For 5 weeks I'd been aiming for being in Playa del Carmen on the 10th of November to meet a friend flying in, and that was my deadline pushing me continuously as I traveled. Suddenly, I arrived in Playa del Carmen and there was no more deadline. In fact, I found myself with an abundance of time, and not much distance left to cover in Mexico. It turns out I have a little bit of trouble handling that.
I arrived in Playa del Carmen after a short trip from Valladolid and settled into the AirBnB that we'd reserved. After the customary shower, I caught a cab to the downtown area to check it out... and was supremely unimpressed. McDonalds, Victoria's Secret, surf shops full of overpriced board shorts - it was like any prosperous beach town in the US. I'd not even planned a single day in Cancun because I was hoping to avoid a lot of that, but it appeared Playa del Carmen was infected pretty badly too.
First on the itinerary was a bus to Cancun and back to pick up Rina, a friend I met at Burning Man this year. When we got back to Playa, she was pretty tired out from a month of a pretty ridiculous work schedule and a day of travel, so we grabbed some dinner and she called it an early night. I, on the other hand, met up yet again with a pair of Italians who happened to be in the same city. There was a little bit of mezcal consumed. We did a night out on the town, and agreed to keep in touch about what we were doing the next day.
|El Doctor, el Tiburon, y La Ardilla with some nice cuban cigars and mezcal|
|This is the kind of place you might end up in Playa del Carmen. There was a giant inflated cow hanging from the ceiling.|
|Fishbowl mojitos and a guy who would adjust the umbrellas if we wanted the shade different. Not bad.|
|If I found a frisbee on the beach, I'd be throwing it. They found a soccerball, so I don't blame them.|
The main film, however, was phenomenal. It was a documentary of a group of Spanish artists who went to South Africa to use murals to inspire people who are living in poor or violent communities, called "Diamond Inside." It was really cool to see the process of how they came up with the designs, how they selected the locations, and the impact that the art had on the communities afterward. It was really well produced, and I enjoyed getting the free Spanish lesson as almost everything was in English with Spanish subtitles (though occasionally the Spaniards were speaking Spanish, and the subtitles were still in Spanish).
That night was an early one for all of us, so after the movie we planned a bit for the next day and turned in. Waking up after a good night's sleep felt pretty amazing, and Rina and I got a good start on the day and headed to a cenote. A significant portion of Yucatan is limestone, so it's dotted with little areas where the limestone has collapsed down into the water table leaving a nice swimming hole. We picked one that I'd heard was good and snagged a collectivo (small bus) down the road to it with our towels and swimming suits.
|Perfect amount of shade, and the water temp was a bit chilly though not bad.|
|It was a little busy when we got there, but soon got a little bit emptier.|
|These little guys would eat the dead skin off your feet, if you could stand the tickling.|
|Our friend sunning on the rock near our things.|
|Saw these guys for sale at a pottery vendor.|
|Margaritas and dinner first.|