Saturday, April 25, 2009


My first real impressions of Cozumel were from the water since we went from the ship into a taxi onto a boat into the water.
Of course, looking at it from the water makes sense it is an island off of the coast of Mexico.
Just like in Cayman, the cruise port in Cozumel caters to tourists with a large mall surrounding the point of entry.
 Cozumel is the jewelry retail capital of Mexico and we spent a lot of time in a jewelry store looking at silver and opals. Retail in Mexico is odd cause there are no prices on anything and it is expected that you will negotiate. I was trying on a rose quartz ring that was lovely, but not quite the right size. When the salesman quoted a price a friendly gentleman leaned near to my ear and said, "Counter offer. He doesn't really think you are going to pay that much." It was weird and kinda fun to work prices.
 Through out the mall and adjoining plaza there were street performers.
 If you've ever traveled with me you know i loves me some street performers.
 When i go into DC i try to have a pocketful of bills to drop in buckets. I am always amazed and humbled by the courage people have to put themselves on display.

 The dancers were on a tiny stage in the plaza and i think that they are paid to be there. 

These two percussionists were amazing. 
I do love a good xylophone. 

And then there is Mr Golden Mariachi.
 I love, love, love the living statue performers. This guy was amazing and when i tipped to take his picture he insisted that i needed to be in the photo.

We went to a little tequilaria factory store where they allow you to taste different brands.
 I bought a wonderful Reposada by... hmmmm... some company i've never heard of... yeah, i can't remember the name, but the tequila is the smoothest i have ever tried.
 The ceramic bottle came with matching shot glasses. You can tell that they cater to tourists cause when i was dithering trying to decide which to buy and how to get it home the uber-helpful salesgirl chimed in that she would bubblewrap it for me.
I really wanted to get a passport stamp, but the immigration office wasn't quite as obvious as it was in Cayman. We asked around and were told that it was "2 blocks down and 2 blocks over" from the far corner of the plaza. So we started to walk.
 And walk.
 And walk.
It did not take long to see a marked change in the area. We passed a federal building with a guard out front carrying a rifle.
We kept walking.
 And walking.
 I was sure there would be a sign or something. Finally when it was obvious that we were in a mostly deserted neighborhood I decided that we should ask for directions; of course a mostly deserted neighborhood is mostly deserted so who were we going to ask?
 I spotted a real estate office and figured that there would be 1) people inside, 2) they would know directions, and 3) they might speak some English. And i was right. The very nice receptionist told us we were close, only one more block to go, but it might be closed.
 So we walked.
 And walked.
 And walked.
 No one bothered to tell us that "a block" is from one major street to another. There might be 6 streets in a block or 2 or 1 or 5; it all depends.

 But at long last we found it.

Notice the bars on the windows.
 The door was locked tight, but they were still open. An armed guard let us in and said "passport stamp?" and gestured towards a counter.
 Another guy smiled at me and gestured to which page i wanted my stamp; i think he must see his fair share of clueless tourists.
 The guard smiled as he opened the door, let us out and locked the door again.
 Now we just had to get back to the ship.
I was tired, sore, dehydrated and hungry by the time we arrived at the gang plank of the ship, but happy with my purchases and the short adventure in Mexico.


Michael Gelpi said...

Hi, stumbled on you blog while looking for passport stamp information. I know this is a super old post, but maybe you can help me anyhow! Do you have a picture of the passport stamp from cozumel by chance?

Niki said...

The Cozumel stamp was a generic Mexico stamp, but i would be happy to send you a pic of it.