Saturday, May 9, 2009

One last night of shrimp tacos, for now anyway.

By TravelGirl --

Here we are, spending our last few hours in Playa looking out at the beautiful Caribbean, enjoying the swaying of the palm trees, updating a blog with a laptop. Somehow this seems out of place, though a Muzak version of “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas is more out of place than I.

We spent last night in the main drag of Playa, yearning for more shrimp tacos. Our pre-planning had pointed us to El Fogon, which was to have some of the most authentic food in town though about a 6-8 walk block away from the action. The bounces in our steps enabled us to make it through a shack-filled neighborhood to 30th and 6th Calle last night, where we were welcomed by Miguel. It was still about 85 degrees last night at 7 p.m. and something about the heat takes away an appetite. After looking at the menu, we opted for simple drinks, chips and guacamole. Alex drank a Dirty Banana while I sipped an Apple Daiquiri Рgood stuff to wash down the complementary saut̩ed cactus, radishes and cucumbers. Ah, Mexico!

Strong drinks El Fogon does make! We slumbered our way back to the main drag in Playa where the nightlife was barely starting to get underway. Still yearning for shrimp tacos, we headed to El Oasis, another little joint known for its seafood and service, where I indulged on my sought-after shrimp taco (only 20 pesos!) while Alex enjoyed chicken fajitas. The people-watching from this locale was great as it was right off of 5th Avenue, on a side street where many people enter the main downtown area of Playa. We were lucky to have two cute Europeans seated next to us. I wanted to hug them both, but instead…I snuck a pic of them while pretending to photograph Alex. Yeah, I can be sneaky that way.

Finally, we decided to hit the beach and the old favorite – The Blue Parrot. Seated in the sand on the beach at The Blue Parrot, we sipped on a Banana Daiquiri and a Blue Parrot (mixture of blue curacao, vodka, and some other tropical flavor). With a full moon (no, I’m not talking about Alex getting all wild and crazy), sounds of ‘80s music thumped in the night sky as we watched late-night fishermen pulling in their nets against the backdrop of the strobe-like light that was flashing to the beat of “Hungry Like the Wolf”. Seconds later, a child of maybe 9 or 10 asked us for money. The odd part of his request was that he wasn’t selling anything. He simply wanted money. All we had on us was cab fare, and we couldn’t give that to him or we’d be walking 5 miles in the heat. After all, this was a budget vacation so we needed every last peso we had just to get back to our room!

As the clock nearly struck 10 p.m. we decided these two bodies needed to hit the sack, so we headed back for a nightcap of leftover Mexican eggnog, watched the ending of Finding Nemo, and drifted to sleep to the sounds of the seas.

Alaska Airlines canceled our direct flight to Seattle (back in Jan/Feb when all airlines were eliminating itineraries) so we’re flying to LAX this afternoon where we’ll spend the night before flying to Seattle tomorrow morning. Alaska is paying for our hotel since they canceled our original itinerary, and I can only hope it’s within walking distance to shrimp tacos.

While this week in Playa del Carmen is coming to an end, we have reinforced how much we prefer the Riviera Maya and Playa del Carmen to the craziness of Cancun or the Pacific side of Mexico. While ANY side of Mexico is a TREAT, as long as a beach can be appreciated, we know we’ll be back here within the next two years to do it all over again. Now if we could only maintain our tans that long. Ahhhhh…

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