Day 1: Arrival to Cozumel...Early morning departure, Arrival, Customs, Getting a ¿Car? and making it to our Oasis for the next 11 days...
April 2: 2021
We had (what we consider) an early morning flight with a departure time of 7:50am. That meant we were up at 5am and getting ready and packing the car to head to the airport. I always calculate my time...Departure at 7:50am means boarding the plane at 7:20am, give ourselves 1/2 hour in security (since we've noticed there's a big decline in lines during COVID at our airport) and 1/2 hour checking in luggage which puts us at around 6:20am. Then there's the shuttle time from the parking lot of maybe 15 minutes and driving time there of maybe 1/2 hour depending on traffic. Now we are at 5:35am right?
So we were up at 5am and out the door by 6am. Wait...somethings wrong with this calculation. We always stop and get breakfast from McDonalds so we don't have to buy the expensive airport food and if anyone has ever visited our airport you only have the choice of a pizza place and a Starbucks in the Southwest area. Ugh!
Hubby was wanting to stop, I was not wanting to risk it.
Airport food it would be IF we had enough time.
We made it to the parking lot and I managed to actually
snag a handicapped parking space and along come the shuttle.
Now I have to mention that we have had several days of 70 degree
weather that week but nooooo, this morning it was in the upper 20's
when we arrived. What luck! I always say mother nature is having a
menopausal moment when it comes to the weather in Ohio!
When the shuttle picked us up, we were scolded for parking in "that" parking lot saying it was closed and there were signs. Oops. I didn't see anything saying that portion on the lot was closed and I have no idea why it would be closed since there were plenty of cars there (both when we left and returned). He told us we were lucky he was dropping someone off in this area otherwise, we would have never been picked up. The shuttle gods were with me that day!
Check-in is never easy for us when they require us to scan our passports. It NEVER works and this would be no exception. I was glad to see we weren't the only one's having this problem either. Security was a breeze and we headed straight to Starbucks for breakfast. I have to say the sandwiches we got were pretty darn good and I was pleased.
Off to find our gate, which no matter where we travel, it's always the furthest away. Ugh!
We not only fly free but we are also on the "A-list" which means they sign us in and assign us our boarding position, which is always in the lower A section and we board right after the handicap and business select people. I feel special!
Once on the plane, they announced that there would be a slight delay because they needed to DEFROST the wings. You know it's cold out when they do that!
Off we went after our defrosting...
I always say our downtown looks so darn small! Especially from above.
Every single flight I attempt to find our house and it always fails. This time I managed to snap a picture and actually found it!
Of course this immediately takes place every single trip...
The flight was a fairly quick 2 hour trip and we landed in Houston, Texas.
We had a very short delay in Houston of 1 hour (which it said 2 hours but we changed time zones) and up, up, and away we went on our way to the beautiful island of Cozumel.
We kept busy by watching movies and snacking while a large group of 10+ people were surrounding us and they were headed down to celebrate a birthday for someone in their party. They were loud, they were obnoxious, they were yelling over our chairs...you know the type. It was annoying and very disrespectful and I turned up the volume of my phone while watching the movie and thought my eardrums would bust.
Before long, we started to see the awesome azul and verde waters of the Caribbean. The staff started handing out papers to fill out for customs and that's when you knew it was getting real.
Our arrival time was around 2pm and we were actually the 3rd couple off the plane and headed to customs. I was getting extremely nervous!
We walked up to an extremely nice gentleman at the booth and presented our papers. He looked at our passports, made us pull down our mask and then waived us into the area behind him, which was where the luggage pick up was.
We waited and waited and watched the lines of others getting off the airplane pile up to the point that the entire place was full now...and they were coming into the luggage area, grabbing their luggage and headed to the customs/xray line....and here we stood....forever. Third ones off the plane and we about the tenth one's left still waiting for our luggage. By now the lines were atrocious and I felt defeated on my quest to get out of here before someone pissed off the customs people before I got up there. Remember the large obnoxious group on the plane...yep, you guessed it. The drug sniffing dogs had pulled a few of them out of line and a few of the others that were in the customs line had also pulled aside and they were checking their luggage at the end of the line. They were there forever!
We stood in line for at least an hour, I'm guessing, before we made it to the x-ray machine. We lifted our luggage up and met it on the other side. I'm just happy Sakari decided to NOT bring her gigantic "Big Mistakes" eraser with her this time that always manages to get us pulled out of line and sent to the naughty station. This was not the place to be risking this!
Once retrieving our luggage there was a customs agent there and the only questions he ask us was "Are you bringing any cigarettes, cigars and alcohol into the country". Then the moment came...he said "push the button". My heart sank. This was one of the things I had also read up on and that is they ask you to push this button and if it turns green you are good to go. But, if it turned red...you are pulled aside and your luggage searched. While I didn't have anything to hide, I also knew that searching was pretty shady and involved money.
My heart really sank, my palms were sweating, I probably turned 50 shades of red while I threw several arrhythmia's that most doctors have not experienced in their careers. I looked at the hubby, I looked at Sakari...they all waited on me. I really did not want to be the reason we get pulled out of line. I knew my luck, it is never good luck. But, they were not willing to push it so I slowly creped up to the spotlight. I didn't know if I should gently tap it or slam that button like I was on a gameshow and had all the correct answers. I decided a middle ground would be best.
Whew, I'm so glad my luck is looking up these days! I felt such a sigh of relief I can't even explain it. I did not let my family down and we could now start to enjoy our vacation on a good note.
We headed out of the airport and looked for our rental car agency. Here are the notes via email they had sent to me after booking.
We weren't having much luck and went back inside to ask where they were located. We were told to go out of the airport and head "left". We went left and didn't see anything so walked back to the airport and ask some people that worked outside and we were told to head "across the street". Um, what do you mean across the street? As in off the airport property across the street? I took a look in that direction and thought..."yea, this is gonna be fun on my bad leg pulling luggage with us and there was no sidewalk". Just fabuloso! Then off we went.
Here is how far across the street is, and this is after we had already started walking, and while some may not find this far at all, for someone like me, it is.
We made it to the street and played frogger as we tried to make it across the street to the businesses on the other side. We seen a car place at the corner, which was not it and so we started walking down the street. We stopped at Alamo and asked where to find Discover Cars and was told it was at the corner and pointed on down the street. On the corner was another car rental place but it was not what we were looking for. The person inside there said "It's back there in the airport". Um....now what?
We debated what to do. We were lost! Finally we decided to head back into the airport, going down the opposite side that we exited out of.
Along the side were a few people sitting under the trees. They ran some type of shuttle service. We stopped to ask them and they all seemed confused as well. Then one of them said "It's right there to the right past that van at the end of the parking lot by the trailer" or something to that effect.
We walked to the end and the trailer was Mex Rentals and there was nothing behind it. UGH! I'm so fed up at this point. How is it that all these people work here and don't know where this place is??? One of the guys decided to try to call this place with the number listed on my email. He came back and said "it's a bad number". Now I was feeling like I had been scammed. I didn't know what to do.
Then another person came up and said "That place has been out of business in Cozumel for over a year!" Well, they are obviously still taking people's money for the rentals. They said they had rentals in Cancun and Cozumel for years but closed the Cozumel location a year ago.
Someone else mentioned Hertz bought them out??? We headed back into the airport and to Hertz who explained that they are in business with them and that they send over a certain amount of cars from Cancun and Hertz rents them out for them. However, they were all already gone! Wait what? You got rid of our car we paid for already???? What kind of crap is this? I expressed our frustration and how we've been giving the runaround, going all over the place, only to be sent back to here and why is it no one knows that Hertz took over for them??? Don't you guys work together every day? No one in this airport knows that Hertz is where to go? Wouldn't it be nice for them to put this information ON THE RESERVATION so you know where to go and what to look for when you arrive? I'm livid at this point. Then he tells me that he is ALSO out of cars but can take my number and when people return cars tomorrow he would give me a call and put us in another car. Sigh!
At this point I just want to get to the house and get off my feet! We headed outside and ask for a cab. We paid around $5 each for a cab ride and then waited for the van to fill up with others.
We were the first to be dropped off and I was happy about that. It was a very short ride to our place, less than a 10 minute ride, and we were greeted by Ana at the house.
Ana gave us the tour of the house and showed us how everything worked. We had talked on WhatsApp prior to us leaving and I found out that she creates costumes for a living (one of many trades) and creates most of the costumes that Carnival uses for it's dancers. How neat is that? She also creates and makes the costumes that you see people wearing around the port (like Day of the Dead) when you return and you take pictures with them. She had showed me some of the pictures and I'm pretty sure we have taken pictures with them before. Simply amazing. She's also big into theater and the arts and we discussed Sakari and her talents with drawing and creating costumes and she couldn't wait to see her drawings and photo's of her costumes as well. Ana was amazing! So talented, friendly, and just a great person! We were almost sad to see her go when she left and now we were on our own.
I will give you a tour of the house on another page located here -------->
After settling in to the house, we were starving. We had ask Ana of a good Mexican Pizza place to go to and we were in luck! There was a place right down the street a few blocks away. We headed that way....slowly since my foot was on fire and my leg was swollen.
We made it to Benitos, which was a brick oven pizza and pasta place. There were a bunch of tables outside or you could sit inside if you wanted. We were ready to soak up the Caribbean air and picked a seat outside. It was a cool looking place and I loved the atmosphere. They had a handwashing station when you entered as well.
COVID precautions gave you a scannable menu
Our waiter was Sondré and he spoke pretty good English. He was teaching us words in Spanish and how to say things. It was at that moment that I knew Sondré had just changed my hubby's life forever. He now wanted to learn Spanish...and by learning Spanish I mean learning it with a vengeance! LOL
We ordered the meat lovers pizza and they brought us out some bread with dips. The bread was a giant puff of bread with nothing in the middle. It was super yummy!
We weren't really sure what the dips were but I was willing to try anything. I started out with the clear dip and it was a familiar taste...yep garlic with a bit of zest to it... and by zest I mean a little hotness but not bad.
Then I went for a different one. Hmmm, not too baaaaaaaadddd OUCH! Hot...I'm dying, like where's my drink?!? I think I'm going to explode! Someone call a medic! I couldn't believe I was trying stuff without even having my drink first. What was I thinking??? Sakari and daddy were getting a good laugh out of me and I tried to play it off like "Yum, this is good, you should try it" but it was way too late to be convincing of that! They would not be tricked. Let's get something straight I do not like hot spicy foods or even a hint of spicy anything...so I was literally dying. I would later find out this was a habaneros sauce mixture. It was the devil to my taste buds!
I was almost not tempted to even be tricked into trying the third dip, but what the heck, I threw caution to the wind and went for it as Sondré laughed and brought me my Coca Light. It was actually the best of them all. I absolutely loved it and so did mi familia. You're welcome for letting me be the Guinea pig in this experiment. Whew!
We watched our pizza go in the brick oven and couldn't wait to try it out.
The hubby got to talking to Sondré and asking him "where's the Mexican pizza?" He had no idea what we were talking about and he proceeded to tell him out our Mexican Pizza back home...meaning from Taco Bell. LOL When the hubby explained to him what it was like Sondré was quite interested and wanted us to show him pictures. We pulled up a few pictures and he said it looked really good and he's going to have to tell his chef about it and maybe they could start making them at some point. He liked the idea and thought they would be a good seller. Who knows, maybe we will return again some day and they will have it. :)
Our pizza came out and we absolutely devoured it! Even Sakari. She said it was the best pizza she had eaten and wanted to make it a point to come back here again some time during our stay.
There was not a morsel left on the plate by the time we were done with it. It came to around $23ish US money, which wasn't bad at all and the pizza was pretty big and not to mention the bread as well.
We headed back to the house and ran across a few dogs on the sidewalk. I thought it was neat that this particular dog had a stone in front of his house with his picture on it to say that this was his home.
Once we arrived back at the house, I kept walking straight past it. Hubby looked at me like I had a moment of Dementia and I said "Do you honestly think I'm going without pop tonight? We are on a hunt for a store". We found a small store at the end of the road and I was going to have to endure drinking Coca Lite for quite some time I suppose (Diet Pepesi is my thing). Then Sakari and I decided we wanted to go swimming and test out this new pool that was in the back yard. Immediately the morph occurred...and then she was off.
The hubby was smart and decided to sit this swim session out and I can't say that I blame him. I didn't last more than 10 minutes because the water was pretty cold that night. Since Sakari is a mermaid, cold water doesn't seem to ever bother her and she stayed in for probably a good hour.
It was getting late and we had a very long day of traveling and frustrations and we had been up since 5am and I was exhausted and ready for a shower and bed. I think it was probably only 9:30pm but it felt more like midnight to me. Zzzzzzz....this concluded our Day 1.