|Ah, the Emerald Coast! The bus ride was really beautiful, though we were a little preoccupied for a while watching the mile markers and wondering where we would have to disembark. This concern intensified when we flew past the hotel at which we had made reservations and kept on going down the road. So no, the hotel was not within walking distance from where we got off the bus. The Emerald Coast is a beautiful stretch of beach that lies along the coastal highway for about 30 kilometers. There is no town really. There are a bunch of small hotels, but no large resorts or gawdy stores. Sam and I truly believe that Mexicans don't advertise the existence of the Emerald Coast in order to keep it pure.
We also believe that everyone who stays on the Emerald Coast has strong gang ties. First of all, and fortunately, my impeccable Spanish failed to detect the difference between ochocientos and doscientos when discussing the hotel price over the phone, so our $25 hotel quickly jumped in price to $85 per night, quite a hefty price here. You have to have a penny or two to be able to afford that price here. Everyone eating in the restaurant wore thick gold ropes and whispered a lot. Everything seemed to be a "family" affair, as in everyone seemed to know each other. However, the room was gorgeous and huge and looked right out on the empty beach. Plus there was a pool to lounge by, so who cares if they off someone as long as it isn't us?
However, the fun began later that day when we were informed that they did NOT have a room for us the next day, something I failed to discuss in my phone conversation. My recommendation to anyone traveling in Mexico during Semana Santa is to MAKE RESERVATIONS. The gangsters at the front desk called around, but all hotels were either full or cost 1400 pesos ($140), so Sam and I were considering jetting the next day. Then, the owner mentioned that we could possibly stay in a bedroom at his dad's house and that the price would be "less than here". He also said that we could have full use of the hotel's amenities and could simply take a taxi back to our room to sleep AND there would be a room for us at the hotel the next day. An offer that would be hard to resist, considering this guy probably had a couple 9's under his shirt.
So, the following day, we swam in the gulf a bit, lounged by the pool for a while, then moved all of our crap to a new room down the street. The room was small, had no bathroom, was not on the beach and cost $70. Plus we discovered that it was incredibly loud all night. Crazy. But the family there was incredibly friendly and the food at the restaurant was about 100 times better than the food at our original hotel. Plus the walk down the road between our hotel and our new room was an experience not to be missed, since any paved portion of the road is fair game for cars. Seriously, talk about adventure travel!
Any which way, we woke up yesterday morning to the news that somehow the room that was reserved for us at our original hotel was suddenly not available. But we were told that we could still use the hotel's amenities all day. Hard not to feel like you've been played a bit to drum up some money for a gangster's father. We immediately informed them that we were leaving that day, and then went and used the hotel's amenities anyway. Yesterday at four, after a couple of days of complete lounging, we boarded a bus at 4:00 p.m. for Tampico on our way to Xilitla. More to come, gotta catch another bus.