Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009-10 Blog Moved

For 2010 we RENAMED our blog so that only the 2009-10 posts are displayed. Click this link to go to 2009-10 posts .
The 2008-9 blog will no longer be updated but will remain here for reference to last years trip details.
I also posted a Slide Show of our Fall Mexico Pictures with subtitles.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Feliz Navidad - Merry Christmas

We are back in Ohio for a family Christmas and wanted to wish all the readers of our blog a Merry Christmas. Here is a little entertainment for your pleasure.

For 2010 we will move our blog so only the 2009-10 posts are displayed. Click this link to go to 2009-10 posts

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Invaded by Mexican College Students

Late afternoon on Sunday two big tour buses rolled in with 100 college students from Mexico City on some kind of one week class. It was good for MecoLoco but bad for us three campers. They began to set up their dozens of tents everywhere, including within a few feet of our campers. They seemed fairly quiet until the ones behind our camper started drinking.

By about 11 pm we got pretty tired of listening to the loud laughter, Peggy went out and seemed to quiet them down for the night, although at 2 AM, I could still hear them. I said, I’ll bet they don’t get up at 6 AM when the sun rises and we get up. Wrong, somebody got them up for their group breakfast which wasn’t even served until 9 AM. They went to Chichen-Itza for the day and one of their buses broke down so they didn’t return until 1:30 AM.

We left, while they were still in camp, to walk around the city of Cancun. When we were here 24 years ago, the city had a few stores and some residential streets where the people that worked in the new hotels that were being built in the hotel zone lived. That year there were 1500 hotel rooms, 18,000 inhabitants and 100,000 tourists. Now, there are 24,000 hotel rooms and 500,000 residents and millions of tourist visits. They now have several large malls, hospitals and thousands of small stores. It is a big metropolis. After our long walk we caught a bus and then a collectivo (mini-van) back to camp.

When we got back to our RV we found that someone had sat on our little aluminum end table and totally destroyed it. The next day we asked the students camped near us if they did it, all of a sudden they couldn’t understand English. We found their instructor who promised to pay for it, but I checked and couldn’t find any company that sells this nice light weight aluminum table any longer. Now I’ll wait to see if he actually pays for it. Cost me about $25, two years ago.

The one good thing is that their instructor made them move their tents far away from our RV. Of course they were even louder and stayed up to 4 AM but we could barely hear them.

We will print up our boarding passes today and get our small backpacks ready to fly out on Thursday at noon. We have no winter clothes with us so will will freeze when we get to the 30oF weather in Cleveland. We will have to catch a collectivo to the bus station and then an airport bus. We will leave our RV here until we return on January 3rd. Hopefully, like last year, everything will be OK.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

El Día de La Virgen de Guadalupe

The people in Mexico seem to like to celebrate a lot. From our first week in La Pesca where they had a big Independence Day parade to the past week driving through the Yucatan where we came across parade after parade. We saw bicyclists on the Cuota (turnpike) with large pictures of the virgin on their backs.
We went out to dinner on Friday, December 11th and drove past at least 5 different parades going down Ave Bonampak. On Saturday morning a small parade came right past our campground to the little church up the road which has ocean front property. This was all to celebrate their big holiday, Dec 12th in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day.
Here is a video showing some of the scenes that we have seen in the past week filmed by the website Yucatan Living, Virgin Video the site includes some explanation of the holiday and how they filmed it. The video is at the bottom of their page.
Our free dinner was at a pre-opening of Chili’s new restaurant at the big mall, Plaza Las Americas. The campground owner knew someone who gave him the coupons for free dinners. John & Elsie have a pickup truck, so we went out to dinner with them. The dinner was free so that they could practice with their new staff, a day before their grand opening. We got to select from 4 different menus and it was all free. They gave us a bill so we could see what it would have cost and so we could leave an appropriate tip for our young waiter, who was really trying to learn better English. Of course his English was already ten times better than my Spanish.
I didn’t have high expectations since I had eaten at a Chili’s in the states and it was so bad I couldn’t eat it. All of our meals were great. I had Salmon, Peggy a big hamburger, Elsie had a huge chicken salad and John had a huge appetizer .
We did a 16 mi round trip bike ride on Friday out along Isla Blanca to a little tent campground with small cabins and a restaurant called Captain Morgan’s. They have a great beach where you could walk for miles and never see another person. Peggy was very tired from the heat and her first long bike ride. On Sunday we did half the ride and she sprinted though with no problems. It is cool in the morning but by the time you get back it gets pretty hot. If fact, when we got back we turned on our A/C since at 9AM it was already 90oF.

We took an afternoon beach walk. I’ll try to take some more pictures tomorrow..

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cancun – MecoLoco

See Map9

MecoLoco campground early Tuesday. We camped next to our friends John & Elsie who we met along the way last year.

We will stay here until we fly home on Thursday 12/17.  When we return from our holiday, we plan to stay here until 1/08/10, this way we can get their low monthly rate. John will keep and eye on our camper while we’re gone.
Mariano, the campground owner, keeps the place very clean. He just rewired many of the campsites so they have 30 amp service but still only a 20 amp plugs. The power is good enough to run your A/C.

I did a little vegetable shopping on my bike today. A nice stand with low prices is in Puerto Juarez about 2-1/2 mi away.

There is a problem with beach access, the homes across the street completely blocked anyway to get to the beach so you need to walk 1/4 mi up to the little Catholic Church which has beach front property. Peggy and I walked up there and down the beach for about a mile walk today.

Last year we did some nice bike rides out on Isla Blanca which is a new condo complex just past the Punta Sam ferry to Isla Mujeres.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Loltun Cave – Near Merida

Monday morning we broke camp at Uxmal and headed along the Puuc Route to Loltun Cave. It is the largest cave in the Yucatan. The road signs were good as well as the road until we got near the cave. I think there is another route without all the big chuckholes by going a little further on a better road.
They do their tours once an hour and you are required to have a guide that they say to tip at the end of the tour. The entrance fee was very reasonable and AFTER you pay a English speaking guide wandered up and said his fee is 600 pesos which is almost $50 for a 1-1/2 hour tour. There was another couple who didn’t think the fee was unreasonable so I did not have the opportunity to negotiate a better price. The guide said, if more people were here the price would stay the same, but whether you have 1 or 20 the group MUST still tip him 600 pesos.
Actually the tour was quite good. It is a very large multi-passage cave and the lighting was OK except that most of the time it shined in our eyes making walking the rough terrain a little hard. Along the way this dog started to follow us and kept jumping at my heels. At one point, for no apparent reason, the dog runs up behind Peggy and jumps up on her almost knocking her over. I pushed the dog down, he yelped and ran away. A woman on the tour with us then came and scolded me for abusing the dog. She could care less that Peggy was scratched and almost knocked down.  A real animal lover,
just doesn’t care much for people. I kept hoping the dog would come back and bite her to see if she might change her animal activist ways. We saw Ancient paintings that they probably redo every few years.

After the tour we decided to drive up toward Valladolid to see some cenotes (caves full of water) and tour the city. The short road back to the MX-180 was OK, but slow through all the small towns. So when we got to Piste (Location of Chichen Itza) we decide to stop at the Stardust Inn RV park. What a joke. It used to have power, water, sewers and bathrooms with hot showers. Now, nothing works but it is a nice level grassy field and cost 80 pesos to dry camp.

We were getting tired of the bad roads and saw all the churches, ruins, caves and busy little towns that we cared to, so when we awoke in the morning we drove over to the 4-lane Cuota (turnpike) and happily paid the  $20  toll and head all the way to Cancun and MecoLoco RV park. We stopped to fill our water tanks with bottled water and get fuel. We made it there in 3 hours and it was a very easy drive.
We intend to pay for a month. However we will leave our RV for 18 days when we fly back home for the holidays. We did this last year and our friends John & Elsie, camped right next to us, again agreed to keep an eye on our camper. MecoLoco now has free Wi-Fi so I’m catching up on all my website updates.