Day 2: Car Rental, groceries, a beach and fighting for parking spaces...
Since we have been getting up early and going to bed early, I was up by 6:30am and wide awake. I guess it was time to roll out of bed and head down to our perch out back by the pool. The hubby downloaded the Duolingo app and was giving it his best shot...then he said it stopped and told him he had to buy it to continue. I'm not sure why because I've had it on my computer for years and it has never ask me to do that. So, he ended up with another app and I downloaded the Duolingo to mine instead.
We practiced our Spanish and I just have to laugh every time his app told him to "repeat after me" because it would take him 5 or 6 tries to get it right. #palminfaceplant Of course he has the straight American reading language going on and can't understand that Spanish pronounces things differently with the letters. All I can say is thank goodness I had my 1 year in high school of Spanish because at least I knew the difference and had a head start on him. :D
Sakari was taking full advantage of sleeping in today. It was getting later in the morning and I was starving. I'm one of those that can get up in the morning and have breakfast immediately. Hubby can't eat when he first gets up and needs hours to build up an appetite. Weird species he is. But, since we didn't have a car, we couldn't grocery shop. Oh wait, we have all the fresh fruit that was left by Ana! I spent some time slicing and dicing and presented everyobne with a plate of fruit for breakfast. Sakari was finally up and we could eat now.
Remember how the person at Hertz said they would call today when people started to return their cars? Yea, well they NEVER did! The day before Ana had told us that ISIS was a wonderful place to rent from (second time I had heard this) and had given us their phone number and directions on how to get there. I decided to look them up online for pricing. I was in luck, they were having an internet "special" and only if you booked online with them. They have some really cheap cars....IF you don't want an automatic and IF you don't want a/c. But, for a car with both of those, you are going to pay $55 a day! If you don't require all of those things, you can snag a car for $35/day. BUT....(Prices are Exclusive to Online Reservations ONLY so Reserve NOW !!)
I really hated the thought of having to pay almost double than what we had originally booked for, but...I didn't see anyone jumping hoops to give us another car. I decided to call ISIS and my first words to them ¿Hablas inglés? I was happy to hear the man on the line say "Yes!" Awesome...."Yo necesito un automovil" Wait, he said he spoke English. I need an automobile por favor! He immediately started telling these cheap prices and I ask if they were auto and with a/c...."oooohhh nooo senorita!" He told me those prices are $55/day. So, I guess booking online will NOT get you a better deal after all.
I told mi familia to get ready, we are going to ISIS for a car. I'm not wasting any more time of this precious day waiting on a call that never did come.
Ana told us that the easiest way to call for a cab is to use their facebook page. You go to "Taxis Cozumel" and put in you need a taxi from _______ then you put in your address. Sounds simple enough right? I did that and got the response "para cuantas personas" um..... ok, I'm guessing personas is people and the hubby shouted out "FOR HOW MANY PEOPLE" like he had just won that game show and wanted a prize now. I answered by saying "Tres". Hey at least I can count in Spanish...up to ten. LOL
If you answer in Spanish, you better be able to talk in Spanish because now you have given off the impression you are Spanish and really you are just flying by the seat of your pants. Their replay was "espere por favor a la 047 es una camioneta de servicios especiales" Um....ok. Time to try to break this down. I got "please" no clue what "047" meant and "services". Hmmm??? So I replied "Yo hablo inglés" and he said "Yo hablo español" Alrighty then.
As we were trying to use a translator to figure this sentence out, we heard someone outside beeping. Like within 2 minutes of starting this conversation. They would continue to beep. I'm like what is that??? Hubby looked and it was the cab. Like were they around the corner when we ask for it? That was fast! I haven't even figured out what that sentence said yet and they were here!
I was happy to hear the driver spoke excellent English, or as he said "perfect Spanglish" and I told him where we wanted to go and off we went. Even though it was a short ride to ISIS, we got in a good conversation with him about how he had been to the US and actually visited Cleveland and went to Niagra Falls in New York and Canada during the winter just to see and experience the snow. He was super nice and we enjoyed the $2.50 ride and tipped him well.
We arrived at ISIS, told him we needed a car with auto and a/c and he replies "Do you have a reservation?" Oh no, don't tell me this...I told him I just spoke with him on the phone and he managed to come up with a car no problemo!
Now of course this is Mexico, so it wasn't a luxury vehicle. There was nothing electrical...roll down windows and you had to lock each door manually...which became such a chore every time. Ugh! But it ran and drove great, good on gas mileage, and got us where we needed to go! Perfecto!
ISIS page for rentals....
Just a little tid-bit of information about driving in Cozumel:
*Streets going to or from the waterfront are called "Calle"
*Streets going parallel to the waterfront are called "Avenida"
*Almost all of the streets are one-way with the exception of the main streets
*Every other street goes the opposite way
*Speed limits in town: 30 km per hour / 18 miles per hour & open road 50 km per hour / 30 miles per hour & the main street heading to the beach clubs (once out of town) did get up to 60-80 km per hour (or around 50mph).
*Do not park anywhere the curbs are painted either red or yellow
Of course the first thing we did was head straight to MEGA for some groceries. As you walked in, there was a station with an attendant that took your temperature and had you wash your hands. Safety first! The grocery store here reminded me of the grocery stores I've been to in other places like Aruba. It's like a mini shopping mall with a clothing store and other things on one level and then upstairs was the grocery store.
The next hour of shopping would consist of struggling to figure out what we were buying in Spanish. Pictures help of course but trying to figure out the meats...that was another story.
Also since I had just had surgery on my mouth earlier that week, I needed to find some SAL (salt) because I was supposed to start doing salt mouth rinses to help with the healing process. It took awhile, but we found SAL and hamburguesa (hamburger). We grabbed some sausages for grilling, eggs for breakfast, bread, buns, and some snacks of course.
Now time to head out and down the escalator,
which I thought was really cool. It was flat and
made just for the grocery carts
Then the hubby would discover that there was some type of magnetic field that also kept the grocery cart from taking off and it would hold itself there. How cool. I guess I hadn't thought of those trying to struggle to hold it from rolling down the escalator prior to him discovering this. The look on his face was like if he just did a magic trick and magic it was!
In the parking garage at the MEGA, we would see our very first iguana...just hanging out in the sun where we parked.
Back to mi casa to put away our food and we ask Sakari "Would you like to hang out here for the day and swim and have a BBQ or go to the beach?" She immediately yelled "BEACH!" So beach it was!
A quick change into our swimsuits, gathered our snorkeling equipment and towels and it was time to experience my driving ability in the streets of Mexico. Hey at least they drive on the right side of the road instead of the left so I should be good right?
I went down my list of "beaches" that I wanted to visit and we decided to go to Playa Uvas. Prior research showed they had a $15 cover charge per person (which I had read online), which included a "welcome drink", snorkel gear and a 30 minute guided shore snorkel tour, 30 minutes of Kayaking and access to all chairs and umbrellas/wifi and hammocks.
They claim to have amazing snorkeling and service that sets them apart from other beach clubs...we are about to find out because everyone knows that's what I'm here for right?
When we entered, they only charged us $10 per person. I was ok with that. They took our temperatures and we washed our hands. Since we had only had a small fruit platter breakfast, we were already hungry! We headed straight to the restaurant and sat down. Edwin would be our waiter for the day. He ask if we spoke Spanish and one thing I remembered from Spanish class was "Un poquito" (a little and by little I meant not much lol but we would use this a lot this trip).
He handed us the menu (click for enlarged version of each page)
This would be our view during lunch:
Sakari and I ordered the chicken taco's which came with rice and beans on the side and the hubby ordered a burrito with rice on the side.
I have to say I was a little shocked with our chicken taco's came out and that was the only thing on it...just chicken on a soft taco. I guess I expected lettuce and cheese and sour cream and all the "fixins" but it was just plain. The hubby ended up giving me his lettuce and some pico and I had ordered a side of fries because Sakari and I were just craving some fries for some reason. LOL
Sakari desperately tried to get one of those Mexican singing birds to take food out of her hand of course.
I guess the food was good despite not having anything in the tacos...and I don't like beans (even though I tried it again just to make sure and the census remains the same for me...no to beans) but we cleaned our plates.
After we finished eating, Edwin cleared our plates and brought the check....and handed it to me! Wait, what? Why did he just hand the check to the woman in the party? Weird.
Then we headed out to find "the perfect spot" and Edwin set up an umbrella under the chairs we picked out. He told us he would take care of us the rest of the day and let him know if we needed anything.
Sakari immediately wanted to head to the pool to check it out and did a quick pose for me and we both went over for a little swim. You know she's growing up when she's now wearing her big sister's bathing suits! #Iwannacrynow
The pool is a pretty nice sized pool and then there is also a little small (in depth) pool for the littles.
We went to go in and I could tell by the look on her face...it was COLD! I dipped my feet in and I just couldn't do it. No Way! Why was the water so cold at our casa and this place? You would think with the Caribbean heat and sun beating down on it every day that it wouldn't be so cold.
Sakari was a trooper and determined to get that mermaid tail on and eventually she made it all the way in despite the temps of the water.
There's also a swim up bar at the pool. I can see this being a big hangout place when the cruise ships are in.
I gave up instantly, took a few pictures, then decided to head back to our lounge chairs with my feet and legs sticking out in the sun to warm up since I was now feeling like I had just did a partial polar plunge and I was cold.
On the way back I spotted another Iggy hanging out on the sidewalk
It was not long at all before Sakari was back at the beach with us. She said it was just too cold to stay in there and that was probably the reason why there wasn't another sole in the pool. I have to say the 2 iguanas we seen that day were probably the only iguanas we seen the entire time we were in Cozumel. I kept saying "Where are all the Iggys???" I'll have to see if I come across any others in my pictures, but if I do, there sure wasn't many this trip.
I really wanted to snorkel and ask Sakari if she wanted to go. She gave me a sideways look and I took that as a no. So, I gathered my things and headed toward the deck where you get in at the stairs. However, they did have sand bags right in front of the deck and it made it easy to get in and out of the water without slipping. I appreciated that for sure! I spoke to a local there and he told me that you were only allowed to go to the buoys without a life jacket (which wasn't far out at all and mostly along the shoreline). If you wanted to go out past that, they required you to wear a snorkeling vest, which you could get at their snorkel shop if you leave your license behind. He also told me that snorkeling was good along the shoreline, "out there" (pointing toward the buoys far away) and "that way", which was to the left if you are facing the water. He said there was a drop off there and there's nurse sharks, eels and rays out that way.
I had a look around for a good 10-15 minutes and honestly, there wasn't much to see but a bunch of rocks and small minnow like fish in groups.
I did manage to find this really odd looking small fish that looked like (to me) a Goby. I have never seen one that was striped with red and a black face. I tried looking it up and I still can't find anything like it. But it was definitely pretty and a good find for the day. I love finding new things.
At this point, I knew I wasn't going to see much here so I motioned for the hubby to come over and told him I needed a snorkeling vest so that I could go out further. He managed to go get .... TWO ... which meant that Sakari was coming with me!
We headed out along to the right (facing the water) because there was a strong current that pulled you to the left. We figured we would go along the shoreline and then along the buoys at the side, then out and drift back to the left.
We found a lobster under a rock, some Bermuda Chubs, Damsels, Sergeant Majors, groups of surgeonfish, some smaller parrot fish, and lot's of rocks. Maybe just a few coral here and there but nothing I would brag about.
As we went out a little further, with the current continuing to push us back, we did manage to find a lizard fish
Still not seeing much here, I'm starting to wonder where this "great snorkeling" and "best on the island" is exactly. The most we saw was boats, coming in and docking at the dock we came into the water at, over and over and over and over....it was getting annoying trying to snorkeling and having to watch out for the boats. And this was NOT a big dock! You'd see them come and people get off and others line up at the dock and get on. I imagine they were probably doing some type of snorkeling tour or something? I'm not sure because no one approached us to ask if we wanted to do a snorkeling tour and that's usually something they are all trying to push. It was just weird.
Right at the very end, we managed to spot a porcupine puffer fish. I just love these little guys! They are so cute and have such a cute personality.
We kept seeing them tell us to "get back" and giving the movement with their hands for us to move the other direction...against the current, and we were struggling a bit. Boats were just coming in and out and in and out. It was beyond annoying and you couldn't even snorkel or get to the other side the guy had told us to go to for good snorkeling (although I really doubt it was much different than the side we were on).
Finally both Sakari and I had had enough and decided to just go back and forego this adventure that was not working out due to the boats. It was just a horrible experience really. It's definitely dangerous and I don't know if it's always like that or what, but definitely not a good or safe place to snorkel!
We chilled at the beach for awhile and see another boat come in, not to the dock, but to the area they had told us to snorkel in...it looked like it was ready to eat up any snorkelers in their way.
I have to admit, traveling during COVID is absolutely amazing! Not many people around and it makes for a good beach day every time we have been somewhere during our travels during the pandemic.
I went around to take some pictures of this place while the hubby ended up having to go up to the bar to get us another pop. Edwin had left us high and dry and never did come back to "serve us the rest of the day". So much for their advertisements online to be the best snorkeling spot and the best friendly service on the island...neither were true!