Trip Start Nov 04, 2010
10Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Coco Rio Playa del Carmen
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Read my review - 4/5 stars
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
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
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
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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