When I left Mexico City for Cancun, the weather in the city was quite cool. I didn’t expect my second day in Cancun would be cooler! I woke up to the sound of rain and I didn’t have anything planned so I slept a bit more. It was almost noon when I convinced myself not to waste my time in Cancun being in bed! So I decided to go to Isla Mujeres, despite the rain and the strong wind. But how to get there?
Search results from the internet led me to El Embarcardero, the port closest to Condominio Torre Barcelona. Still, I had to pay 130MXN for the taxi. I was running late and I didn’t want to waste more time looking for the right bus. At the El Embarcadero, I had to take one of the Ultramar ferries. A small but fast boat, just like the Philippines’ OceanJet ferries. The round-trip ticket cost 17USD, I think I paid 217MXN.
While waiting for the ferry, a very nice old guy approached me and convinced me to take a golf cart group tour for 126MXN. I’m glad I took it. Will tell you about this in my next post. And while I was at it, I also approached one of the tour providers. I finally admitted that I cannot go to Xel-ha or Tulum all by myself. It would be too boring and I might spend most of my time being lost. So, I booked a tour to Tulum and Xel-ha.
20 minutes waiting time was enough for me to book tours and of course, take some photos.
Couldn’t help but envy the people who can afford to stay by the beach. How awesome it would have been if I stayed in this hotel…
Here’s my ride
I wanted to stay in the open area but it was way too cold and I didn’t bring a jacket. The 20-minute ride was a bit rough, that I suffered a bit of motion sickness. But staying in Isla Mujeres for a couple of hours made it all worth it.
I stayed in Mexico City for a few months that I could somehow understand bits of conversations before I left and I don’t want to stop there. Maybe I’m weird but I enjoy the feeling of being in a place where I strongly feel out-of-place. I love being in a place where people speak a different language. With the hope of going back to Mexico City again and stay there for a longer time, I am now learning Latin American Spanish!
I’m constantly searching the internet for good Spanish references, both e-books and audio books. At work, I always listen to online FM radio stations in Mexico City that I fell in love with many Spanish Songs. I still don’t understand much of the lyrics but these songs make my Spanish language journey more enjoyable.
My favorite is this feel-good song Verde Más Allá by Jenny and the Mexicats:
I’ve just found another one that’s almost Spanish, a song performed by David DiMuzio and Aria Clemente entitled Porque. It’s “almost” Spanish because it’s in Chavacano!
For those who don’t know what Chavacano is, it is a Spanish-based creole language spoken in the Philippines. The word Chabacano is derived from Spanish, meaning “poor taste,” “vulgar,”, for the Chavacano language which was developed in Cavite City, Ternate, Zamboanga and Ermita. (source: Wikipedia)
It’s the Holy Week and just like in the Philippines, it’s non-work days on Holy Thursday and Good Friday for most people here. So, hotel rooms are very expensive! Not to mention, it’s “spring break”. The search results from Booking.com – the hotels close to the beach are at least 5,000MXN per night! I went for the cheapest one – a room at a condominium called Torre Barcelona. 5,000MXN for 3 nights. I thought I got a good price.
Because it’s a huge shopping mall, there’s plenty of restaurants and a huge food court
You can go out at night because there’s a Hooters in the mall
The condo building is quite new, so are the furniture in the room
It has a huge bed
It has a huge closet
This is NOT a hotel, so don’t expect to see a receptionist all the time.
The receptionist does not speak fluent English
No housekeeping! No one cleaned my room the whole time I stayed there
No TV when I went up the room. I was told they’re going to put it but when I came back from dinner at about 9PM, no TV yet
No soap and towels! I was also told they’re going to put these stuff when they put the TV but I didn’t find any when I got back from dinner! Good thing I was able to find the guard and he gave me these. However, the towel that was given to me was the one used on the floor.
There was a fridge but nothing was in there
As you can see in the photos above, there’s no table, only a chair
Hot water is NOT available all the time! When I took a shower at about 11PM and before 10AM, I had to do it so quickly because the water was so cold even if I had it running open for a few minutes.
The one and only receptionist will no longer be available after 9PM
No cable TV, just the local channels (2 of them)
Wi-fi is only available at the lobby
You need to ask for new towels from the receptionist
No water dispenser
If you need hot water for your coffee or tea, I don’t know if you can ask from the guard
There was an airconditioner but there was no way to turn it on. No remote control was provided. Maybe that was what the chair is for! Good thing it’s cool at night and there was no need for it.
Yes, my list is long. I know I got what I paid for and it IS Cancun in a peak season. I expect everything to be expensive, right? But I’m sure about one thing: I’m not going to stay in that place again. I don’t mind looking for the guard to ask for soap and towels but without hot water for the shower, it’s a deal-breaker for me.
Some complicated and unpleasant things happened in the office and my bosses wanted me to go back to Singapore as soon as possible. But I was so stressed out these past few months and I tried asking my boss if I can take a week off here in Mexico City… and he agreed!
Cancun was the first choice, then La Paz. A friend recommended La Paz and to be honest, I haven’t heard of it before but when I saw some photos in the internet, it appears to be beautiful as well. After comparing the plane tickets, it’s only 200MXN cheaper than Cancun so, I decided to go to Cancun!
The flight to Cancun was smooth, and no one was seated beside me. The plane was not full, maybe because it was a Tuesday and the long weekend hasn’t started yet. Aeromexico’s service was OK. We were given cookies and peanuts as snacks. And it wasn’t long before we began our descent to Cancun.
I don’t know where this is, but the beach looks lovely
And when we arrived at the terminal, Spiderman was there to greet us!
This was moving back and forth, cool huh?
Going to the downtown (Cancun centro) was cheap and easy. You head directly to the bus ticket booth after getting your luggages (it’s right beside the doors) and buy from there. It only cost me 56MXN. The bus was full, good thing I got in the queue before the other passengers got out. The trip going downtown took 30~40 minutes. After i got off the bus, sitio taxis were at the bus terminal and I got in one to the place where I stayed for 50MXN.
So, I’ve been here in Mexico City since November 26th. Almost four months and my friends and colleagues back in Singapore keep on asking me why I like staying here. One of the reasons? Small gifts from the Human Resources on special occasions. I love receiving gifts, well who doesn’t?
Here are some of the gifts I’ve received in the past few weeks:
Valentine’s Day 2013
A chocolate in a cute name tag from a lady colleague, and some sweets from the Human Resources. Even if I didn’t eat them, it’s still nice to receive something
International Women’s Day 2013
And my favorite so far, a flower bouquet!
One of the things that I missed on my first visit to Mexico City is viewing the city from the hotel’s rooftop! And I’m very glad to have been sent here the second time. Of course, I made sure to take photos. I couldn’t forgive myself if I fail to do so this time.
My second visit to Mexico is more fun, I suppose. Especially because a Mexican colleague invited me and another colleague from Singapore to the racing tracks! The racing tracks is about 2 hours from Mexico City. I am the smaller one so I had to sit at the back. It was still a fun ride, though.
But of course, I got to experience how it feels on the tracks (just a passenger, though). Here’s my ride, pretty cool, huh?
I was very nervous at first but after a few rounds, I realized that I am not scared of speed at all! It was so exciting and unforgettable experience, indeed!
Don’t try it with an empty stomach! I was dizzy not because of the ride, but because I was so hungry.
I can’t believe that my last post was on November 22! It’s almost a month ago. I have my drafts but have been too tired to upload the photos. Anyway, I’ve arrived here in Mexico City on November 26th and I will be spending my Christmas and most likely New Year’s here. I do hope my lazy self won’t drag me down so that I can do more than just this quick status update. >_<
Christmas decorations are everywhere especially in the shopping malls but maybe I haven't explored the city enough at this time of year because I still need to search for the biggest Christmas tree in the city. Despite being away from family and friends, I am happy to meet new friends here and I have secured a gift! With a little convincing to do, I initiated a Kris Kringle here in the office. It felt so good watching people crowd at the wish list posted on the bulletin board.
Some backed out at the last minute but at least I could see that people enjoyed the gift exchange. Now it feels like the Christmas I'm used to. ^^