Real Fun in Fake Mexico

Let’s get one thing straight. I went to fake Mexico. Each country has it’s fake parts where its manicured, gated and protected from all of the real culture.  Anyways, now that we have that tid bit out of the way, I can start to tell you about one of the most relaxing, enjoyable weeks I have had in a while in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

The whole family and my best friend/teammate/roommate Schimm traveled down to the Yucatan Peninsula for Spring Break 2016. I know what you’re thinking.  We mooched off our parents to go down to Mexico to just be constantly drunk for 5 days, wake up at noon, go to bed at 3:00 AM and fry under the Mexican sun. Well, you’re wrong about pretty much all of it.  We stayed at the Riu Yucatan Resort, visited the Tulum Ruins, haggled with shop keepers and saw the sun rise. Here are some snip its from a week vacation in Playa del Carmen.

Tulum Ruins

The one thing I had on my bucket list for the week was to see Mayan Ruins.  We went through Playa Del Carmen Tours which picked us up in a coach bus, took us to Tulum, guided us through the ruins and dropped us off back at our resort all before lunch for only fifty dollars a person. Not a bad deal. The Tulum Ruins are really unique because they are the only ruins positioned on the coast and a cliff. It was originally used as a port in ancient times and was one of the last operating cities in the Mayan Civilization.

Everyone enjoyed the tour and being able to explore the archaeological site. I really enjoyed my dad’s unintentional explorer outfit with a tan bucket hat and all.

Sun Rise workout

Schimm wanted to see the sun rise over Riviera Maya in the morning and get a light workout in.  If you know me personally and have ever interacted with me before 9:00 AM, you know that I embody the anti-christ every morning. I don’t know what type of voodoo Schimm put on Bridget and I the day before. But, I agreed to a morning workout to see the sun rise.  And the view was gorgeous. (My workout was pathetic but hey its vacation!)

Ring Hunting at Fifth Avenue

I like to haggle. Is that surprising? Probably not. Well I wanted to flex my bargain hunting and Spanish speaking skills. This was the perfect place to do it.  5th Avenue is the main tourist shopping area in Playa del Carmen. There are restaurants, shops, monkeys to take pictures with and people (everywhere).

We were looking to get a couple of souvenirs, experience the atmosphere and hunt for something each of us wanted. For Bridget and my dad, it was a bar that she could grab a big boozie slushy. For my mom, it was a couple of beach wear items. For me and Schimm it was a souvenir ring. But I wasn’t looking to pay full price and neither should you. Here are my tips to dropping prices like

  1. Go in looking like a tough, meticulous, take-no-shit shopper.
  2. Inspect the rings you like carefully.
  3. Go to several shops to see which all your options.
  4. If you see one you like, ask the price. And no matter if its ridiculous or pretty reasonable, give a look the expresses dissatisfaction.
  5. Put the ring down. Walk away. Give yourself (and the shop keeper) time to think about what you really want to pay for it.
  6. Tell the shop keeper you’ll be back and need to weigh options. Or tell them it is too much.
  7. (This can go two ways now)
    1.  The shop keeper will call you back after a couple of steps walking away.
    2.  The shop keeper doesn’t call you back and you come back later for round two.
  8. Close the deal. This will come pretty natural after because the shop keeper knows that price you’re willing to pay.

Moon Rise kingdom

One night the family and our new tall, dark haired, tan adopted sister were having a cocktail after dinner near the beach.  We looked over to the beach and saw this huge gold sphere breaking the dark ocean horizon.  The full moon was lighting up the sky, the beach and the pool.  Naturally I’m scrambling to grab my camera.  Like when does this natural perfection just happen? To me? Never.  Here are some photos from the warm nights, including the moon rise.


Well, there you have it. The summary of a week in paradise without crippling sun burns, contracting the Zika Virus or drinking the water.  That ladies and gentlemen is what the Wollak family (plus Schimm) calls a successful vacation.


Fiercely Freckled


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