As it turned out, La Amada marina was part of a hotel/condo complex all set up for the rich-and-shameless. Wow! What a place! We looked a little out of place surrounded by million $++ catamarans and yachts. There were a couple of them that could have fit our whole house inside! (well, maybe not quite THAT big, but they were big) And yanno, the marina only charged $65/day with power and water included. There was also wifi, laundry (40 pesos for a wash token, 8 US quarters per dryer), bathrooms and HOT SHOWERS!! Oh, it felt like we died and went to heaven.
A “boat agent” came to the boat in just a short while and took all our information….several hours later he came back with all the paperwork done by everyone who was interested. Customs, Immigration, Health, Agriculture and probably a few others we never knew of – all gave us papers stamped with official looking icons. It sure made it all easy for us. He also set us up with a diesel mechanic. 🙂 Remember that funny little fix we did with the transmission? Well, it worked fine but the bottom end where all the real work takes place ended up going all funky, resulting in making it very very difficult to put it in and out of gear. By the time we arrived at the marina, it didn’t want to go into reverse at all unless forced.
The guys came and checked out what was going on; they ended up taking out the gear box and taking it with them to “re-machine” it. Bringing it back the next day, we found it had need to be completely refurbished. They were fantastic….working 2 days after Christmas, over the long weekend holiday period, doing twice the work expected, pickup and delivery….they charged $1500! Oh hell, in Canada, that would have taken 2 weeks, NOT over Christmas period at all, and would have cost over $3000. And “they” say Mexico is backward. Hmmpf!
We toured around Cancun a bit the next day, the 29th, having breakfast downtown and then getting some groceries. Of course, we stay away from the Zona Hotelera and go to the real downtown, buying local, eating local, etc. There was a young guy there that we met, Spencer, that had been biking all around Central America for six months and having a grand time. We also noticed a hostel just around the corner, $8 for a shared room, $10 for private including wifi, laundry, tv room, kitchenette, etc. Not bad at all for a traveller on a budget.
Getting groceries in Mexico…well, anywhere except Canada, actually…..is an experience. Everything is in Spanish, of course, even though some of the brand names are the same. Basically, its a matter of finding the section you want (ie, canned goods or laundry soap, etc) then finding something that resembles what you’re looking for. lol Thankfully, most products have pictures on them, some even have the same look to the logo (ie, Sabritos is Mexican for “Lays” sort of), some of them are the same, like Libby’s.
You can buy beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes at the grocery stores there too. Makes for a one-stop shopping experience. Of course, there are specialty stores for everything everywhere interspersed with souvenir shops. Cancun Centro is a nice place, far from the touristy Cancun – not in miles but definitely in atmosphere. A cab to Cancun Centro or back, from La Amada, was $20 USD. There is a bus you can take though, for 6 pesos.
We were on our way back from toodling around town and were waylaid by a hawker selling tours so we stopped to see what she had available. Chichen Itza was listed as $109, we got it for $80 for two, mostly because we could leave the next day. So, Sunday 30 Dec was spent in Chichen Itza. What a great great day!
They picked us up at the marina at 0700 and took us to the marshalling spot. After getting our tickets and boarding the bus, Jorge the tour bus guide talking all the way telling us about the history of the Maya, etc, we stopped first at the Chichen Itza cenote. Cenotes are sinkholes basically, some flooded and some dry. This one was flooded, it was beautiful. There were stairs cut into the side of the cavern leading down to the pool which was almost iridescent green, a shade I’ve not seen before. It is said that cenotes were used in purifying rituals by the Mayan elders and that the waters are healing and rejuvenating. All I know is that there is a very special feeling inside a cenote, especially with the sun shining a beam down through the sinkhole, softly illuminating the stalagmites and stalactites. Ahhh, beautiful! There were many many people in this particular one because it was on the tour route (there were 6 tour buses at the same time, pony rides, souvenir shops, etc), and a lot of them were changing clothes, taking pictures, etc so we were deking around them trying to see everywhere and take pictures. But it was still beautiful! I would so love to be there alone with time to take a dip and refresh and meditate and just be. 🙂
There was, of course, the ever present stop at the souvenir stores along the way which is how they make their money. The artisans have the most wonderful stuff everywhere, from carvings, paintings, silver, gold, stone, leather. We got a little patch of leather painted with the man holding up the world. We can’t carry much on the boat and we would prefer it not breakable 😉 but this is a nice little thing we can put on the wall to spice the place up a bit. Colourful.
Lunch was at a buffet featuring local foods mostly 🙂 with a specialty – the fishermen had a score day and we got iguana burritos and rattlesnake soup. Mmmm, mmm good!
On to Chichen Itza. Our tickets said we were #123, 161 and #123,162….whether that was just that day or that week, we don’t know but there were enough people there to make me think it was daily! All the way down the road to the ruins proper we “ran the gauntlet” of artisans set up alongside the path. Mucho beautiful stuff to be seen all along. At least they were confined to the one spot and we were not accosted everywhere like in other places. Our guide, Santiago, took almost an hour at the beginning showing us stuff and explaining everything and telling us of the Mayan history (as is known at this time) and he was fantastic! He was so knowledgeable and informative, he made the ruins almost come alive for us.
We didn’t get back to the marina until about 9:00 pm, exhausted from the day but so peaceful and …. just….replete. That’s a good word for it.
Jean-Marie’s nephew, David, and his friend, Melanie, joined us on the 29th to come toodle around and do some sailing. They don’t know what they’re in for! lol
We left La Amada and motored over to Isla Mujeres on Mon 31 Dec, a trip of about 3 hours all told getting out of the marina and finding the new one.