Christi in the bug. An example of why Dave is the web page designer, not the photographer. The VW: Grind It 'Til Ya Find It
For our participation in the timeshare pitch at the Paradisus, we got a free rental car for 24 hours. It was a Volkswagen bug; not bad considering that it seemed to be the predominant rental vehicle on the island (there is a VW dealership in San Miguel, and we heard that you can get a new volkswagen - probably not the new beetle, but a newly-built bug - for six or seven thousand dollars). This one was clean, but the clutch was worn out and there was no key for the trunk (which meant that there was no way to lock up our stuff). Christi was starting to get upset when Dave laughed everytime she tried to shift, and he explained that he wasn't laughing at her, but the car.

All in all it was a decent trade for an hour or so of our time.

Look, ma - we bought a timeshare! San Gervasio: Lunchtime in the Ruins
Our first stop was at the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio - an interesting place except that we went around lunchtime and it was really hot. We slogged around in the heat and took some photos, until Dave's sunglasses (the pair he bought in the gift shop the day before) snapped in half. It was really too hot to be wandering around in the inland jungle anyway, so we hopped in the car and continued east to the windward side of the island - with Dave grumbling about cheap sunglasses and being blinded by the Mexican sun.

The Windward Side: Cozumel's Real Wild Side
The windward side of Isla Cozumel is made up of a series of widely-spaced restaurants separated by mostly rocky beaches. The water is fairly rough and the waves are too high to do much more than walk along the beach. We heard that the main reason the federales have a base on the island is because there are a lot of drug boats that make their transfers offshore. Often the boats are scuttled or abandoned, and the seized vessels sit in holding where they aren't even sold back to the locals.

We were captivated by the raw beauty of the place, and Dave noted that they reminded him of the beaches of his native Los Angeles - except they were much cleaner...

Playa Bonita: Dragging Dave out of the Waves
We stopped for lunch and a beer at one of the many seaside restaurants at Playa Bonita. It was open to the breeze, and there was a beautiful beach on a crescent-shaped cove. After playing in the water for a while, Christi stood on the beach while Dave reveled in the waves; something that was lacking on the leeward side of the island. Eventually, she was able to coax him out of the water and back into the VW for the return trip to San Miguel.

Dave & Christi at Playa Bonita Caveat Emptor
After returning to the Paradisus, Dave tried to exchange the sunglasses that he purchased the day before. We were told that they were fine when he bought them, and no amount of cajoling or threats seemed to work with the young woman in the gift shop. She did say that the manager would be in the following morning, and we decided to try again on Wednesday. It is a shame that a nice hotel like the Paradisus cares so little about their visitors that there is not an exchange policy, and actually they do not own the gift shop, but contract it out to another company - so they really had no say in such matters.

Mayan Batik
After a nice siesta, we took the bug back into town and wandered around the shops some more (the timeshare people continued to annoy us, even though we thought they should recognize us by now. The people from the Sol Caribe were the most annoying of all).

We popped into the Mayan Batik store on Rosado Salas to say hello to Carlos, the proprietor. We had ordered a shirt for Dave, and Christi found one she liked, too. While picking up Dave's tank top, we asked Carlos to make Christi's. The turnaround time to make one was about a day, and we knew we would be back.

Dinner at Pizza Rolandi
We wandered up to Deep Blue, and invited Matt and Debbie out to dinner. They recommended Pizza Rolandi, which was on Avenida Rafael Melgar near the Museo de Cozumel. It had actually been another restaurant that Dave's friend Victor had recommended highly, so it was decided. After they dropped us off at the Volkswagen, we followed them there and had a most wonderful dinner. We ate in a little central courtyard that was open to the sky. Apparently the vines that partially covered the courtyard like a living roof had been blown away a few years ago during hurricane Gilbert.

The steaks were great, and the bourbon and cokes were a fine change from the mexican beer that is so plentiful on the island. We shared a pleasant conversation with our new friends and learned about where they had been and how they met, as well as talking about local, national and international topics. But eventually we noticed that it was getting late, and we split around midnight. They had to get up for work and we wanted to be rested for our first two-tank dive on Wednesday.

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