A Travellerspoint blog

December 2015

Day 16

San Diego

After happy hour last night we headed out to a local Italian restaurant. Their menu consists of small & large sizes. Small is a meal for 2 persons and large is a meal for 4 persons. We struggled to find something we both wanted. That hurdle overcome, suddenly something funny was said and Darlene was laughing in a busy crowded restaurant. As is the case anywhere in the world, heads turned. The meal was ok, but even the two of us couldn't finish it.

We had breakfast upstairs on the roof again and then headed to the Horden plaza. We visited the Travelex currency exchange shop and left empty handed when they only offered 61 US cents per A$. It is more cost effective to withdraw from our savings in US$ at ATMs. We weren't sure where the hop on hop off bus stop was on the outside of the plaza. We spotted a bus and followed it to learn the location of the stop and were able to hop on the next one.

The driver provided an informative and interesting live commentary. So much better than the canned commentary you get on some of them. We stayed on for most of the circuit but got off at old town for lunch at Fred's Mexican canteen. We had a look around the shops there and bought a few last minute things. We re-boarded and competed the circuit. I would have liked to revisit the waterfront at Coronado but there wasn't time to do another circuit. Memo to self: next time start earlier to allow more time,

It was cool and sunny again but a few degrees warmer than yesterday, maybe 17 Celsius. It is approaching happy hour so I am getting this done early. The laptop is being packed in the luggage so this may be the final installment. If we have any good bits to share I'll do one more in a day or two. We pick up a hire car here in San Diego and drive the coastal road to LA, dropping the hire car off at that airport. We will leave around 10 and have till 8 pm to complete the 2 hour drive. So we have ample time to take in the scenery.

1: pic of San Diego skyline from bridge to Coronado
2: oldest hotel on Coronado opposite beach
3: pic of naval area with Mexican mountains in distance
4: air & space museum in Balboa park
5: the same type of vine we had at Mt Waverley

Posted by IanDarleneUK 16:54 Comments (0)

Day 15

Shopping :-(

We started with breakfast at the rooftop bar. It was around 9 degrees and decidedly chilly. They had a number of patio heaters in use which made it bearable. Darlene had a large cup and a huge tea bag but took it in her stride. Still not as good as tea at home.

We headed out for our shopping day around 10 am and headed for the factory outlet malls just this side of the Mexico border. We caught the light rail most of the way there and a short bus trip dropped us right at the mall. It is an outdoor mall about 12 miles out of town. We paid $5 each for unlimited daily daily travel and another $2 for each Compass card. We purchased these from a vending machine at the nearby tram stop. We caught the blue line to San Ysindos and then travelled one stop on the 706 bus. The bus travel was included in the $5 we paid.

We spent the whole day there leaving around 4pm. It was pleasant in the sun but cold in the shade. The maximum was 15 degrees. We purchased a suitcase to carry all the bits and pieces back in. We are allowed 2 pieces of checked luggage each on the Qantas flight so it will not be a problem.

Om the way back we caught the 707 bus. It runs the same route but in the other direction. We walked the 3 blocks back to our hotel and took advantage of the evening glass of wine available at reception. We have watched the news and are now heading up to the happy hour on the roof.

Now that the shopping is done tomorrow is San Diego sightseeing.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 17:53 Comments (0)

Day 14

Travel day

Before I talk about today I should firstly finish off yesterday. Whilst we were not all that hungry, we did go out to Margaritaville in downtown San Miguel. They had a live band playing everything from the Beatles to ACDC. They played a lot of Santana, the lead guitarist was excellent. We had a few drinks and some snacks and felt that it topped of our week there perfectly.

I awoke at 5.45 and we were ready by 6.30. The taxi was arranged for 6.50. Simone set her alarm for 6.30 and kept us waiting a bit but in the end we had time to spare at the airport. Christine & Graham got up to say goodbye even though they were not flying out early with us. The short flight in the Dornier twin prop aircraft was smooth and scenic. We flew at 1500 feet so got to do some aerial sightseeing.

Upon landing and leaving the terminal we initially waited outside with a lovely Belgian lady who lives and runs a business in Mexico City. We stood there for a bit as that was where she was told we would be collected from. Wrong. I eventually went back in to check and learned that the shuttle bus stopped at a post about 100 metres away. We waited and waited and no bus. The travel company that took us to the small aircraft terminal dropped someone else off and took pity on us and took us. It was fortunate we were not in a hurry as it took 80 minutes from the time we got our bags till when we eventually got to the other terminal.

Bronwyn & Brett were staying locally at another island but got off at terminal 2 with Simone. Simone was on a domestic flight to Guadalajara with a connection to Dallas and on to Sydney and then Melbourne. 5 flights in total. She will not be in good shape by the time she gets to Melbourne. Bronwyn & Brett were getting a shuttle downtown and a ferry to their new Island. We were flying direct to Dallas and on to San Diego so we needed the international terminal. So we said our goodbyes there at terminal 2.

Our flight to Dallas left on tine and arrived early. Our flight to San Diego left late but both were uneventful. Our first flight was 8am and we arrived at our hotel at 8pm. In the process we changed time zones by 3 hours so 9 hours travel. We left Cozumel with humid weather in low 20s in the early morning. Dallas was 3 degrees Celsius. I had frost on my breath walking up the aerobridge. San Diego was raining and 10 degrees Celsius on arrival.

We checked in our hotel and were offered a glass of wine on arrival. It's a nice local Cab Sav and going down nicely. Shopping tomorrow....

Posted by IanDarleneUK 20:14 Comments (0)

Day 13

Last day in Cozumel

We split up today. Chris & Graham headed off into town early. Late morning, Darlene Simone & I caught a taxi to the Money Bar, a coastal bar with a close reef for snorkeling. Bronwyn & Brett also headed into town a little later for lunch.

Upon arrival at the Money Bar we learned that the snorkel equipment hire was US$20 per person. You can buy it for less. As a result I caught a cab back to the hotel and got ours (we should have brought it with us). Simone and I went snorkeling but by Australian standards the coral and number of fishes was poor. We're so lucky in Australia. They actually run tours to view this crappy coral.

We had lunch at the Money Bar and I had another swim after lunch then it clouded over and rained. We caught a taxi back to the hotel and did a bit of packing ready for our departure tomorrow. Then we congregated to the pool area and decided it was 5 pm somewhere and had a few wines and snacks. The resident peacock made an appearance around 6 pm and Brett was able to hand feed it.

Our hostess Ana (property owner) dropped by to chat and say goodbye. We would happily come back. She mentioned she has another property on another island not far from here called Holbox. It is also named El Encantos. Maybe next time...

We did a run for more wine but will go out for something light later. We have a taxi booked for 6.50 am to take us to the airport . We erred on the side of caution and allowing for "Mexican time" we should be able to get to our 8am flight ok. We leave Mexico tomorrow richer for the experience of being here.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 15:13 Comments (0)

Day 12

Playa del Carmen & Tulum

Lots of photos today. We caught a taxi to the ferry terminal and took the 30 minute ride to Playa del Carmen. As we were leaving Cozumel we saw a Disney cruise ship, one of the many ships in port today. The sea was somewhat bumpy which did not agree with Darlene. Once on dry land we split up. Simone, Bronwyn & Darlene went shopping and Brett, Christine, Graham & I arranged a hire car for the day and drove to Tulum, just over 60 km away. Here we paid 64 pesos to enter the ruins of the Mayan city by the coast. Brett had already seen it so he waited for us whilst we went in. We split up in there and I walked around solo. I took it all in and a bunch of photos. The buildings were much better preserved than the earlier ruins we saw on the island. I saw a number of iguanas again. When I had my fill I headed to the prearranged bar. I had some water and had some lunch whilst waiting for the others. I shared my burrito with a couple of hungry stray cats.

On the way back we stopped at one of the many cenotes along the road. They are a water hole of sorts where an otherwise underground river breaches the surface. The water was clear and cool and full of tiny (and a few larger) fish. Entry fee was 100 pesos each (less than A$10). The water hole was surrounded by jungle and very picturesque. A ledge on one side allowed the more adventurous to jump from around 4 metres up into the refreshing water.

After returning to Playa del Carmen and dropping off the car I tried unsuccessfully to link up with the shoppers. After wi-fi stints at starbucks and then at a bar by the pier I eventually learned they had already returned to the island. When I got back it was dark and the girls were hungry. We met up at a bar and went to another Albertos restaurant for dinner. It clearly had been raining but by chance I didn't see any today. As has been the case all week we had a top temp in the high 20s after a low in the low 20s with high humidity. We returned to our room to take it easy for the evening. I walked 10km and Darlene walked more with all her shopping.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 18:08 Comments (0)

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