Since we had planned on doing a lot of walking and climbing at Chichen Itza on Monday, we left Tuesday open as a day to just lounge around the hotel and maybe go to a flea market or something like that.
We woke up quite late, around 10:00am, and showered and went down to the breakfast buffet at the Albatross. It was good as usual, but by the time we were finishing, they were telling us that the buffet was going to be closing soon, at 10:30. We were done, so we left. We decided that we were first going to WalMart, to pick up a phone card (the ones the tour guides at the hotel sell are $10 / 20 minutes, the ones at WalMart are $10 / 43 minutes, more if you call from a ‘local line’ instead of a pay phone).
We thought that pretty much any bus going in front of our hotel would go past WalMart. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and we got on a bus that after it arrived in Downtown Cancun didn’t go past WalMart. I asked another bus rider about it, and he didn’t know or couldn’t communicate with me well enough to tell me. The bus driver then asked while furiously driving where we wanted to go, and after telling him ‘WalMart’, he said that we needed to get off, go to the other side of the street, and wait for the ‘R2’ bus. We got off at the next stop, intending to catch the R2 to WalMart. There goes another 130 cents! (bus fare is 6.5 pesos per person, each time you get on the bus).
So, we get off the bus, and we are immediately requested by several locals to ‘come to my shop… good things in my shop’… ‘flea market is right over here…’. We were dumb enough to follow one of the locals, who showed us a couple of shops, helped us pick some nice souvenirs (the price wasn’t bad, but we could have EASILY found things ourselves at Market 28, which is a huge flea market we had planned on hitting a little later), and then he expected us to ‘tip’ him after making our purchases. I guess our ‘shopping helper’ did get a nice burrito for lunch on us.
After our ‘shopping and bartering experience’, we went back across the street to catch the R2 bus. Another bus (wasn’t an R2, but it had ‘WalMart’ on it’s destination list painted on the front) soon came, and after confirming with the driver, we hopped on. It wound around the downtown area, and we were totally lost. Paige started recognizing things, and realized that we were close to WalMart, because she recognized the car dealerships that were close-by. The driver told us to get off at that corner, and WalMart was kitty-corner across the street.
In WalMart, Paige shopped for a few items (a ‘sarong-like’ cover for her swimsuit, etc.), and grazed around the store a bit. I kept telling her how much things are in dollars (mostly by covering up the last digit in the price), and it didn’t seem to me like things were that great a price. At the register, the total was $320 or so, and Paige jokingly gasped at the price, and the checker hit a button and magically changed the price to Dollars. It was pretty funny.
After check-out, there were people trying to sell us various things, still inside the WalMart. Very strange. One woman was very insistent that we should check out some sort of non-time-share (which usually ends up still being a time-share), needless to say, we were not interested. She did tell us that we needed to go out the WalMart and to catch the bus on the same side of the street that said ‘Hotels’ on the front. Nice of her, that.
While checking out, we asked the checker about phone cards, and she pointed us to the Customer Service desk, but at the Customer Service desk, they insisted that they don’t sell Phone cards. As we were walking out of the store, there was a kiosk just inside the door that sells them. Apparently, the Customer Service guy doesn’t know about the kiosk 5 feet from his desk that sells phone cards. Heh. As we were heading out the door, the time-share woman approached us AGAIN! We told her that she had just talked to us about it, and she informed us that we had really talked to her identical sister, and indeed, there the first one was, waving good-bye sweetly.
After her earlier bartering to get the t-shirts, Paige wasn’t nearly as interested in going to Market 28, which was somewhere fairly nearby in the neighborhood, but we may go back Friday if we’re not too worn out.
The trip back to the hotel was thankfully uneventful. I tried to convince Paige that we should go get some lunch, but she said that it was still too early for lunch, since we had eaten a few hours earlier. We put on our suits, and went out to the beach. We sat in the sun for a while, reading books and Paige listened to her ‘Donny’ Christmas music. It was nice. We then took a short dip in the pool, and ordered some soft drinks from the poolside bar (another first!).
We had our late lunch at Las Gaviotas (the Seagulls, I think), which is the beach side lunch buffet between the pool and the beach. We sat overlooking the beach, and nearly had to scare off the namesake birds from diving down to our food.
Our dinner tonight will be at the Steakhouse, which is in the same location as the lunch was, but it’s a reservation-only dinner restaurant at dinnertime.
A few full size pictures from the trip are available HERE
UPDATE: All the pictures from the trip are now posted here.