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Old 02-18-2009   #1 (permalink)
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Trip Report - The Bumpers in Playa, 2009

Ho, here we go again. The latest of our on-going series of endless, mindless prattle. You are not required to raise your hand before you start your headlong stampede to the nearest exit.. Hopefully, there are more avenues of escape than Coco Bongo apparently has. For the hardy souls amongst you who decide to stick it out (Not very bright, are you?), settle back for a month of the further adventures of the Bumpers in Playa - 2009. We can only hope enough things happen to fill these pages.

Disclaimer: Right up front, let me say that my memory is not the best. I will undoubtedly have occasion to talk about encountering a wide assortment of people over the next four weeks. I will frequently not mention names. Please donít take offence. Itís not that I donít value the opportunity to meet you, and consider it an honour, but I just donít want to hurt anyoneís feelings by leaving them out. I was already embarrassed yesterday evening to run into a very pleasant chap I had met 2 or 3 years back, and I had to admit I had to be reminded. Iím sorry in advance, to anyone I overlook. Frankly, Iíve been privileged to meet a great number of Peeps over the years, and what with all that, and my eyes arenít so good, plus the libations enjoyed at the time, and being pretty know how it is. So, if youíre offended.....tough noogies. Get over it.

Let the games begin.

Day 1 - February 16

Uneventful trip to the Winnipeg airport at 5:00 AM. Yes, Virginia, there are two five oíclocks every day. Arrived at the terminal to encounter a mass of humanity. There were four flights all leaving within about half an hour. What a throng. And as diverse group as youíll ever see. Some in shorts and tee shirts, to suit their destination. They were shivering a lot, and the Tim Hortonís coffee joint had line-ups to rival the ones to get on the planes. Some folks were in mukluks and parkas, more suited to their point of departure. Check in was endless. Winnipeg has a very large Filipino community, and they travel home to the Philippines a lot. They are lovely people, and extremely family oriented. One Filipino getting on a plane entails an entourage of at least 9 people, generally at least two in strollers. Of course, if itís a Filipino grandmother thatís headed out, they just rent a couple of Greyhound buses for those that are seeing her off. I estimate there were 16 Filipino grandmothers headed for Manila that day.
Filipinos donít place a lot of stock in suitcases. They are, however, into boxes in a big way. Filipino luggage consists of two cardboard boxes, about 2' X 2' X 3'. Almost invariably wrapped completely in tape. Sometimes packing tape, sometimes duct tape. And rope! Boy, do they believe in rope. A Boy Scout troop, or a bunch of sailors, would be put to shame by the knots. Also, for many of these folks, English is not their first language, so check-in can be a time-consuming process. Even the handling of my power scooter went smooth as silk. There were no less than three of those on the flight. I saw them all loaded from my window seat on the plane. They went on last and the baggage handlers were very good at it. I guess theyíre not all that unique anymore. We were in row 11. In row 7, was a family group. Iím thinking, somebodyís mother, a couple, and two kids. Took them about 15 minutes to settle in. We were already on board, having pre-boarding privileges due to my walker, so got to see the whole circus. They seemed to speak English, after a fashion, but the process was slowed by their apparent inability to match up their boarding passes with the seat numbers over the rows. Finally a Filipino grandmother helped them out, and she didnít speak any English. They also brought along more carry-ons than a class of California co-eds. I think this bunch was on their way to a tractor pull, or a monster truck rally, or a watermelon seed spitting contest. Between the five of them, they might have managed to muster one forehead. I didnít actually see one, but Iím pretty sure I heard a banjo. We donít normally see hillbillies this far North. The two young spawns of Satan were in delightful full voice all the way to Minneapolis, but fortunately itís a short flight. They were not to be bribed into silence by the margarine container of animal crackers Ma Kettle had brought along, though I did see Granny gum a few. Pa sucked back about 5 beers during the short flight. His only option, I suspect, when his jug of shine got seized at customs. Anyway, we were 3/4 of an hour late leaving Minneapolis, but were happy campers in spite of it. BONUS!! Mrs. B and I got upgraded. Itís reassuring to see Northwest are perceptive enough to recognize ďFirst ClassĒ people when they see them. Free booze, pretzels from the current decade, big seats, real food, None of the $4 tube of Pringles, $5 lukewarm beer, or $10 turkey roll croissant lunch. A person could used to this. Arrived in Cancun at the same time as every other plane in the world. I donít think Iíve ever seen the immigration area that full. Took us over 1 Ĺ hours to get through it. Even at that, we still had to wait for one piece of luggage to appear. We made quite the parade through the terminal. Two carts piled high with four bags, a walker, a power scooter, plus all our carry-ons. Could have used some native bearers. The pre-arranged transport was patiently waiting, and the polite driver enlisted a couple of his compadres to help him lift the scooter into the van. (Schlep, schlep, grunt, grunt, tip, tip.) Uneventful and quick ride to Playa, though the traffic was quite heavy. Some helpful folks at the Royal Palms were right there to reverse the process on our arrival, and handle the cubic amount of luggage. (Schlep, schlep, schlep, grunt, grunt, grunt, tip, tip, tip.) And the scooter fits into the elevator! Great news. But the Royal Palms is so secure, 24 hours a day, that Iím comfortable leaving it on the ground floor, out of the way, until we have to bring it up to recharge the batteries. Man we were pooped. A long day. Went to Il Batrreto on the corner of 5th and 26th, half a block away, for dinner. A long time favourite spot thatís changed hands sinc I was there last. Had my usual spaghetti carbonara, which was drier than I like, but still decent. I am, by the way, a recognized international authority on spaghetti carbonara., so my opinion counts. Margarita (too sweet),and pina colada were 60p, Sol was 20p, Mrs. Bís and Mumís salads were 70p, a cheese and cold cut appetizer plate was 90p, my spaghetti was 130p. Not cheap, but not bad. Service was attentive.

Like I said, we were pooped, so we were all in the sack by about 9:15. Boy, we really know how to live! I took off my watch. Iíll put it back on in a month.

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting "Holy Shit...what a ride!!"
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Old 02-18-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Allright - another Bumper trip report! So glad you are able to escape the Great White North for awhile. It makes the rest of the year (mosquito season) almost bearable.
Have fun and maybe we will get to meet you in a couple o'weeks!
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Old 02-18-2009   #3 (permalink)
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This makes not going again this Spring almost worth it!

Bumper, I wore my pin with pride in Janury and look forward to your magnificent musings!

Carry on sir!
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Old 02-18-2009   #4 (permalink)
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*yay* A Bumper trip report. Thought of you yesterday since I had the newest version of Bumper pin in the mail. Thanks so much for never forgetting me!

Have a great time!
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Old 02-18-2009   #5 (permalink)
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I've been checking for your Bumper report since before you left The Great White North.
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Old 02-18-2009   #6 (permalink)
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Hey Bump!
My place is just a few blocks down off 26th.
Let me know when you're out and about and I'll head on down!
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Old 02-18-2009   #7 (permalink)
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Another totally irreverent and political-correctness-be-damned Bumper report. Gotta love it!

I just loved the description of the Filipinos at the airport! Saskatoon also has a huge population of Filipinos and they really are exactly as you described- the most wonderful, energetic, happy, positive, family oriented people around!

Glad to hear the scooter fits too.

keep it coming.
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Old 02-18-2009   #8 (permalink)
way into it
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Pilipinos are amateurs

You should see my mother in law when she travels! Ola Bumps.
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Old 02-18-2009   #9 (permalink)
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Bumper love your sense of humour and style of writing. Can't wait for more!
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Old 02-18-2009   #10 (permalink)
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Bump, you've got to go over and try the pasta at Antica, on 5th between Calles 28 and 30. My favorite is the Boscaiola; M. likes the Carbonara. The portions aren't enormous, so an appetizer might not be a bad idea.
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Old 02-18-2009   #11 (permalink)
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Day 2 - February 17

Darned near slept the clock around. Up around 8:30, and did enough unpacking to be able to clothe ourselves. Warm already, so that was the minimum. Stuck the shoes in the back of the closet, and they wonít see the light of day for a month. Sandals, thank you very much.

Let me tell you a bit about our digs, the Royal Palm condos. Talk about sumptuous. Theyíre on 26th, between 1st and 5th. Weíre in the third floor penthouse, number 11. There are only 11 units in the complex. Wheelchair accessible and with an elevator that the scooter can fit into, with about 1 Ĺ" to spare. The apartment is lovely, with pretty much every amenity and feature you can think of. Two large bedrooms, 2 Ĺ baths, comfy furniture, nice firm beds, fully equipped kitchen, including a wine fridge, and a dishwasher. Laundry twins in the unit. Seems to be 24 hour security. We have a private terrace with a large sitting area, outdoor eating area, charcoal barbeque, and a private spa. We have a delightful view of the sea from the terrace, and the lights of Cozumel at night. Lovely breezes up here too. There's a pool on the ground floor. I don't think it gets a lot of use, but we'll be giving it a try. I think it's intended more for more for decoration and atmosphere, but should be good for a paddle about. The beach doesn't work for me anymore, but I love the water. Cable TV, CD player, DVD player, and all the other bells and whistles. Plenty of drawer and closet space. We have a hard wired internet connection too, so we donít have to depend on hitchhiking on somebodyís unsecured wireless network. Everybody weíve dealt with so far has been super friendly and helpful. Feel like royalty. Only downside is the unitís owners penchant for pillows. The only sitting place that isnít piled high with cushions is the toilets. Weíve got 11 pillows and bolsters on our bed alone. If thatís all we have to worry about though, weíre laughing. Yep, I think weíre gonnaí like it here.

Off to La Cueva del Chango for breakfast. We always go there on our first and last days, and maybe in between as well. Had one of my favourites. Mixed fruit with yogurt and their homemade granola. We all had that, plus the fresh squeezed orange juice. Juice was 20p, and the fruit was 44p. Well worth it. I managed to finish mine, but Mrs. B and Mum fell short. Place was full and bustling, but the service was decent. Mrs. Bís sister wants Mum to dump out all her clothes and bring home her suitcase full of that granola. She took her some of it last year, and it was a hit. Gottaí love tree huggers.

Off to Walmart for the initial stock-up supplies buy. The ladies walked, and I mounted my chariot. That was a bit cumbersome, since thereís not a lot of curb cuts to accommodate the scooter. A bit of a long walk for mum, we found, even with a few stops, so I think theyíll taxi from now on. I only went along to buy the booze. I know my limitations when it comes to grocery shopping. Wally world was crowded as heck, but I guess thatís pretty standard. Dropped 2,570p. Some prices; Chilean Cab/Sauv - 70p, Chilean ďRed WineĒ - 47p, Beefeaters gin - 69p, Appleton amber rum - 112p, Don Julio reposado - 315p, Sol in cans - 39p/6pack, tiny tonic waters - 17p, generic white wine - 144p, Cilean sauvignon blanc - 47p, white bread - 19p, juice oranges - 70p/kg, barbeque charcoal - 23p, barbeque starter - 100p, large Yoplait yogurt - 24p, strawberry jam - 25p, Heinz ketchup - 27p, red grapes - 35p/kg, green grapes - 24p/kg, limes - 13p/kg, peanut butter - 27p, diet Coke - 69p/can, bananas - 11p/kg, spaghetti sauce - 14p, Cheerios - 27p, Kelloggs cereal - 37p, cantaloupe - 14p/kg, potatoes - 15p/kg, and a bunch of other stuff, of course. The ladies took a taxi back, and I made my way home, stopping at the Beer Bucket for one cerveza. Just one. The place didnít feel like the Bucket. Canít put my finger on why, but it just didnít have the same vibe somehow.

We had run into Zelda (Lori), a chum from Winnipeg, and knew our other pals from home were due in later today, Mr & Mrs Jmac (Jackie and Glenn.) Lori has been down here for a few days and will be here for a total of a month. Sheís taking Spanish lessons every morning for the next three weeks, or thatís the plan so far. She has a bit of Spanish already, so she started in a somewhat more advanced class, but found it pretty overwhelming. She stepped down into a more basic program, and is finding it more to her liking, though still a lot to absorb. She has rented a condo downtown for three weeks, then Mr. Z (Bram), her partner, will be joining her for a week in Tulum. We invited everybody back to our place for cocktails in the afternoon, and then we all went out for dinner at a relatively new Italian place call Antica, on 5th between 28th and 30th. A small place, as they all are around there, two doors from Babes North. I ordered a salad, to split with Jackie, and spaghetti carbonara. Everybody else just ordered pasta. They have something to learn about service. Pleasant and smiling, but not done as it should be. They delivered my salad with everybody elseís pasta. So, by the time Mrs. B and I split the salad, everybody else had finished their meals, and even had leftovers packed to go home. Then we waited for my pasta. Good thing we had no place to go, and are used to the ďMexican MinuteĒ. Everyone agreed the pasta was superb. My carbonara was as good as any Iíve ever tasted. This place will definitely be a repeat visit for us. Pacifico was 25p, water was 30p, all the pastas ran about 120p to 140p. I think the feeling was it was good value. The bread was marvelous, and the uneaten pieces went home in the doggie bags.

At this point, I must apologize to Greg from New Jersey. We had arranged to meet up with him and the wonderful Paula at the Tequila Barrel in the evening, but I dropped the ball and completely forget the rendezvous. They are on their way home today as well, so we canít even re-schedule. Weíre truly sorry we missed these terrific folks. Another Alzheimer moment.

On the CD player today: Grammy award winners - 4 discs. Some classical, some rock, some blues, some country, and The Mavericks.

Jackie & Glenn were running on empty after a long day traveling, and Lori had school in the morning. so we made another early night of it.

(Pssst...Iím not mentioning it, but there hasnít been a single word spoken yet by the ladies of those sinful Au Cacoa brownies that were so much a staple of their diet last year. How much longer can this oversight continue?
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Old 02-18-2009   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Heather View Post
Bump, you've got to go over and try the pasta at Antica, on 5th between Calles 28 and 30. My favorite is the Boscaiola; M. likes the Carbonara. The portions aren't enormous, so an appetizer might not be a bad idea.
See the day 2 trip report, m'dear. Jackie and I had precisely the same two dishes you and Michael had. We're definitely going to be regulars there. Jmac and Lori both had the dish with the shrimp in double cream, and said it was excellent. Glenn had the same as Mrs. B and was impressed. Their wine list is no Hell, but you can't have everything. Wine is pretty subjective. We didn't want a whole bottle, and their only "by the glass" reds were a couple of 35p and 50p Chileans that are suspect at best, and an overpriced Bordeaux @ 80p. Jackie tried the 50p Cab/Sauv, but it was pretty grim.
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Old 02-18-2009   #13 (permalink)
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Old 02-18-2009   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bumper View Post

Day 2 - February 17

(Pssst...Iím not mentioning it, but there hasnít been a single word spoken yet by the ladies of those sinful Au Cacoa brownies that were so much a staple of their diet last year. How much longer can this oversight continue?
Bump my dear, that will be remedied tonight!!!! We are going to check out Ansero de Manolo or La Pesca if you and your lovely ladies would like to join us. Lori is coming.
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Old 02-18-2009   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jmac View Post
Bump my dear, that will be remedied tonight!!!! We are going to check out Ansero de Manolo or La Pesca if you and your lovely ladies would like to join us. Lori is coming.
I realize that I am causing sin to say that I'm not a big chocolate fan. But even so, I have no idea how you manage to fit in brownies after meals at La Pesca or de Manolo.

jmac and I are so close that we can see each other from our rooms across the garden. I should've brought my walkie talkies!
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