After more than 2 months, I’m going to be leaving Sandy Toes in Playa in a couple of days. I have the same kind of feeling you get on a Sunday when you know you have to go to work on Monday. It’s getting harder to enjoy my time here now because I’m thinking of what still needs to be done before I leave.
The cleaning lady has been scheduled, Samantha’s visit to the vet for travel papers is happening today, transportation to the airport booked, and I’m now reviewing my Last Day To Do List making sure I have everything accounted for. I see a quick trip to Home Depot for bug spray and DampRid is still needed. A trip to the laundry mat for all the bedding and towels the day before I leave. A complete and easy departure is my goal.
I’ll be returning to Monterrey with improved Spanish, extended waistline, and a happy heart to be back with Sr. Elizondo again.
I got the keys and opened the front door to Sandy Toes one year ago in February. Unbelievable how time flies. I was one of the first owners to get their condo and now almost all of the condos are occupied. A majority of the people I saw back then were the construction workers. And at night, the parking lot had about 10 cars with the only noise being crickets from the jungle next to me.
A year later, it has changed dramatically. Sandy Toes is now part of a community. I would say there are only a few random condos not being used. My neighbors come from all over, Venezuela, Cuba, United States, Poland, Canada. And there are always travelers from different countries passing through as well. I can hear French being spoken as I write this. Children are playing together after school. They don’t always speak each others language, but they seem to work through the challenge. The park is constantly in use with people playing basketball, jogging, and walking their dogs. I love spending time here. There are definitely bigger, more modern condos available, and ones closer to the beach for sure, but this one feels a lot like home for me now.
I now know the “yelp” that comes from the men who are bringing the water. I know the “whistle” sound the man makes who will sharpen knives. I know my tank of gas for the home lasts about 1-1 1/2 months before it needs to be refilled. Mornings in Jan-Feb can be chilly and rains can come in a flash. Green bananas can ripen completely in one day. Nativo has the best juices/smoothies, El Fogon the best trompos, and Bio Organico the best vegetarian/vegan restaurant. DampRid works. Air conditioning is necessary, along with Netflix. Line drying clothes isn’t so bad. My hair will never look good in a humid climate. Accept your car will have dings and scratches. Mexicans are happy to help foreigners. Sunrises over the ocean are equal in beauty to sunsets. Cenotes are a must see. My Spanish is better, but I still cannot speak it on the phone. Locals can get special pricing. Traffic can be chaotic. Poncho has the best coconuts. It’s a bad year for seaweed. It’s exactly one hour door to door to the airport.
Imagine what I’ll know by next year….hopefully its fluent Spanish!
Have a closet or using an alcove as a closet, but don’t want the eyesore? Do what I did. I didn’t have enough room for a door in the hall closet, I opted for a window blind instead. People don’t even notice it at first.
Riviera Maya goes from slightly humid to “Omgawd, I can’t breathe” humid. So I chose to start the blind not quite at the top and have it pulled up slightly at the bottom. Circulation is key.
Eventually, I will have built in shelves and nicely organized, visually appealing storage. Until then, I’m totally okay with this.
After reading many online reviews and recommendations, I finally made it to Dac. It’s a small market in Playa Del Carmen centro and it seems to always be busy when I pass by. For whatever reason, it was less crowded today so I ventured in.
I could feel the appeal immediately. It’s small, clean, and has a good overall vibe to it. The beautiful fruits and veggies are all in the center with colorful bags and baskets strung up above.
They offer the main variety of cheeses popular with both Mexicans and tourists/expats. There’s even a few items for vegans too.
The nuts, powders, pickled items, etc are all nicely displayed in large jars topped with basket lids.
The small flower section smelled wonderful.
And it you don’t feel like shopping, you can just come to the little restaurant in front called La Ceiba. It must be good because it’s always busy too.
When I got the keys to Sandy Toes, I had big plans for my patio. Specifically, a tiny zen space. Something like this:
And then this happened:
Living in Playa, there are certain realities:
Dryers are not that common. There was the possibility of a stackable, but then they were few and far between to find. Not a popular item I guess. So, like most of the other “Playanese’s”, you will find me line drying my clothes.
Central air is also not that common and I wanted air in each room. Therefore, I have 3 air conditioners beautifully stacked in front of my bedroom window. Air conditioning is worth it.
Aesthetics are not always a priority in Mexican construction. You can see the tubes to my air conditioning units and the add on wall my neighbor did, but didn’t finish on my side. Do I really want to pay to make this more visually appealing? Nope.
Caged patios are common. This is a necessary evil aesthetic, especially when you are not a full time resident. The bars are on the windows are not my favorite either. Bars=Investment Protection and I’m okay with that.
Grass is a no-no as it’s a welcome mat for critters. That’s all a local has to tell me. No grass, check.
I have now accepted that my patio is for utilitarian purposes only. It provides my safety and comfort just like a zen garden, just in a different way. Plus the benefit of clean clothes.
Here’s my Sandy Toes decor status as of January 2019.
I did some decor rearrange and here is my “entryway”. I need to have somewhere to put my purse/keys etc. when walking through the door. I’m this chair/table combo out for now. If not, I’m thinking a white coat rack…
Feb priority: hooks for under the mirror
It’s amazing how a plant makes so much decor difference. (Ignore the makeshift doggie bed in the left corner.)
Feb priorities: Wall art and a pencil holder.
In the living room, I now have two tables on each side of the sofa. The round metal tray was supposed to be for the black stool/coffee table, but it got warped in the shipping.
Feb priorities: small chair, lamp, rug and tray #2.
And after spending a ridiculous amount of time looking at multiple chimes, dreamcatchers, etc. to use as a bathroom window blind from the other condos, I ended up buying this $6 plant. It works just fine and only has to live for one more month.
Based on TripAdvisor reviews, Sr. Eduardo and I had lunch at El Pirata Restaurant off of 5th Ave on 40th.
The restaurant opened and became full quickly with both tourists and locals, as well as a plethora of condiments.
The fish was fresh and delicious. The only problem was the price. Be sure to ask how much their specialty fish is before buying. They charge based on kilo. The bad boy below was pricier than expected. I think he was 4-5kg!