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Trip Report - August 31 - September 12, 2010


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#1 Valli

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 06:34 AM

I recall some posters were recently asking for new trip reports, so I am pleased to comply.
Those who know me personally from this board are aware of the tragic issues that I faced this past year, so before I get into the actual report, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your understanding, compassion and unconditional support. You cannot know how much this helped during some very bleak times.
As such, I was not certain I would be able to make it down to the island, but realized I needed some rest and a change.
I arrived on August 31st, landed in Cancun. It took a grand total of 20 minutes to go through immigration and collect my luggage which was a record in my experience.
I had a snack and cold drink at the airport, then took the shuttle to catch the small plane at Maya Air to continue to Cozumel. I have said this before, but if you are unable to fly directly to Cozumel, I far prefer this option to the bus and ferry - while it is a few dollars more, it is much less tiring and worth it to me. Upon landing in Cozumel, you enter a building separate from the main terminal, so you miss all the sharks, which is also very nice. Very easy and quick.
I was upgraded to another villa rental, (at no extra cost), as the one I had reserved was having some repair issues. The villa was just huge and in a great location, right on 10th ave. sur. Beautiful gardens and good size pool, a large and well stocked kitchen and very good air conditioning. Although it was rainy season, it only rained once, otherwise totally sunny and hotter than I could have imagined.

Shortly after my arrival to the villa, my good and generous friend Linda Staton came by with some home made pasta salad and chili, she had also sent ahead some Coke Zeros, bottled water, bagels and jam, Sangria Lights, etc., so I was off to a great start. Linda and I hit Chedraui the next day so I could pick up some more groceries, then headed to Candela for lunch. It was a fixed price and very good. I have now developed a taste for the jicama water that accompanies the lunch.
Even with the extreme heat, I was able to get out and bike every morning, which I absolutely love, and some mornings I would stop at OXXO and treat myself to an ice coffee. They are probably full of calories, but very refreshing and tasty. I also visited Zermatt’s a fair amount for an early morning coffee and bun, (nothing like a bun still hot from the oven for 2 pesos) and made my way down to St. Martin Bakery on 30th for the flan - 10 pesos a slice and still the best.
I didn’t want to go out at and eat as much as I normally do, but here are some of the places that I did try:
Breakfast at Le Bistrot -very good, and very good coffee. Met with Carey, we had a great visit, and she looks amazing. One of my friends described Carey as looking quite “elegant” and I concur. I had poached eggs, not sure of the price, came with a delicious fresh fruit bowl and toast.
Also breakfast at the new El Maharaj on 15th with another friend. Very clean, good air conditioning, good service and reasonable prices. I had 3 thin pancakes, came with fresh fruit, toast, and unlimited coffee for about 45 pesos. Also saw some people having french toast, omelettes, fruit with granola - all looked very good and prices are all between about 40 and 50 pesos. I would definitely return. They have some nice produce for sale - I was craving cherry tomatoes and they were about 23 pesos at Chedraui and looked lousy, but the ones at El Maharaj were 19 pesos and delicious.

Lunch at La Herradura’s on 30th. Fixed price at 60 pesos and very good. I had grilled chicken, vegetables that actually had taste, and good Chinese rice, also comes with excellent jicama water, which is unlimited.

Lunch at La Jarocha (65th off 11th). I was with Linda, we originally planned to have the Chinese Buffet Lunch at Chi, but they discontinued the buffet during the low season. Darn, so we went to La Jarocha as I had eaten there twice and March and found it to be reasonable and very good. It was very disappointing this time. The shrimp cocktail was lousy - shrimp were not fresh and it was so good last time. I had a cheese quesadilla as well and it was just average. The fish which was 60 pesos in March is now priced at 90 pesos. So likely I will not return to this establishment unless I hear there has been improvement. A couple of days later, Linda dropped by and gave me a container of her home made shrimp cocktail and those shrimp were plump, fresh and juicy and the sauce was tangy and tasty. Am I lucky or what?! And I can’t continue without mentioning the home made blueberry muffins and vegetable soup from Linda. Also didn’t hurt to have a tray of Linda’s brownies, which I rationed out to myself as they are irresistible.

Lunch at Rasta’s on the other side of the island. Prices were the same, best hamburger ever for $5.00. And such a beautiful view with some good reggae music in the background.

Dinner at El Pique - bistek tacos, still tasty and reasonable, and very generous with the fillings.

Dinner from HC Monterrey on 5th - Carey had recommended the Nacional, and it was delicious. You receive a large portion of very tasty and tender barbequed thin slices of steak, well cooked charcoal baked potato with butter, grilled avocado and grilled hot peppers and lots of tortillas. 125 pesos each, and another place I would try again.

After all these years of coming to Cozumel, finally tried a hot dog from Nando’s on 11th. And yes, they are yummy. The heat was intense that night, and I was watching that poor guy cook over the grill, but they have a good system and a lot of people were stopping and picking up a dozen hot dogs to go.

Had dinner one Sunday night at Plaza Leeza on the square. It is always consistently good. I had chicken enchiladas and my friend had the fajitas - 85 and 110 pesos respectively. Stayed for a bit to hear the band, and they were most enjoyable - this was the Cuban Salsa band and the music was just perfect for the weather!

Linda and I always go to La Kinta every time I come down and we went on a Wednesday night. This was the first time I had seen the restaurant so empty, although a couple of people came around 9:30 p.m. I have always found the food to be excellent, and this time it was even better - it was outstanding, so I am pleased they are maintaining their high standards and impeccable service. We each had salads, I had the one with apple, walnuts, cranberry and blue cheese and for my entree; the pasta with grilled shrimp and Linda had the filet mignon. I had dessert which was a first for me at La Kinta - it was a Mango Cobbler and it was to die for. On the side were pomegranates drizzled with chocolate. I still think for the price, this restaurant is a very good value for the quality of food and beautiful setting in the garden.

Given the extreme heat, my friend Alicia came over a couple of times and we spent a couple of really enjoyable afternoons just drifting in the pool and visiting. Paula also came by and we spent a wonderful day at Playa Azul. It was nice and quiet and we sat in the ocean and let the waves splash over us. It was heaven. Lunch at the restaurant was fine, I had a club house and Paula had a cheeseburger, both were 85 pesos and they accept the plan locale at the restaurant. We stopped at Sedena on the way back so I could buy some vanilla. Thank you again, Paula for a perfect day!

I visited with Mike Beasley who has lived on the island for about 16 years and he is extremely knowledgeable and such an interesting person. He has the loveliest home and great pool and patio area. We had a great talk and he makes a very good cup of coffee.

Did my usual shopping at Los Cinco Soles, which is pretty well my favourite store. Brought some earrings, a toe ring, another catrina for my collection, and a couple of small gifts. One afternoon Linda took me to another great store in the square. I rarely shop there, so was amazed at the selection and prices. I don’t recall the name, but purchased some lovely earrings and another small catrina that I just love. We then went down the row to a shop by the same owner called the Mayan Pearl. Linda brought a great batik tank top for her husband, and I found this great large “Day of the Dead” skull for 200 pesos that I just had to have, as well as a neat gecko magnet. If you get down to the square, this store has got very good stock and much better selection than the usual tourist stuff.


I had never seen the island so slow, people are really hurting. Try and get down and spend some money. Charles, thanks for your emails, it turns out I did not take a taxi at all while on the island.

One of my goals of this trip was to rest, visit with good friends, make new friends, and catch up on some reading. I only ended up reading two books, but accomplished everything else. I left feeling relaxed and at peace, and a large part of that can be attributed to the dear people that are friends in the truest sense.

As usual, I rambled on and I wrote more than I intended...

Peace to all.
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Valli

#2 Kandy

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 08:42 AM

Valli

Thanks for another great report. You always bring me back home as I read. I am SO glad you accomplished your goal of relaxation. That beautiful island has always given me great peace. I can't wait to get together on your next trip in February/March. Take care and hold on to that peacefulness with all your might.

Big hugs,
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#3 Valli

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 01:37 PM

Kandy, Thank you for your recent suggestions and help. Will have everything confirmed shortly.
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Valli

#4 ccannon707

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 02:25 PM

Thanks for a nice trip report Valli. All your food experiences sound so yummy - I think I gained 5 lbs reading it :-) I put a couple places I haven't tried on my list for next time. You make another great case for visitors going out on the town to eat versus staying ensconced at an AI.

By catrinas do you mean the Calalvara Catrina skull head? I looked it up and came up with this:
http://en.wikipedia....alavera_Catrina
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...Christine

 

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

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#5 Valli

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 04:25 PM

ccannon, if you walk around town exploring a fair amount, you won't gain weight! I know there are those who have their valid reasons for going the AI route, but Cozumel has so many good places to eat that range from the inexpensively priced to high-end; so to me - that is part of what makes the vacation truly great. And of course you can keep cold drinks, snacks, etc. in your fridge. It is fun to rent a place and explore the different shops and districts and my biking around the town over the past few years has really helped in familiarizing me with the town, what route to take, etc. Even shopping for some groceries is kind of a neat experience.
And yes, the link you posted is what I was talking about re: Catrina. Los Cinco Soles has some really cool ones to choose from.
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Valli

#6 Coz2wonder

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 09:49 AM

Thank you Valli for your kind words.

Friends are there in the good, bad, sad and happy times.

P
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#7 Valli

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 08:59 PM

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Sorry, no luck in posting pictures. I will try again.
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