Ultra Mar ferry to inquire about purchasing tickets to la Isla de Mujeres where we would spend the day, but first we had to find a way to get to Chichén Itzá. Normally I would just find an A.D.O station and take a bus there and then spend the whole day walking around the ruins, but these are not normal circumstances. We had to find someone to get us there and back the same day so we would not have to rent another AirBnb. I found a collective near the ferry station where we were met with a man named Jonny. He told us about a tour that his collective offered and that it would only cost about $45 a person to go. The tour would be nearly 12 hours long and would include the ride, entrance fees, a swim in a cenote, a tour of Valledolid, and lunch. After thinking about our situation, we decided that we would take him up on his offer.

We then headed back to the ferry station and purchased two separate ferry rides. The first would take us to La Isla de Mujeres and the second to Cozumel. It was about 45 dollars a person. That was a little more than I wanted to spend, but it ended up being a lot cheaper buying them together.

We got on the ferry right after purchasing the tickets. We waiting in line for about ten minutes before boarding a Ferrari boat. The ride was spectacular. There was music and the ocean was a deep blue that kind of reminded me of Crater Lake. The ride took about 18 minutes and we unloaded.

We were greeted by a small bustling city that looked like it was completely redesigned to house tourists. There were golf carts moving in every direction, people trying aggressively to get tourists to eat in their restaurants, and people from all walks of life. Despite all of that, it still had that small town charm that I really like about Mexico. The first thing I did was walk up to someone who was renting golf carts and I ask him how much for the day. He responded with 800 pesos. I thought that was a little steep, so we decided to walk around for a little bit. Every street we turned onto was filled with small stores selling their knickknacks, t-shirts, or food. Every street also had someone offering a tour of all the attractions or anything that you wanted to do for the day. We decided at the outset that since we were taking a guided tour the next day that we would like to have the day free just to walk around and do things on our own time. The only thing was that in all my research for how to get to the ruins and the island, I did not research anything to do on the island as well as how to get around. I also did not have cell service. We walked several blocks and found a nice look out where we took some pictures and came up with a plan. We were all famished from not eating breakfast, so we decided that food was a priority.

We decided to stop at a small restaurant next to the water. The prices were a little steep, but the experience would probably be worth it. I ordered the quesadilla, Malachi ordered the beef tacos, and Caleb the fish tacos. My quesadillas were like the ones I make at home only not as good. Malachi’s tacos were dry and he did not finish them. Caleb’s fish tacos were extra fishy. It came out to about 45 dollars. Ouch! We paid our tab, and I told the waiter that it was not the best meal we had had, but it was not the worst–just close to the worst.

While we ate, we did some research about the island and everything that we wanted to see was clear on the other side, about 4 miles or so away. Not wanting to do too much walking, we decided to rent a go cart. We had a hard time as noon was their peak hour and a lot of the rental companies raised the prices to 1200 pesos for the day. We found several with good prices, but they required a reservation in advance. We went for a short 1.5 mile walk along the coast line away from the city and turned back. We found a small rental agency just out of town for 800 pesos. They told us that they were out but that we could wait to see what would happen. If someone returned a cart early, we could rent it right away. It only took about 20 minutes.

We picked up our buggy and headed out of town to a small ruin site clear on the other side of the island. I let Caleb drive the cart while I rode shotgun and Malachi sat on the back. He mentioned that he really liked that spot so that became his for the rest of the day. Caleb did well driving the car, and we only got into an accident once. The drive was nice and it felt great to get some cool air. After about 10 minutes, we arrived at the other side of the island. A storm began to set in, so we rushed to the site. We had to pay about 30 pesos per person to enter, but it was worth every cent. The ruins were not that big, but the view was beyond belief. We got to walk around several trails that surrounded the ruins and the cliff. We did eventually get rained on, but we were prepared. We continued our day driving back and fourth and looking at all of the vacation houses that peppered the island. Unfortunately, we also found their garbage dump site which was horrible.

We stopped at several other places of interest that were not too exciting, but kept us busy. Around 4:30 in the afternoon, we were all satisfied that it had been a good day, so we returned the cart and headed back to the ferry. The line to board the ferry was jam-packed, and we were at the end. As we stood in line, the 6 foot rule that everyone was concerned about went out the window. I recognized some people that were on our original ferry and I saw them being taken out of our line and moved to another. Curious, I asked the attendant if we were in the right line, and she told us no. We needed to move to another section of the station. We found ourselves at the end of another long line again. People were concerned that they were not going to be able to board the ferry and would have to wait another hour and so were we. After about 30 minutes, we made it to the front of the line. They scanned our tickets and told us that we would get priority VIP loading because of our multi-island pass. They escorted us around a corner to a different part of the line where we were with the other VIP guests which was made up of pregnant women and women with children. It was odd, but we’ll take it. We loaded first on the boat and Malachi, despite being wet, wanted to sit on the top of the ferry exposed to the rain. We covered ourselves in towels and made the best of the journey. It was as amazing as the first ferry ride.

While ferrying back, we were the only ones who were not Mexican. A funny thing happens when there are only Mexicans on a tour. They start singing the whole ride and yelling gritos! This was no exception. They sang the whole time. There was laughing and screaming. When the ferry reached the other side, they yelled to the captain to turn the boat around so that they could keep singing!

We picked up some small groceries on the way home. When we got back, the boys decided they wanted to return to the hole in the wall restaurant we ate at before. I did not want to do it, but I did tell them that it was their trip and I was just here for the ride. We ate there, and it was great. Hopefully, they will make some healthy choices later.

We talked to Alisa in the evening, and she helped us purchases what will hopefully be our last set of plane tickets until we return home from Guatemala. We hung around a little bit and laughed with her on the phone while I got some early practice on my soon to be horrible dad jokes. It turned out to be a pretty good day.

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