Day 4: Going snorkeling
Since yesterday was a "big day" (big=expensive) that meant today would be our "off" day. I wasn't quite sure what we were doing yet but waking up at 4:30am because my arms fell asleep on me, my belly was growling and hungry and I had the urge to potty (and by potty I mean POTTY) meant I had plenty of time to figure it out. Geesh what was wrong with me. I just couldn't go back to sleep for some reason so I guess that meant I was staying up.
I headed out to the deck in the dark to wait out the hours before sunrise. Tick tock, tick tock. I decided to head down for a snack and some caffeine because if I'm up, I might as well be up. Eventually it started getting lighter outside and it was SUNRISE TIME! This morning was looking like it was going to be a firey sunrise.
Yep, it was a firey ball of light and you could already feel the climate change this early. It was going to be a hot one...but when wasn't it during this vacation?
Since I had plenty of nothing-to-do-but-stare-at-the-sky-time, I was able to go through my list of things I wanted to do while we were here. I decided today we would go to Garrafon de Castilla. I knew it was pretty cheap to get in and had read there was snorkeling there and snorkel is what I like to do most...so might as well right?
The hubby was up at 7am and we did our morning ritual...open up the window and sliding doors out back to get rid of the heat on the first floor, load up on caffeine, and since it was so hot outside by now, I went and got my bathing suit on and decided either 1) I'd already be ready for the day or 2) I'm getting in our pool to cool off before we leave.
On my way out to our patio pool, as I went to step into the water I felt something hit the side of my foot and looked down and found this angry guy ready to tear me to pieces.
He looked not only pissed but pretty darn intimidating. I didn't even know they spread their wings like that. All my life I have held praying mantis's and never seen one do that. I must have come really close to stepping on him or something. I guess they make them feisty in Mexico.
Hija was now up and came to examine the situation. She picked it up hoping her animal instincts would calm it down...but no! It didn't work and she couldn't get it off of her. It started pinching her and there was no calming it down. We had to use the camera to get it off of her and then it wouldn't come off my camera. It kept one leg on the camera strap and every time I tried to pull the strap away, it would grab it real quick. Geesh, never in my life have I witnessed this.
Eventually Sakari picked it back up and she managed to put it in the palm trees by the pool and finally the wings went down.
I decided to make breakfast and I had brought pancake mix in a jug with me. The kind you just add water and shake and it's ready. Well you are supposed to put 1/2 a cup of water in it. I wasn't sure if I could trust the water from the sink so I used some bottled water from the refrigerator instead.
I poured in 1/2 a cup...it didn't do much of anything and was clumpy. I poured in another 1/2 a cup. Still clumpy. What was going on??? I poured in another 1/2 a cup. A little better but not running enough to pour out. Then I just stopped measuring and started pouring water in. Is this Mexican bottled water different than ours? Something was definitely wrong. I make these all the time and never had this problem.
It was time to try to cook this blob of dough...how can someone mess up an add water and shake meal? Obviously this girl. I was crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.
It got the approval of the family when it was done so I guess that's a good thing. I seriously don't know what happened. So weird.
Well, we were supposed to go to Ciro's for a gas fill up every 2 days and we are now on day 4. So, we decided to head out and get our gas before going anywhere.
Along the way and snapping pictures of course...
This guy made it across the road just in time.
While we were filling up our gas at Ciro's, I decided to head next door, to Banco Azteka, get some dollars exchanged to peso's. We were running a little low after giving Squalo's most of it the day before of our last excursion.
When I got there, the line was almost out the door. I had seen pictures of this place and the people waiting in line but didn't realize it seemed to always be like this.
I stood there for awhile and the line didn't even move. There's no way I'm about to wait this long to exchange money. I'll go to the ferry terminal before waiting this long.
I have to say this was the weirdest bank I have ever seen. It was inside a place that sells electronics and appliances. I read it originally was a place for the locals to pay their weekly payments on the items purchased there (I'm thinking like a Rent-A-Center) and then it somehow morphed into a bank as well. Super weird to me.
When I came out the hubby was down the street parked and waiting on me. He said they told him he had to move so others could get in/out so he went around the corner. No problemo.
So off we went (snapping pictures of course) and I told the hubby to just go to the ferry terminal and exchange to peso's. So quick and easy and I really didn't care that they say the exchange rate isn't as good as at a bank. It's worth it to not wait in line.
Sent the hubby to exchange the money while hija and I sat in the Jeep in the heat...whew it's hot. It was always comfortable when we were moving in the golf cart but you stop, then you roast!
Gassed up, money exchanged...now it's time to head to Garrafon for some snorkeling. Garrafon is located on the south end and the admission price to get in is $150 pesos (which equals around $7.45 US) or if you are paying with US it is $9.00. See how you save if you have pesos?
We used my MapsMe and it was an easy find.
Look at that beautiful water and we haven't even made it in yet.
They do give you wrist bands to wear after you have paid.
Now this place does have a lot of steps and sits up on a hill. However, it did have a wheelchair ramp and that made it easier on me thank goodness.
We looked around for a spot to sit. There was plenty of lounge chairs in one area, but I decided to keep walking and we found a spot all alone, with 3 chairs, under a coconut tree up high overlooking the beach area. The loungers at the beach were all taken I might add. Hubby sat down and said "I hope I don't get knocked out by a coconut"
It was so hot so hija and I headed down to the water to cool off. Hubby snapped this picture of us. Can you tell I was ready for some snorkeling?
We decided it was time to head out and see if the snorkeling was any good. I had the older GoPro and Sakari had the new one.
Large Blue Parrot Fish. The blue parrot fish are the ones that get the largest.
A very large school of fish. They were everywhere by the rocks.
A lonely red sea fan. It was the only one that I seen. :(
As we went around the rocks to the left, it started to get interesting. There was more coral, anemones everywhere and hundreds of schools of fish everywhere. I mean there were a lot! It was so pretty.
Yes, those are all schools of fish all over the coral.
It was time to head back. I was struggling a little bit because I didn't bring my fins out with me. The water was pushing us in a direction and it was hard to stay put for pictures. Then my hair got caught in my mask and I couldn't get it out. I had to swim back for my hubby to rescue me.
When we got back to the hubby, he detangled my hair and I told him I really needed my fins. But, when I looked in the bag, they were not there. Oops! I had forgot to pack them. So, I made the executive decision to drive back to the house and get them. Our place was a 3 minute drive from Garrafon so that made it nice.
After returning, the hubby and Sakari were laughing and said "Remember how I said I hope I didn't get hit by a coconut? Well....one fell on me after you left. Hit me in the leg" We were in the danger zone but since it was so hot, we decided we'd take our chances of another one falling. The shade was worth it.
I did go back out with my fins and that made it a lot easier. However, I have no idea which pictures I took that second time around so they are all included in the above pictures. Sakari decided to stay back on the second time and she went around taking pictures of the flowers and iguanas around Garrafon.
When I was done snorkeling, mi familia was saying they were hungry. So we decided to order 2 plates of taco's (it came with 3 on each plate) and an order of chips and gauc. When it came we ask for an extra plate and the hubs and hija took one of theirs to share with me, so we each had 2 tacos and chips. It was very yummy and it wasn't long before the iguana close to us come running knowing it was lunch time.
Our bill for our food, plus 3 rounds of drinks (and we took 2 to go) came to $45 US or 710 pesos (which would be around $35). Again...saving money by using pesos instead of dollars. Be aware that this place does add in 15% for a tip on the bill. It was the only place we encountered that did this so read your bills when they come. When the hubby paid, he came back with different peso coins and presented them to me as if he had won a trophy. He knew exactly what I was going to do with them. I have a shadow box that says "Adventure fun" and it has different kinds of money from everywhere when been that we've collected.
We decided to head out to the water to cool off and Sakari would bring her water ball with her and we stood out in the water playing ball for quite some time. Her favorite thing to do in the water over the last 2 years.
A picture looking back at Garrafon showing the beach area and chairs by the water.
It was getting later in the day and Sakari gave her famous words "What time are we leaving" and I knew that was her signal that she was ready to go. We gathered our things and said goodbye to the iguanas and headed out.
Here is my video from Garrafon de Castillo today. Please like, comment and subscribe. Hopefully you'll find it informative. It takes a full day to create these videos and put it all together...but I'm learning.
We headed home and hung out in our patio pool for awhile. I noticed my foot was swelling a lot on the side that never swells. That was weird. It would be like this the entire vacation too. I wonder why.
After awhile, we decided to shower and get ready to head into town for the evening and do a little bit of shopping and watch the sunset on the beach.
On the way there, we took the back road along the ocean and the hubby discovered Isla's skate park. He had to stop and take a look at it (he's a skater). It was pretty run down and he said there were a lot of ramps you would never be able to skate without wiping out. There was rotted wood and decaying metal rails. The entire time we were here and would drive by, there was never anyone there. I don't know if it was from the heat or it's just not being used. Actually, we did see a family there pushing their kid in a stroller one night. LOL If you can count that as using the park.
Ok, time to move along...let's go hubby...I need some air. Oh em gee it's hot!
Driving past my favorite building...snap snap snap
We found a place to park on the main road and headed out to do some shopping.
We were parked right beside one of these...not sure what they are called or used for. Is this something like saving pop tabs back home? They donate to a special place? Ours is the Ronald McDonald house. But these were all the plastic lid tops. Sakari made sure to donate hers for whatever the cause was.
We headed down the main road and toward the Norte Beach area.
We walked along the beach, as others were gathering to watch the sunset, and discovered this beautiful sand castle someone had made.
Sakari had to put her mark on the beach too...
As the sun was setting, I think our brains were too...
We were taking pictures of Sakari on this palm tree that was hanging sideways. As we snapped pictures and daddy was telling her "pose this way, pose that way" she said I don't know what to do and gave us this pose instead...
We headed back out to the main road and decided we'd go over to the "shopping" area and find a pharmacy to buy some bug spray since the family was getting ate up both outside on our patio and inside from having the windows and doors open. I was the only one not being ate alive. I guess I'm just too sour for their liking. I seem to always be like this. Bugs usually don't bother me the way they do Sakari and the hubby.
The main shopping area/street vendors are located along a street that no traffic is allowed and between Av. Guerrero and Av. Juarez I believe it is. There are plenty of places to eat and shop along this area and it is the busiest area in town. You will find a lot of the dive shops here, some hotels, golf cart/bike/scooter rentals and TONS of pharmacies of course. There are also a lot of food vendors and that's where you will find your cheap food that is awesome!
We walked down the main strip for shopping and visiting various vendors along the way to get some souvenirs (and pick up a prize for my game I played for guessing where we were going).
As we slowly made our way down the street, we came to an area (I assume it was the el Centro of town) and it was all open. They were setting up for some type of show or event. They had chairs out and a big stage.
I watch a few couples on youtube that travel all over Mexico and had some idea's of some food I wanted to try from vendors that they talk about all the time. One of those items was a marquesita. I found a food vendor that had marquesita's and churro's (we tried for the first time years ago in Puerto Rico and loved them). So, I knew I had to get one. I ordered one with nutella and banana's. Sakari decided she wanted churro's. They were 40 pesos each (or about $2 US)
Making my marquesita...
Making fresh churro's for Sakari
And now to try them...
Ahhh yes! Delicioso! Sakari liked hers too. I'm not a chocolate lover so the Nutella I probably could have done without. Slap some peanut butter on there and I would have been happy. But it was still good and I enjoyed every bit of it...down to the last crunch!
We sent the hubby over to the Super Aki behind the vendors for some pop to wash it all down with. We waited and waited and waited. Finally Sakari and I decided to go see what was going on and the amount of people in the store was crazy! The lines were super long and you could barely move. Once the hubby got up to the register and paid, the cashier said she didn't have change and held onto the money waiting for more people to pay with cash. We waited and waited and about 10 people later she gave us our change. Hubby said "Never again. I will not come back to this store for pop!" Pop for all of us was 30 pesos (or about $1.48). I'm not sure why it was so cheap because we gave her 200 pesos and she gave us back 170 pesos. Hey, I'm not complaining. Sakari loves juice and especially apple juice. They hubby got her some apple soda, not knowing it was actually SODA and she had the weirdest look on her face when she gulped it down. We would then discover it was apple pop. I tried it and actually liked it.
So we purchased a few more souvenirs and kept walking.
Then we came to an area that looked like a small fair with games to play, rides and bounce houses and this is almost where my story ends...
As we walked around the area and checked everything out, I didn't know if this was some special event or if it was here all the time, but everyone looked like they were having fun.
Sakari points at the ride that is going around in a circle and up and down and says "I love that ride!"
We walked on down a bit and came to the end of it. It was pretty small and less than a block long. It was along the waterfront area.
We came to the end and sat down on the concrete barrier by the water and rested. We watched the ride in front of us, which was basically a tilt-o-whirl in my day and age, in Kendra's she refers to it as the Strawberry ride, and this ride went on and on forever! Sakari said "That looks like so much fun!" Then she was making comments about how long the ride lasted and how our fair rides at home it seems like you wait in line for an hour, get on and a minute later you are getting off. Well, this ride lasted many songs long! Those people had to be sick by the time they got off.
Of course the US has so many restrictions but here in Mexico... they throw caution to the wind and all bets are off when it came to safety. We watched the carnie running the ride jump on the platform that was going around with the riders and walk it as it would spin. Then he started jumping ON different spinning cars and swirling them around making them go faster as he was standing ON their cart as it went around." WOW!" Sakari screams! "That would never happen back home...oh my gosh it looks like so much fun!" I look at her while almost puking in my mouth from the thought of how fast they were spinning and for how long and said "yea how crazy is that?" Then the actual begging began...I just knew it. Sakari never asks for anything and never has growing up...but this, the danger puking machine she was asking for...begging for...she just HAD to ride it. We have stopped riding fair/carnival rides for several years now because there seems to be so much in the news about how fast they throw these up and all of the accidents and deaths. We had a death a few years ago at our state fair with these rides and the lack of safety inspections. But, Sakari got the best of me so I decided to go up and ask him if we needed to buy tickets or pay cash and where. He spoke no English but was with someone that told us $7 for us to ride US dollars.
We went back and told the hubby and I needed to sit down and think about this. How much did I value life at this point? How badly did I need another injury? What would my kids back home think if I died on a dang tilt-o-whirl? I can just hear my eulogy now "She felt the need to end her life in a foreign country riding a carnival ride just to please her child. That shows the love and devotion she had for her children but was it worth it? Yes, she went out with the biggest smile on her face and laughing like she had never laughed so hard in years."
Ok, we were doing this dangit! Sakari had talked me into it. The hubby absolutely refused and preached to us about how sick we were going to be when we got off. But here we go!
Onto the ride we went and picked our cart. There were no seatbelts strapping you in. The bar you pull over you doesn't lock...hold on, it's going to be a wild ride! You could tell the ride was old and you could see rust in areas. Am I really doing this? How safe is this? Oh em gee!
So the ride started and immediately the carnie started hoping on it as it started moving. Let the fun begin.
Look at that smile on her face
Sakari was laughing and screaming and squealing and having such a good time. Truth be known, we both were. It was so much fun and we were really spinning!
Hubby was filming our entire ride...all of it (so all of these pictures were taken from the video which is why they are not as clear since we were in motion and having to stop the video to get a screenshot....well, it's not the greatest). Just look at that smile and laughter. I love it.
The carnie jumping on the cart as people went by so that he could spin them.
And then it was our turn...he jumped on our cart and started spinning us so fast. I think we were both laughing and squealing so much that we were crying. Oh my gosh I felt like a kid again. It was so much fun. If you watch him in the video (at the end below) you'll see him dodging around the carts as they spun by, grabbing them and spinning them...and then actually jumping on the carts and riding them. If you watch the way he moves, swings his arms, spins his body in different directions, I can 99.9% guarantee this guy is a break dancer. For real. No joke.
Sakari was trying to high-five me on the ride while we were spinning and we were going so fast that we couldn't connect. We just laughed and laughed.
Despite how long we had been on the ride, we pouted when it finally ended. We got off looking like it was 2am and leaving the bar. The hubby was asking if I was ok and yep, I was more than ok. Sakari and I couldn't stop laughing and smiling and nope we weren't sick. Walking back to the golf cart it's all we could talk about.
On the way home, we decided to go a different way and we managed to find the "Rainbow Stairs" that I had seen online. We were going to have to go there one day for pictures and it was on my to-do list. We also passed by the airport generator and I tried to capture the sound to show just how loud this thing is! It's like a jet engine taking off. I don't know how people sleep with this thing on. I'm pretty sure I have other videos during the week that I recorded it as well. The video doesn't even begin to show how loud this thing is.
We arrived at home, I uploaded my pictures and videos from the day and I was worn out. I messaged Kendra to tell her that her sister tried to kill me tonight and I got THE biggest lecture from her about being on rides like that and how could I? I felt like a scolded child that had snuck off and did something wrong and she was the parent grounding me. She's like "I don't even know what I would do if something happened to you in a different country." I told her not to worry, I had given Sam instructions prior to me getting on the ride. She didn't find that funny...so off to bed we went. Another big day tomorrow.
Here's a video of us walking around el Centro in the street shopping area, trying vendor food for the first time, the street fair and especially us on the ride...you HAVE to watch this guy (especially toward the end when he jumps onto our cart) he was just crazy weaving in and out of the carts as they spun around. One of these days, he's going to lose a foot! Then a small clip of Sakari doing her part in collecting bottle caps, riding home and the loud airport generator.
Here's a video of the loud airport generator