To say that the water taxi ride is a drag would be an understatement. Imagine an hour and a half sitting in large plastic space with the acoustic properties of a very large ice chest with the sound of a very loud engine drone reverberating inside as you go bobbing across the Caribbean ocean and you get the idea. Not romantic, not charming. Just loud and monotonous. But hey! It’s an ADVENTURE!
We pulled into San Pedro and I got off the boat. Boy, the water is BLUE!
I was taking it all in and waiting for my luggage and I was approached by a man who asked me where I was staying. I pointed to the hotel which was right there (you can see it in the top photo).
I was clever enough to choose a hotel right near the landing for the water taxi. He smiled. Realizing he couldn’t hustle me for tips carrying my bags or hailing me a taxi he changed gears and offered me drugs. I politely declined. He let me know, in no uncertain terms, that he could get me just about anything I needed while on the island.
I collected my gear and headed off to the hotel to check in.
From the outside, the hotel was ok. Clean and well cared for and my mood was lifted. The view from the balcony at the front of the hotel was rather nice.
I went to the office and checked in. They gave me my key and I headed upstairs to settle in and get my bearings. The room was hot so I looked for the controls for the air conditioning but found none. Turns out the basic room has no A/C. I went back to the office and upgraded my room for a nominal fee. Turns out it was a nominal upgrade. The new room had one very beleaguered looking window A/C unit with one of those pine tree shaped air-fresheners jammed into it. I turned it on and it roared to life, albeit reluctantly.
The room had a fridge in it which came in handy. I was only in the room a few minutes when someone knocked at the door. A woman handed me a jug of ice cold water and explained that this was safe to drink. I thanked her and put the jug in my fridge after pouring myself a glass.
Once I was settled I headed downstairs in search of a golf cart to rent. Golf carts are the primary mode of transportation on the island. My friend who was getting married was on the far southern side of the island in a house several miles from my hotel. It was also the site where the wedding was to be held. I figured I would head down there and scope it out.
As I started looking for a golf cart rental shop I was approached by the man who met me at the pier and he asked what I needed. I told him and he walked me to a rental place that was still open. He still wanted to sell me drugs, but I continued to decline his offer.
I paid for my rental and as I was getting instructions on how to operate the vehicle I heard someone calling my name. It was my friend Luis and and his wife to be, Sarai. Turns out they were in the area after meeting with the pro photographer. We decided to go get some food and found a little restaurant and ate some much needed dinner.
We had a good time at dinner. The food was very good and the beer was ice cold and the breeze coming in off the water made the early evening very comfortable. I related my travel woes to my friends and they topped my bad experiences with one of their own. They had flown in the night before and checked into their rented villa and then went off to find dinner. After dinner they returned to the villa, only to find that it had been ransacked. Oddly, only the luggage had been rifled and robbed. The flat screen TV’s and the DVD players that belonged to the villa were untouched. It reeked of an inside job.
After dinner I followed them down to the south side of the island to see their place.
THANK GOD that I ran into them. Had I tried to find it on my own I would have only managed to get myself very lost and extremely terrified. It was not the straight drive down an obvoius street as I was lead to believe. It was a bit more twisty and convoluted. To make matters worse, the “downtown” area of San Pedro (such that it is) is all one-way streets. I had no idea. If I had been left to my own devices I would have trundled off going the wrong way on a one way street with no hope of finding the house.
On our way down to the villa Luis wanted to stop at the hotel his father was staying at so did so and picked him and his wife up and proceeded to the villa. Due to the “break in” there was security check point setup on the road leading to the villa.
We made it to the villa and hung out for a bit and then made our way back into town with various friends and family in tow. Everyone was pretty tired so we called it quits around 11:30 pm. Luis and his entourage headed back to the villa and I headed back to the hotel.
Even after blowing full blast for several hours, the air-conditioner was not getting the job done very quickly. I lay down to get some sleep as the room slowly cooled.
On a side note, the beaches come alive at night with hermit crabs
Next Up – Wedding Day!