We get a ride from one of the butlers to the front gates. Daniel and Matthew are just pulling up as we walk through the gates. Daniel had sent me some texts earlier letting me know he was on his way and so I would have his number. His son Matthew is adorable, but shy and since I don’t speak Spanish I just ask him questions in English. He doesn’t answer of course. He just sits there and looks cute.
Daniel drives us to Playa del Carmen and to a place that he has heard has good ceviche. It is not a tourist place and I doubt I ever would have found it on my own. It was called Losaguachiles, but Daniel kept referring to it as Chiles.
The first menus they give us are in Spanish, but when they see us for the gringos we are, they give Zung and I menus in English.
Daniel and I order ceviche (they had several different kinds). The servings are enormous.
Matthew has shrimp tacos.
Zung gets buffalo fried shrimp.
They also serve fried tortillas with several different sauces. This is not salsa and it’s interesting trying all the different tastes. I have a coke and the guys have beers and Matthew has some kind of drink that looked like milk, but wasn’t. It was a horchata, a rice-milk drink that was served over ice.
Zung has a video on his phone of his race car, so he shows it to Matthew. Matthew really starts to warm up to Zung after that.
After lunch, Daniel takes us to the new mall on 5th Avenue. It is nice, but it seems wrong to have a mall on 5th Avenue. Most of the stores can be found in any mall in the US. Forever 21, Nike, Starbucks. Ugh. Who needs to come to Mexico to shop at places like this? Although, truth be told, there were mostly locals here.
We are not here for these stores though. We are here for La Europea, which is a liquor and gourmet food store. They have a lot of rum. They have several different kinds of Havana rum. I am looking for either the Barrel Proof or Seleccion. They have neither. They have Gran Reserva, but it is over $300 and I am not willing to risk it not making it through Customs back in the US. I think we are out of luck.
Daniel is on it though. This store has several branches and he asks if they might have it at the other Playa del Carmen store. It is closed, but they will check in the morning. Daniel gets their number and he will check for us.
We walk around the mall for a bit and go into a store that has a little bit of everything. It has electronics and toys and food. I ask Daniel if I can buy Matthew a toy. He says no, he has enough. But he lets him look. I ask again as he is looking at different toys. Maybe just a small one, I ask. Nope. Matthew looks at the Legos and finally Daniel relents and I buy Matthew a Lego set. Matthew says thank-you and has a big grin on his face (although not in this picture).
I ask Daniel if he played with Legos when he was a kid, and he says no. He grew up on a farm and they didn’t have lots of money so he’d make toys out of tree branches, things like bow and arrows and guns. There’s something to be said for a kids using their imagination like that.
Daniel gets a Starbucks. He was up late the night before, out at the clubs with his girlfriend. He needs some caffeine. I tell him he is getting too old to be doing that. I’m such a mom.
We leave and head back to the Grand. Daniel tells me stories about driving and La Mordida. He said there were some guests from Canada who got pulled over for DUI and were told it was an $800 fine. They got it down to $300 by paying the policia directly. Daniel said he has gotten pulled over three times and bribed the policia. I was taken to task on Trip Advisor for mentioning this. It appears it is alive and well. It is the reason I would never rent a car in Mexico. I have no doubt that if you obey all laws you have a good chance of not getting caught up in this. Not being a Spanish speaker, or reader, I am not confident that I would’t make an unintentional mistake. I’ll just catch rides with my homies and take taxis, thank you very much.
Daniel drops us at the front entrance.
We walk back to the Grand. We don’t venture outside the compound very often, but this was one of our best adventures.