We woke up at…well, I don’t really remember what time we woke up Thursday morning. I didn’t sleep terribly well, the first night, because it was quiet in the room (we sleep with a floor fan on all the time), and at some point during the night, I noticed a rattling noise coming from somewhere, not necessarily our room. I did sleep, but it was rather fitful. So, when I woke up, finally, I took a shower, then sat down to do my morning devotion for Revelling in the Overflowing Grace of God. Since our room wifi never worked properly, I typed it in Word, then took the computer down to the lobby later to hook up and post it.
After I was finished with that, we went down to check out the breakfast buffet. It was very extensive. In one corner, there was a lady making omelets. She had onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, ham, and bacon to add to them, as well as some kind of cheese. I ordered one with everything except the peppers. Over to the side of her station was a variety of sausage dishes and some, well, I call them hash browns. But they were the patty kind, not shredded. So I got some of those, and some bacon. I know…I already had bacon in my omelet, but as Ron Swanson would surely say, “You can never have too much bacon!” I think I might have grabbed some kind of Argentinian sausage, as well. I can’t remember exactly what it was. After I finished that, I grabbed a couple of waffles and some kind of creamy vanilla sauce that they had to put on them. Then I topped it off with some more bacon, hash brown patties, and a bit of scrambled eggs. Breakfast was pretty good.
During breakfast, we decided that we needed a floor fan. The hotel did not have any, so we decided to go to Wal-Mart. Yes. We went to Wal-Mart in Cancun. We inquired as to how to get the right bus, grabbed the fanny pack and headed out the front door to the bus stop. Within seconds of the time we got to the bus stop, the “R-2” bus arrived. It even said “Wal-Mart” in big red letters on the windshield. We got on, handed the bus driver two dollars, and away we went. And I mean that quite literally. They start moving before you have sat down.
We saw some really nice sights along the way, including the La Isla Plaza, where we would meet our Hummer tour guide on Friday morning. We also passed by another plaza, called Flamingo Plaza, where we saw Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. We plan to try to make it back over there, just to say we’ve been there. Close by there was a bar that boasted a sign saying that Tom Cruise’s “Cocktail” was filmed there. And of course, there were lots of other hotels.
After about a thirty minute ride, we finally arrived at a stop where we were told we could get to Wal-Mart. As soon as we got off the bus, there was a guy calling out, pointing across the street, telling people that Wally World was over there in the yellow building. He then proceeded to attempt to coerce us into coming to the Hard Rock Hotel one morning for a “free” breakfast and 45 minute presentation, offering us a free lobster dinner cruise for two as a reward. We have heard about that lobster dinner cruise, and even briefly considered booking one of those, but had decided not to. As tempting as this was, we turned him down. And turned him down. And turned him down. We walked across the street with him still telling us he would “make it worth our while.” We were similarly accosted several more times between there and the actual store, even handed a shopping cart by a guy who told us to talk to him after we got through shopping. I guess we looked too much like tourists.
So we got into Wal-Mart. In Cancun, Mexico. Let me tell you, it’s different. I’ve got some pictures. The first thing we noticed was the prices.
Their symbol for pesos is, apparently, the same for our dollar sign. So the first thing I see is a huge sign for a Samsung laptop for $7990. We found the floor fan, we were looking for (ventilador piso) for a mere $429. The exchange rate at Wally’s was 12.73 pesos per US dollar. So the fan was roughly $34. We walked around a bit, trying to find Stephanie some Reese’s. They had none. Not one single Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. But they did have Oreos, so we got some of those for her. While we were walking around, we also found a large selection of alcoholic beverages, including some Jim Beam.
I’ve been told that $14 USD is a steal for a bottle of Jim Beam. I don’t think our Wal-Marts sell whiskey. We also found this table of meat, just sitting out in the open, in the middle of the aisle.
And this pile of…well…grass?
We hopped the bus back to the Iberostar, narrowly escaping being hijacked by a taxi. Another two dollars got us safely back to the hotel. We carried the fan across the street (that’s a whole different kind of adventure in Mexico), and up to our room.
By that time, I think it was lunch time (I’m typing this on Saturday, so details are getting fuzzy). At some point, I also noticed that the light bulb in the lamp next to my side of the bed was burned out. So when we went down for the lunch buffet, I stopped by Guest Services and asked them to get our light bulb replaced and requested that our mini-bar refrigerator be stocked with only Diet Coke and water. It had a variety of other things, including two different beers. Also, they don’t have “Diet Coke” here. It’s “Coca Cola Light.” I may have mentioned that in the previous entry.
The lunch buffet was “meh.” There were a large number of choices, many of which were difficult to identify because they don’t place their signs very well. I had some “chicken-looking” meat that I wasn’t sure about, but it tasted okay. Then I had a hamburger patty, along with some other things. Their hot dog was bloody awful. I took one bite, and spit it out. The texture was very strange. It probably didn’t taste that bad, but it felt weird. I honestly don’t remember what else had for lunch that day, but we all agreed that the breakfast buffet was much, much better. Oh, I just remembered…I had some guacamole, too, but it was way too heavy on the lime.
After lunch, Christi and I donned swimsuits and headed for the pools. We found a place to put our stuff and went and swam for a bit, then laid down to read for a while. There was a lot activity around the pool area, as the Star Friends try to keep people involved and active. They played beach volleyball, then they played water volleyball, then they played water basketball. Finally, they started up a bocce ball game, which Christi and I eagerly entered into. We had three teams of three (we had the Star Friend on our team). In case you are not familiar with bocce ball, one person tosses a small, wooden ball out in front of everyone. Each team, then has to throw a larger ball (ours were made of metal), that is supposed to be somewhat unevenly balanced, so as to roll unpredictably. Whoever gets their ball closest to the little wooden ball (I’m sure it has an official name), wins. After several rounds, our team was ahead 4-2-1. So Sandra (the Star Friend) decided to change the rules. She said that, on the next round, the winner would get two points. Team one won that round (we were team two), so now we were tied with them, 4-4-1. On the next round, Sandra said that if either team one or two won, they would get one point, and game over. But if team three won, they would get three points, and we would play a final round. Of course, team three won. And then, for the final round, team three won the game. It was great fun, and a good time was had by all. Team one had a lady who I am sure is a professional bocce ball player.
We sat around for a while after that (after seeing our friends from Norway yet again), and then headed up to the room to get ready for our evening dinner, for which we had reservations at the Mexican restaurant. Stephanie was complaining of not feeling well at all, and I was starting to feel a bit gassy, too. I took some Tums, which helped a good bit. In the meantime, it started raining. And it kept raining, and got harder. So, to get to the Mexican restaurant, we had to walk through some rain.
This Mexican restaurant had some more traditional Mexican fare, not the standard “Tex-Mex” that we are used to. We did manage to get them to make something like a cheese enchilada for Stephanie. Christi and I both had some tacos. Now, “tacos” here are not like Taco Bell tacos. They are smaller, white tortillas, and soft. They come flat on the plate with the meat and cheese in the middle. They also provide salsa and guacamole to add to them. Christi got just steak tacos, while I got “special tacos,” which had steak, bacon, and chorizo in them. While waiting for our meals, they had an appetizer buffet, where I got a chicken tamale that was quite good, along with some chips and guacamole. Much better than the lunch buffet guacamole. There was also soup. Christi had tortilla soup, and I had some kind of seafood soup (I don’t remember what the long word after “seafood” was), and it was pretty good. The tacos were very good, as well.
We walked back to the lobby, managing to avoid the rain this time by walking under a cover that we found on the way back. We tried hooking up to the free wifi in the lobby, but it wasn’t working right for some reason. So we went on back up to the room, where I typed up the events of day one, and then we hit the sack kind of early, because we needed to get up early for Friday’s Hummer tour.