What a day, what a day, what a day!
Today is Bob’s birthday and I wanted it to be perfect. When I first stepped out onto the balcony I was a little dismayed at seeing dark clouds but as the morning wore on and we pulled into port the darks clouds started to disappear promising us a beautiful day on shore in Cozumel, Mexico.
Bob, Sandy, Dennis, Connie, Randy and I decided we would start our day on the Boardwalk having breakfast at Johnny Rockets. We all thought this would be a perfect way to start the day with a cooked-to-order breakfast and, to start the day with happy birthday wishes to our wonderful friend, Bob. We ate our breakfast slowly while Bob opened his birthday cards and talked about what we would like to do on shore.
The International port is located about 3 miles outside of town so we agreed to meet on the pier and grab a taxi for the ride into San Miguel. But, first things first, we stopped to have a souvenir picture taken with our beautiful ship in the background.
When we finally made it out to the street the cue was considerably long. We needed a larger vehicle for the six of us but, fortunately we did not have to wait long. We all started laughing when the driver opened the van doors. There was no stuffing in any of the seats!! Every time we hit a bump we hit metal. Thank heavens the ride into town only took a few minutes.
We really had no plans except to walk around town stopping here and there in shops to look for that special something to take home. I have always enjoyed visiting Cozumel because the people are friendly, the food at the local restaurants has always been very good and we have always felt safe.
I must say though that this time I felt a little crushed by the amount of people out on the streets trying to encourage tourists to go inside the stores. It was not an easy walk especially if you wanted to walk alongside someone.
We walked the entire length of the waterfront and had fun looking at some jewelry, picking up free charms, checking out some tee shirts. As we were walking we came across an open area that I did not remember seeing the other times we have visited so we decided to turn into the open space and see what was there.
We came upon a large plaza with a large, colorful sculpture of the word, Cozumel. Of course we had to stop and have our picture taken.
We continued our walk around the square stopping first in a jewelry store that enticed us in with a free beer, then we stopped at another very small shop to taste test a brand of tequila I had never heard of and finally coming full circle to see a wonderful mural by South African artist Jack Fox. The mural is one of many by an group international marine conservation group called PangeaSeed-Sea Walls – Murals for the Oceans.
There was a message on the wall explaining that, “63% of global fish stocks are now considered ‘over-fished,’ which is simply the taking of wildlife from the seas at rates too high for fished species to replace themselves…” I loved the simplicity of the black and white image and was struck by the sad look on the fisherman’s face. I found it to be quite thought provoking.
Before leaving the ship I had taken the time to look over the Cozumel port shopping map and wrote down the names of two local restaurants I thought everyone might be interested in. The first was a restaurant called Palmeras Restaurante & Bar and the other Pancho’s Backyard. We had passed the Palmeras earlier and a server by the name of Alejandro called to us and said that if we came inside he would give us each a free margarita. We told him we would be back.
As it happened the Palmeras was right there on the street facing the waterfront at the entrance to the plaza so we looked for Alejandro. He welcomed us back and within a few minutes produced 6 glasses of ice cold margaritas.
We settled in and, and after clinking glasses, once again wishing Bob a very happy birthday and having our picture taken we set about looking over the menu.
We all decided to order one dish per couple as we would be going to the Coastal Kitchen for dinner and would be eating a large meal. Randy and I love local food so we ordered the House Nachos made with 3 crisp corn tortillas with refried beans and melted cheese, topped with tomato sauce and sour cream and served with jalapeños and guacamole.
I was intrigued by the tomato sauce. The nachos were very good as was the margarita. We enjoyed our lunch tremendously. We were a little surprised when our checks arrived and we were charged for our margaritas. We brought it to the attention of Alejandro that the margaritas were to be free. After a little discussion we paid for our lunch and he gave us three free margaritas to go, one per dish.
As we started to walk back to the center of town, Randy and I talked about a little bar/restaurant we took Bob and Sandy to several years ago called Mr. Chile’s. We decided take Dennis and Connie there today.
On our way we decided to cross the street to the Waterfront Promenade and enjoy some of the sculptures. One that we thought that was very impressive was copper sculpture of man and woman scuba diving off a coral reef surrounded by wide array of sea life. It was quite lovely. The sculpture is surrounded by a fountain made in the shape of a starfish. The fountain was not working today. I would have loved to have seen that.
We had the best time!! To get to Mr. Chilies you have to walk through a long bar that has swings for seats into a courtyard with several small, round tables and a circular bar in the center with saddles for seats. Too funny!
We all decided that we would stay a while and have a beer. Well that one beer led to one more celebration of Bob’s birthday. There were funny balloon hats made, a birthday shot for Bob, Bob dancing with the bartender. more beer and much, much laughter.
We had an early dinner time so we decided we had had enough frivolity and went on the hunt for a taxi to take us back to the port. Once again, we had a van that had no cushioning at all much to the dismay of our posteriors but the cause of much laughter.
The day had been a bit exhausting so I took a brief nap before preparing for the evening. We met everyone at the Coastal Kitchen restaurant. I love this restaurant. I love the view, the clean look to the restaurant and I love the food.
I ordered a Caesar salad in a crouton bowl, a Pizzette with pesto, grape tomatoes, greens and shaved Parmesan cheese and baked chicken with sauteed vegetables. Everything was absolutely delicious!
Once again, we had a wonderful day. I do believe that this was a birthday that Bob will remember for a very long time; I know that I will. We were off to the cabin for a good night’s sleep that I was sure would be filled with many wonderful dreams of our day.
Tomorrow we are at sea as we slowly cruise back to Ft. Lauderdale.