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October 2012 - 1


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#1 DanB

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 05:52 PM

This trip started out as a solo trip. My wife is a teacher and can't travel during the school year. I sometimes try to get some dive buddies to do a trip with me. This trip I was coming down Wednesday and two friends were joining me on Saturday. Flew Detroit, thru Houston, to Cozumel on United. Round trip flight was $505 (price dropped from 750 for a couple weeks and a grabbed the ticket then). I was a little concerned about the 50 minute layover on the way there, however the Detroit-Houston flight came into Terminal C which connects by a walkway to Terminal E (where international flights go). Only took 15 minutes to get from the landing gate to the departing gate so it worked out fine. Got to Cozumel at 11:15, thru customs and immigration pretty quickly, walked past the timeshare sales people pretending to be transportation agents and grabbed the taxivan to Suites Vima (in El Centro). Van cost was between 5 and 6 USD. Was at the hotel by 12:30. Suites Vima is a small, family-run hotel on Avendida 10 between Calles 4 and 6 (two blocks from the water, and 2 to 3 blocks from the main square. It is a simple hotel with large, clean rooms (each with a small fridge). The hotel is 3 stories, each with 4 rooms. There is a small hotplate and microwave on the landing by the second floor. This is also where the drinking water was (a 5 gallon jug with a push pump on it). There is a small eating/sitting table in each room and an outside table/chairs on the openair hallway on each floor. When I am just by myself, I try to stay in very inexpensive places. I had looked at Suites Vima during a previous trip and found it very simple but quite nice. Thru emails (probably google translated on both ends) I had arranged a price of $30 per night. Since a couple of people have asked me for more details on the place here are a few photos.



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The hotel is 3 floors with 4 rooms on each floor. There is an open air walkway/patio on each floor leading to the rooms on that floor.
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The rooms are very large. Fridge, small table and chairs, bed, dresser, bath, shower.
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The family and staff speak almost no English but that turned out to be no problem, even when I ran out of Spanish to ask questions. In terms of the facilities, they have a small pool in a small enclosed yard. I have heard people mention before that it sometimes does not have water in it due to repeating maintenance issues. That was the case this time – no water in the pool. Was not an issue for me. I learned more about water systems this trip. From what I understand, most homes pump water into tanks on the roof. Gravity then supplies the water thru pipes to the bath/kitchen. Frequently (but not always) there is a extra tank for hot water. The water in this tank must be heated when hot water is desired. I was using the sink one time and the water stopped. I asked the staff about this and they quickly turned on a pump switch and told me it would be ready in 10 minutes. Another time I could not get hot water and asked them about that and they turned on another switch and told me 10 minutes. After that, whenever I was getting ready to shower, I would ask them if there was water and hot water and I did not have any problems after that. One other thing was that the sliding window did not have a locking device on it. I mentioned this to the staff and asked if they had a broom handle that could be used as a stopper on the window. They found one for me right away and I was more assured that my room was secured when I was not there.




Once I checked in I went for a walk around El Centro. This is my 10th trip to Cozumel and the first time I have ever personally seen it rain. I have visited in January, February, May, June, September, and October and it has never rained on me. I've seen the streets wet when I come back from diving, but have never seen the rain fall. Not this time. We had several bouts of heavy rainfall but none of it interfered with any plans. I grabbed my umbrella and walked down Ave 10 to Juarez, to the square and got some pesos at the ATM at the bank on the corner of 1 and 5. Then walked down to Mega. Since it was getting close to Dias de los Muertos, I stopped by the old cemetery to see if anybody was fixing things up yet. Too early for that but I did look around some of the grave sites. At Mega I picked up my reposado tequila, eggs, ham, plastic plates and pitchers and stuff, put it in my backpack and walked back along Melgar. Not a heavy cruise day and that plus the rain kept the street traffic light.


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I also stopped by the little St Miguel church to check the mass schedule. The inside was decorated differently than before. Perhaps it was because the feast day of St Michael the Archangel was Sep 29 and they had just finished a couple days of celebrations.


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I dropped the stuff off at the hotel room and then ran over to Covi to get some triple sec. I was getting hungry so I went over to Wet Wendy's for something to eat. I had nachos with beef arrechera and the "2 margs for 100 pesos" special.


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I wondered around the square for a bit and then met up with my friend (and dive master/dive shop owner) Pancho. We went over to his house for dinner around 8. (His two teenaged kids are in the afternoon school sessions so they are in school from 2 till 8 and get home about 8:30.)


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Thursday morning we did some diving. The cost of taxi's was now about $10 each way (including tip) from the ferry dock area to the Caleta. So I decided to rent a car from ISIS (only 30 per day). When it is low season, Margarita lets me park in one of the ISiS spaces in the parking lot on calle 4, between Avenidas 5 and 10. This was only ½ block from Suites Vima so it worked out very good from me.

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While I'm talking about cars, I've noticed in the Por Esto newspaper that there is a big crackdown on too many people riding on one scooter. I saw a new one this week – a mom and a 4yr old on a scooter, the 4yr old was sitting in front with his hands on the handlebars, the mom was sitting behind him with both hands on a cell phone clearly texting as they rode down the street. Whoa!


(next one will show some underwater dive photos)
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#2 ccannon707

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:39 PM

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...Christine

 

I drink to forget, but I eat to remember.... so it all balances out

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