Friday, February 3, 2017

Anniversary Trip: Cruise Day 6 (Cozumel)

Just like that we were in our last port! Cozumel was our least planned city. We had a rough sketch of the day that involved renting a car and driving out to a lighthouse we'd found out about online--renting our own car would be the same price as taking a taxi (per the rates online), so it seemed like the way to go. But when we actually got to Cozumel, the car rental rates were higher than we'd seen online. We went over to the taxis and found ourselves making a deal with the taxi broker and two other couples. One of the couples bowed out, but we ended up getting a good deal on a taxi tour that we shared with a couple from Switzerland!

The Swiss couple were great taxi mates. They were friendly and fun to talk to. They were also super cool and live very close to the Matterhorn (!!)--they showed us a few pictures where you can see the Matterhorn from their balcony! I was glad to have great taxi friends.

Our first stop was at a beach resort where we were staying for only half an hour. Ryan and I had brought our snorkel gear (of course) so we quickly changed and got in the water. On this side of the island--the western developed side--there were no waves and the water was very clear. And we finally got to snorkel off a beach. Where I could walk in to ease myself into the snorkel process. Huzzah! There weren't as many fish here, but Ryan did see a large statue head farther out (we're pretty sure the resort put that there). And before too long, it was time to hop back into the taxi. 

We were soon on the eastern side of the island, which is protected land so is not developed at all. The waves on this side were pretty intense--our driver said they were bigger and more forceful than usual--and at one point we talked him into pulling over so we could hop out and explore a blow hole! The blow hole was super cool--I've never seen one in real life--and we spent a good 20 mintues or so taking photos and enjoying the gorgeous views. 

Then we were back into the taxi again, and this is when disaster struck. Next to the roads that goes around the eastern side of Cozumel is a smaller road, separated from the main road by a strip of grass. This small road is for bicycles and scooters. Well, we saw two scooters coming up from the side road to turn on to the main road and watched in horror as the first rider lost control of her scooter and shot onto the road in front of us. Our taxi driver slammed on the brakes and stopped in time, but a food truck coming from the other direction had less time to react and hit the scooter. The passengers (a woman and her son) were thrown off the scooter. It was horrifying. The son was sobbing that he was going to die. His mom was unconscious and bleeding. The other scooter rider was in shock, having just watched the accident. We pulled over to wait for the ambulance and help as we could. The little boy was fine, just scraped up a little and shaken up a lot. His mom was not. The ambulance took an insanely long time to get there (about 20-30 minutes) and we were so grateful when it finally arrived. We found the second driver the next day on our ship and he told us that the lady (just someone he'd met on the cruise) was still in Cozumel in critical condition. We don't know what happened to her but I'm hopeful that she was okay. It was so awful.

We got back into the taxi in a somber mood. The next part of the drive was very quiet. When we got to the next stop, it was good to get out of the car and be able to think about something else. This stop was San Gervaiso, another Mayan ruin site. San Gervaiso wasn't composed of huge buildings like Altun Ha was, but rather had a greater amount of sprawling land between small buildings. We got to walk through the jungle between the sites and admire the buildings and the "highway" (built of rocks) between them. One of my favorite moments was when we saw a wild boar (!!) run across the path in front of us. There weren't many people at the buildings that were apart from the main village, so we were surrounding by jungle and almost silence as we looked at these thousands-of-years-old structures. Wow.

After San Gervaiso, it was back to the main shopping district of Cozumel. We bid our taxi driver and our Swiss friends farewell and went to find some food. We luckily stumbled upon an open air taco restaurant and had ridiculously good al pastor street tacos. We walked around some of the resorts as we are wont to do in foreign countries and discovered a penned off area with peacocks, a cool day of the dead setup, and a banana tree just growing wild behind a hotel (all in different areas :) We did a little bit of shopping--it was our last stop after all--then went back to the boat. The port in Cozumel doesn't use tender boats, so you can walk right on and off the ship. And in this port, our side of the boat was the side that was next to the dock--so we enjoyed a little people-watching from our window. That window--it really was amazing. 

That night, the sea was really rough--so rough that I was not feeling fantastic. We decided to try getting into the pool, which actually really helped. The water in the pool was moving just like the waves were moving, so the motion made sense to my body and I felt way less sick. We were maybe weirdos as we were the only adults in the pool, but we had a really great time playing in the water!


That day we walked to the buffet for breakfast to find towel animals all over the main deck!






Cool rocks by the blow hole

The rocks had holes in them, and the holes had plants growing in them!


The eastern side of Cozumel

The blowhole

Ryan checking out the blow hole








Eastern side of Cozumel

San Gervaiso









The amazing tacos

I want a servilletas holder that looks like this.

Some of our walking discoveries (above and below)


Our cruise ship is the same size as that small one in front--and it is huge. The gigantic one is truly humongous. We looked it up later and found out it has a zip line in the middle and a shopping center. It's SO BIG.

Banana tree!



Blowhole Videos:





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