Day 4: Going wild, Big jumps, Bats,
Woke up this morning at, you guessed it, 6:30am...now I know my body is in shock! I went outside to have my morning Coca Light and it was time to practice our Espanol lessons. Hubby was armed with his "cafe" and we were anxious to learn something new and see if we retained our previous day's lessons.
Today was Monday, so guess what that means...it's pool cleaning day! I have my very own "chicos de la piscina" (pool boys). Woo Hoo! I've always wanted a pool boy. :D This time, I got dos! They vacuumed the pool, took care of the chemicals, got all the leaves out of the pool and even swept off the deck. Gracias!
Sakari was up at 9 am and ready for breakfast. She has been cooking a lot lately and breakfast is her specialty. Well, I would say Ramen Noodles is her specialty, but breakfast is creeping up as the numero uno spot very quickly! But, we had bought some waffles at MEGA (trying to make things easy on us while here) and she volunteered to make them. Hey, works for me!
Now, something that I have forgotten to mention is all of the "sounds" here. There are a lot of dogs in the neighborhood (well, everywhere), and sometimes at night or in the early morning, they all get together for a bark-fest. We noticed the first night we were here that one of the "barks" sounded very familiar to us. We KNEW there was a husky in the area. There's no denying that sound and tone! We have two huskies and love to get them howling and "talking". It's hilarious. They have such great personalities.
Sakari had yet to hear them because she's either in bed in the mornings or in bed or in her room in the evenings and she hadn't experienced this sound yet. Well, today would be her day.
Listen for the long, drawn out sound that is overly dramatic...lol
But wait, there's more! There has been this other sound that we hear no matter what time it is. From early morning until very late at night. Now THIS noise is driving us insane and we can't figure out what or who it is. It's a bulb horn sound like clowns have. EEErrrrrEEErrrr ALL.THE.TIME!
We thought maybe it was children playing on the street behind us but dang do they ever give up? We would continue to search for this noise the entire week!
So remember my "I wanna do list" from my planning stages? Well, one of them was to return to Chankanaab because it had been so many years since we were there and now that we were not doing the Snuba there that we had booked, I still wanted to go there. Another item on my list was to go to Jade Caverns. Of course, I let Sakari pick what she would like to do....and she insisted on Jade Caverns and riding the "buggy" there. I told her I would try to find a way to book it and see if it was even possible to do it today.
Now I wanted to tell you a story about when I was trying to find a scuba diver instructor for our trip prior to coming here. Remember how I had booked with one of the locals because he took the time to talk to me about the diving and where he would take us and everything that I had questions about? Well, the last thing I found out, after I had booked and he sent me the information about meeting places and the forms, was that he DIDN'T allow photography while diving. Say what??? I have NEVER been denied us taking our camera's...ever! This was a real put off and if I can't take my camera's with me, I have no desire to go. The next thing was that he told us we would have to meet him at a location by 8:20 in the morning. YIKES! Even though we had been getting up early, we still like to relax in the morning and hubby needs a few cups of coffee and we need to eat breakfast and then factor in driving time. I just didn't see it working. I couldn't understand why it would be so early. Most places have a morning and afternoon option. When I emailed him about getting a later time in the day and also the camera's, his emails started to get rude IMO. Of course AFTER I book with him and paid a deposit this happens.
Anyhow, after i had booked with this guy, another guy messaged me on fb and he seemed really nice and you could tell he really wanted my business and tried to tell me about other tours his company offered that I could book. I mentioned things we'd like to do to see if he offered those things, but he didn't. But, he was really nice about everything. I did mention to him that we were looking for a tour to Jade Caverns and he said that he could get me a discounted price there because he also worked for that company.
So I looked up the pricing online and found the tour offered by a
company called "Wild Tours". It stated that they did the tours for
$120 TOTAL for a buggy (which is really a side-by-side and both
my older kids have one of them so we are really familar with how
to opporate them). That was an AWESOME deal because all the
other websites you had to pay per person and it was around
I contacted this diver (Alex) about his "discounted rate" and he
said he would talk to the owner and get back to me. When he
got back to me, his quote was $65/per person. Um...I think not!
That's $195!!! I told him I can book online for $120 total no
So, I booked online and got my $120 non-discounted price and
was happy with my choice. Was he trying to making a few bucks
off me? I don't know really.
People are really trying to rip people off these days. I know that
the locals are hurting for money, but I'm not the one to try to pull
a fast one on because I do my research!
Our booking was for 1:30pm (see we were given the option for a later tour) and we had plenty of time to get our things together, relax and of course more Spanish lessons.
When we received our booking notification, the notification said:
Guests staying in hotel in Cozumel:
Take a short taxi ride to Royal Village Shopping Center right in front of the International Cruise Chip Pier. Wild Tours booth is located right in Rafael E. Melgar avenue, at the mall's main entrance.
So we left the house around 12:30 pm because I don't like to be late for anything, even though the Royal Village Shopping Center was right down the road from us.
When we arrived, we had to park out back, walk down the side road and into the mall area, which of course was closed down due to no cruise ships in port. I think there was a pharmacy open and I think a gift shop with a guy outside trying to lure you in to buy some leather from him. But it looked abandoned here. :(
We took this opportunity to take some pictures and look for this booth we were meeting them at. I had messaged them on facebook and they said to go to the Playa Mia booth. So, here we are trying to find that booth.
When we finally found the Playa Mia store front, it was closed! Um, ok. I even confirmed with them on fb where to go and they said to follow the directions on the email booking.
So, I tried to get in touch with them again via fb. and I told them we were at the mall per instructions and they said Playa Mia Beach club. Well, that would have been nice to know. I told them we were following what the instructions said. I sent them a screen shot of my email and told them they should probably change their instructions then and they responded with "There is a mistake with our website, and we are fixing it in this moment. We apologise for this inconvenient. We appreciate your comprehension and the feedback" Alrighty then, we were on our way...but we might be late.
We arrived at Playa Mia to find that it was closed too. But not the tours being operated out of there, which I guess is Wild Tours. There is also a Chocolate Factory there as well that is open. We were greeted in the parking lot and they knew who we were. I guess this is because we were the only people there to do a tour! They had us sit at the tables outside and fill out paperwork and were told to use the bano's if we needed to because there would not be any place to use them once we left and there were none at the caverns. They took our temps and we used sanitizer, then went to watch a video in the building, of the do's and don'ts during the tour, which one said NO CAMERAS! Are you serious??? I'm taking my camera anyhow and I'm taking pictures!!! I will hide it if I have to.
It looked so weird to see Playa Mia like this with their pointed Circus looking tents down and the walkway uncovered.
Hubby went over to the store by the Chocolate Factory tour and bought us some pop. No Coca Light for me. Ugh! At the factory, they had some birds. We could hear them talking.
We sat around and talked to several of the guides and told them we were learning Spanish and doing our apps. Hubby would look up how to say something on his google translator and then he was rewarded with a weird look. They would tell him that's not how it's said and correct him. This was turned into a Spanish lesson while we sat at the table. He even wrote down some things for us. But the NUMERO UNO thing that I took away from that lesson was HIJA! That means daughter but you say it like "EEEEEE HAAAAAA. Kinda like Yea Haw! Like you riding a horse" he said. Now this was the funniest thing I have ever heard on an explanation and it stuck with us! Sakari was now Hija from here on out and I was loving every minute of it! (Yes, to this day, she's answering to that name).
We were told that another couple was coming with us to ride a 4 wheeler on the trip and we were waiting on them. I had no issue with that and they finally arrived and while they were filling out their paperwork, we were given our bandana's to wear on the trip. We were informed that it does get dusty but there wasn't any water right now because it's all dried up. So, no getting muddy. DARNIT! We had such an amazing time getting all muddy when we did a tour like this in Dominican Republic and I was hoping for a repeat!
One last trip to el bano and we were ready to roll.
We headed to our "buggy" and got in. They showed us the seat belts, the side nets, told us to turn it on and....it wouldn't start. Oh just great! They tried and tried and the battery seemed to be dead. They had another guy come over with tools and did something under the seat in the back and it started right up. I really hoped that the cables just needed tightened and we wouldn't get stranded at the caverns.
They lined us up. The leader, then us, then the couple on the 4 wheeler. I thought this was weird. I thought they would have them second and us last since we were a big vehicle and would probably be throwing up more dust and rocks than them.
One of them ask if we wanted our picture taken and ask me did I have a camera. Was this a trick? Man I really wanted a picture. Ok, I confessed that I had a camera and handed to him hoping that I would get it back. I let Sakari sit up front because I knew she enjoyed it so much the last time when we had switched places. I work better as a back-seat driver anyhow...ask the hubby. :)
Off we went on our adventure, following the guide on his 4 wheeler. We headed down the street and passed many beach clubs we had been to before. They all looked familiar to us and I smiled as we went by because of the fond memories we've had at these place. Before long we were crossing the street into something called "El Cedral". There was a big welcoming entrance for us and we knew this was going to be interesting.
We were riding along in what seemed to be a little town of it's own. I have to say, there were some pretty nice places back there and even had their own inground pools.
Then it was about to get fun. The roads turned into dirt and got a little more narrow. The greenery and brush was more prominent and our excitement was building. The hubby was having a bit of fun, espcially around corners. We'd hear a squeal here and there out of Sakari and he knew he was doing something right.
This area reminded us of the time we did this in Dominican Republic. The hubby said remember when we were going down the dirt road and all the brush along the side of it and all of a sudden those cows or bulls or ox or whatever they were came running across the road a split second after we passed and almost hit us? (They did end up running in front of Kendra and she had to stop). Well this is was this area felt like.
Then all of a sudden he yells "LOOK....THEY'RE HERE!!!"
Well they were behind a fence, so no running in front of this time. There was an entire field of them. I totally missed it and couldn't get situated to turn around in time to take a good picture. (I had hoped to get some on the way back, but we ended up going a different way.)
We were having so much fun twisting and turning and spinning around the corners. HIJA was laughing and screaming. At one point there was a huge tree hanging out and down toward the road. The hubby ended up hitting part of the branches and it broke off and yep...the people behind us ended up running it over. We had to stop and help them out. They had the large branch twisted up in the undercarriage of their 4 wheeler and leaves and branches wrapped around the tires. Oops! The tour guide went back to try to pull it all out and the hubby hung his head in shame. The other couple spoke Spanish and they were a bit away from us but we did see them point to us and I waited for the guide to come back and scold us for hitting the tree branch. But, he just came back, told us what happened, and said everything is good and they were not hurt or anything. I mean we didn't do it on purpose, it's just we were so big and it was hanging out in the road. See, this is why the people behind us should have been in front of us. At the very end of the video, you see the tree for a split second and then Sakari turns the camera toward her dad and you hear us hit it and me say something like "geeze", but you can see him swerve to try to not hit it.
A few pictures Sakari took while we were waiting for the guide to pull tree branches out of the other 4 wheeler.
Then we were off again...and finally arrived at our destination