21 June, 2008

A trip to Playa del Carmen

Back to Mexico again (briefly), on the Sunday we decided to take a trip into the local town of Playa del Carmen (we grabbed a cab from reception, prix fixe) to check out "Quinta Avenida" or "Fifth Avenue" (nope, no American influences here guv'nor) -
Playa del Carmen #2
Playa del Carmen #11
- (cough...ahem) -
Playa del Carmen #1
- anyway, one of the first places we came across was billed as a pharmacy/tequila shop (great combination!) but actually turned out to be a sort of supermarket crossed with tourist shop (which was a pattern to be repeated all the way along this incredibly long road), incredibly though the pharmacy bit of the store turned out to be an over-the-counter drug fest, if I had wanted to I could have come away with piles of prescription drugs (they had all sorts of antibiotics, anti-depressants, even stacks of things like prozac and viagra...very different from the UK) -
Playa del Carmen #20
Playa del Carmen #19
Playa del Carmen #8
- they also sold an essential item that I had been missing -
Playa del Carmen #18
- a thermos mug (not, of course, to keep anything warm, but to keep the beer *cold* in the incredible heat, in his book "Cooks Tour" (which I had taken along on the trip with me) Anthony Bourdain mentions drinking warm beer over ice in Mexico, and he certainly wasn't kidding) -
Playa del Carmen #15
- as we wandered further on, so the shops became a little smaller and the attention of the owners became more frenzied (actually until it was getting a bit stupid, hoards of people all yelling to try and get you into their store full of Chinese tat or low quality clothing) -
Playa del Carmen #14
- we passed the policia hut (where they were busy charging up their electric police buggies and snoozing) -
Playa del Carmen #16
- but that gave us a brief rest from the hassle (as no-one wanted them to wake up) after about ten minutes walking everything suddenly got much more up-market -
Playa del Carmen #25
- silver shops were in proliferation -
Playa del Carmen #28
Playa del Carmen #27
- and more upmarket touristy shops with some genuinely interesting objects -
Playa del Carmen #26
- where we stopped for a while, to have a drink and a breather -
Playa del Carmen #32
- as we entered the bar, so a barman asked our nationality, then hit a gong and yelled out "God Save the Queen!" which was repeated jovially by all the patrons (nice touch!) -
Playa del Carmen #30
- it was happy hour (like all the rest of the hours in the day) so we got buy-one-get-one-free on the drinks, apart from Flyingpops fancied coke and they only had one (incredibly small) can, so her one was buy-none-get-one-free (which was an even nicer touch!)...I could have stayed there longer joining in with the "Viva La France" etc. as various other visitors entered and ordered, but Flyingpops was anxious to continue shopping, so we paid up and walked on...and on...and on...this was an *extremely* long road and the shops were never-ending and all rather similar, so we decided to pop down and check out the playa -
Playa del Carmen #34
- which was extremely narrow and absolutely packed with restaurants and bars -
Playa del Carmen #35
- and had something I had *never* seen before -
Playa del Carmen #36
- double beds for hire! Anyway, as the sun began to draw in, our hunt stopped being about touristy things and started being about finding something nice to eat -
Playa del Carmen #37
- we found a nice little place which did what I wanted to eat and had a *few* vegetarian items that Flyingpops fancied trying (and had live musicians who became ten times more flamboyant and beamed widely when we gave them a couple of dollars tip) -
Playa del Carmen #38
- we started with nachos and these interesting melted cheese sticks with a sweet chilli dip -
Playa del Carmen #39
-I had surf and turf (which was excellent, the lobster being done with a light garlic butter) -
Playa del Carmen #40
- and Flyingpops had six kinds of carbohydrate accompanied by a grilled pepper (those Mexicans just don't seem to get the whole vegetarian thing)... ;)

Anyway, we survived our foray on our own, off the beaten track though things got incredibly seedy *very* quickly, but by being careful to stick to where we belonged we managed some good shopping, a spectacular dinner, I only got offered cocaine once (the guy vanished extremely quickly when I said no) and we didn't get pick-pocketed...a good trip!


camping france said...

thermos mug.
love the photos!


camping in france

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

It's so hot over there you need them Chrissy! Hate warm drinks... ;)