Gluttony and Sloth in Cozumel

Normally we like to choose destinations that are somewhat off the beaten path.  My favorite response when I tell people where we are heading next is “Where’s that?”  However, with the price being too good to pass up and a recommendation of great diving, we picked the Mexican island of Cozumel for this year’s Spring Break.  We prepared ourselves for the throngs of cruise-shippers that we knew would fill the island daily by avoiding the town of San Miguel and southern part of the island during the day.  Usually by nightfall, ships pulled out and the island was a nice mix of locals, vacationing Mexicans, and even some Americans venturing out now that the coast was clear.  Pun intended. P1050321Days were spent being pampered and lazy at Hotel B Cozumel .  This boutique hotel of 44 rooms set on a beautiful coral shore and lagoon was just what we needed.  Starting the morning with yoga class on the pier P1050342over the water or with a brisk walk down to the marina (here is the tarantula I almost stepped on during one of these walks) IMG_0282 was the perfect segue to hours on a sun bed reading, sunning, and feasting on lunches of calamari and ceviche.  Throw in two days of scuba diving and another two days of excellent snorkeling right in front of the hotel, and it made for the idyllic tropical vacation. The only negative about the hotel was that it offered “day passes” to cruise-shippers, so during some of the days, there were a few more guests at the hotel than we would have liked.  Most of the time, the clientele of the hotel was European and Middle Eastern—lots of different languages, which I love.  The mood of the hotel was very zen, with spa-like music and a really “chill” vibe.  With the exception of the day I was lounging by the pool and I experienced the American Invasion!  A family of four came to the pool loungers and upon setting up camp on the chairs, proceeded to play out the stereotypical Loud American Tourist.  “I SET YOUR TOWEL HERE!”  “DO YOU WANT SOMETHING TO EAT?” “COME GET YOUR SUNSCREEN!” and other phrases were screamed across the outdoor area.  It was awful!  Prior to their arrival, there were about 25 of us at the pool and while it was by no means silent, people were using normal speaking voices.  Please, my fellow Americans, let’s not be “that guy” when we travel! I was really impressed with the behavior with my fellow hotel-mates, so the only other issue I noticed was also by some day pass cruise-shippers.  The selfies!   Make them stop.  We were in one of the most gorgeous settings in the Caribbean and experiencing perfect weather and the group of 20-something girls visiting one day spent no less than four solid hours doing nothing but taking selfies.  If you have a “selfie-stick”, please go near the water and hit yourself in the head with it so you can join your mythological Greek twin, Narcissus! My favorite hotel-mates were the friendly male couple from Ohio that were there the first part of our stay.  I was sunbathing near them one day and of course, eavesdropping.  A tall guy came up and chatted with them about their evening plans.  “We’re going to mass tonight—it IS Palm Sunday, you know,” said one of the guys, and then his partner added, “We actually met in church!”  As a fellow Catholic this made me smile, so when I heard the tall guy start to respond, I figured he was going to address the elephant in the room.  Tall guy: “You two are going to church………three sheets to the wind?”  THAT was his question.  Chuckles from me on my beach chair.  Their response: “We’re Catholic—drinking is the 11th Commandment.”  I just love conversations like these! Other excitement during the week at the hotel was the day we got yacht-neighbors.  The Lumiere spent the day moored just off our shore.  P1050344Why didn’t I bring my binoculars?  We had a lovely day watching Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.  I was able to Google the yacht and found out it can be chartered for the bargain price of about $225,000 a week.  Plus expenses.  At least this yacht had a better captain than the Fiesta, a yacht that washed up on shore right in town and spent most of the week with locals pointing at it until we finally watched it being towed away and almost swamped. IMG_0275 I think I will be content to just stay on land. But when we were at sea for our scuba one day, we had yet another of our many “It’s a small world” moments.  On a dive boat of nine people we ended up sitting across from a family from the Twin Cities who not only had heard of our small town of 2,000 people, the husband had spend a decade of summers there with his family as a child and the wife shared with me that her death wish is to have her and her husband’s ashes mixed and spread over the lake two miles from my house.  WHAT?  This is the kind of crazy stuff that always happens to us.  We can’t go anywhere without running into someone who has some connection to our small town.  I don’t know how people have affairs or think they can do anything secret, even far away on a vacation.  There is always someone you will run into! The last thing that was noteworthy about our week in Cozumel was the food.  Prior to the trip I spent many hours on Tripadvisor to see what restaurants we would visit.  The research paid off in the form of a seven pound weight gain in seven days.  Nice!  By the end of the trip I could hardly fit into my plane seat!  OK, not really but my jeans were not too pleased.  I present my best “food porn” of the week: IMG_0204 (1)A seafood skewer with lobster, shrimp, octopus and shrimp in a mango glaze from Buccano’s that could have fed an entire family! IMG_0200The appetizer of wahoo and mahi mahi tartare with green apple and avocado with fried plantains that we started with at Buccano’s and regretted after the skewer came and we had to roll out of the place. Items off the tasting menu at Kondesa, including an appetizer and dessert sampler.IMG_0208IMG_0213 The greatest sandwich ever created—the Lobster Bacon sandwich from Le Chef.  IMG_0225 We enjoyed chowing down on them while watching people working out on spinning bikes at the gym across the street. IMG_0228 Scallops, shrimp, and octopus over black squid-ink linguine IMG_0237from Guido’s. A cafeteria-style tray loaded with conch, shrimp, prawns, and grouper from El Moro in the residential area.IMG_0258 (1) Ok—time to come up for air!  It’s hard to believe we only gained a pound a day!  Although we don’t plan to return to Cozumel—too many other destinations to hit—if we do, I will be sure to plan a colonoscopy for the day after we get home because missing out on this great food will not be an option and I don’t want to spend the following month in sweatpants.