sometimes playa is old school…

courtesy of Jeff Seratta

Playa del Carmen ferry pier past courtesy of Jeff Seratta/

The photo above showcases Playa del Carmen when it was old school. Before 2005, Playa was just a small sleepy little fishing town. It’s biggest claim to fame was the port where you could catch the ferry to Cozumel.

Now it’s a bustling destination city on to itself. And the ferry pier has been modernized. Oh my, how times have changed.!

Playa del Carmen ferry pier now courtesy of

Playa del Carmen ferry pier present courtesy of

sometimes paradise is cloudy…

playa cloudy

Beautiful picture of Cozumel from my beautiful friend P., the photographer.!! It’s cloudy (nublado) here in Chicago too, so I feel closer to everyone in Playa today.! Enjoy the weekend πŸ™‚

que milagro dos..!!

P. and me at Starbucks

P. and me at Starbucks

I had several errands to take care of during my visit to Mexico. Plus visiting with my friends was a huge priority πŸ™‚ Last we spoke, P. and I had a great time at Zenzi drinking micheladas and catching up. The next morning we met at Starbucks for coffee (see photo above). We look extremely happy but most definitely like two women who had a few micheladas the night before.!! But oh what fun.!!

After coffee, P. and I spent most of the day meeting with attorneys. She was there to assist me in case I needed translation help. I know what you are thinking at this point – why in the world would you need an attorney Rose.?? Well, this time, it wasn’t for my immigration visa. It was for a wayward roommate. I promise to tell all in my blog post next week called – strange bedfellows.!! But for now, let’s just say, P. and I spent a whole day listening to one attorney after another talk about the ramifications of my case. Can you say me duele mi cabeza.!!

courtesy of

courtesy of

So the next day when I woke up, I decided a trip to Cozumel was in order to reground my center. Plus I wanted to see my good friend Bubba – you know him from the blog post o rico..!! However, the ferry schedule had changed since I was last in Playa so I had a whole hour and a half to kill before the ferry departed. Hmmmmm….so what’s a girl to do..??? Well get a massage of course.!!

One of the many things I loved about living in Playa del Carmen was how inexpensive it was to get a massage. One hour massages range anywhere from $20 USD to $40 USD per hour.!! Yes, I typed that right and you read it correctly.!! In Chicago, a decent one hour massage will empty your wallet anywhere from $80 to $110.!! So, since I am kinda addicted to massages, you can see why I loved living in Playa πŸ™‚ So that’s what I did – on the beach for one hour.!! Can we say glorious.?!! After that I was woozy in all the right places and relaxed everywhere else. Plus, more importantly, I was calmer.

sunrise over cozumel

sunrise over cozumel

After my amazing massage, I set off on the ferry to Cozumel. I love being on the water and in the water. Even being on the ferry surrounded by strangers gives me a feeling of peace. I usually read or daydream. However, there is just one problem with my way of thinking. Not everyone feels this way about being on the water. And the ferry to Cozumel happens to be one of the most harrowing sea journeys ever.!! Yes, you read that right.! Yes, I know it’s only a 45 minute trip. Yes, I know it’s between a barrier island and the mainland. But trust me when I say more vomit bags are given out on that trip than any other boat excursion I have endured.

I don’t know if it’s the type of ferry that is used that causes all the egregious rocking back and forth.?! I don’t know if it’s all the drinking that the tourists partake in that causes all the heaving.!? Or a combination of both, but there is much nausea experienced on that ferry ride. I learned quickly to sit on the main floor in the middle of the boat. It rocks the least for starters. And secondly, all the people who tend to vomit usually sit upstairs or outside. And while, I do not get motion sickness, I will puke at the sight, smell, or sound of others vomiting. It’s like yawning for me.!! So I need to be awaaaayy from all of that noise.!!

courtesy of

courtesy of

Needless, to say, the peace I long for on the ferry doesn’t last very long. Luckily for me, neither does the trip.!! My friend Bubba met me at the ferry terminal and we took a taxi to his old apartment. He had to meet the landlord to do a walk through, so I accompanied him on his errand. Then we went to my favorite place to eat on the island – Indio’s – and we had some dinner. Afterwards, we went to El Coffee Cozumel for pecan pie and coffee..!! Bubba’s lovely girlfriend met us there and we talked so much and laughed so much we kept interrupting each other – it was pretty funny.! And cool.!

Around 8:30pm, we made our way back to the ferry terminal because the last one leaves at 9pm. If you miss it, you are stuck on the island until the morning. I bid them both adios because I wasn’t sure when I would make it back to see them. Then I boarded the ferry for the journey back to Playa secretly hoping that the barfing would be down to a minimum.! Luckily, it was pretty peaceful on the nighttime sojourn back. In fact, I was in such a good and peaceful place when I debarked the ferry that I decided to walk down Quinta Avenida to my hotel room rather than grab a cab. It was a lovely way to end my evening. Que milagro tres to follow….

you want authentic.? you can’t handle authentic.!!

La Casita de Indio courtesy of

La Casita de Indio courtesy of

When I was living in Playa del Carmen, I very rarely ventured across the sea to the island of Cozumel. I figured everything I needed was in Playa – beautiful beaches, the reef, great food and nightlife. In fact, the few times I had been to Cozumel it was ony for a few hours. Sometimes, I felt it was too touristy when all the cruise ships were in town. Other times, I felt it was more like a bedrooom community, and therefore, too quiet for my tastes.

But then a few of my friends moved from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. Early on, they would come back to Playa and visit which was fantastic.! However, after awhile, I got the feeling, they needed a little more reciprocity from me for the friendships too continue. So one day, I hopped on a ferry to Cozumel for the day. To cross the Caribbean, it costs about 155 pesos one way or $13 USD; so, a total of $26 for the round trip. I met my friends at Starbucks, of course πŸ™‚ We exchanged all the amazing stories that had happened to us since our last visit and laughed.! A lot.!

a tourist couple, my friend S. and Indio courtesy of casita de indio 333

a tourist couple, my friend S. and Indio courtesy of casita de indio 333

Eventually, we got hungry. Since I was catching the last ferry back at 9pm, we had plenty of time to eat. My friend S. promised me that they were going to take me to the best restaurant in Cozumel. I have to admit, I was initially doubtful. We walked a few blocks and ended up on Rosado Salas #198 entre 5 y 10 Cozumel. We were at ‘the little house of Indio’ or La Casita de Indio 333. Once I saw the restaurant, I was extremely doubtful.!! hahaha….But I was about to be pleasantly surprised.!

Indio is the proprietor, chef, host and all around welcome committee for La Casita de Indio.! He is at his family owned restaurant all day long unless he is running errands for the restaurant. Sometimes you can also find his wife and kids at the restaurant. Indio is gregarious, super friendly and a great storyteller.! He treats all of his customers like friends and family who are simply stopping by his house for dinner. The atmosphere is casual and fun, while the service is fantastic.!

Indio making shish kabob courtesy of casita de indio 333

Indio making shish kabobs courtesy of casita de indio 333

That first night, my friends introduced me to Indio and he warmly greeted me.! He brought over a menu, but also let me know that he could make anything for me that I desired. All I could think of in that moment was how much my father would appreciate Indio’s restaurant. My father hates menus and almost never orders off of them. He just tells the waitstaff what he wants and lets them figure out what to call it and how to charge him. Indio’s place would be perfect for my dad.!

My friend S. recommended that I ask Indio to make me a seafood plate and so I did. When it arrived, I stopped talking. It was delicious.! A warm plate of fresh grilled shrimp, scallops and octupus arrived accompanied by rice, beans and tortillas.! Of course, there were also salsas. I moaned while I was eating because the food was so tasty and fresh.! My friends were happy that I was enjoying the meal and that the restaurant had lived up to their praise.

delicious plates courtesy of

delicious plates at Indio’s courtesy of

At some point, Indio sat down with us and told us about his time in the military, the states and his family. He asked questions about me and my time in Mexico. It was a great experience. One that I began to repeat once a week. So I went from being a girl who almost never went to Cozumel, to one who went weekly. Of course, my friends had something to do with my visits, but so did Indio’s food.!! hahaha…

Indio will also cook any fresh fish or lobster that you bring him to your liking and specifications. However, you can also order straight from the menu. My personal favorites include tacos, ceviche, tamales and amazing breakfast burritos. La Casita de Indio is economical, authentic and delicous.! It is also a popular hangout for both locals and expats. So if you are interested in trying less touristy places and being a part of the local flavor, then Indio’s restaurant is it.!

the writings on the wall courtesy of

the writings on the wall courtesy of

The night before I left Mexico, I stopped at Indio’s restaurant with my friends for dinner and to say goodbye. Before I left, Indio reminded me to sign the wall in his restaurant and so I did πŸ™‚ I was a little sad to leave, but I knew I would be returning one day to sample more of his home cooked cuisine.!

While the restaurant is a little off-the-beaten-path, two blocks from the waterfront, it is completely worth it. And if you want authentic and think you can handle authentic, I dare you to try it..!! And while you are there, let me know if you can find my comment on the wall.! Small hint – it’s near the kitchen πŸ™‚