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Posted: 8/31/2015 2:06:04 PM EDT
I left on Friday the 21st to go on a cruise with my wife and in-laws out of Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Marten.  Thanks to hurricane Danny, the cruise was rerouted so we did Nassau, Costa May, and Cozumel.  Our first stop was Nassau, and while it was a dump, it had an enjoyable character to it.  Or was that because of the rum factory tour, and the subsequent rum drinks.  Or was it because of the ridiculous heat and the fact we hoofed it the whole time.  But I didn't mind Nassau even though there was clearly some sketchiness to it.




The ship's next stop was Costa Maya, Mexico.  What a fucking shithole.  It was built as a cruise ship destination.  What it really is; a whole bunch of Mexicans selling the same touristy nick-nacks and a really sketchy pool with a swim-up bar.  The water was sketchy in the pool (I mean, come on, it was Mexico!) but I spent about an hour in the pool and drank a Tecate before walking around a little with the wife.  It's pretty bad when you ask one of the locals, "which way to the nearest beach?"  And the answer is, "You don't want to go to the beaches.  They're 4 kilometers away and smell really bad."  We got back on the ship, took showers, and had lunch.


Our last stop was in Cozumel.  We only got to really see the port area of Cozumel where the ship docked, and it looked okay.  We hopped a shuttle across to the mainland to take a tour to Chichen Itza, the Mayan Ruins.  On the bus ride through Playa Del Carmen, I was struck by how nasty the living was.  The houses looked like they had been built a long time ago as small vacation housing, but it was clearly everyday living these days.  And the glass pressed into the tops of the walls around the houses sent a clear message to the quality of the neighborhoods.  The ride to Chichen Itza was boring and the town around the ruins was squalid looking.  When we got off the bus, we were assaulted from all directions at once by locals all selling the same hats for the same price.  Once you're inside the grounds of the ruins, there are a bunch of locals, again all selling the same exact crap.  You can't take 3 steps without hearing someone yell, "One Dollar, Ten Pesos!"  Except, we learned that the exchange rate was one dollar was sixteen pesos.  On the bus ride back to the water shuttle, I learned an interesting fact from the tour guide about the Mexican economy.  The number one money earner for Mexico is their oil industry.  Number three is their tourist industry.  The second largest "industry" in Mexico is overseas Mexican labor sending money back to their families in Mexico!!!! I really did enjoy seeing Chichen Itza though and I learned a little!


The main attraction on this trip was the cruise ship; she was a big, bad bitch!


I enjoyed the hell out of my vacation and I was glad to be able to share the experiences with my wife's family.  The ship was impressive and was definitely a wonder to behold.  I hate that my post sounds like a whole bunch of complaining, but it isn't really that.  I further appreciate what I have because of seeing what little so many people have!  And there is nothing as annoying as hearing a tourist brag about how opulent his stateroom on the cruise ship is to a native tour guide who is probably only just barely scratching out a living.  Argh.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 2:35:53 PM EDT
The wife and I like Cozumel/Play del Carmen/Isla Mujeres but no thanks on a cruise ship.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 2:37:28 PM EDT
In the cabins facing each other how much boning did you get to see?
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 2:40:32 PM EDT
Never read "to sail a darkling sea" have you? That book cured me of ever wanting to go on a cruise.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 2:48:49 PM EDT
I love Cozumel! ....except when cruise ships come in, they ruin everything!
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 3:15:09 PM EDT
When you take a cruise, stay on the boat when in port.  You'll have it to yourself.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 6:10:52 PM EDT

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Originally Posted By GeorgiaBII:


Never read "to sail a darkling sea" have you? That book cured me of ever wanting to go on a cruise.
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If you let John Ringo books scare you out of doing things, you'll never leave your mother's basement and eventually run out of Cheetoh's and starve to death :-)



 
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 6:44:56 PM EDT
We went on that ship last year.  It is most impressive!

Cozumel is my favorite.  Great snorkeling, food and beaches.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:08:39 PM EDT
Playa wasn't so bad when I was there maybe 8 years ago. Reminded me a lot of dalton, ga actually. Now, you start going down the coast away from the ruins and it gets shady pretty quick. We saw several sketchy goings on out in the "country" when going out to the lagoon for snorkeling. Right off the coast of playa is some of the best diving, with the second largest reef in the world  believe; we over every minute if that.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:20:59 PM EDT
Costa Maya, the trick is to GET AWAY from the touristy area. We rented a golf cart and went south, the road leads along the beach and you can find several tiny little villages where you will be seen as/ treated as a god. About 3 miles down we found a one room house with nicknacks for sale and a few expats lived there. We had a nice beer with them.


Cozumel we rented a zini (basically a street legal go cart) and drove to the opposite side of the island and found an empty beach to spend the day.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:24:23 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By billth777:
Costa Maya, the trick is to GET AWAY from the touristy area. We rented a golf cart and went south, the road leads along the beach and you can find several tiny little villages where you will be seen as/ treated as a god. About 3 miles down we found a one room house with nicknacks for sale and a few expats lived there. We had a nice beer with them.


Cozumel we rented a zini (basically a street legal go cart) and drove to the opposite side of the island and found an empty beach to spend the day.
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This.  Same for Cozumel.

We found a little beach that the boats don't go to.  Last time there, we shared the place with one other couple.  It was awesome!
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 11:54:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/31/2015 11:54:59 PM EDT by Mad-Machinist]
Link Posted: 9/1/2015 11:33:17 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By jmarkma:
In the cabins facing each other how much boning did you get to see?
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I have a story related to this...but not gonna tell it here.

Suffice it to say I am confident I have been on several of those 'Funniest videos' shows over in Scandinavia.
Link Posted: 9/1/2015 6:49:46 PM EDT

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Originally Posted By Mad-Machinist:


Glad you had fun........I have a rule...if I can't carry I don't go......and I spent enough time in the 80's in various 3rd world shitholes.......no desire to see more of them

I would like to do Chichen Itza......and a lot of the Mayan sites.....but the guide forgot to mention kidnapping is pretty high up there in the "economy" of Mexico..........glad you had a safe and enjoyable vacation..........
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Kidnapping anywhere near Cozumel/Cancun/Playa del Carmen is bullshit urban legend type crap, also far from 3rd world shitholes.  How's life in that bubble?
Link Posted: 9/1/2015 7:07:57 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By thegooch:

  Kidnapping anywhere near Cozumel/Cancun/Playa del Carmen is bullshit urban legend type crap, also far from 3rd world shitholes.  How's life in that bubble?
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Originally Posted By thegooch:
Originally Posted By Mad-Machinist:
Glad you had fun........I have a rule...if I can't carry I don't go......and I spent enough time in the 80's in various 3rd world shitholes.......no desire to see more of them
I would like to do Chichen Itza......and a lot of the Mayan sites.....but the guide forgot to mention kidnapping is pretty high up there in the "economy" of Mexico..........glad you had a safe and enjoyable vacation..........

  Kidnapping anywhere near Cozumel/Cancun/Playa del Carmen is bullshit urban legend type crap, also far from 3rd world shitholes.  How's life in that bubble?


Correct, that area is safer than some areas in Atlanta. Backwoods Mexico, yeah not interested in going but the area listed above are good to go.
Link Posted: 9/2/2015 7:37:05 AM EDT
I didn't get any sense of real danger other than the usual "condition yellow" feeling EVERYBODY should have ANYWHERE (if you're not a sheeple).  The police looked sketchy; carrying an odd mix of sub guns and what I presumed were M16s.  On the road from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza, there is absolutely nothing but jungle.  It was a very boring drive.  Playa del Carmen and the town around Chichen Itza are borderline 3rd world though.
Link Posted: 9/2/2015 11:30:31 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By ATLDiver:


Correct, that area is safer than some areas in Atlanta. Backwoods Mexico, yeah not interested in going but the area listed above are good to go.
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Originally Posted By ATLDiver:
Originally Posted By thegooch:
Originally Posted By Mad-Machinist:
Glad you had fun........I have a rule...if I can't carry I don't go......and I spent enough time in the 80's in various 3rd world shitholes.......no desire to see more of them
I would like to do Chichen Itza......and a lot of the Mayan sites.....but the guide forgot to mention kidnapping is pretty high up there in the "economy" of Mexico..........glad you had a safe and enjoyable vacation..........

  Kidnapping anywhere near Cozumel/Cancun/Playa del Carmen is bullshit urban legend type crap, also far from 3rd world shitholes.  How's life in that bubble?


Correct, that area is safer than some areas in Atlanta. Backwoods Mexico, yeah not interested in going but the area listed above are good to go.


I stopped and chatted with the armed guards we saw at Costa Maya.  Their English was better than my Espanol.  They were carrying OLD M16s and berettas.  Safe area?  Sure, more than some.  Do the guards make it so or are they there in case it isn't.
Link Posted: 9/2/2015 12:52:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2015 12:54:12 PM EDT by ATLDiver]
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Originally Posted By stimpsonjcat:


I stopped and chatted with the armed guards we saw at Costa Maya.  Their English was better than my Espanol.  They were carrying OLD M16s and berettas.  Safe area?  Sure, more than some.  Do the guards make it so or are they there in case it isn't.
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Originally Posted By stimpsonjcat:
Originally Posted By ATLDiver:
Originally Posted By thegooch:
Originally Posted By Mad-Machinist:
Glad you had fun........I have a rule...if I can't carry I don't go......and I spent enough time in the 80's in various 3rd world shitholes.......no desire to see more of them
I would like to do Chichen Itza......and a lot of the Mayan sites.....but the guide forgot to mention kidnapping is pretty high up there in the "economy" of Mexico..........glad you had a safe and enjoyable vacation..........

  Kidnapping anywhere near Cozumel/Cancun/Playa del Carmen is bullshit urban legend type crap, also far from 3rd world shitholes.  How's life in that bubble?


Correct, that area is safer than some areas in Atlanta. Backwoods Mexico, yeah not interested in going but the area listed above are good to go.


I stopped and chatted with the armed guards we saw at Costa Maya.  Their English was better than my Espanol.  They were carrying OLD M16s and berettas.  Safe area?  Sure, more than some.  Do the guards make it so or are they there in case it isn't.



I think primarily they're there for show more than anything. My hunch is that that area is awash in drug money being laundered and everyone is in on it so all parties keep shit locked down. When I was down there last month, the Mexican Navy had a frigate patrolling up and down between Cancun and Playa. At most they had to worry about was a drunk yacht captain.

When I drove by the Navy base on Isla, the guards were sporting fairly new M4 types complete with Aimpoints (what I could tell.) Again, I think it's to appese the tourists more than anything but I'm sure it's also a message for the locals to behave.
Link Posted: 9/2/2015 1:17:12 PM EDT
On an interesting note; when we were in Nassau, the Venezuelan Navy was in port with a sail boat called the Simón Bolívar; apparently it's a training sail ship assigned to their navy.  It was docked between our ship and a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship; I assume it was there sheltering from Hurricane Danny.  The crew on it looked ROUGH!  The crew had a South American peasant look about them and were dressed in overalls; these guys looked rough like they have seen a lot of hard years out on deck in the sun.  All seemed all smiles though!  What surprised me though was that they had a podium on the dock with a sign saying they were offering free tours of the ship! (Yeah right!  Probably shanghai'ing crew!!!! LOL)  When we got into Nassau we came across a group of young guys (looked like teenagers) in a couple of variations of dress uniform (green, tan, and blue uniforms) that looked like young officer's in training, poking around a higher-end jewelry store.  In retrospect, I wish we had toured the sailing ship, but I'm typing this from y air conditioned office.  At the time it was a billion degrees outside and I just wanted to get back on our ship and into the nice, cool AC!!!



ETA:
Here is the reason it was in Nassau (not because of the hurricane): http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/new-providence-bahamas/Venezuelan_Navy_Ship_Simon_Bolivar_Visits_Nassau43605.shtml
Link Posted: 9/2/2015 1:51:12 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/2/2015 1:53:10 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Mad-Machinist:
[My comment was directed at Mexico in general......and the time I spent in the area was a little further south......no experience in the specific area.....guess 2 circumnavigations of the globe let me see enough that I don't mind living in a bubble....enough in this country I haven't seen yet......so I'll stick to my rule...if I can't carry I don't go.........and as I stated...I'm genuinely happy the OP had an enjoyable and safe vacation......
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Why, thank you!
Link Posted: 9/2/2015 2:06:22 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By 03rangerxlt:
On an interesting note; when we were in Nassau, the Venezuelan Navy was in port with a sail boat called the Simón Bolívar; apparently it's a training sail ship assigned to their navy.  It was docked between our ship and a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship; I assume it was there sheltering from Hurricane Danny.  The crew on it looked ROUGH!  The crew had a South American peasant look about them and were dressed in overalls; these guys looked rough like they have seen a lot of hard years out on deck in the sun.  All seemed all smiles though!  What surprised me though was that they had a podium on the dock with a sign saying they were offering free tours of the ship! (Yeah right!  Probably shanghai'ing crew!!!! LOL)  When we got into Nassau we came across a group of young guys (looked like teenagers) in a couple of variations of dress uniform (green, tan, and blue uniforms) that looked like young officer's in training, poking around a higher-end jewelry store.  In retrospect, I wish we had toured the sailing ship, but I'm typing this from y air conditioned office.  At the time it was a billion degrees outside and I just wanted to get back on our ship and into the nice, cool AC!!!

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/63/Navy002.jpg

ETA:
Here is the reason it was in Nassau (not because of the hurricane): http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/new-providence-bahamas/Venezuelan_Navy_Ship_Simon_Bolivar_Visits_Nassau43605.shtml
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A guy I work with was a cadet on that boat ages ago.  He said it was rough but fun.
Link Posted: 9/2/2015 2:14:38 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By stimpsonjcat:


A guy I work with was a cadet on that boat ages ago.  He said it was rough but fun.
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Originally Posted By stimpsonjcat:
Originally Posted By 03rangerxlt:
On an interesting note; when we were in Nassau, the Venezuelan Navy was in port with a sail boat called the Simón Bolívar; apparently it's a training sail ship assigned to their navy.  It was docked between our ship and a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship; I assume it was there sheltering from Hurricane Danny.  The crew on it looked ROUGH!  The crew had a South American peasant look about them and were dressed in overalls; these guys looked rough like they have seen a lot of hard years out on deck in the sun.  All seemed all smiles though!  What surprised me though was that they had a podium on the dock with a sign saying they were offering free tours of the ship! (Yeah right!  Probably shanghai'ing crew!!!! LOL)  When we got into Nassau we came across a group of young guys (looked like teenagers) in a couple of variations of dress uniform (green, tan, and blue uniforms) that looked like young officer's in training, poking around a higher-end jewelry store.  In retrospect, I wish we had toured the sailing ship, but I'm typing this from y air conditioned office.  At the time it was a billion degrees outside and I just wanted to get back on our ship and into the nice, cool AC!!!

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/63/Navy002.jpg

ETA:
Here is the reason it was in Nassau (not because of the hurricane): http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/new-providence-bahamas/Venezuelan_Navy_Ship_Simon_Bolivar_Visits_Nassau43605.shtml


A guy I work with was a cadet on that boat ages ago.  He said it was rough but fun.

Tell him my hat is off to him.  It certainly doesn't look like comfortable living!
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