Cozumel – Walk-about

The only thing I did in Cozumel after getting my internet fix was a little walk-about. Any time I had ever been at Puerta Maya in the past I always went somewhere else… either on a tour (mostly SCUBA diving) or taken a taxi from the compound to downtown. That’s where Margaritaville is.

Puerta Maya is the Carnival made for cruise ship port.

Puerta Maya is the Carnival made for cruise ship port.

This time I wanted to see what was just outside of the port area. It’s only a short walk so I took my camera and took some pics. (More posted on kokomomantoo). There’s a lot of the colorful stuff typical of Mexico. As I think about it, this really isn’t typical of Mexico… it’s just typical of the tourist areas in Mexico.

The tourist trap shops in Mexico always have colorful stuff to draw you in.

The tourist trap shops in Mexico always have colorful stuff to draw you in.

Just across the street from the port you can find scooter rentals, car rentals… two or three small bars with cheap beer… and a couple of low end places to eat. I usually get something to eat in one of those low end places. If it’s crowded with locals then you know the food is good. I speak a bit of Spanish from my time living in Spain so I can get by well enough to do okay. I also know to eat stuff that is cooked in front of me on a hot fire or in a boiling pot of water. I stay away from all the stuff that’s sitting out.

This time I had a couple of tacos. These weren’t like the ones you get at the Mexican Phone Company… Taco Bell. Instead these were rolled up in a cross between a soft corn tortilla and a piece of panita bread.  A little salsa and some extra hot sauce made it mmmmm-mmmmm good. They carved the meet right off the spit in front of me, so I’m pretty sure Montezuma’s Revenge won’t hit me. I’ll let you know tomorrow morning.

There’s a place that claims to sell Cuban cigars. I’m told that you may or may not be getting real Cubans in there. I went in but didn’t buy anything.

Los Cubanos... I don't know if they sell real Cubans or not. I didn't buy any.

Los Cubanos… I don’t know if they sell real Cubans or not. I didn’t buy any.

I didn’t spend a lot of time nor go very far on my walk-about. As you walk along the main drag toward town you see mostly the same stuff over and over. Since it’s a few miles to the downtown area… where Margaritaville is… I decided to go back to the ship. If I were going to Margaritaville I would take a taxi. But Bloody Mary was back at the ship and I decided that with most folks exploring Cozumel, it would be a good time for her and I to find a deserted hot-tub.

K M

First Live From the Breeze Post

Cozumel – Sail Away

I don’t know what it is about Cozumel… there’s always some last minute runners trying to make the boat before it sails. Maybe it’s the time change, but then there are time changes in other ports. I suspect that in Cozumel it’s more about the booze places… the tequils is free-flowing all over town.

Tequila shots are free flowing here and in all the watering holes.

Tequila shots are free flowing here and in all the watering holes.

Today was no different. “All aboard” was at 5:30 PM… SHIP’S TIME!!!! I’m sure the clock down at Senior Frogs…  or Margaritaville… or Tres Amigos showed 4:30. In a little booze induced gibberish speak, folks ordered, “Onnnne more-o fur da road-o”.

A few minutes after “All aboard” time came the announcements over the loud speaker… “Would Mr DockRunner please call guest services at 7777.” They went on to call out around a dozen names. A few minutes later they called the same names again. A couple of minutes before the scheduled sail away time, the ship’s horn blew one long blast. I’m sure that blast was heard all over Cozumel.

A couple of minutes later four people appeared at the end of the dock. “Run Forest, Run.” They tried to run, but it was a feeble effort. I don’t think their legs were working very well, but they tried. People on board the ship looking out from their balconies and upper decks cheered them on.

Another announcement went out. A bunch of people were still missing. A few more appeared at the end of the dock. They didn’t give it any effort to run. They seemed to act as if they were proud to be late. By now we were 15 minutes past sail away time. Since they didn’t make any attempt to run, they were booed when they got near the ship.

Finally the ship blew its horn three times and started to move away from the dock. I’m writing this just before going to dinner… late seating… and the announcements continue… “Would Mr. and Mrs. MissedTheBoat please contact guest services at 7777.” Well… at least they can now go back for “one more” at Senior Frogs and enjoy their evening in Cozumel.

K M

Searching for… another frozen concoction to help me hang on.

Next

First Live From the Breeze Post

Cozumel – Part 1

This morning there was a hoard of ship’s photographers to take our pics of the arrival in Cozumel. I don’t mean a couple of photographers… I mean a hoard. They are always there to slow down your exit… stopping people to take their pics on the gang plank. Today was especially aggravating. So I decided that I would take their picture as they were trying to take my picture. Some weren’t happy and some played along. (A few more pics of them over on kokomomantoo.)

IMG_1134

IMG_1150

As we speak, I’m sitting in Carnival’s made for cruise ship compound… sipping on a goooood cup of coffee. I’m here for my internet fix. I’ve just finished spending about an hour cleaning out all the junk emails that have accumulated over the last few days. I’m amazed at just how much crap I get. I did get a report on my book sales that I was hoping for. It is automatically deposited in my bank account and I made enough to buy one frozen concoction to help me hang on… as long as it’s a cheap one.

The place I’m sitting in is at the end of the compound. It’s a coffee shop and really does have good coffee. Of course, I’m really here for the internet, but I might buy their coffee even if it wasn’t for the internet. It seems every time I come here I spend quite a bit of time at this coffee shop.

Sit here long enough and you get to see some of the goings on around the compound. They have several guys dressed in Mayan Indian garb. At least they want you to think that’s what a stylish Mayan wore. I’m not so sure.

The “Mayan” poses with the tourists as they pass by and encourage them to tip for the privilege. Lots of folks take pictures from a distance with telephoto lens so they don’t have to tip anything. However, most of the folks that pose with them give a couple of bucks. In the hour or so I’ve been sitting here I’ve seen each guy pose with maybe a hundred people. Hummmm… where can I buy a Mayan costume.

Here’s what today’s well dressed Mayan wears to work at the cruise ship port.

This is what the well dressed "Mayan" wears to work.

This is what the well dressed “Mayan” wears to work.

I wonder what these “Mayans” tell their families when they go home at night. It must go something like…

“Well I had another tough day at the office. I had fourteen thousand women grab my butt… I liked it from a few of them.”

“Miguel changed places with Fred and the tourists didn’t even notice that Fred was from Vancouver”.

“Tomorrow NCL will be in with all the old people… I’ll get to ride around on all their mobility scooters.”

“Ramon didn’t tell his parents he’s a Mayan… he told him he’s a fisherman… then washes off all his war paint and changes to jeans before he goes home.”

I also wonder what they say about cruise ship passengers… probably something like, “Grande stupido touristas.”

I have a peeve I want to share with you. This one verges on ugly, but for now I’ll just put it in the bad category. When you get off the ship here in Cozumel, you are forced to go through one of those “Dufry” stores. It seems every time I come here they’ve added on to this one. It just gets longer and longer. Invariably, one of the “circus barkers” trying to sell something stops people in the narrow passages. That causes a massive traffic jam.

Today we were docked alongside the Triumph. The Triumph got there just a few minutes ahead of us. We were all trying to funnel through that Dufry at the same time… five thousand people getting herded through like cattle being driven to slaughter. I started to moooo under my breath. Really! I started mooing. Then some other people joined in. There we were… twenty or thirty of us shuffling along… and mooing.

Then someone made a sudden stop in front of us. What followed was a horrible scene. There was a 43 cow pile-up. The mooing and moaning was the worst thing you have never heard. Oh the horror of it all.

There is a wide path way beside (around) the Dufry… about half of the dock width. There’s more than ample room for all the passengers to bypass the Dufry if they wanted to allow it. But NOOOOOO… there are guards there that force us to go through the Dufry. I wonder how much Dufry pays for all of us to be forced through there.

As for me, I might otherwise buy something there. But until we are allowed to bypass the Dufry, I refuse to buy anything in there… or any other Dufry at any other port. And if forced into them, I’m going to moo all the way through. This is just one of those irritations that detract from Carnival’s cruise experience. Are you listening Dufry… are you listening Carnival.

Mooooooooooooooooooo

More later…

K. M.

Searching for… a wrecker to clear the cow pile-up.

 Next

Go to the beginning of the cruise… Day O

Cigars Under the Stars – Day 3 part 2

It’s actually day 4. But, I’m writing this as I’m waiting for the ship to pull into Cozumel to get my wifi “fix”. I want to share something with you from last night’s Cigars Under the Stars.

Last night I was sitting on the poop-deck smoking a fine Cuban cigar. Well… I really don’t smoke it, ‘cause I don’t smoke. But I always buy one in Grand Cayman, light it up, and let it burn. I do this in sorta silent protest to the US policy toward Cuba. I won’t say more than that here ‘cause you can read about that in my writings elsewhere. Suffice to say our policy is due a massive overhaul.

Anyway, I was sitting there with the Cuban smoldering away… sorta contemplating the universe. You know… wondering why we have two eyes in front and none in back… why I don’t get my own Caribbean island… and in general contemplating my navel. As I sat there, I saw a flashing yellow light on the deck about mid-ship. It was coming at me. I thought maybe we had been boarded by aliens… or maybe it was Cubans attacking.

As the flashing light got closer, it started to look something like a Zamboni. You know… one of those things that they use at hockey games for resurfacing the ice. They drive it all around the ice and when they are done the ice has a nice smooth finish.  For at least a few minutes the ice is blood free. The hockey players can then go back out to see if they can out punch each other.

As the Zamboni continued to come toward me, I thought that I must have dozed off and was having some weird Caribbean nightmare. The Caribbean had frozen over and now they were using a Zamboni to smooth it out. I thought… I would have to actually wear a jacket. Oh the horror of it all.

But then I realized I wasn’t dreamin’ at all. It was a cruise ship Zamboni … a contraption that is used to clean the decks. It looks like a small Zamboni with a squeegee on the back. Most of you have probably seen these, but I had never seen one of these in all my cruises. Way back in the olden days they had sailors swab the decks… with mops and mop-buckets. Several of the “swabbies” would line-up across the deck… mops in hand. They would slather on soapy water as they waddled backwards down the deck… working their mops side to side. Then they would be followed by another line of swabbies that would mop-up the soapy water. After a little while the deck would all spick-n-span.

It seems that the modern “cruise ship Zamboni” has done away with the need for the swabbies. This Zamboni has brushes underneath that lightly scrub the deck while soapy water is dispensed into the brushes. The squeegee at the back “grabs” the water and a suction hose pulls it back into the Zamboni.  After about ten minutes the whole port side of deck 11 was clean and spiffy… ready for the next day’s cruise frivolity.

I wonder if the Navy still has swabbies. It wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t.

Before I close this segment, I should mention that this was not a ship organized “Cigars Under the Stars” event. I asked Carnival’s brand ambassador to see if he could pave the way to make it ship wide event… but that didn’t happen. So I organized a “mini” version on the highest smoking deck as far aft as you can get. We were doing about 18 knots. If there was anyone bothered by the smoke, they were flapping their wings.

We are pulling into Cozumel now so it’s time to go ashore and get my internet fix.

More later…

K. M.

Searching for… a wifi.

 Next Post

Go to the beginning of the cruise… Day O

Day 3 Grand Cayman – Part 2

There I was… in the middle of no-where. I was about to venture down a little dirt path into the jungle… not knowing what was there that might eat me.

After I walked about 25 yards down into the jungle I could see the ocean. Actually, it was a little narrow dirt road going toward the ocean. It didn’t appear there would be anything more dangerous than a few lizards, camellias, and green iguanas. This was one very secluded beach. It was clearly not one of those manicured tourist beaches of Seven Mile Beach on the west end of the island. This beach is almost as nature left it. The ocean had washed ashore a lot of sea grass… some drift wood… and trash from somewhere in the Caribbean.

IMG_1044

The beach along the shore wasn’t very big… maybe about ten or fifteen yards from the edge of the jungle to the water. And I was the only person there. I thought to myself that this would be that secluded beach I had been looking for to take someone special… a place to go skinny dippin’… and maybe a little “hanky-panky”. Then my little daydream was over.

I went snorkeling in the pristine, clear water out to the reef just off shore. The water was calm and warm. Today it was about 86 degrees. I would have loved to stay there and go for another snorkel out from the cliffs or just down the beach. But I wanted to be conservative with my time. After all, I wanted to get back to George Town in time to have a frozen concoction to help me hang on at Margaritaville. Not to mention… I didn’t want to watch the ship sail off into the sunset. So, I hiked back up to the road.

Then it hit me. I had not seen another human being since I got off the bus. It could be a long walk back to the ship. I went back up to the road where the bus dropped me off. NOTHING!!! Not a single car on the road in either direction. I started my hike. I really didn’t know how far I might have to go. I still had about three hours to make it back so I had plenty of time… I hoped.

Well… you already know I made it back. But I did start to get worried. I walked toward the nearest town… Old Man Bay. I knew that was four or five miles away. After about 30 minutes I had not seen a car or anything coming down the road. I didn’t really know how far I had to go. After a while longer, a couple of cars came by. There was human life out here after all. Then, after I had hiked for about an hour, I finally saw a bus coming toward me… going in the direction I had just hiked from. I could have stayed where I was and just waited by the edge of the road. DOH!

It didn’t matter which direction it was going. By this time I was ringing wet with perspiration. It was about three degrees cooler than a witches caldron out there. I waved the bus down. I knew as long as I got on and stayed on, it would take me back to the bus station in George Town. I climbed in and to my amazement, the air-conditioning was working… I might survive after all.

It only took a few minutes for me to recover from my heat induced delirium. I was able to finish some of my fact finding on the bus ride. In particular, I wanted to take a look at some of the other beaches along the route. The only road back toward George Town runs right along the ocean.

From my earlier visits, I knew there were a number of public beaches for folks that want to get away from the masses in the tourist areas. These all looked like nice little beaches with rest-rooms, gazebos, and food/drink nearby. For this trip I was there on a Wednesday and the beaches were all virtually deserted. In the middle of the week, some of these might be a good place to get in that skinny-dippin’.

As it turned out, I got back to George Town and Margaritaville in plenty of time. All in all, it was “mission accomplished”. I got the stuff to finish off my book. I met up with Bloody Mary… She had been on the Dolphin Discovery “Swim With the Dolphins” tour. We went to Margaritaville for a frozen concoction to help us hang on. Then I went to Churchill’s to buy a couple of fine Cuban cigars for later tonight. (I don’t smoke them… I just buy them, but don’t get me going on this.)

Bloody Mary and I did a little walk-about in town… this was her first time to Grand Cayman. It doesn’t take long so we walked along the bay to the end of the shopping area. The pic below is from the Eden Rock Dive Center at the far end of the shopping area. The ship in the background is the Magic that was in town the same time as us. (I too some more pics an they will be posted on kokomomantoo.)

At the Eden Rock Dive center. The Carnival Magic is in the background.

At the Eden Rock Dive center. The Carnival Magic is in the background.

After our walk-about, it was back to the Royal Watler terminal… to the long line waiting for a tender back to the ship. The wait in that line was almost as long as my hike through the boonies of Grand Cayman.

K.M.

Searching for… a drink of the day

 Next Post

Go to the beginning of the cruise… Day O