Day 5 - Cozumel, Mexico

I began my day the usual way by heading up to the Marina Deck for some juice and a view of where we were. Cozumel, Mexico. Wow. The view from the ship was a lot different than the view was coming into Costa Maya. Cozumel is a fully developed port stop. From the deck of the ship we could see signs for Pizza Hut, McDonald's (which excited Ashley greatly) and Senor Frogs. Today, Cindy, Rick ,Ashley, Carrie and I would be trying out the snorkeling in Chankanaab before meeting the rest of gang at an agreed upon time of 'somewhere between 1:00pm and 2:00pm' at Carlos 'n Charlie's.

Our first view of Cozumel, Mexico

Coming down the pier we all noticed the gunboat in the harbor and the presence of uniformed soldiers along the pier. With the war going on, I guess they weren't taking any chances with security. Funny, but seeing those guys with thier M-16's didn't make me feel any safer.

"Yeah, that's an M-16. Let's just keep walking"
- Rick, spying the uniformed guards on the pier at Cozumel

The first thing we noticed in port is that they guide you across this bridge to cross the main street. No coincidence that this bridge also takes you past all the shops with vendors outside calling you in to buy their wares. We managed to avoid the siren call of the shops (Well, most of us did, I think I saw Cathy caught in someone's tractor-beam) and made it across the street. All lined up in the street were dozens of taxis waiting to take you wherever you wanted to go. We got into a taxi and were whoooshed off to Chankanaab. (Literally, this driver was driving like a mad man, cutting people off, honking his horn, yelling out the window...etc - kinda scary!)

"Well, I'll be needing my whole bottle of blood pressure pills now!"
- Rick after getting out of the taxi after arriving at Chankanaab

We arrived at the gates of Chankanaab and paid our admission ($10/pp) and walked in. Really beautiful place. Looking back I wish we had seen more of it - but we were solely interested in the beach and seeing about some snorkeling. Trudging through the sand we passed dozens of little thatch-roofed shelters and these really weird beach chairs. Finally finding a spot that was near a bathroom, a bar and the water, we settled in.

Our little piece of Chankanaab park - Cozumel.

Almost immediately Rick went to get beers and rented some flippers since they had brought diving masks and snorkle gear with us. I figured I'd try it out, donned my snorkle equipment and headed for water. WOAH! the water was rough. Maybe not real bad - but it was for me. I got out into the water well enough and saw some beautiful sea creatures (sponges, fish and some coral) and was having alot of fun until I surfaced in front of a big wave coming in. Salt water in my snorkle and mask and suddenly it wasn't so fun any more. I recovered, however and made my way back to the entry point (which was pretty much just steps going down into the water made of rock that was covered in slippery moss). It must have taken me twenty minutes to get out of the water! I scraped my leg up a little when a big wave hit me and dragged me back out to sea for a minute before I regained my footing and managed to get out of the water. I had snorkled. I was done. Time to sit on the beach and drink a beer.

I watched our stuff on the beach while Cindy, Rick, Ashley and Carrie went over to check out the dolphin swim. This was something Carrie wanted to do very badly, but we just couldn't fit it into our schedule. After watching for a while and snapping a few pictures, Carrie came back and said it was just as well. It looked to her like it really wasn't worth the price they were asking. (Although, I still think she would have loved to try it out herself)

Dolphin pen in Chankanaab   Dolphin pen in Chankanaab

A quick taxi ride (although not as quick as the ride there) back and we walked into Carlos n Charlie's. What a madhouse! Just as we walked in everybody in the place was standing on their chairs doing the chicken dance! We found a spot near the bar and everybody found the restrooms. A server brought us some popcorn and we ran into Cathy and Nicole. We all ordered drinks and Nicole ordered one of the infamous pina coladas. Served in a 3 foot tall plastic souvenier cup, we all marvelled at the size of that particular drink.

"Dos Dos Equis, por favor!" "What?" "Ummm.. two beers please"
- me, ordering beers in spanish at a beach bar in Chankanaab

While Carlos and Charlie's was really loud and fun, we didn't have as much time in port today as we did yesterday in Costa Maya and wanted to get a little shopping done. We paid our bar tab and headed out to the shopping center.

The Chicken Dance at Carlos n Charlie's

Everywhere around we had seen little girls with their hair braided in all kinds of interesting ways. Half-braids, whole head braids or braids just on the sides. Cindy asked Ashley if she'd like her hair braided. Ashley got all excited. We found one of the little shops that did it and Cindy gave me the money while her and Carrie did some shopping. Rick headed back to the ship, not being much of a shopper. I sat with Ashley and watched this mexican woman work wonders with her hair. Ashley's only complaint was that her scalp was sunburned from her days in the pool and the lady wasn't particularly gentle in parting her hair into sections. About twenty minutes later, Cindy and Carrie came back just in time to see the finished product. Ashley was very proud and we all admitted that she looked really cute.

Ashley's freshly-braided mexican hairdo

Back to the ship. We left Cozumel at 4:00pm today and had to be back early. Early enough to hang out at the pool before getting ready for dinner. Ashley into the pool, Cindy, Rick and I with beers and Carrie with a strawberry daquiri and we were all feeling fine. We finished our drinks and made our ways off to get ready for dinner.

Mom was really surprised to see Ashley's hair at dinner and agreed that she looked really cute. Everybody commented on it (even Andrea, the wine stewardess!). Dinner was super as we'd come to expect and afterwards we hung out in the Rendezvous Lounge until the show started.

Grandma's first look at Ashley's new braids

Before we could make any big plans, however, Ashley started complaining of not feeling well. Uh-oh. We took her back to our room and let her lay down. Much like Carrie a few nights previous - she was out like a light. Carrie and I just shrugged. "What are we gonna do now? We can't leave her and she's in no shape to be in 'the program' like this!". So we missed the show and Ashley missed the kids activities as she slept off what must have been a bit of motion sickness coupled with too much sun and too much beach. I fell asleep too for an hour or so when Carrie woke us up and said that the least we could do was try to make it to the midnight buffet. Tonight was Tex-Mex night!! Ole! Ashley was less than enthusiastic but came with us nonetheless.

Surprise of surprises! Cindy and Rick joined us! They complained all week long about how they never got to any of the midnight buffets because of that damn casino! We laughed and sat around by the now-closed pool eating our tacos and nachos while Ashley found an empty deck chair and promptly fell back to sleep.

Cindy and Rick mentioned that they were going to head back to the room and we said we'd be right behind them in a few minutes. They waved goodnight and started off. A few minutes later, we gathered Ashley up from the deck chair and headed downstairs too.

We turn the corner into our hallway and what do we see? Cindy and Rick and one of the room service guys standing outside their stateroom with somebody laying on the floor in front of their door. What!!?
After a few moments we heard the story. Apparently during dinner, when the water was getting a little rough, Cindy and Rick's closet door had swung open and a drawer slid out effectively locking them out of their room!! The drawer was wedged against the closet door and the closet door was wedged against the stateroom door preventing anyone from opening it further than a few inches. The guy on the floor was the assistant cruise director, Cory Montee, who had just happened by and was trying to help figure out a solution. Just then Pete and Cathy came down the hall. Everybody was laughing and we took turns trying to explain the predicament to them. "Does anyone have a mirror? A hand mirror?" Cory asked. Cathy disappeared and returned with one. This is how they found out that the drawer was open and it was preventing the closet door from closing ...etc ...etc. "Now I need a stick!" Cory mused. The room service guy went somewhere for a few minutes and returned with one, while we all sat in the hallway (even Ashley who was wide awake and having a great time watching this) laughing and making way too much noise for almost 1:00am. I sure hope we didn't bother anyone.

Are we locked out?  No, not exactly...   Cory Montee, Assistant Cruise Director to the Rescue!

A few minutes later, stick in hand, Cory defeated the door and gained entry to the stateroom! When asked if this had ever happened before, all Cory could say was "Well, maybe once when I was in college!" We all cracked up. I insisted that Cindy and Rick pose for a photo with their rescuer and we all laughed our way back to our rooms for a good nights sleep.

Cory, our hero!

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