Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Playa del Charmless

Crikey heck. Poor hubby. I took him to such a dreadful place. I visited Playa del Carmen over New Year 1999/2000 and remembered it as a pretty beach resort with a good selection of restaurants. I knew it would have changed/grown, etc but I had no idea how much. It is now such an awful, awful place that the name Playa del Charmless is more apt, or perhaps Playa del Chavs. The only saving grace is that there are two Starbucks, but even they can't make up for the rest of town. Actually, the other saving grace is the extraordinary people-watching opportunities, and hubby and I definitely made the most of those.

So, we arrived in PdC on Sunday 27th after a somewhat uncomfortable journey from Belize City. The first 3.5 hours of said journey were spent on a "mini-coach", which was definitely "mini" in all its components, including the seats. Hubby & I aren't exactly slender in the derriere department so getting two of us on one seat was nigh on impossible and I spent the majority of the journey with 0.5 of a buttock hanging in the aisle. Please don't spend too much time thinking about that or trying to picture it as it isn't pretty. Hubby was squashed against the window which he kept wide open to circulate the air. Unfortunately that also meant subjecting himself to the sun, which gave him one lovely pink arm and half a pink face in a Phantom of the Opera kind of way. Luckily the second half of the journey we switched to a proper coach with full-size seats.

Arriving fairly late in the evening meant we just went out to dinner and then crashed out in our overpriced room. The next morning we were able to appreciate PdC in all its glory. I just don't know how to describe it. It was like being on a film set of a comedy (or a tragedy?) about a stereotypical Mexican holiday resort. There were hordes of holidaymakers wandering around wearing wristbands from their all-inclusive resorts, there were mariachi bands screeching out "authentic" Mexican tunes, there were aged ladies in tiny bikinis (which they were happy to wear all round town and not just on the beach), there were aged men in singlets and white linen trousers, there was acre upon acre of pink flesh on display, and the shops were full of absolute overpriced tat. I ventured in to a vast souvenier shop with my eyes on stalks at the crapola they were selling, only to come across a line of people at the cash desk armed with basketfuls of the stuff - leather-covered drinking flasks, pen holders covered in shells and sand, ashtrays in the shape of sombreros, decorated tequila glasses, maracas, ponchos, you name it, they had it. I love shopping, but I had a hard time finding one single thing in the whole of PdC I would actually want to buy, and in the end had to make do with a Christmas decoration and a couple of bars of Dairy Milk.

Well, luckily we only had 4 nights there, and at least the beach was lovely - white sand, crystal clear water and, again, plenty of people-watching opportunities, although the number of men in Speedos was not a good thing.

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