Monday, August 19, 2013

Day Four- Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

This was the port I was most looking forward to. I had heard mixed reviews about it, some people think it was dirty and didn't like all the people begging for money, but to me, it sounded like the good old Mexico that I remember! I first went to Mexico on a missions trip when I was 14 years old, and it was such an eye opening life changing event for me. I was hoping my kids would get a small taste of that, and I think they did.

I warned them up front that it is a very poor country and there are people begging, but Regan told me I didn't prepare them enough. We got off the boat, and first, it's gorgeous. The water is blue as can be, the sand is white, and there is one of the world's longest piers. It's almost 5 miles long. As you get off the ship, you walk through a nice little shopping area, and then to the shuttle buses. We caught a shuttle right away thank goodness, and it took us right into Progreso where we paid $5 a piece for a double decker tour of the city. It was neat, it just went around for about 20 minutes but we got a taste of what the city is like. There are some really nice old buildings, and right next door, a building that is crumbling and falling apart. We saw the markets and hotels and restaurants. We saw one called Buddy's and an American standing out front with a microphone saying they had clean bathrooms and good food (more on that later).

So when our tour was over, we made our way to the beach, stopped every 5 seconds by someone who wanted to sell us something. We did buy "air conditioners" (fans) on the bus cause Regan wanted a pink one, and the guy went from 2 for 10 to 2 for 5!

The beach was beautiful. We found a palapa and sat and ordered drinks and some nachos and let the kids go swim for a bit. We joined them, and then they wanted to do the banana boat. After a while, Riley and David wanted to rent a jet ski for an hour, so we let Riley haggle over the price. We told him the highest price we would pay for an hour, and let him go see if he could negotiate it down any. He did pretty good, so the guys set off on the jet ski, and Regan and I changed and walked around the town. I'm an adventurous traveler, so I had no qualms about walking around town. We bought some jewelry, shopped in some neat little Mayan shops, and found the market. I love markets. I don't know why, but I just love seeing all the stuff for sale in a market. Especially in other countries. I'm sure they think I'm crazy asking about what everything is, but I had honestly never seen a real live dragon fruit before! And there was something else that looked like a giant, squishy artichoke that I had never seen before either, but whatever it was, it didn't translate. At least, not into anything I could understand!

Anyway, we shopped and had to stop at every poor starving, stray dog. We looked at the fish market. Since Progreso is right on the ocean, many people fish every day, then go right to the fish market to clean and sell their catch. It smelled, and it was awesome. Regan wanted to buy some of the octopus and squid to feed the stray dogs.  We did get some t-shirts and some of those cute little animal bobble heads, and more jewelry!

Then we met up with the guys at the showers, and headed to Buddy's. This is where things took a turn. As we were walking in, the guy with the microphone asks Riley if he wants to judge a dance contest, they need an impartial jury. I'm (naively) thinking salsa dancing or something, so we order drinks and have a seat, and they turn Riley's chair around to face the dancers, who they promptly march right up on top of the tables! They were in bikini's, or cover ups, and drinking shots of tequila. At this point, we've ordered, we can't just walk out, Riley is looking at us like, what now? And we are looking at each other like, what now? So we sat there for a bit. It was all pretty funny, there were 5 girls, and some of them really did not belong in bikini's, and one girl was rather large, and hilarious to watch. She ended up winning the entire thing because she really put herself out there! We laughed quite a bit. The food was okay, nothing great, but not horrible, so we paid and were leaving about the time they started lining up body shots (just in time).

We were going to do a massage on the beach, but found a place that was indoors, because by this time, we were all hot and sweaty. We negotiated a price, and for all four of us to get a 45 minute massage (that's all we had time for at that point) was only $40. The kids were excited for their very first massage! And we were in one giant open room with just some beds lined up. We tipped them $5 each, and they were very sweet, and let us take a picture of them, all smiles!

Then we headed back towards the shuttle, with some last minute shopping along the way. David found a coffee shop for him and Riley, while I picked out a nice chess set (deer bone and turquoise) and some real Mexican vanilla, and then the kids wanted to knock off sunglasses, Riley got yellow Oakley's, Regan got some pink Ray Ban's, and David gave a dollar to a little old lady who was begging, and I thought she was going to climb in his pocket and come home with us. She went on and on thanking him and smiling and shaking his hand.

David was done shopping by then (lightweight) and so we got on our shuttle to head back, tired and the boys were beat up from their little jet ski adventure. I think they wiped out a few too many times, and David was pretty sore. We got back on the ship, rested a bit, Riley went off with his new friends, and then we had dinner in the dining room again.

Every night the wait staff would jump up on some tables and sing, and it was always pretty hilarious. Tonight it was the one about the apple bottom jeans and the boots with the fur (I don't know the name of it, but it's hilarious) and they did a great job with it! We left laughing for sure.

We went to bed early since we had to get up early the next day for the highlight of the trip, swimming with dolphins!

Progreso, Mexico

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