Fred & Barbie's Little Bike Ride travel blog

Barbie had to get a picture of me on my first day...

Outside Hotel Alux. An Alux is a Mayan gremlin.

The bike inside the lobby!

The view from our balcony at the condo Barbie found us!

The view of our condo from the deck.

Looking the other way.

Sliding glass doors have their dangers. Barbie walked into the glass, and...

I just had to get a shot of the 'nose tracks'.

Barbie does the toe test on the pool.

Me with Ixchel, and her girlfriend Luz on the left.

Barbie working her magic in the kitchen.

The spatula was a parting gift from Ray and Sherry in Progreso;...

I prepared the shrimp.

It was great with a beer in my 'jeep green' beer cosy.

Ixchel in the classroom.

Carlos (Charlie) with Ixchel.

The school.

Kevin and Sam on a break. They were in the advanced course.

Getting a little encouragement from the teacher in the courtyard!

Relaxing by the pool after school one day.

Barbie by the pool with her mac and her margarita.

In the condo with Patrice and Mary Anna.

Oh ya, I even had a beer!

Hotel Alux- ( We loved this place. 600 pesos, lots of hot water, wifi, walking distance to everything, far enough from the action that you can sleep at night, wonderful owners, Highly Recommend this hotel!

Playa del Carmen

We pulled out of Progreso late, tired, and perhaps a little bit thirsty. Thank you again, Ray & Sherry, we had a wonderful time, and would do it exactly same way again, given the chance. We were on our way to Playa del Carmen, some 5 hours away. I had a 2 week Spanish course booked, and then Barbie’s brother Ron and his wife Angie would join us for a week. We were already excited.

On the way, we stopped and had lunch at Chichen Itza; perhaps the most visited of Mayan sites. We were kind of looking the place over, as Angie had expressed an interest in it. We didn’t have time to do a tour, but what we saw was really beautiful. We nearly booked a cabin for the 4 of us, but decided we would wait.

It took us a little while to get settled in, in Playa (ply a, meaning beach). The place is full of overpriced hotels that promise everything. We payed 90 US for a place with no hot water, and the promised internet didn’t work. The exception, Hotel Alux (Alush) described above was wonderful. Perfect location, and unbelievably friendly. A knock came on our door at about 7 p.m.; it was the owners daughter asking if I wanted to bring the bike into the lobby! Of course I said yes, and they opened up both front doors, and I rode it in! Too cool!

While I was in school Barbie was busy looking for a place for all of us to stay. I had tried to learn Spanish a couple of years ago in Winnipeg, with not much luck. I hoped that this course, 4 hours a day for 2 weeks would be better.

The school set up is interesting; courses start every Monday; you may or may not be starting at the same time as your course mates. There were 2 classes going on at the same time; a beginner, and an advanced. I was in the beginner class with one other guy, Carlos (Charlie). He is about 25, and comes from just outside Minneapolis.

Our beautiful instructor, Ixchel is from Mexico City. She is a wonderful person, and we became friends immediately. She has a quick easy smile, and shining dark eyes. Completely irresistible. She actually lived in Canada for a while with her boyfriend, from Quebec. Ixchel is the name of the Mayan goddess of childbirth and fertility.

Barbie found us a great 2 bedroom condo to stay in. It was a brand new construction, with pool and underground parking. We were the first tenants; which meant that Barbie was quite busy providing Laura from the management company with a list of things that she thought would be necessary to make the condo complete. Laura was thankful for the information, and provided the items quickly.

We also got to know (and fall in love with) Mary Anna. We understood that she was the “go to gal” for any problems with the property. We went to her quite a bit, and it was a pleasure every time. She was full of advise about everything, not just the building. She even introduced us to her travel agent friend, Patrice. We had them over one evening for margaritas and Patrice brought her book of things to do in Playa and the area. She would prove invaluable when Ron & Angie arrived.

We’ll make a separate entry(s) on Ron & Angie’s time with us, so more to come on Playa del Carmen. For our 2 weeks alone there, Barbie enjoyed the time playing housewife and sending me off to school every morning. She had an affair with the Mexican all in one cloths washer/dryer, washing all our new starchy sheets, and towels, as well as our clothes. She would have liked more time by the pool, but the weather was unseasonably cool (like 20˚C), and rainy/overcast. It was good relax time though.

As for me, I still can’t speak Spanish. I can however supplement my hand signals and facial expressions. Really, I did learn a lot, and now it is up to me to practice, practice, practice. Ixchel, thank you, you did teach me a great deal; I’ll do my best to keep building on it, and I’ll try not to talk like a Spanish Tarzan!

3-16 Jan 2010

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