October 26
We started on early in the morning in Cologne. Checked our luggage in at the train station in Cologne as there is a Lufthansa check-in and the train ride goes as Lufthansa-flight although it is a train ride. While we leave the check -in it dawns on me that I have seen the word 'business class' on the board passes... wait a minute, we booked economy. Moni has never heard the word 'upgrade' before so this is the first of many things she learns in that vacations (btw. Moni doesn't have a computer - you feel it coming? :joker: ). As I can't believe our luck we go back to my appartment to check the seat-plan in our plane and YES - we are in business class! :D Comes in handy on a 12 hours flight. After that we go to get a coffee at STARBUCKS (yeah, we have that in Cologne as well). And finally we are off to the mexican adventure...

During the train ride we chat with the other 5 people in the department. One of them is trying to work - poor soul but when leaving the train he tells me that it was nice listening to people talk about vacation. ;) Security control is no problem. At the gate the guy in charge looks at my boarding pass and says 'Mrs. Andrea, why are you flying business class?' 'Heck, how should I know????' ;-))) A short moment I am afraid he is sending me back to economy class but he doesn't. Phheeeewwww... ;) 

Flight goes by rather fast although 12 hours are long. During the descent to Mexico City the pilot suddenly goes up again and tells us that it is raining too hard to land. Okay - no problem. 10 minutes later we land. People in business class are always the first ones to get to immigration and as our luggage comes rather fast as well we are out (yeah, we both get green light - aren't we the lucky ones? ;) ) rather fast. Unfortunately we have to wait for 3 more persons as we have booked a transportation in advance. One of the other 3 shows up after one hour, the other 2 never come... so after 1,5 hours we finally get into the van to our hotel. It is interesting to drive through Mexico City. First thing I notice are rather lightly closed girls and it takes a minute before I realize WHY they don't have much clothes on... :joker: :joker: :joker: 

On arriving at the Zocalo we have the first glimpse of the Cathedral which is rather impressing and then we are in the hotel Holiday Inn Zocalo. Room is rather small but we are not in the hotel a lot anyway. After a 20 hour trip it is time to sleep so we just go to sleep.

October 27
The next morning we wake up rather early. We decide to have breakfast on the roof top restaurant of the hotel and look for something else to eat in the mornings later on. So up we go and when we see the view it is immediately clear that this will be the only place for breakfast in the mornings... :) 

While being up there the sun comes out - what can one wish more for the first day of a great vacation????

After having satisfied the physical needs with food we start our first day in Mexico City. First of all we go visit the cathedral which is very impressing and very tilted. Parts of it are sinking into the ground and the earthquakes are not helping...

Inside it looks like this:

After that we find some funny things... the green man actually walks... :D 

Get your shoes polished... (one of them polished Monica's shoes two days later although she cried 'no, no!' and afterwards he wanted 100 Pesos but our friend Maria told us she should have given him only 25 Pesos as this is the normal rate...)

Mobile phones the mexican way...

Halloween was near... on this market it was LOUD. That was something we noticed anyway: Mexico City is very loud. People shouting to praise their goods everywhere or loud music from the shops.

A few more impressions from the Historic District.

The guy on the horse was not a rich Hazienda Owner but a policeman... 

This here near the church San Franzisco was a little bit scary as there were nuns and moncs near the cross covered by the traditional orange flowers but those nuns and monks didn't have faces...

Then we went up the Torre Moulino and we had a great view over the city:

And if I lived in Mexico City this might get one of my favourite bars to hang out... [img]http://bestsmileys.com/wink/3.gif[/img]

That evening we did something very special. As in Mexico City a former school friend of my mom was to meet us I have invited her and Monica to http://www.antiguahaciendatlalpan.com.mx/ Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan for dinner. Maria has lived a year in Cologne when she was a child and has never come back. My aunt has kept in contact with her for more than 60 years and I am the first member of the family who has met Maria after all those years. I've met her for the first time two years ago and it was a very special occasion to see her again. Here are some pics from the Hacienda... unfortunately it was raining and dark but I think the pics show anyway what a great place this was....

When we just were leaving the most important persons of a wedding party showed up (did anyone notice that in Mexico at the weddings there are LOTS of wedding planers???)

And then there it was: our first Altar for the 'day of the dead'. Maria explained to us that the dead have to wait for 4 years to go into heaven (as there are four of them and every year the dead advance to the next heaven). So in order to keep them in 'good health' ;) till they finally reach the last heaven they get fed at the the day of the deaths.


October 28
The next morning the weather was not really great so we didn't know what to do at first. Maria was supposed to come to get us at 1 PM so we had to the morning to do something nice. So we first strolled around a little bit and once again noticed how NICE the people in Mexico City are. Great people who smile at you without wanting your money - just for the fun at it. The day before shortly after heving visited the nuns and monks near San Francisco I was taking a pic of a palace when a guy (about mid 60'ish) stopped, asked where we come from and then tells us that according to him this is the 2nd nicest building in the Americas. He continues to praise the beauty of it and when the door opens he starts running to see whether he can get us inside to see it from inside. He was really nice and even though I was sort of waiting for him to ask for a tip that was obviously not his intention. He just loved his city.

So this was one of the nice shops near the Zocalo:

After that we decided to visit the Templo Major. We hadn't been so keen to go inside the day before but when we were inside we were glad we did it. There are several temples one over the other. It was interesting. Especially funny were the cactus plants in the middle of the rocks...

In the museum there were some really interesting artefacts:

And then it was nearly time to meet Maria. That was the first time Maria said 'Usually there is NO traffic at all, I wonder what happened today!' She would repeat this sentence a lot of times that day and the next...  Whenever there was heavy traffic on the highways you could see people standing in the middle of the streets selling something.

You see why I had to take THAT pic? ;)
Then we were out of the city and seeing the slums (although I have to admit that I had to be told that those houses were slums as I wouldn't have seen it).

So we headed towards Teotihuacan to visit the Pyramides and finally we saw them - the pyramide of the sun and the pyramide of the moon:

This one was a smaller one and the first we climbed:

From there we could see the two bigger ones in the distance.

I liked the place a lot as everything was so colourful. I haven't seen anything like this in Quintana Roo or Yucatan so far.

There are lots of smaller buildings along the 'Road of Dead' which is about 1,5 miles (2 km) long.

This is the pyramide of the moon. We decided not to climb that one but the pyramide of the sun which is higher.

We went up this one.... (I was surprised that my legs didn't hurt the next day as I felt my legs after climbing Coba and Chichen Itza... ;) )

And we were awarded by a beautiful view... (anyone looking for the Wal-Mart - feel free to look ;) )

There are small interesting things hidden everywhere off the main road... here you can see that the Aztecs built one temple above the other so all temples are made of several layers.

And here is the Tequila-plant... ;-) Near the parking lot there were lots of more Agave-plants but this one was the most impressing one we saw.

After that we were hungry and Maria brought us back to Mexico City to http://www.carnitaselbajio.com.mx/ 'El Bajio'  That was another great place to eat and the food was excellent... the whole place was VERY mexican and we loved it for it.

We went to Maria's house then and on the way she stopped at the altar they have built in her neighbourhood for the Day of the Dead. And this was another great one...

Went to San Angel from there but it was dark so I didn't take many pics there. It was a nice neighbourhood though with small streets and nice houses (the prices for them are accordingly high).

October 29
This was already our last day in DF and we were greeted with the sun shining which was great as we had planned on going to Puebla with Maria.

That morning we could even see snow covered mountains when we had breakfast. Suddenly we heard a comotion from the Zocalo and when looking down we saw this:

Bad luck - Maria was supposed to come and get us but the streets were all closed. So we went down to our room and called her. To be sure to find each other she gave us directions to go with the metro for 5 stations and meet her far enough where the streets wouldn't be closed. This lead to another funny experience we had. Riding the subway in DF is not really hard. Maria had it explained very good too so it was no problem to find the line and the station. When it was time to go we went down and waited for the train. When it came we waited outside for everybody to exit and then we wanted to get in... ha! Not in Mexico City!!! As soon as everybody had exited the doors closed and we were still outside while the train continued it's ride. ;) :D Guess our faces were a little perplex at first. Then we started to laugh. Took the next train (and no, we DIDN'T wait until everybody was out - we are fast learners!!! :D )

Met Maria and went to the highway and there once again we found too much traffic. This time it was a sort of procession to the shrine of the Madonna of Guadeloupe. Lots of decorated trucks with lots of people sitting in the back and at the side of the highway runners were doing a 'running pilgrimage'.

We continued in a lot of traffic but always with a clear blue sky (which was not a continuing pattern for the rest of the trip... ;) ). And then we saw him: the Popocatepetl. It was such a beautiful sight... he 'followed' us for most part of the way to Puebla.

Puebla is a very nice city. It is said to have the most churches in Mexico. There are some really nice ones and a lot of the houses have ceramic tiles on them.

In October the Madonna is being allowed out of her glas-surroundings so we could see her exposed 'au natural'.

Found sweets for the day of the deaths as well...

Liked the signs for the tourists... :)

And then we were hungry again and went to Fonda de Sta. Clara which is another 'very mexican' mexican restaurant.

A few minutes after we had sat down we heard music from the street and went outside to see what was going on. Obviously a lot of marriages take place at the end of october... here it was the procession for the groom (at least I think so - the girl with the gold chains in the 2nd pic looks so happy that I wouldn't be surprised if she was the bride) and I was so happy as this is nothing you see every day.

And btw: food was great again as well... ;) Couldn't eat it all though (unfortunately).

Walked around a little bit more and with the blue blue sky took more pics...

What I really liked was that on the Zocalo people go and dance on sunday afternoons (ballroom dancing). Everybody else is sitting around and watching. It was fun!

And then once again more skeletons for the day of the death (the last one would probably be me... :joker: )

The ride back to DF was bad though. Instead of the usual 1,5 hours it took us nearly four hours to get back. Traffic... we laughed about it though. The sun setting behind the Popocatepetl was a very beautiful view (unfortunately not even the best camera can take nice pics out of a moving car when it gets too dark... :( ). Once arrived at the hotel Moni and I packed our stuff and then went to sleep for the last night in DF.

October 30
Breakfast in the morning, then we were off to the airport... first un-nice surprise was that our suitcases were too heavy so we had to pay nearly 1,300 Pesos. Unfortunately my Gold-Card from Lufthansa is not worth anything for inner-Mexican flights with Mexicana, otherwise we would have been allowed to bring even more than we had... Well, as we didn't have any choice we just paid...

We landed in Cancun in time, transpo was waiting and then we were off to Playa. Once arrived Moni went to the beach while I wanted to 'arrive' in Playa and stayed at the hotel to relax a little bit.

In the evening we had a stroll on 5th with the usual views...

Then had dinner at 'La Parilla' (my Filet Mignon was GREAT!!!) where they prepared for the day of the deaths as well.

Afterwards we went to La Ranita where I had to sing some 'Engellluuuuund' with Jez, the manage of the pub. He is english and during the World Football Championship he had posted me texts of the songs the british fans sang while being in Germany. When we exited Moni asked me how long I had known Jez and when I told her that I had never met him before she couldn't believe it. ;-))) Was not the first and not the last surprise for her during our trip. That happens when people without a PC go on vacation with people who love PC's and all the funny things you can do with them. :D

Had a drink here and then went back to sleep...

Playa, there we were... :)

October 31
I will spare you the un-eventful details of a day at Mamita's beach club. You can't really do much while being on the beach, drinking a Margarita and just hang out... ;) When it was a little bit chilly in the afternoon we went back to the hotel and I went to look for the Yucatek dive shop http://www.yucatek-divers.com . They were supposed to be at la 5a at 6th. But I couldn't find them. As I was near the Fusion Hotel anyway I went in to ask and met Kim who is posting on the Playa.Info -board as well. She is really nice and we had a short chat. Found Yucatek (but on 15th between 2nd and 4th) later on.

And in the evening the long awaited Halloween Party with a Meeting of People form the Playa.Info Board was supposed to take place. So Moni and I dressed up (at least in Halloween colours as we didn't have time to make costumes and our suitcases had been too heavy anways... ;) ) and went to La Ranita.

When we arrived the big table was still empty so we sat down as about 16 peeps (peeps is the short form of 'people' and the general name of the persons who post on http://www.playa.info were supposed to arrive. Then two persons came in and asked whether they could sit down with us while waiting for their friends:

We started chatting and it turned out that they were fellow-peeps who hadn't known anything about the peep meet (and they had met the alien on the next pic on the board as well :D )

Next ones to show up were Kathy and Danny. I had met them last year in Playa so it was great to meet them again. Later on we left to go outside where we had spotted more persons from the board.

Suddenly this Elvis got out of a cab. When I saw the beads I knew he was from the boards as well. :D The beads are being made from one person on the board in order people are able to recognize other persons from the board.

We had so much fun with Paris Hilton... :joker: 

And well, yeah, the one to the left that's me... ;-)))

The several 'Miss'-es... I liked the word-game.

Well, I knew this guy too - he still denies ever having been there that evening.  ;-))))

Had to go home rather early though as I had to get up early the next morning....

November 1
This was my first day as 'Cenote-diver'. When we left Playa for Chack Mol it was raining. Stefan from Yucatek Diving was telling us how nice it would be if the sun came out but he didn't think we would have any. So he made us little hope we would see the nice sunbeams playing around under water... great, I wasn't even sure I would like it inside the caves. *grmpf* 

We went in the water and it was still raining. First sign I saw then was this one... not really assuring even though we DID turn around. ;)

But what can I tell you? Soon the sun came out and it looked sooooo great.  I found it really fascinating that on the pics you can see the trees outside the cenote although I was several metres under water when I took those pics:

When we came up Stefan was really surprised that the sun had come out... He 'blamed' me for it. :-DDDDDD

The second dive was different as we went into an air bubble where you can see lots of stalaktites but you can't go out the cave as it is a closed bubble. I am not really into stalagmites and stalagtites (not even in dry caves) so I liked the first dive much better.

When coming back to Playa it was raining. We had made an appointment with Donna and Gordon at Babe's but when we wanted to go out it was raining so hard that it was impossible to go out. As we didn't wanna be late and miss them we called a taxi. While we were waiting for it two men entered the 'lobby' of our hotel Riviera del Sol. The younger one started looking at me and didn't look away for several minutes. I didn't know why he was looking at me and never had a glance for Moni... suddenly he approached me 'Andiline?' 'Yes.' 'Hi, I am Mindbender!' spew... :D Had never expected that someone would recognize me while I was sitting there waiting for a taxi and I had never seen pics of Mindbender so I hadn't known it was him. Our taxi never came and finally we just took our shoes off and went barefoot to Babe's where Donna and Gordon (Hot Stuff sauce and Paris Hilton from Halloween) were still waiting for us. Later on the white alien (Steve) joined us too and Richard (pirate at the Halloween party) as well.  Babe's has GREAT food, I would absolutely recommend going there. Later on we met with Kathy and Danny at the Tequila Barrel. There Danny made some kids happy who were collecting sweets for Halloween (they did that for three days).

November 2
Had to get up early again to go diving (*dang* but I just love diving so you gotta make sacrifices...  ;-) ). At the Yucatek base I met two german friends who were staying in Playa at the same time and we had agreed beforehand that we were to go diving together. Their spouses (like Moni) didn't dive so it was only the three of us with Robin, a dutch dive guide from Yucatek.

So we dressed up and went to the beach to go on the boat. We went to Tortuga first and for the second dive to Sabalos. Both dive sites are in front of Xcaret.

At Tortugas we saw lots of turtles (this is Stefan with a turtle)

One ray..

Another turtle... (Tortugas is the spanish word for 'turtles' so it is hardly surprising that there are so many). :-)))

The occasional barracuda... :D

The underwater world was just great...

The turtles we saw that day usually had those big yellow/blue fishes swimming around them. It was impressing to see that.

In the end we swam through a short tunnel... was fun! :-))))

The pics from the second dive are better as we were not so deep like on the first dive. When we came up after the second one the guys on the boat had dressed up in heavy rain coats. The waves were a little bit ugly when we got back and it was funny to have Guenther, Stefan and Robin wearing the mask in the boat. :joker: 

As that day it was 'The day of the deaths' we had agreed to have a 'Cologne'-meeting that evening to have a look at the celebrations. We don't know that day over here so it was something new for us. Unfortunately the parade on Nov. 1 was like - never happened? Thanks to Mindbender from the Playa.info-baord we knew though that SOMEthing was going to happen at Paseo del Carmen. So this was where we went... First we saw this nicely dressed lady...

Then at 5 pm a show was starting with a guy dancing:

That was all we saw from the celebrations that evening as we were waiting for a parade again but obviously this was not going to happen. So we went to grab something to eat. I wanted the other german friends to have some real great food at Babe's but one of them wanted to do some 'people watching'. Not a problem we just went back to 'La Parilla'. They had updated their altar a little bit more:

And food was great again as well.

While we were sitting there again and again the children came to ask for sweets (they did that for three days and the third day we knew some of them already as some of them kept coming back the same evening too). After dinner we strolled a little bit around looking for more altars. At Calle Corazon they had nice decorations for that day:

For the rest we were a little bit disappointed as the day of the deaths does not seem to be as important in Playa as Moni and I had seen it in DF and Puebla with the skeletons everywhere. Spent the rest of the evening with live-music at a place whose name I never found out...

November 3
No diving today although initially it had been my intention to go as the next day my friend Rita from Texas was to arrive and I didn't wanna go diving while she was in Playa. But then - I am flexible and that day was a 'rest day' and Rita would not arrive until later that day anyway. When we woke up it was raining once again and Moni started to get p.... off by it. I didn't really care as while diving I get wet anyway... But that morning we decided to have breakfast at:

The place is funny and has great food:

I especially liked the restroom... :D 

Unfortunately I hadn't realized that there were other guests in that restaurant which were eating without paying anything (and they sure as hell must have had a big party that morning looking at how my legs looked afterwards... ). That was the last time I left the hotel without anti-mosquito-spray in my bag!!!!!!

As it was still grey when we had finished we grabbed a taxi and went to Wal-Mart. Didn't buy that much but it was interesting to have a look... :) I liked this department best:

From there we walked back to the Riviera del Sol.

By the time we were back at the hotel, the sun came out and we headed to the beach. Here are some more pics from the beach around Mamita's:

And then we saw it coming (again...):

So we all headed back to the hotels and agreed on meeting later on as Linda from Houston was due to arrive (I met her in Texas last year). We had a great meal at Carboncitos. Just loved the salsa's.. *yumm*

After a visit to the Tequila Barrel again it was time to go to sleep and another day had passed like nothing at all...

November 4
This was a great day for the other 'girls' as they were allowed to go with us when we were diving. :-DDDDD  The Cenote 'Dos Ojos' satisfies both divers and snorkellers so we had arranged a snorkelling trip for the 3 girls while we went diving. In the bus to Dos Ojos, Stefan, the Yucatek-dive guide told the others not to worry about the weather as I was with them and I had brought the sun out 3 days earlier when he would have sworn that there would be no way the sun was coming out - well, Stefan can sell things really good (no - he was not trying to sell ME :-DDDDD ).

We left Playa in the rain and arrived in Dos Ojos with the sun shining. So we all got ready. We had been explained that the first dive would be the 'Barbie Line' (you will see later on where that name comes from) and the second one was to the Bat Cave.

This rock is called 'The Madonna'. Stefan had told us during the briefing session we would recognize it immediately and he was right.

See the other divers? ;)

More great light-reflexions...

This pic is funny as the white parts are stalagtites reaching into the water from above.

And here is Barbie... *grins* 

Back out...

The Bat Cave dive was too dark for pics and actually I didn't like it that much. I can only repeat that I will never become a cave diver. The Bat Cave is again an air bubble in the cave with only a small opening at the roof. It is possible to snorkel into the Bat Cave so the other girls could see us when we were diving below.

Once back in Playa, Moni and I went to El Piratas as we had agreed with Seakony to meet her and her friend Michelle there. El Pirata was there but Rita wasn't (we didn't know that she was in one of the Massage-tents next door and getting the massage of her life :-DDDD ).

As by that day we had already learnt that at this time of the year you always need a plan B in Playa I had agreed with Rita that we would come by their hotel later on as we intended to go to eat at HC Monterrey (VERY good choice!!!). That's what we did and there they were. It was so great to see Rita again after I had seen her last year in Texas for the last time.

So we went to HC Monterrey/Supercarne which is another great place to eat in Playa.

Great food (and cheap as well):

Later on on 5th we saw those lamps which I liked a lot (can't bring one home though):

Don't know why we passed at DJ's (might be that we were looking for Jez but I don't remember) and there for the first time I saw this taco-shop... :D 

Spent the rest of the evening at La Ranita where the great swedish band 'No limits' was performing again.

November 5
This morning we had in mind to have breakfast at 'Cafe Corazon' and the plan was to meet Rita and Michelle at La Mamita's later on. We were a little bit out of luck though. Cafe Corazon was closed (later on we thought they might always be closed on sundays) so we went to have breakfast at 'La Vagabunda'. Another great choice and they are on the Playa Deal Card too (the Playa Del card can be purchased via the Playa.info-website and you can safe a lot of money with it). We were out of luck not only with Cafe Corazon but with the weather again as well. It was raining and there was no way we could go to the beach (well, we COULD but ...). ;)

So, after breakfast I went over to discuss with Rita and Michelle what to do (unfortunately we hadn't thought about setting up a plan B for that morning). Rita was up really fast (who knows her knows that this is a big SURPRISE :D ) and we started about thinking what to do. As my experience from the trips to the Cenotes had been that the weather had always been better further down I finally was able to convince Rita to rent a car and go down South. This is what we did (by the way 'Thrifty Cars' on 6th have good prices - Hertz wanted double the price we paid at Thrifty's). I went to get Moni and my snorkelling gear and Rita went to wake up Michelle who was flat out until that minute (how should I have known that they had been rum-tasting until 3 am? ;) )

So we headed to Akumal and see what we had there... *woohhooo* 

Went snorkelling but it was not really good. Too much sand in the water and so you didn't see much and didn't see far. You couldn't see the turtles until they sort of swam into your face...

We found a few fish...

And see what we could see towards Playa:

While we had great weather:

Went for a walk on the beach from Lol Ha and obviously someone played 'Chichen Itza'.

When it started to rain we went to La Buena Vida (after some nice persons from the Lol Ha restaurant helped us start the car because we had left the head lights on and the battery was empty *ooooops*). I always liked La Buena Vida it is a funny bar with original ideas. 

I especially liked those tables. If you are thirsty, let the bucket down... :-DDDDDD 

Then we headed back to Playa as in the evening there was the great 'School supply meet' Debbie from Playa.info had organized at DJ's. Ate at Carboncito's again and then had a great evening at DJ's bar on 12th with great people.

November 6
That morning we did what Rita and I had planned all along before we even went to Playa. First we had breakfast at La Vagabunda and then we headed to Tulum.

On the highway near Xcaret there is this funny tower:

Then we arrived at the beach club 'El Paraiso' in Tulum with the sun shining *halleluja* :D 

Bad thing was we could already see it coming (nevertheless those black clouds are good for great pictures). :)

The first time we had to run to the bar that day...

When the sun came out we started to walk on the beach towards the ruins although it was still raining (rain ceased while we were walking):

We saw this bird on the beach which was eating something which obviously had been a big fish when it had been alive (although from a small distance it looked like a lamb to me).

Then we had some time to enjoy the sun on our beds.

But not for long...

Obviously it wasn't getting any better anytime soon...

So we packed our stuff and went to Casa Cenote. I've always liked this house:

It was a pity what we saw at Casa Cenote. The rain had washed lots of dirt/mud in this beautiful cenote. If I hadn't seen and snorkelled in it before I would have asked myself why people are so enthusiastic about it. Believe me those pics are an exception! Hope it will clean up soon!!!!

Unfortunately all this dirt was going into the ocean as well as the water flows below the street from the cenote into the ocean. When it is clean it is a beautiful spot to snorkel as the fish like the area where the sweet water comes out into the salt water.

It was not even to get there either:

Still those nice trunks are funny:

That evening we didn't go to eat as we had eaten in Tulum and weren't hungry. Instead went to the Tequila Barrel and later on to La Ranita where we once again we met other peeps...

November 7
This day was a rather easy one as we just wanted to hang out at Mamita's. In the morning the sun was shining so I was able to take a walk on the beach to take some pics. I'd never walked further than Shangri-La Caribe so it was a first for me to continue...

Great weather...

And this is how it ended... (once again). *grmpf* 

For the evening we had agreed to meet at Babes. After dinner we ended up in the Tequila Barrel again where Moni and I met with my other german friends who had come into town.

Time to say 'goodbye' to Rita too as she was leaving the next morning. :-(((((

November 8
November 8 was not only Kathy's birthday but we had agreed too to go on a speedboat tour that day. So we met in the morning at Gran Porto Real and waited what was going to happen. 'We' were (all Playa.info-people): jtm1631+cadbury, Debbielasvegas and her friend Laurie, Tom&Pat, Kathy.web & Danny, Moni and myself and then one 'surprise' participant who
looked like Robert DeNiro

When we saw Mitch from Playa.info we knew all was good. :D Took the bus to Puerto Aventuras where Kathy and Danny were already waiting. 

After we all had been to the bathroom again (must have been a funny procession :joker: ) we went on the boats and discovered that we had one 'Peep-boat' for us. You see DeNiro in the pic? ;)

We were heading towards the first snorkel stop:

Mitch told us he had recently discovered parts of a ship wreck in the water:

It looks funny when fresh water comes into the salt water from the ground:

Some marine life...

The beach...

On the next snorkel stop we saw a ray from the boat:

Culture wasn't missing that day either as there was a mayan ruin:

Nice vegetation around

And a cenote which was dirty too but not as dirty as Casa Cenote had been two days earlier...

You could see the dirt under water in the ocean too...


After that we headed to Akumal to snorkel again. There we were required to wear life wests and except Mitch nobody was allowed to wear fins. This is a measure to protect the reef in Akumal and I think this is okay. The reef needs to be protected when you look at the number of people coming to Akumal each day.

I liked this shiny little blue fish a lot. It sort of sparkled in the sun.

See the trumpet fish? :)

Those schools of fish were amazing... you only saw dark clouds first and then you detected that it was moving and it was all fish...

Of course we saw turtles too. This one once went up and was heading directly into Monis face. She changed direction before hitting though (the turtle - not Moni). :D

And soon it was lunch time. The boat took us to shore where we had tables reserved at Lol Ha. As it was Kathy's 29th ;) birthday there was a surprise for her after lunch. Mitch had helped us to organize cake and a candle for her. She didn't see the waiters approach with the cake and the candle and realized only when everybody was singing that this was her surprise. I had the impression that she liked it... ;) :) Then we went back to the boats...

Riding home... *wooohhhoooo*

Thank you Mitch and all the others from the crew. I think we had a perfect day and it was our first day in Playa without any rain too.

In the evening the usual suspects met at Manne's Biergarten:

Some very german meals... ;)

After hanging out for some time it was La Ranita again as it was the last day 'No Limits' were playing there. 

November 9
Heck, only 3 more days to go... :-((((( Where did all that time go so fast? 

As I have only two days left for diving I am going to Cozumel that day. Guenther and Stefan didn't wanna come but that's not a problem. At the Yucatek base that morning I meet Sonja and Iris (both from Cologne too but I hadn't met them before) and two guys from Canada. We take the ferry to Cozumel at 8 am and from there go to the dive shop 'Deep Blue' This is a very good name for a dive shop on Cozumel (on the pics you will see why).

We get dressed immediately and head out to the Palancar Reef first. The water is VERY clear and from the boat you can see already some fish down there. We jump in and it is DEEP BLUE... I am still at a loss for a word for that colour. It was just deep blue... a lot of fish are new to me and some stuff on the ground and the reef too. So I guess I was just looking around with big round eyes... ;) 

Between the dives we drive to a beach. This looks like a christmas tree...

I found this sign really funny as the toilett actually was 'the djungle'. ;)

From there we went to *Punta Tunich* for the second dive.

Unfortunately I forgot to put my camera in the Underwater-mode which makes it difficult for me now to work with them. It's a pity because this turtle was so so funny... (and with these pics I realized what a difference my underwater program makes)

And again the perfect blue colour...

Here a few pics from Cozumel. I walked around a little bit near the ferry dock as I had to wait till the next ferry was leaving and I was totally shocked when they wanted 1 USD for a bottle of water (in Playa you pay 20 Pesos for the same size).

Back in Playa there was not left much of the day. Moni and I decided to have dinner at Kitxen (which is on the Playa Deal card as well). Food was perfectly acceptable (not too much choices though).

While we are sitting there a guy approaches and tells me 'I know you!' *oooooops* Well, that teaches me to put my pic in the internet as an avatar... ;) He introduces himself but then moves on.

After dinner we go over to the Tequila Barrel where we usually find Tom & Pat. And as usual they are sitting there. We head over to tell them that later on the usual suspects will meet at La Ranita and I tell Tom about the guy who recognized me. While I am still telling I realize someone is knocking on my shoulder. I turn around and there is Pamela Anderson (before she had all those face-lifting/Operations done), she smiles at me, gives me her hand and asks 'Do you remember me?' Heck no... I've never seen her before... ;) Turns out she is another peep who has recognized me and she was sitting at the table next to Tom and Patty. So we all head over to La Ranita... We've not been long there when two more persons come in, one points her finger at me and says 'I know you!' Tom nearly falls off his chair and it turns out that it's Judyblueeyes from the Playa,Info-board... :-DDD Jeeeeeez, time to take my pic off the board... No, I am joking, I don't have any problem with people approaching me because they recognized me. It was just funny that it happened three times within about 2 hours... 

And another day over... *sigh*

November 10
Getting melancholic in the morning, it's my last dive day which means the vacation is nearly finished... meeting Guenther and Stefan at Yucatek to go diving in the ocean again. Today it's not just us on the boat but 3 swiss guys at well. I've seen the one who will be my buddy under water previously as he was learning for his rescue-diver exam the previous days. I am glad he is my buddy as he can save me when something should happen to me (only later that day we find out that he has 10 dives less than me... :-DDDDDD ).

We drive out to Moc Che. The first dive is a little bit disappointing as the guide starts to go up after 20 minutes without any obvious reason and so it's a stupid dive. The second one is great though. Still at Moc Che but in shallower water so was stay down one hour. :clap: Visibility is not as great as in Cozumel which is a pity as otherwise I probably would have a great pic of the spotted eagle ray we saw in some distance...

Looks like she was in a foul mood... ;-)))))

A small murraine....

Here is the eagle ray but it is hard to see him. :(

And this is a very strange fish...

Isn't that nudibranch on the coral beautiful? There were lots of them on the fans...

Spent the rest of the day on the beach at Mamita's. When it was time for dinner, Moni and I headed to Carbonsito's again where once again we had a dinner to die for...

That evening we had the big peep meet at DJ's. Lots of people showed up and it was great to meet more people in addition to the ones we already knew. In addition we were happy to do something for DJ's bar as DJ has had a very bad accident two months ago and he is still in the hospital (he had severe head injuries). Last update Nov 29: DJ left the hospital last week and is getting better.

November 11
We are a little bit sad for two reasons: 
1. it's our last day
2. in Cologne it's the first day of Carnival but we can't be there (well, actually you can't have everything...) but we will have a Cologne-meeting in the evening in Playa)

We head to the beach early as the sun is shining. One of the waiters (Giacopo) greets us with our names and comes by every now and then to chat a little bit. Kathy and Danny are on the beach as well. Later in the afternoon Holly's friend Vicky joins us which is nice as she is fun. Then time to go home is near. We make some more pics and as we hear that there is a great concert at Capt'n Dave we decide to head over. It's the first time I walk to Playa 'city' along the beach and I am surprised how small the beach in most places is. Not sure whether this is always the case but we are glad we are staying in the 'Little Italy'-part of Playa where the beach is much nicer.

Then we meet Holly and Jen and decide that later on we all meet up at the Tequila Barrel to decide where to have dinner. Said - done. The decision is for 'Don Mario'. Great place which is NOT on the Playa Deal Card. But it's absolutely worth going there.

Have some fun there then it's time to say good-bye for Moni and me... we pass at La Ranita but Jez is not there. We find him though. Next stop is the Tequila Barrel where several peeps (like Cinker1, Carlos, Holly) are gathered and we make it short... just as we want to go it starts to pour... it's raining so hard that we just can't leave. Once it rains less we once again take off our shoes and wade through the water on the streets till we finally meet our german friends. They propose to go to Senor Frogs so this is where we go...

My friend Kerstin and me

Around midnight Moni and I head back to the hotel as we are tired...

November 12
Last few hours. Our plan was to have breakfast at Cafe Corazon but once again it is closed. It is raining again but we make the short walk over to La Vagabunda. It's a great place to have breakfast!

Then the last pics...

Then we have to go down, our transpo arrives and we are off... :-((((