Monday, February 23, 2009

February 22 and 23

On February 22 we drove the truck from Paamul to Punta Allen in the Reserva de la Biosphere Sian Ka'an. The road passes between the Caribbean Sea and a huge lagoon.  

                                             Here is Mike at a beach on the Caribbean side. 

We stopped at the small information office where we climbed the wooden tower (only 2 people allowed at one time) and walked out on the dock.

                                                       Here is Penny coming down again.

Punta Allen is a small very scenic village with many pleasant looking tourist cabanas.

                                             Here is an old dock with pelicans.

On the way back to Paamul we stopped to visit the ruins at Tulum. Although these ruins are not thought to be of high quality (some of them seem to tipping over) their location on the cliffs overlooking the Caribbean is spectacular. Being within a couple of hours of Cancun they are one of the most visited ruins in Mexico. Did you know that the Mexicans call the Caribbean Sea "Mar del Caribe" - which means sea of paranhas? 

                                             Here we are at the ruins in Tulum.

Today Penny did the laundry - in a blue bucket and hung up under the awning.

we were once again trying to get our International cell phone to work. It stopped working the other evening in the middle of a call to Elspeth and we could not understand the message we got whenever we tried to use it again. There are dozens of Telcel shops in the nearby town of Playa del Carmen - but this time the clerks only spoke a little English. Eventually we learned that the minutes we had bought at the last Telcel were for "local calls" and therefore would not work for calls to Canada. This seemed odd - since they had worked. However, we bought another new chip and $500 MX more time and are hoping for the best. We have a new phone number for while we are in Mexico - 9848768930.

Since we were so successful communicating about the phone, we decided to see if the clerks could tell us where to fill our propane tanks. It is quite hard to locate propane (actually butane) in Mexico since it not sold at the Pemex Stations (the only gas stations) which only sell "gasolina" not "gas." We had been driving up and down the calles and avindedas of del Carmen and found no sign of a propane shop anywhere. However, we had come across a propane truck making a delivery. We wrote down the name "Tomza" and "cilindros  de gas" from the words on the truck - but had no idea of the address.  We asked the Telcel clerks, "Por favor, donde es Tomza" and showed them what we had written. The recognized it immediately and directed us to follow the main avenida into the "silva" on a "mala calle." We did this, passing through two guarded gates and wondering if we were actually on the way. Eventually found ourselves at the large Zeta Gas distribution centre - out in the middle of the forest. Success! On the way back saw many people on motor bikes with huge propane tanks balanced on top - heading toward the Zeta! 

It was a cloudy day - so once we got home, we walked along the beach away from RV park. Sadly the beach is littered with plastic among the pieces of coral. Most of the plastic seems to be different kinds of plastic bottles and odd shoes - possibly lost from passing boats. It's not dirty - just messy.


We also chatted with one of the longterm residents of the Paamul RV Park. Apparently the park started as a place for American and Canadian scuba divers. Eventually people began having big fancy palapas built over their RVs. The palapas are very elaborate - with doors, windows, tile floors, and furniture - but always also incorporating an RV - which usually  cannot be removed. People pay for the palapa to be built and rent space from the park at $6000 US per year. 

                                             Can you see the RVs in the palapas? 

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