I am freezing back here in the Hudson Valley. The temps here have not gone over 65 or so and it has rained steadily for the past two days. Far cry from a brief shower or two and steady temps from 80-90 with an ocean breeze in Playa.

The weather in the Caribbean was interesting and predictable. Most mornings it was sunny and hot, with clouds building over Cozumel in the early afternoon. We would get some of the clouds from time to time, cutting down the strength of the sun which was welcomed as I am trying to do minimal damage to my skin. I love a tan and try and do it gently if there is such as thing.

Lois and I stayed the first night in the Flamingo in Xcaret. It was GIANT and spread out over some 100 acres. We had to walk far to get to anything there, and ended up taking transportation to the beach. Lois wanted to go to the "adult" beach first which turned out to be a large rock pool. Not a beach at all. The water, though coming in from the ocean, was warm and somewhat stagnant. We decided to go to the "family beach" and were greatly disappointed. It was an inlet with lovely tiny sand beach, a far cry from the Caribbean ocean that she was telling me about. We decided to try and switch hotels in the morning. Now I have to say that the hotel complex in general was beautiful. GIANT lake pools, great meals, shops etc. It just was too big like Disney, and there was no real beach.

The next morning we were faced with deciding where else to go to. We had options of Cancun which is too touristy and busy, there was the island of Cozumel, and Playa del Carmen. It was a tough choice between the latter two and we chose the closest, Playa.

We were glad as Cozumel seemed to get storms nearly every day for hours at a time. The painting I did was one of them that got very black and had this strange little tornado like funnel coming out of the cloud. It was not a water spout, and I heard no wind. It grew and then all of a sudden disappeared as fast as it formed. We got to watch many lighting storms miles away from us while we still swam in the ocean. I was a bit nervous and my friend told me that they blow the whistle if it is dangerous. I just kept wondering, if lightning strikes water, how far does it reach? We stayed at the Occidental/Allegro Playacar. It was decent enough. Not as large and elegant as the Flamingo, and the meals were fair, but it had two nice pools, a great stretch of ocean, entertainment and a disco every night. Lois and I drank all their Bailey's and Sambuca early on in our stay and had to wait days for more! Actually I think they had very little of either in the place so we did not have to drink that much to empty them out. It was an all inclusive hotel which meant we ate and drank all we could for one price all week long. The staff was amazing and friendly, unlike New Yorkers which I am ashamed to say.....(and I am a New Yorker)

It is late and I have my daughter and baby seeking refuge here for the night so I am going up to bed.

Tomorrow: our tour of the most amazing hotel, The Royal Hideaway in Playa which was next door.

Sweet dreams, Patti


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