Our Fall Sojourn in Playa del Carmen Didn’t Start on the Best Note

We had long planned to return to Playa in the fall so we could rest and recharge. But fate had a few surprises in store for us both before we arrived and within our first week. These surprises seemed to drag out our grief recovery.

Cripples All

In the middle of our visit to the Bay Area, the stress and strain of the events of the week caused me to land on my ass right in the street. I thought I could shake it off, but that seems to be getting harder and harder. After a restless night, I asked Mike when he wanted to take me to the emergency room.

After a short wait and a CT scan, I was told I had cracked the Ramus or the bottom of the pelvic bone. Oh yeah, I could not walk without crutches either. So, I was prescribed a few meager pain pills (15) and even fewer muscle relaxers (4). The message was to take it easy for the next 6 weeks. Not part of my plan but what was I to do? By the time we were ready to leave the Bay Area for Playa, I had graduated from crutches to a cane. Unfortunately, my crutches and cane were available in the Bay Area because I own them.

One cripple is bad enough, but a few days after we arrived in Playa we doubled it. Mike went to close a door because it was raining and he slipped on the wet tile. Unfortunately, he rammed his big toe into the tile baseboard and broke it. He almost lost the toenail too, which bled for at least two days. But I’ve had some toe issues of my own, so with my doctoring skills his toenail was saved. Yeah, me. Now we both had limited mobility for the first month we were in Playa.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Fortunately, we had made a grocery run when we arrived. But after Mike broke his toe, we had to figure out how to get groceries. Mike spent at least half a day getting a delivery order placed. I guess there were some hoops, like a local phone number, and you are never really sure what you are going to get. But in the end, it worked like a champ, so we weren’t going to starve. The vendor would deliver the food to the lobby and our guys would bring it right up to our door. Under the circumstances, this was good because our condo is a fair distance from the lobby. Delivery is especially useful for heavy liquids and we now have them delivered all the time. Especially, since the grocery store is a 15-minute walk from home.

Meal Delivery etc.

We also had to figure out how to get meals delivered every other day or so, because if you are having trouble standing, you don’t want to cook. We thought it was pretty interesting that delivery services were subject to the weather since most things are delivered by someone on a scooter. So, at least one time we reached out, we were told there were no deliveries that day. Pasta always works if you are hungry enough.

We were able to find some interesting delivery services, besides delivery from grocery stores. We found several restaurants that would deliver. The most successful was probably from the best Indian place we have ever visited. It is about a 15-minute walk away but the delivery service was great and the food was awesome. We also found a meal delivery service that brought a Thai dish and a chicken dish. Both were quite good.

Mike was also able to find a guy who roasts, grinds, and delivers coffee to our specifications, what a treat.

Making Friends

During our first few weeks in Playa, we spent a lot of time close to home. One of the plusses was that we met some of our neighbors and got hooked into an activities group at our condo. Some people live there close to full time and others come and stay on and off. People who have been in town for a while are a wealth of valuable information. We got introduced to an interesting little bar nearby.

One evening there was a big potluck with a bunch of neighbors and friends at a women’s condo whom everyone seems to know. We met more neighbors and are starting to build some community. Finally, we met a couple from Canada who taught us how to play canasta. They were kind enough to invite us to dinner and cards for a few nights. They are like us, they visit from time to time so our time in Playa won’t always overlap but it is great to be making friends. Our Canadian friends also told us about the cheap owner-priced massages to be had at the beach club.

Things to Do, Places to Go

Partly because we were having mobility issues and partly because we were starting on plans for our kitchen remodel, we decided we needed to rent a car for a while. We got a referral from a neighbor to an inexpensive car rental place. The car was what is lovingly referred to as a beater. It was a small gray colored Chevy but not all of the parts matched in color, it had rollup windows and manual lock doors but it did get us around. It turned out to be the same car that our neighbor had rented before he bought a car, which I thought was hilarious.

The only issue this time around was that the battery died. The guys turned up after a few hours and replaced the battery but after that sometimes the car wouldn’t start. We found that there was an issue with one of the battery terminal connections so periodically we would need to jiggle them to get the car to start. Annoying, but not critical. The other big advantage of the beater was that we never got pulled over and shaken down by the police because it didn’t look like we had anything in the little gray car. We will be renting from these guys again.

Seeing Doctors and Starting Our Kitchen Remodel

There were two other things we wanted to do while we were in Playa last fall. First, we needed to see some doctors and the dentist. Then we needed to find vendors and a basic plan for our kitchen remodel.

Medical Care

Originally, I had thought to move my medical care to Playa but a few things altered that plan. First, after visiting a Rheumatologist and a GP in Playa, I found I wasn’t keen on either of them. Since there is only one Rheumatologist in Playa, my ability to move my care was kind of a bust. We had much better luck with dentists and dermatologists. The second change for me was starting Medicare. Because of the premiums and the coverage, it is certainly in my best interest to get medical care in the US, maybe even if we live in Mexico most of the time. So, the modified plan is for dentists and dermatologists in Mexico and everything else in the US. Right now the docs are in Scottsdale but over time, I can see moving everything to Austin TX, a two-hour plane ride away.

Kitchen Remodel

This is the first small installment on this subject, loads more to come after things get moving. Our goal for this trip was to come up with a basic plan and find a vendor to make it happen. Our first two tries were a fail. The first person we started working with, who was recommended by our realtor, took four weeks to come up with a basic sketch. Then came an estimate for her time in addition to the architect, other vendors, and ridiculous materials costs.

So we tried the other vendor recommended by our realtor and he was great but a few days after we met with him, he begged out because he took a much bigger job. He did, however, recommend someone we liked. Fortunately, during our last two weeks in Playa, we were able to get a commitment from the last vendor with a promise to start work planning at the beginning of February. We were so relieved that that decision was made before we took off for ski season.

All in all, it turned out to be a very busy time with a lot of things going on. As a result, I had to put pool time on my calendar so I would make it happen. I expect our next few visits will follow along the same line until the kitchen is complete. That said, I love the heat, the time to work, the long evening walks, and the new friends. So, even if I’m busier than I’d like, we made the right decision to spend part of each year in Playa del Carmen.

What do you think of how we spent our time in Playa?

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