Allow me to drift away from my culinary musings for a bit and tell you about my first few days in Cancun, Mexico, where Renata and I are spending our well-earned vacation this year after our plans to go to Europe fell through due to the rising airfare prices that made the trip (at least for us) impossible to afford at this time.
We arrived at the airport and immediately headed to the Westin Regina, a hotel we booked via Hotwire about a month before we came. Though it was not all-inclusive like most resorts in the area, The Westin was located at the beginning of the hotel district and was also quite close to public transportation, so we immediately began using mass transit the moment we arrived. In fact, most buses have the hotel’s name pasted on the window, so we knew exactly where to get off – the last stop. The first place we went to after checking in was a mall of sorts that featured various kinds of fast foods, ranging from Subway to Chinese and even sushi. We had a bite and after browsing through a flea market we headed to the local Wal-Mart to get a few necessary supplies – the hotel did not include breakfast, and since there were no nearby restaurants, we bought bread, cold cuts and tomatoes so we could make ourselves a meal every morning.
Differently from some scary articles I encountered as I did my homework before the trip, I have felt incredibly safe in Cancun. There was no visible street violence and no reason for any kind of concern except for the usual “look over your shoulder” thing that is common in any large city. The only irritating issue that is the fact that everyone is trying to sell you something – from a ‘visit’ to a time share in exchange for some kind of freebie to an ‘economical’ tour. Getting around is easy – there are inexpensive buses which tourists and locals alike use. Some are even equipped with free wi-fi (a luxury that we did not have in our hotel), and they run frequently and around the clock.
Our first outing was to Isla Mujeres, a reef that is accessible via a 30-min ferry ride from the mainland. We had booked a tour of it before we came here, and it was really interesting. We took a bus to the terminal, and from there we rode on a party boat to the island, where they had an all-inclusive resort made available to us. We chose to go snorkeling, so we took another small boat and rode to the site, where we could see lots of underwater nature. It is just too bad that I did not buy a waterproof case so I could take underwater pictures, but the memories are there.
Next was a visit to the island’s downtown section. We were quite smitten – it was like a mix of Fire Island with Jericoacoara in Brazil – mostly unspoiled but a bit exploited as well. All bars had outdoor menus in English and Spanish, and the prices were not at all bad, at least from the perspective of what we’d found until then.
As we made our way back to the hotel, we stopped for dinner at this burrito place that boasted cheap prices and good food. I ordered one filled with chicken while Renata went for shrimp. I must say that they lived up to the expectations. The food was really flavorful, and the drinks were incredibly cheap when it comes to the hotel area.
So Thursday after going to the gym we registered at Solaris – reason being that the package we found only only allowed for a week. After enduring sales pitch that lasted for almost two hours (“No, thank you, we do not want to pay $ 25,000 to become part owners of the club unless you give it away”), we finally got to enjoy the benefits of our RCI membership.
More next week