After breakfast we prepared for our outing. We planned to do some souvenir shopping at a place that Charlie had seen during one of our many taxi rides along Av. Camarón Sábalo, but he didn’t know its name. The taxi driver who picked us up at the resort was the same one who we had paid to wait for us a couple days earlier when we visited the cathedral. He seemed happy to see us again. This was probably due to the fact that I inadvertently gave him a very large tip while trying to quickly round up enough cash for his services rendered that day. Today, I told him that we were trying to find a place whose name we didn’t know. I gave him the street and told him approximately where it was, but he either didn’t pay any attention or was trying to run up our fare. He seemed to circumvent the very road I had told him it was on, and we ended up at least a couple miles past where we needed to go. When I reminded him of the street, he apologized and then took us to where we were going. Unfortunately, many of the stores in the area were closed and the ones that were open were not very good and didn’t have what we were looking for. Charlie bought one overpriced trinket and then regretted it as soon as we walked a couple blocks to the next store, which was exponentially better.
After we found a few things, we asked the salesclerk whether there was a drugstore nearby because we needed a few supplies. She said there was one just a couple of blocks up the road, so we headed that direction. Soon we happened upon a tiny, ghetto-ass pharmacy that looked more like a convenience store. Tony and I walked in and a boisterous woman behind a counter greeted us with, “Hhhello, nice to see ju agaiiin. I hhhave enny peells ju want weethout prescrrripshon.” It was simultaneously cute and worrisome. It said a lot both about the state of healthcare costs in the US and the type of recreation some people get up to while traveling abroad. I also wondered whether any of the drugs they carried were in fact real. The pharmacy didn’t have anything we actually needed, so we left.
We had seen several pharmacies along the way each time we drove this road, so we decided to walk a bit to see whether we would stumble upon another. Instead, we found ourselves at another souvenir kiosk where Elena tried on some drug rugs and bought a beautiful rainbow colored one with fleece lining. While this transaction was taking place with the female shopgirl, I was being chatted up by the man who worked there with her and possibly owned the place. When he realized I was fairly competent in Spanish, he started speaking speed Spanish to me. As I was fairly tired that day, I was having a harder time speaking back and stumbled over my words a lot, which just made me feel flustered and, in turn, made my language skills worse. He started talking to me about timeshares and asking me whether he could show us a property. I think he must have been getting kickbacks from the property owner for recommending it. We had seen lots of aggressive timeshare sales spiels during our trip and it was pretty obnoxious. I just kept saying no. Eventually I got around to asking him whether there was another large pharmacy nearby, to which he replied in English, “What kine of peell you wan?” implying that he could get it for me. I told him we just needed general supplies and so he offered to show us where it was.
After Elena made her purchase, he took off speedily north, expecting us to follow him. While the sidewalks here are generally pretty accommodating to people with special accessibility needs, they can be rough or incomplete in places, or have cars or other obstructions parked on them. I kept pace with the salesman, leaving Charlie, Tony and Elena in the dust, but I figured they could catch up once I knew where it was. During the few blocks that we walked, he continued to try to give me a sales pitch for a timeshare condo. Along the way we were accosted by other shop owners, except that they were addressing us in Spanish instead of English now. “Do I look like a tourist?” he asked. “No, but I do,” I said, “so they assume you are one too.”
We got to the pharmacy and he left me there, having failed at selling me a condo. I waved at the rest of my party, who were still a block or so away, and indicated that I was going in. I had found everything we were looking for by the time they arrived. As they were paying, I went out and flagged down a taxi and had him pull up to the front of the pharmacy so that we could get Elena into the car more easily.
The resort has a closed gate through which all traffic must enter and exit with the approval of the security staff posted there. For the safety of their guests, they note the taxi number and name of every driver leaving or arriving with them. My "girlfriend" happened to be working the security booth today. She took down the driver’s credentials and then leaned over to see into the car to make sure that the occupants were indeed guests. I was the only person she could see through the partially opened, tinted window, so I waved and smiled so that she would recognize me and know that we were legit guests. When she realized who I was, she got a grinned wide, put her handed over her heart and did the little polite bowing thing again. Charlie and I giggled about this and then he explained to his dad that I had an admirer.
Once we were settled back at the resort, Elena declared that she wanted to go to the pool or the beach and was happy that that was the only decision she really had to make here. Tony and Elena decided to get lunch at the poolside café while Charlie and I went for a cigar walk along the beach. When we came back, we swam a bit in the cold pool, warmed our bodies in the most direct sun we could find, and then joined Tony and Elena for some lovely rest. We also ordered tostadas and ceviche for a late lunch.
Daily beach walk with a cigar
A quiet day at the pool
Three Hutchinsons relax by the pool
Once we were all well toasted by the sun, we headed in where Charlie immediately started preparing the meat for our dinner that evening. Three of us played a little Qwirkle while Elena napped. I finally won! A couple hours later Charlie served us brown rice, beef mole, and salsa fresca. It was even better than the mole we had had a few days before because it was the house made recipe from the woman at the spice store rather than the stuff you buy in a jar at the grocery.
Cha does some topless mise en place
Final Qwirkle board
Cha gives up on the resort-provided knife and uses his pocket knife.
¡Vamos a comer!
Rice, mole, and salsa fresca
As usual, we ended the night with Charlie smoking a cigar by the pool and me accompanying him.