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Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

Kenai, Alaska
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Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

From Colleen:

Yesterday we went to the beach to sun bathe and relax. I got a 1 hour massage (swedish) for $40 US. The hotel offers massage and spa treatments but they are considerably more expensive, so we opt for the Beach ladies. It was fantastic... one note; the masseus took my ankle bracelet off for the massage and I had to ask for it afterward.. I am unsure if this was intentional--I dont want to believe it was, she was a sweet lady... but you may want to remove bracelets, etc if you get a beach masage. The darn PA bracelet was getting in her way as well. It would be very nice if they could figure out a different system to mark thier guests.

It started pouring rain around 11:30 and the beach grill doesnt open til 12:00 so we came back to the room, showered and headed downtown. We are eating SO much, last night we skipped dinner because we both felt like we might burst! For dinner we went to the square downtown with all the carts and had Churros (?) deep fried cake donut type thing in a star shape (profile) that is rolled in cinnamin sugar and DELICIOUS! Last year, we had found some of the best food on these carts...and CHEAP :))

We ate lunch of lime soup and split arrachero tacos at a small spot on hidalgo,,,yum! After lunch we went to Squalo and I took my written test--those dive tables are BRUTAL to figure out..I barely passed that portion of the test. I'll want to study it more back home.

We scheduled a night dive for Monday night on a shallow reef... Also talked about doing some deeper (60 foot) dives which I am nervous about. It takes quite a bit of time for me to equalize my ears-I didnt think I would be able to do it at all which is why I didnt get the written exam done ahead of arrival. Andres has been very patient and baby sits me all the way down-I hate being dependent--and I dont like holding up the group--I feel like an inconsiderate a$$. But really, it takes me several minutes every 10 feet... I hope this will improve with experience.

We decided to rent a cart today, go to the south end and snorkle next to garrafon. We want to get up early in the am tomorrow and go beach combing-I really want some sea glass. So we'll keep the cart 24 hours, maybe have dinner at Villa Rolandi.

On my dinner bucket list is Olivias and Lola something (help me out here) both requiring reservations. I would also like to try Angelos, but with all this $$$ diving, we may have to eat more at the hotel!!! Decisions, decisions... GOD its good to be here...I'm exhausted every night, but its a GOOD exhausted. I can feel the Vitamin D pumping through my blood..it takes 10 years off... until about 9pm when I am 51 yrs old again. damn.....

I also have purchased to opal rings since we got here...I had my own little stash of $$ from some extra overtime... but really, they werent that expensive. I got one at Fire Opal and the other at Mr Opal. I will post photos if there is any interest... The one from fire opal is a stone that is uncut-simply polished with good fire and glow. The other is a deep orange, very clear ring that I will treasure-the man at Mr Opal states that he owned the mine these stones came from. He even showed us an article in National Geographic that he is in, an old article. The mine is now closed. He spent alot of time with us, I believe his name is Alejandro. What a sweet old guy, gave me a little treasure bonus gift too ;). I asked the gentleman at fire opal (also very nice and educational) about the ownership of the mine and he did not discount the story.

2 guys I would recommend doing business with, both will set your stone in a different ring if you like, both very patient, not pushy at all. Decent pricing without all the haggling (which I appreciate). I really dont care to haggle, I ask the price, if its more than I want to pay, I make one offer, if that doesnt work I leave or look elsewhere. I just dont like feeling pressured.

OK...Mark is giving me the evil eye for typing so long...

I hope this helps someone make plans, remember trips, or brings a smile.

Colleen

Kenai, Alaska
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577 posts
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1. Re: Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

One more note (as if the 1st letter was not long enough!)... Alejandro at Mr Opal warned me that all of the Australian Opal on the Island was plastic. I have a nice (if small) Australian opal and I love it...but its probably not a good idea to buy Australian Opal in Mexico. Its my birth stone (October) so I've collected some and studied a little. I did see a very beautiful Black Opal (the BEST kind and $$$) at the Fire Opal shop...it was $2500.00 US and it was Mexican Opal--probably pretty rare to get a black Opal out of a Mexican Mine. He also warned that alot of the silver you see is really brass, aluminum and some other metal, so look for the numbers 925 and the "MEX" stamp for authentification (and feel free to correct me if this is wrong). This info is probably already posted on the site, unfortunately, I didnt have time to study the forum before we left... Something I'll enjoy doing when we get home!

Stick with recommended jewelers...he said many stones here are colored glass--especially the tanzanite.

just an FYI... :)

New England
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2. Re: Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

Hey Colleen ... love your reports! I would like to see pictures of your opals if you can. My birthstone is also opal and I have one piece from my first trip to Mexico (Tulum) and am looking forward to another on this trip to Isla. Thanks for the tips.

As for equalizing -- with practice it will get easier. I always start before I even descend and just keep at it. I usually have to stop at around 30 feet and wait a bit to completely equalize. There are several "tricks" you can try such as bending your head to the side as you equalize. Even after all my diving there are days when it is harder than others as there are so many factors. Stick with it and you will be glad you did! Be sure to let us know about the night dive and the 60 foot dive. Both are milestones and you are hitting them early.

Maine
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3. Re: Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

Colleen-about your restaurant bucket list. You might be thinking of LOLO Lorena's instead of LOLA Valentina's. Lolo's is more likely to require advance reservations. It is currently #6 on the TA restaurant list and is located not far from the new Chedraui. Lola V's is at the north end of Hidalgo, a "stone's throw" from your hotel. It has not been open long, maybe a couple of months.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Isla Mujeres
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4. Re: Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

My wife has a bit of a twisted ear canal and it takes her a long time to equalize. So we just make sure we're the first pair into the water so we can begin our descent and not hold anyone up. Once she's at depth she's fine--just takes longer to descend. So I would recommend y start your descent as soon as you're in the water and meet up with everybody at the bottom.

Night diving is my favorite. They'll usually put you into the water at dusk, when there's still enough ambient light, and then it will turn dark during your dive. Once it's dark your vision will be limited to what's in the beam of your flashlight, so in a way its easier to concentrate because there is less visual input. You'll see an entirely different set of creatures--keep an eye out for octopus! And if you look under the ledges of the reef, you might find a sleeping parrotfish--they encase themselves with a "coccoon" of muccus so their predators can't smell them. Very interesting to see. And of course, the "man in the gray flannel suit" is more active at night, so you have a better chance of seeing sharks.

Have fun!

new york
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for Isla Mujeres
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5. Re: Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

Great report, Colleen, ejoyed reading about your jewelry shopping and diving experiences :)

Southwest Michigan
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6. Re: Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

Colleen, Lola Valentina's is a restaurant in Centro on Hidalgo, as said it is quite new and does not require reservations. Lolo Lorena is a bit out of town and definitely does require advance reservations. Two very different places with different concepts. As for as Olivia's, you can stop by the day before or mid afternoon the day of to make a reservation. They have 2 seatings, not sure of the current times.....about 6:30 and 8:30 probably.

new york
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7. Re: Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

If you're going to go to Lolo Lorena and you're wine drinkers make sure to take a bottle.

Kenai, Alaska
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8. Re: Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

Yes..its Lolo Lorena's! Thanks!

Texas
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9. Re: Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

Love your reports...You guys cover all our faves...Snorkeling,eating(especially arracherra and churros),drinking,shopping...Alejandro's comes highly rated....Fire Opal was not open when we were there, but the wife bought some fine opal at the Cancun airport...My advice when buying jewelry in Mexico, is to buy unique,hand made jewelry there and save your major purchases with a personal trusted,reliable jeweler in the States...I have done snorkeling at night...It is so exciting(just dont drop your light.)...It was like hide and seek...I especially liked the octopus,giant grouper and eels...

10. Re: Day 5: food, jewelry and general Isla stuff....

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