Paamul RV Park
Jan 31 – Feb 2
(Posted from Chetumal on Feb 5)
From Piste and Chichen Itza was 130 miles on some very good roads. Most of the trip was on a four-lane divided highway that was in good shape. Your tourist dollars at work. In most of the non-touristy areas you will find that the highways tend to be in some degree of disrepair. I would guess that the condition of the highway is directly proportional to the amount of tourist dollars spent in that area.
Carol Ann and I decided to join Barry and Pat along with Bob and Gloria to travel apart from the caravan a while. We pulled ahead of the caravan and enjoyed driving 65 mph for a change since we had such a good highway and the route was practically a straight shot. When we approached Coba, instead of bearing left at the Y on the Tulum highway we decided to drive into Coba and have a look around. Coba is a very clean little village on the shore of a small lake. The road ran along the shore with the homes and businesses on the landward side of the highway and a very nice redwood or cedar boardwalk between the highway and the lake.
There was a large sign on the waterside of the highway that had only one word that we recognized. It was “crocodiles”. As we neared the end of the lakeshore we saw several tour buses parked close to a wooden tower that had a stairway winding around it from the bottom to the top. At the top was a zip-line that crossed the lake. We could not see the other end so I’m not sure where the end-of-the-line was. It looked like it would be fun zipping over the lake but then again there was that sign we saw that said something about “crocodiles” so we decided to pass on the opportunity. Instead we drove on through town for a few miles to one of the many cenotes (sink hole) only to discover that it involved a fairly long walk from the too-small parking lot and there were no other people around that we could see. Once again we decided to take a pass, turned around, and headed back towards town and the Tulum highway.
Our timing was perfect, for after only a couple of miles we came upon the rest of the caravan taking a break on the side of the highway. We dropped in and followed them the rest of the way to Tulum and then up the Caribbean coast to the Paalum RV Park, just south of Playa del Carmen. The park is located on a beautiful beach with warm blue-green water for which the Caribbean is famous.
Unfortunately, our black cloud that has been showering us with bad luck is still with us. About an hour after we were all parked and beginning to settle in, one of our fellow travelers (no name in respect for his privacy) tripped on a rock that was partly buried in the park road and fell very hard. I was only a few yards away, facing in the opposite direction chatting with some people, when I heard him hit the ground. Several of us rushed over to help him and realized that he had obviously broken his left arm very close to the wrist. He probably instinctively reached out to catch himself as he hit the ground. He was really being a trooper and not complaining although he had to be in pain. In fact he said he was fine, even though we could see that he was not. I rushed back to our motorhome to get an ice pack that we keep in our freezer. The Wagon Masters arrived as we were applying the ice pack and helped him into their car. They took him to the nearest hospital, which was located in Playa del Carmen.
We later learned that he had broken both the ulna and radius about 3 inches above the wrist. An orthopedic surgeon was called in and surgery to set the bones and install a metal plate and screws was done yesterday. He was back at the RV park this afternoon much to his surgeon’s regret. His wife does not drive the motorhome so one our Green Angels will drive it for them when we travel to our next destination, Chetumal.
Today is a free day to give us an opportunity to rest after a very full day yesterday that was spent at Xcaret, an “eco” (ecological) park. It is mostly a water park without the carnival-kind of water rides. It is located on the Caribbean about 4 miles north of our RV park. It is a theme park that champions ecology and the preservation of our environment. Many animals that are native to the Yucatan can be observed in their natural habitat. The park is as clean, nice, and as friendly as Disneyworld, but prettier. The all-inclusive fee was included in our tour package. There were a few activities requiring an additional fee but we were plenty busy without needing to pay for anything extra. Snorkeling gear, towels, and a locker were included and you kept the snorkel tube (who would want to use one after someone else had anyway?). A group of us snorkeled down a river (small and obviously man-made but quite pretty), which was underground part of the way. That was a little scary to me because I have suffered from claustrophobia in the past. The average water temperature was posted as 75 degrees F and it felt very cold. It was still warmer than any of the swimming pools we have had an opportunity to enjoy so far.
The paved walkways were bordered with tropical flowers, palms, shrubs, and trees. In some areas it was like walking through a tunnel that had been carved through a dense jungle. There were cool sea breezes and water features that contributed to a very pleasing environment. If you got tired, there were hammocks for your use among the coconut palms on the beach.
Lunch and dinner were included in the package. We ate lunch in one of the four themed restaurants. We chose the international theme in order to give us a wide range of choices. The buffet was absolutely huge. You could have as much as you wanted and go back as many times as you liked. The desserts were something out of this world.
We went to a large arena for a show and dinner. We sat at long narrow tables, which ran in front of each row of seats. Seating was on all four sides with the action in the center of the arena. There were four courses with choice of entrée, dessert, and drink. The history of Mexico was told in the form of a musical extravaganza. The music was fantastic and the costumes were out of this world. It was one of the best live shows I have ever seen. It even included actors, dressed as Mayans, who played a very realistic Mayan ball game for us. The only thing that kept it from being historically accurate was the lack of a human sacrifice at the end of the game!
This afternoon Richard and Helen drove me and Carol Ann into Playa del Carmen to purchase groceries. We went to a large mall, Centro Maya, which had a very nice super market. I also found a Telcel store and purchased a Banda Ancha. It is a USB stick-cellular modem for internet access. They had a special promotion called “Amigo Banda Ancha Movil”. For $399 pesos I got the device and a month of internet service without a contract. It’s a month-by-month deal. Anytime I want to add another month of service I only need to call and give them a credit card number. As soon as I can figure out how to make the thing work.
Tomorrow we go to another “eco” park called Xel-Ha. I’ll let you know how the two compare. Xel-Ha will have tough time topping Xcaret.