Groceries In Mexico

In keeping with the grocery theme, and starting with Mexico..

Isla Mujeres provided several grocery options for us. Chedraui was a large store, with many food options. It was the furthest from a dock, but the selection was worth the walk.

There are have nifty escalators inside that firmly hold your cart, both coming in empty and leaving fully loaded. It amused me every time!

They have an “American/import” aisle, where we can get things like curry paste, pickles, olive oil and imported meats and cheeses. The selection of beer, wine and liquor is also decent. You can also buy clothes, dishes, a stroller, souvenirs and a stove if you like.

When purchasing baked goods, you take a tray and choose your own items (everything is out on open shelves). An attendant then weighs, bags and tags it. Much like the baggers at check out, they like to try an fit as many items as they can into one bag.

Some of our favorites items:

I love this “Mexican Chex Mix.” Scott, not so much, but that means less sharing for me!

Scott has found a favorite ham, for sandwiches, and I did a taste test for the best bacon (FUD, pronounced “food,” but I still say fud).

The Super Express, located in town, is just a few blocks from a dock where cruisers can leave their dinghies, making it a quick and easy go-to for food.

Although much smaller, it still offers an ample selection of our day-to-day needs.

We also made several trips to the Walmart in Cancun, which obviously offers a much greater selection. The seafood department is large, and operates like the bakery in Isa. You choose your fish (gloves are provided), and then it’s weighed, bagged and tagged.

Near the end of our stay, we finally ran out of paper towels that were purchased in Florida. What we bought in Mexico are “crappity-crap-crap.” They practically dissolve when any amount of liquid hits them…maybe a stand-in for toilet paper!

Once we’d stocked up in preparation for Honduras, I emptied out the storage area under our couch, to clean the floor and do a fresh inventory. After purchasing a sleeper sofa, Scott removed the sleeper part, and installed wooden braces so we have support for the cushions. We can now pack a ton of food and toiletries in this space!

All in all, we can’t complain about our shopping experiences in Mexico. Selection, a choice of stores…and cheap! Here are some more Mexican grocery photos.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

A Wedding!

Our friends Jeff and Carrie planned their wedding in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Scott and I originally declined the invitation, planning to be in Belize by now. After we decided to linger in Mexico, there was discussion of taking the boat down to Playa del Carmen, but  we discovered that there are no marinas in the area, or anchorages with good protection.

As the wedding date got closer, we decided to just leave the boat, and make the journey from Isla Mujeres. There wasn’t a weather front predicted to come through, and after being here for almost two months we were comfortable (well, as comfortable as Scott can be) leaving the boat. Our cruiser friends here in the anchorage promised to keep an eye on things for us, so a plan was hatched!

I had hoped to surprise the couple, but logistics proved challenging without letting one of them know. Carrie, the bride, is now a dear friend, but I have known Jeff for 22 years and wanted to keep him in the dark if I could. She was happily on board for the plan! Our budget didn’t allow for us to stay at the resort, as they had a three night minimum stay required. Carrie graciously arranged for us to have “day passes,” so we could come and enjoy the resort  and attend the wedding.

Scott and I took our dingy to shore, and hailed a taxi to the ferry terminal. I was trying to avoid as much sweat as possible, and thought that a quick taxi ride instead of a hot walk would help. The taxi that stopped for us had someone in the passenger seat, and also in the back. We assumed that he was dropping off the woman in the back seat, but she just slide over.

Usually, when you are carrying bags or packages, the driver will get out and put them in his trunk. This would have been very helpful, since we were now going to share the back seat with this woman. However, the driver stayed put, and we slid in with our bags and clothes. I was squished into the un-air conditioned car, in between Scott and the woman. With a plastic garment bag pressed up against me and a bag at my feat…. it was instant sweat. So much for trying to stay dry! Thankfully, the ferry terminal wasn’t far, and the suffering was quick.

We boarded the trusty ferry to Cancun, and cooled off on the 20 minute air conditioned ride (Scott didn’t get his usual choice of sitting upstairs). Originally, we’d planned to take a taxi to the bus station, a bus to Playa del Carmen and then another cab to the resort. I was afraid that the taxi and bus combinations would leave me soaked in sweat, so we decided to spend a few extra dollars and take a taxi straight to the resort. The taxis in Mexico are not metered, so you have to agree on price ahead of time. After some back and forth with the driver, he and Scott agreed on a cost (and for him to have the air conditioning on), and we were off.

On our way out of Cancun, we made a quick stop at Refaccionaria Mardam, where Scott had dropped his alternator for repair. They weren’t able to fix it, so he took it back and we carried it along with us.

After a 90 minute ride, the driver dropped us at our destination, the RIU Palace. When I inquired at the front desk about our day passes, I was told that they didn’t have a wedding scheduled that day. The man told me that I was at the RIU Palace Mexico. Well wasn’t that obvious?? Of course we were in Mexico! He went on to say that we probably needed to be at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya, which was ten minutes away. Really?? Two Palaces?? Ten minutes apart?? With our driver gone, we had to call for another taxi. The ride was only two minutes, but was almost a third of what the whole trip down had cost us. But, at least we were now in the right place.

We found our friends who’d traveled down from Baltimore, and spent a few minutes hugging and saying hello before I went off to find the bride. Scott went to go through our mail and packages from home, that friends had stuffed into a large suitcase for us..what a great favor! He also went through our tax papers, so our friends could fly them back to my sister and brother-in-law. Once that was done, it was off to the pool area, where we dodged the groom while enjoying some drinks and sunshine.

I was able to keep our attendance a surprise for Jeff, and we revealed ourselves just before the wedding started. The weather was beautiful, and the couple was beaming with happiness.

I also brought along some friends who couldn’t make it…

At 10pm, we made our exit, to begin the journey home. We changed back into our “traveling clothes” before calling for a taxi. I didn’t want us to get our good clothes dirty or wet, climbing in and out of the dingy. A taxi arrived quickly, and we took turns napping on the way to the ferry terminal.

We just missed the 11:30 ferry, and had to wait an hour for the last one of the night. With our bags of mail, clothes in a bag on a hanger and a backpack with an alternator, we looked like a homeless couple as we slept in a pile on a bench, waiting for the 12:30 ferry. We arrived back to Isla Mujeres, taxied to the dock where we’d left the dingy and climbed back aboard Sea Life at 1:30 am. A long day, but well worth it to see our friends and celebrate their big day! Congratulations Carrie and Jeff!

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

A Field Trip To Cancun…And More Repairs

We’d planned a “field trip” to Cancun.  I wanted to do a run to Walmart, and gather things that I haven’t been able to find here. We’d also been given the name of a place who could look at our alternator, so our agenda was set.

Until, that is, Scott noticed our refrigerator temperature was warm. He checked the compressor, and found that it was locked up. After trying a few things to get it to turn over, Scott “condemned” it, and we now need to replace it. Luckily, we have a 110 volt holding plate back up system (that runs when the generator is on), so we’re not completely dead in the water. With a recommendation from a cruiser, we added a marine store to our list of Cancun stops.

We boarded the ferry, and headed off on our 20 minute ride to Cancun. Of course, we have to sit outside, and in the front seat…where you catch wave spray.

Our boat at anchor is visible from the ferry terminal here in Isla.

We arrived in Puerto Juarez, which is just minutes from Cancun. This terminal  is the main hub for people traveling to and from Isla Mujeres. Toursits, locals and workers all use this ferry. The stern end is always loaded down with luggage and supplies for the island. It can be a real zoo in the afternoons.

We hailed a cab, and made our first stop to drop off our alternator for repair. Scott had a letter he’d translated into Spanish, as to what was wrong, which made things go quickly and smoothly. They agreed to check it over and email us.

Our next stop was to the marine store, Servimar, to ask about a compressor. It seems to be the West Marine of the area.

Luckily, a man behind the counter spoke great English. He helped Scott find the parts in a catalog, and told us that he’d call his rep and then email us with a cost. If he can get the part, shipping will take two weeks. He charges a percentage, and tax here is 16%, so it won’t be a cheap fix, as in, there goes a month of cruising!

Our last, and most exciting stop for me, was to Walmart. Happily, we found a McDonald’s inside, and stopped for some much missed fast food! Ordering was a bit challenging. They still had the breakfast menu up, and we had to struggle through with the girl behind the counter for our lunch order. She got the manager involved, who quickly knew what we wanted. As we were paying, he changed the sign to lunch items..

We cased the entire Walmart, skipping the stove and refrigerator aisles. We loaded up our two rolling duffel bags with snacks, canned goods, meats (pork loin), cheese (all we get on Isla are various kinds of manchego) and other special things that we can’t find in Isla Mujeres…like chocolate chips!

We arrived at the ferry terminal loaded down with our duffel bags in tow, a large soft-sided cooler over a shoulder full of cold things and a backpack full of crushable stuff. Everything but the backpack went onto the back of the ferry, with all of the other luggage and supplies for the island (which included cases and cases of alcohol). We traveled home, to unload our loot…a dry ride this time.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”