Morning breaks, again the wind is up, but it's bright and the day is already warm. Some of us hike up the street to Hemingway's for breakfast. Not the best restaurant in Playa, but it is always consistant and the atmosphere is funky. Cafe Americana to get the blood pumping, and a stack of hotcakes with crispy bacon. Jugo Naranya to top it off. Some are a little slower than others today as sleep wasn't high on their list of priorities. No matter, how can you let a little hangover spoil your day in this setting?
Back to the hotel to pack up the essentials. Snorkel gear, towels, cameras, and of course the coolers. We're off to Casa Cenote for the day to lounge and snorkel Manatee Cenote. If you're headed to this place from Playa, be aware that there is no turning lane to turn left at the exit. If you know how crazy 307 can get, the last place you want to be is stopped in the middle lane, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear so you can turn left. Better to pull onto the right shoulder and wait for all traffic to clear before attempting this.
Soon we're pulling into Casa Cenote parking lot. Great little restaurant with huge burgers and cold drinks.
This is a great place to spend a day. The cenote flows underneath the road and empties into the ocean. I believe they said 100,000 gallons per minute flow into the ocean, and on certain days the fish at the mouth of the cenote are huge and plentiful. Sadly, today is not such a day, but the entry to the lagoon is filled with many small and colorful fish. We get in and start working our way the kilometer back into the mangroves. There is a definite current to work against, but it's not too difficult. We see crabs, puffers, and others I cannot name. It's a different experience than the normal cave centote's like Gran and Cristalino, more of a jungle setting with more birds and a lot more light. Easy entry and calm waters makes this an ideal snorkeling option for beginners.
We ate, drank and lounged for most of the afternoon. We thought we could get through on the beach road to Oscar y Lalo's, but apparently not. So we backtrack to the highway, but by this time the sun was beginning to set. The decision was made to skip it and come back another day. We never did, but I guess that leaves something to explore on the next trip. Back to town we go, knowing that the Carnival parade preparations may impede our ability to get down first avenue. Traffic is heavy, and we miss our turnoff down 10th so try Constituyentes. Big mistake, as the policia have every intersection blocked off. After a few Andretti-like maneuvers, and one pissed off police officer, we make our way into the Colibri "parking lot". The fireworks are going off just as we reach our rooms. Not a great picture, but you get the idea.
Time for a siesta and a shower. For the first time I realize that I'm not drinking enough water. I didn't get a lot of sun today, but I'm really feeling dehydrated. Down a couple bottles of water and some Ibuprofen, have a short nap, and then a shower. Feeling much better, I join the rest of the gang in one of the rooms for a pre-dinner cocktail. Tonight we're living large--taco's el pastor at either El Fogon or Taquiera's Pastorcito on 30th. We walk up to 10th and over to Constituyentes as the remains of the Carnival parade are heading back to their respective parking spots. We arrive at what we thought was El Fogon, but having seen the mural on the wall in some of Jimmy MN's reports, realize it's Taquiera's Pastorcito. No problem--the drinks are stiff, the pork is nicely simmering on the spit, and they are genuinely pleased to see a large group of gringo's "daring" to come out of the relative "safety" of la quinta. We proceed to stuff ourselves on taco's and provide the locals with some inebriated entertainment. No shot glasses or jiggers to be found in this establishment. Free pour is the order of the day.
We make our way back down 30th and stop at the Carnival site to check things out. Food everywhere and it looked incredible. If we hadn't just eaten I would have made a night of it here. There's a cool band onstage, people everywhere, games of chance, trinkets galore for sale, and people smiling and laughing. The local kids were in their glory, and it struck me that this could have been any county or city fair that I went to as I was growing up. Peep's are peep's no matter where you go.
We stop at the Tequila Barrel for a nightcap while some of the group does some shopping down 5th. Again, it's off to our beach for one last drink. We make plans for the next day and rehash the day we just had. Off to bed, tommorow we snorkel Akumal Bay.