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Old 06-10-2016   #1 (permalink)
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Playa, Merida, Xcalak and Ruins - May 2016

I flew into Cancun on April 27th for the first part of a 6 week vacation. Southwest was great as usual, though I had to wear a heavy coat and hiking boots on the plane, since I had no room in my luggage to pack them and I'd need them for Europe. I got some strange looks from most of the other passengers, since everyone else was just in shorts/tshirt/flip flops.

We landed right after a couple of those Thompson Dreamliners did and the customs line was jam packed. Luckily, they opened up a new section for our plane and I got through in about 15 minutes (the Brits still in line were pretty pissed).

Finding the ADO bus stop was a pain and turned out to be a 20 minute hike from the terminal, carrying 50+ pounds of gear and sweating bullets. I just missed the Playa bus and had to wait for the next one. The ride into Playa was pretty smooth and took less than an hour.

I had booked an AirBNB right above Antico and DiveMex (2nd, between 15th and 10th), maybe a 5 minute hike from the ADO terminal. The owner wasn't there (Jonathan) but his wife met me and let me in (she is gorgeous). It's a small, one room setup, but was perfect for me, $37 a night.

As a caveat for this report, I had a hard drive crash somewhere along the way and lost about 1/3 of my pics and videos. I recovered some, but this report probably won't be as pic heavy as it should be.

Here's a video of Jonathan's patio and view down in the morning:

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Old 06-10-2016   #2 (permalink)
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What terminal does Southwest fly into?
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Old 06-10-2016   #3 (permalink)
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I unpacked a little, then headed out, since I was craving a good meal. First, I hit the Banamaex ATM, got cash, then wandered down 30th looking for a bike. I was going to be in Playa for 2 weeks, so that was essential to me. I figured I'd either sell it back to the store or some other needy person at the end of the trip.

Harley Bikes had the best price that I found, so I picked up a green cruiser with a nice metal basket. I had brought a nice $25 lock from home, so I didn't have to haggle about that, though it did take me walking out a couple of times before they gave me a decent price (about $95).





After getting the bike, I immediately rode to El Fogon on 30th/Const. for my first meal. It was epic as usual. Guacamole, Arrachera Especial with a margarita, then a Pacifico. It was pretty hot in there, but bearable.











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Old 06-10-2016   #4 (permalink)
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What terminal does Southwest fly into?
Whichever one is the farthest from the ADO stand. I had to ask 3-4 different airport employees for directions. A couple of them just waved vaguely to the north and a couple didn't know where it was period. I read up before I left, thinking the ADO stop was right outside the terminal to the right, but that wasn't the case for me.
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Old 06-10-2016   #5 (permalink)
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After El Fogon, I rode around for a while, got used to the bike/street riding and the bike paths (many PDC visits for me, first time biking there). Here's the DiveMex dog, who got lots of El Fogon leftovers and a quick view of the AirBNB room.







I took a quick power nap, then headed over to Dirty Martini's. I know some people love this place, but I was pretty unimpressed. There were two guys at the bar arguing over NFL football stats and the bartender had a friend parked at the bar. She didn't seem interested in chatting with anyone else (I tried, no luck). A bunch of canucks came in around 9pm and wore out the karaoke machine. They were a large wedding party from somewhere near Nova Scotia. The parents were pretty cool, but the groom and his friends were young, drunk as hell and in a fighting mood. I didn't stay too long after they showed up.




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Old 06-10-2016   #6 (permalink)
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Starting off good! Keep it coming
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Old 06-10-2016   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horn34 View Post
Whichever one is the farthest from the ADO stand. I had to ask 3-4 different airport employees for directions. A couple of them just waved vaguely to the north and a couple didn't know where it was period. I read up before I left, thinking the ADO stop was right outside the terminal to the right, but that wasn't the case for me.
Terminal 2.
They were right. Exit the terminal and north a few hundred yards.
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Old 06-10-2016   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babaloo View Post
Terminal 2.
They were right. Exit the terminal and north a few hundred yards.
Yep. Terminal 2 and a long hike to the ADO star on the left in the pic.

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Old 06-10-2016   #9 (permalink)
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So it's late night at Jonathan's place and I had fed most of my El Fogon leftovers to the DiveMex dog. Mama Mia Pizza became my go-to place for late night food the whole trip. I can't recommend them enough. The 3 cheese pizza or any combo (shrimp/broccoli/etc) was excellent and cheap. I wish I still had some pics. Here's some, courtesy of EverythingPDC and google.




The 3 cheese pizza (the blue cheese is what really kicks it up)




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Old 06-10-2016   #10 (permalink)
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Day 2.

I walked down to the juice stand at 2nd and 25th for some breakfast. I love this place so much. A liter of fresh squeezed orange or pineapple juice for about $1.25. That is damn cheap, for pretty much anywhere.




I don't normally eat breakfast, so the juice did me just fine. I didn't have anything planned for the day, so I gambled on a haircut at Executive Barber Shop. The young guy did a good job, but I'm prety sure he overcharged me, if I go by the EPDC estimates. Still cheaper than SportClips.





Then I had the brilliant idea to ride my new bike to Vidrio Soplado, which is not anywhere close to 2nd and 15th. So that was a fun ride. It actually wasn't bad, just slightly dangerous when crossing streets where I had the right of way and cars treat street laws as "suggestions".

You have to cross the highway at 106th, which is pretty crowded and crazy. If I had had an updated google map, I would have turned right after crossing 307 and rode the sidewalk to Vidrio. Unfortunately, I kept riding down 106 and eventually turned right on a dirt road that was speckled with burning tires and trash. I eventually made it to Vidrio Soplado, but I wouldn't recommend going that way again, unless you just dig the aroma of burning rubber and garbage.

Vidrio Soplado was cool as always. I picked up a couple of glasses and took a pic of their new location.





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Old 06-10-2016   #11 (permalink)
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Old 06-10-2016   #12 (permalink)
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After I got my glasses, I stopped by Walmart, then Chedraui for Supplies. Always use Chedraui if you can. I've never had a bad Chedraui experience....Walmart, lots.




And BTW, thank you to Don Chendo for turning me on to Chimay tabasco habanera sauce. It rocks, hard. I took a few bottles with me everywhere in Europe and used it to fix many flavorless meals. About $1 at Chedraui, 3 different heat levels. The brown has the best flavor.





Chedraui also has the best liquor/beer prices, so I got a few bottles of Controy and Cent Anos. And limes and beer. And corn tortillas out of a cooler. I was a kid in a candy store.


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Old 06-10-2016   #13 (permalink)
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My lunch was a pita from Falafel Nessaya and a couple of empenandas from Antico. The guy at Falafel Nessaya was just sitting around outside, so we chatted about Playa and life for a while. Good guy. Antico was dead, but I still got quick and friendly service. I went to both of these places 2-3 times during my stay, great food and cheap.

Later, I went by Wah Wahs, since Mike Grabow was playing and I figured some peeps would show up. Wrong. Dead as a graveyard. I was the only one at the bar and it got old real fast.



After that, I took a nap and then rode the bike to Cheesters, easily a top 5 Playa spot. Super friendly staff and incredible food. If you want wine, it's "white" or "red" coffee, since they don't have an alcohol license. The menu is on the board, so just walk up and take a look. Your waiter will walk you through it if you have questions.

I asked my waiter what was his favorite and ordered that, without paying close attention to the ingredients. It was a cilantro pesto cream sauce and I pretty much hate cilantro in large quantities. Bits in salad and salsa are fine, a whole sauce is not. I ate some, but left the rest. My fault anyway. The chicken Caesar salad was fantastic, as are the rolls and habenero sauce.





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Old 06-11-2016   #14 (permalink)
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Day 3

I moved to my condo today...which sucked. I had to carry 50+ pounds of gear about 3/4 mile. Luckily, I had the bike and a bigass backpack. I made it to my Blue Plams condo without serious injury.



I spent the rest of Day 3 unpacking, grabbing supplies from Walmart and vegging out with TV. I had a laptop loaded with TV/Movies attached via HDMI to the condo TV.

Later that night I grabbed dinner at El Ranchito, on 10th. Decent food, no alcohol, I probably would have liked it more if I had a margarita/beer with dinner.





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Old 06-11-2016   #15 (permalink)
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Chedraui/Vidrio supplies


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