Thursday, September 17, 2009
5 days with “Hoo-lia” - DAY One
Photo by Julia Aron
Where to start? It’s been quite a week here in Mexico. Julia arrived on Friday afternoon and I was thrilled to have some company. I picked her up at the airport in Cancun. We rented a car for the time that she planned to be here. I negotiated a deal for a week and was so happy to have some wheels for a change.
We headed south with the intention of stopping in Playa Del Carmen for some lunch. Julia had never been to this side of Mexico before so I wanted her to see as much as possible. Since Cancun had no appeal to either one of us, we were off to Playa, about 45km south of the airport which takes about 30-45 minutes depending on traffic.
Playa Del Carmen or “Playa” as known to the locals, is considered the “city”. It’s much bigger than Tulum and over the last several years, has become quite a popular tourist area. I’ve been several times, only for a few hours, but my feeling is that it’s not as americanized as Cancun, though it’s certainly close. There’s Walmart and Starbucks and Sam’s Club and Office Depot – need I say more?
With both hands on the wheel (no power steering) and mi amiga by my side, I felt more adventurous than I had in days. We turned right off the highway, just north of the main Avenue de Constituyentes because I’d heard from some of the locals that the north side of Playa is nicer and less gentrified. Julia knows Spanish so it was fun listening to her call out the signs she’d see as we passed them.
We ended up on the north side of 5th Avenue and I wasn’t sure if we’d missed the “cool” area. It’s kind of hard to find something when you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for. We settled on a spot that served Mexican food and enjoyed some guacamole and fish tacos. Afterwards, we walked around a bit and dipped into a few shops when the skies opened up washing the streets for a good fifteen minutes. We waited it out in a jewelry store / tequila bar browsing but not drinking.
The rain stopped and then started again so we decided to walk back to the car in spite of the rain.
Forty five minutes later, we arrived in Tulum, did some food shopping and headed directly to the beach. It was close to 6pm, but I didn’t want her to wait until the morning to see the ocean and connect to the fact that she was truly in Mexico. After that we headed to mi casa. Julia was pleasantly surprised at my digs for the month, which by the way, are really nice. I joke that I’ve been “living in a palace” to which she agreed enthusiastically.
She settled in and we poured ourselves a drink and headed over to Casa Dos. I wanted to introduce her to my “posse” – Ron and Matt, with whom she hit it off immediately. We originally planned to have a drink with them and then head out to dinner, but they’re so easy to be with, we ended up staying for dinner and many more drinks. It was so much fun.