Friday, November 27, 2020

Coconut Trees are Pretty

We Can Afford Fresh Shrimp!  
This was lunch. 

Jay does fusion when travelling, always using ingredients that are readily available. We appreciate being able to afford fresh prawns and other seafood here. Due to its Asian character and multicultural population, our part of BC has a wide variety of food from around the world. Still, living closer to the tropics provides a larger variety of the things we love to eat, be it bounty from the sea or a multitude of fresh fruits and vegetables. 

We have eaten many more pineapples and avocados here in Mexico than we ordinarily do. We have also found more exotic fare such as local passionfruit that is seldom available at our BC Superstore.  

I love scenes with coconut trees or a beach. However, perhaps more importantly, our present eating habits and the warmer climate may be helping us avoid getting sick with ordinary flu, and perhaps even COVID-19.

Gull Gang

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Just a Thursday

Another Evening Arrives  
We did not accomplish a great deal today. I guess we did more than those folks in other places under a strict COVID lockdown. Being able to walk to the beach in the evening brings us a certain amount of happiness not available elsewhere.  In fact, being able to be out enjoying the weather at all is a blessing of being here in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
  Cozumel Clouds

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

In Continued Search of Happy Places

Has the hot, Mayan Riviera sun gone to my head? I spent some email time inquiring about real estate today. For ages, I've thought about owning a half-year residence near coconut trees and a beach. It has never truly made sense for us, as we retired early to explore and spend winters in places far-flung and unknown to us. Why would I want to spend money that'd tie us down to a single location for ... well ... forever? 

Sampling life in a condo-hotel here in Playa del Carmen has re-awakened these dreams. Not that we'd be interested in buying something in Mexico though. I have always had a strong association with the island of Sri Lanka, where Jay grew up. It was one of the first places I experienced true jungle and slept just 6 or 7 degrees away from the equator. More importantly, I experienced a culture both alive and unique.
Artists Conception of Negombo Condo-Hotel
An Artist's Conception of Completed Ocean Breeze Condo-Hotel, Negombo

Over the years, Jay and I have stayed on the teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean on many trips.  They easily add up to over a year of our lives.  Whereas super-luxury condo towers now dot the capital of Colombo and jostle for attention, beach condos are a fairly new phenomenon there.

Condo-hotels are a thriving, new global real-estate category.  They are a much-improved version of the old time-share concept. However, in the modern version, the owner gets a complete title and deed. The management stands ready to book and rent the apartment as a hotel room. This means it can earn its owner money.  However, the owner may choose to occupy the unit at any time he/she wishes, even full-time if desired.

We know of only one such project in an area of Sri Lanka where we'd consider purchasing.  This is a photograph I snapped in January of this year specifically so I'd have the information available to me.
   Capturing the Info

Perhaps this arrangement would fulfill my desire to own a piece of paradise but not prevent us from exploring our wanderlust during our remaining years.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Learning the Streets

Playa del Carmen Municipal Plaza  
We are sort of like human Roombas. We bounce around a new area until we've mapped it out in our minds. 

In order to learn Playa del Carmen, we walk to the beach. However, rather than always walking down Calle 2, our street, we vary our access to the ocean. All the streets are even numbers, but sometimes there are two. The avenues run parallel to the water and the larger ones are multiples of 5. 

Yesterday was the first time we walked down Calle 8. We hadn't seen the Municipal Plaza. It was a great day to take pictures of the huge Mexican flag flying in front of the city building.
  Mexican Flag

Monday, November 23, 2020

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like ...

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like ...  
Poinsettias are indigenous to southern Mexico and Central America. These are called 'Flowers of the Holy Night' in Mexico. See if you can find out the legend on how they got their name here. (I haven't given an Internet search assignment in over six years!)
  Northbound Collectivos  
Route 307 runs the Mayan coast. We found that it is within walking distance of our apartment. There are huge, luxury busses that ply the highway from the downtown bus station but also smaller collectivos. We didn't know where to catch community type vans but today found they're right under the elevated section through Playa del Carmen. We wanted to start seeing some of the towns outside of where we are.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Enjoying Our Location

Wait for the Tide

It is Sunday and the weather's been nice.  We've yet to get out of town but continue to enjoy simply walking to the beach and around the city of Playa del Carmen.

Now that we've been here for two weeks, we must be wearing the air of no longer being newbies.  We're now seldom bothered by those trying to entice us into a shop selling silver or souvenirs.  I suppose those new to the place must stick out in the crowd.

We've got a lot of places to explore on this coast.  We have never been to this area.  The hurricane season is officially over at the end of the month.  We will have enough time to see more as there seems no need to cut this winter short yet.

The Queue

Welcome to the Park 
The Wind Has Subsided

Saturday, November 21, 2020

This is Walking Weather!

50 Pesos 
We do tend to do much more walking during our winters.  Today, was fairly typical as we walked to do some grocery shopping in the morning.  We also took an evening stroll to the beach along Fifth Ave at dusk.  We have been walking anywhere between 4 and 8 kilometers per day lately.
Hold Still

Saturday Evening

The 5th

Friday, November 20, 2020

For the Birds?

I am sure that people in the world produce billions of pictures every day. This differs greatly from when I was growing up and photos were mainly for special occasions and trips. A camera is available in just about everyone's pocket today because of smartphones. 

Do you ever use yours as a tool? I remember the first time I ever thought of a strictly utilitarian image. I was at a doctor's clinic and needed a quick way to jot down office hours. Being without a pen and paper, I just took a photo of the sign. Now, of course, I often use my phone camera rather than making notes. 

In today's case, we were in the Playa del Carmen Walmart. Most of the vegetables needed no translation. However, I knew that I needed to look these up when I had an extra moment.
  Supermarket Photos to Look Up

I still am not sure if these are primarily for birds or people.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Hot Rain

Rain in PdC: 28°C. Rain at Home: 05°C.  
It was raining here off and on for most of the morning. It was raining and very windy most of last night too, I think.  On the other hand, we listened to New 1130 from Vancouver and heard it's been raining there too. Global TV news showed a wet commute around the Lower Mainland. One major difference was the temperature of the rain in these two places. Whereas it was 28°C here in Playa del Carmen, the rain was just 5°C at home. I'll pick hot rain over cold rain almost every time. 

Before dinner, when things let up, we did get out for a short walk to the Caribbean though. We retraced our route down Calle 1, through the upscale, open-air shopping mall, and to SeƱor Frog's by the ferries to Cozumel. None were running today because of the wind and waves. We walked back up Calle 2, our street. The little loop is around 2.2 kilometers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

You are WHERE You Eat!

Close, Fav Supermarket 
I've recently said how important supermarkets are to us in our adopted winter locations.  Learning where to shop is an important step in getting acclimated.  I do enjoy documenting ordinary life because, when looking back, everything seems more special than it seemed at the time.

For example, during the five months we spent in Luxor, Egypt, I have fond memories of our grocery shopping habits whether we took the ferry across the Nile or a bus to the Qurna outdoor market.   Looking back on a life elsewhere includes buying the staples.  Even without checking this blog, I can think of the other winter locations where we shopped in Puerto Vallarta, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Siem Reap, and Minuwangoda. 

Getting food is a very basic necessity.  That's why acquiring new shopping habits must be quickly adopted in a new place.  Today's entry will eventually become just one more reminder of our days in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Fresh Juicing Oranges - US$0.42 / Kg

Fish Bonanza

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Lots of Warm Clean Air and Exercise

Tourists Day and Night 
5th Avenida  
Today, we decided to walk to see the area by the Hilton and Panama Jack Resorts in Playa del Carmen. We headed down our street, Calle 2 until we got to 5th Avenue. This is the main tourist street that runs parallel to the beach. Major portions are under current construction although it was supposed to be completed by the beginning of this tourist season. There surely are a lot of flights into Cancun for folks staying there and the Mayan Riveria. 

Many touts constantly vie for attention. It's a bit annoying, but it's easy to remember that these guys are just trying to feed their families.  At least this area remains open for tourism.  Here the COVID-19 'traffic light' has the Mexican level of yellow which means Qunita Roo is doing well.  Most local establishments can have up to 60% occupancy.  It surely seems as though home, British Columbia, is experiencing difficult times.  I'm happy we're not there right now!

We went out by the pier just to keep those pictures of warm beaches on my Facebook account.
  Near Quinta Alegria

Life's One

Monday, November 16, 2020

Two Purchases

1 KG from Neighbourhood Fisherman  
Jay was excited to buy some fish from the neighbours. He grew up on an island and eating tropical fish is still important for him.  He got this fresh fish directly from the fisherman next door. They open their front gate in the mornings and finish up at about noon or 1:00 pm. He paid about US$6.90 for a kilogram. 

On the other hand, I was more excited by the 3-liter box of red wine I got at the Playa del Carmen Walmart this evening. I remember buying gallon jugs of the same brand of Mexican wine our first winter in Puerto Vallarta. I have seen that the same glass bottles here, but decided it would be easier to bring the smaller box home. I paid US$8.14 for my purchase.
  US$8.14 / 3 Liters

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Sunday Market in Playa del Carmen

10th Ave Entrance 
Calle 54 on Sundays

We read online that there was a Sunday Market in Playa del Carmen on Sundays.  It was a sunny, humid morning with temperatures around 29°C, so we figured it'd be as good a Sunday as any.

We'd only been up 30th Avenue as far as Constituyentes, so we figured we'd walk there.  We are only a block from where the buses start but we weren't sure which one might turn off before they got to Calle 54.  As Google Maps had suggested it took around a half hour from Calle 2 walking swiftly.

Sunday Market 
A Few Things

While wandering down to 10th Avenue, we didn't find anything we couldn't resist.  Still, it was an interesting way to spend a bit of the morning.  These folks must have set up pretty early.  Street markets can be found the world over.  As we won't be visiting any in SE Asia this winter, today's felt comforting.  Of course, the language on the signs was different and the people a little more corpulent. 

Playa del Carmen Sunday Market

Back out on 30th Ave, we waited for a bus with the word, Centro, on the front windshield.  Jay gave a 50 peso note and got back 36.  As we'd read, the fare was about $US 0.34 each.  

34¢ Bus Back

We opened the door to our place and threw our shirts directly into the washing machine.  They were soaked with sweat.   I love living hot.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

This is My Vanity Press

Don't Say Cheese in a Swimming Pool  
We have a pool at home in New Westminster but using this one is different. For one thing, the water is colder! We've been here exactly one week already but this was my first time in it. It's sort of in the atrium of our condo-hotel, the Palmarena.  I'm going to make a habit of a dip after going out for our morning explorations.
  Public Area to Relax

The Water's Cool


Testing the Pool

Friday, November 13, 2020

Our Friday

Viva PDC  
We didn't accomplish a lot today, but I guess that's the point. 

It was somewhat cloudy in the morning. We did try the Soriana Mega supermarket again this morning. It is a huge megastore along Avenue 30.  We picked up some baby powder, a few grapefruit, a pineapple, a few tejocote, a roasted chicken, and some bread rolls for making sandwiches. It's a toss-up as to which supermarket we'll buy most of our fare. We like the three competitors which are within walking distance.
  Supermarket Bread  
In the evening, we walked over to 1st Avenue and went to the ferry terminal through the outside shopping mall. We then walked the beach to the south of it. It was a cool evening of around 26°C (79°F). The sand is very fine, smooth, and white.  There is only one outcropping of rocks.
  Rocks   Fishing Siblings

Evening Beach Stroll

These uneventful days will be fond memories someday.

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