Viva Mexico!

Trip Start Nov 04, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Rosemary Shiosai Minamiboso
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Mexico  , Yucatan Peninsula,
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh. My. God.

Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur-Taipei-Los Angeles-Houston-Mexico City-Cancun-Playa del Carmen: 40 hours of planes and airports and vallium and more planes and more airports and when I finally arrive I'm so brain-blended I can't even bring myself to go out and get drunk. Still, sucked it up and that's the worst of my flights over & done with....

At last, I'm somewhere new!  A quick recce during the day confirms first impressions - this is a night-town pure and simple.  The man-made beach is okay but a bit lounger-tastic for my tastes, and Playa as a city is so developed that there's not a palm tree in sight.  Wandering up the beach I was a bit concerned - nothing but huge resorts with rows of American & European tourists sunbathing with the obligatory Pina Colada in hand, or taking a massage with the uniformed staff in purpose-built gazebos.  Parasailers, wind surfers, and jet skis buzz back and forth while beautiful bronzed gym-monkeys strut the sand conspicuously flaunting their ipods - overall very reminiscent of Miami beach.

Thankfully it's not all that bad though, with development comes convenience and, most importantly, night-life.  The town centres on one crazy street - 5th Avenida - which morphs from a fleamarket at one end sporting the very tackiest of souvenirs and trinkets past chains like Burger King and Starbucks through upmarket clothes, sports & jewellery shops to increasingly more impressive restaurants at the opposite end, some 20 blocks North.  Off this main avenue are countless 'Calles' or side streets which is where the myriad bars, pizza stalls, hotels and night clubs are to be found. Absolutely everything is on offer here - loud, garish or ultra-hip nightclubs, reggae-themed beach bars, live band venues, cocktail joints and local watering holes, with the usual shady geezers hanging in the shadows doing their best to sell you a one-way trip to the local nick. This is more like it.

Of course to make up for being lame and going straight to bed on my first night, I redouble my efforts the following evening and after a bit of research head for a local expat bar, The Dirty Martini. It certainly lives up to its name. Joined at various points by a series of fantastically weird individuals, I made my way through 11 of the 13 Martinis on the menu which, if they weren't alcoholic enough to run a car, could all pass as desserts in a high end restaurant.  Absolutely the last thing I remember was someone handing me a brimmning shot (which in Mexico is more like a mug) of some lethally specialist Tequila, and then it all went very blank.  A few subjective moments later I woke up as dawn was breaking, sat pefectly upright in a chair in my hotel reception.  I have no idea if I even paid for my drinks, let alone how I made it back 15 blocks to the hotel yet didn't manage the last 20 yards to my room.  The only clue I have was the look on the security guard's face when I woke up to find him grinning knowingly at me from behind the counter. I thought it best not to ask....

Lesson learnt, I've spent the rest of the last week focused a bit more on daytime activities. At the start of the week I met up with an ex work colleague, Mark Ormesher, who left the city life behind last year to become an underwater videographer out here.  He specialises in cave and cavern diving, and very generously took me out for a personal dive in one of the local Ceynotes.  These comprise a huge network of once-dry subterranean caves which have now become filled with fresh water as the water table has risen over the last few millennia.  Thought of by the Mayans as entrances to the after-world, these submerged caverns make for some absolutely awesome diving.  There's not much I can say to properly describe the experience except that it is not as claustrophobic as you expect, and because it is fresh water the diving is way more relaxing than in the sea. You don't need weights so you have much better buoyancy control, there's no current, the visibility is in excess of 100metres and you don't have the ball-ache of having to head straight for a shower afterwards.  Check out the videos for an idea of what it's like.

The rest of the week has been spent exploring, shopping and doing a couple of sea dives (unsuccessfully trying to swim with a group of 15 bull sharks that frequent the area) and meeting up for meals & drinks with Mark & family.

It is now Christmas Day and it's time for me to sign off & get ready for Christmas dinner chez Ormesher.  I can breathe a sigh of relief as at last my blog is fully up to date!

Tomorrow morning first thing I'm off to Belize for sailing trip then partying with Tom for New Year's Eve.

A very happy Christmas and New Year to everyone, next update 2012....
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Lil' Bro on

I hope we don't have to wait till 2012 for the next update.....

Wayne on

Happy New Year to ya, looks and sounds by your blogs like you're having an amazing time... Rock On Fella!

Jason G on

Ollie happy new year mate!

Diving looks great !

I'm glad you had time to meet up with Orm...

Hope you had a good Christmas. Happy new year!

James on

The photos of the dive rock Oli, nice one.

Orm on


He disappears three hours south into the ends of Mexico, with no electricity, no running water and bugger all in the way of anything AND he stops updating his Blogg.

Come on fella, priorities! Put the fish down and lets get some updates yeah?

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