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Adventures in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Hurricane Dean: What a Difference A Day Makes

Posted by Tony & Cheri on August 22, 2007

Fifth  Aveue filled with people, 12 hours after Dean passed byTwenty four hours ago we were exhausted, having put the final touches on our preparation for the big storm. The wind was kicking up, the rain was pouring down, and the streets were deserted. Now, a day later, we went for a pleasant stroll down Fifth Avenue and along the beach. Everything is different.

Fifth Avenue was packed tonight with locals and tourists alike celebrating their good fortune in escaping Dean’s wrath. About half of the businesses were open, and the others should be up and operating tomorrow. Again, we want to reassure everyone that there has been NO DAMAGE TO PLAYA DEL CARMEN.

Tonight we went by the hotel to make sure all was well, and it was. The storm didn’t even blow the bouganvillea flowers away! The sun was shining, and there was a warm breeze coming in off the Caribbean Sea.

We wandered down to the Jaguar restaurant on Fifth Avenue at Calle 8. It’s one of Playa’s oldest restaurants. A cheeseburger and Fettucine Alfredo were on the menu for us tonight. We sat in a little corner table on Fifth Avenue and watched a local TV station interview tourists about how lucky they felt about having Dean miss Playa del Carmen.

Afterwards, we walked along the beach. The guards are gone, and although the waves are still high, they are not violent and do not threaten people on the shore. As far as we could tell, there really has been no serious beach erosion. As we walked along the central beach in Playa between Calle 8 and Calle 12, we were struck by the difference between the way the beach was tonight and the way it looked after Hurricane Wilma two years ago. After Wilma, the beach bars were shattered and broken. The bar fronts were filled with sand up to the ceiling. This time, they are in perfect shape. Not even the palapa palm-thatched roofs were disturbed, and the sand is where it should be…on the beach! We wandered back up to Fifth Avenue and saw that the Tequila Barrell was open and operating. Then we wandered over to the Beer Bucket on Calle 10. It was obvious the dry laws prohibiting alcohol sales had been lifted. Locals and tourists who had been denied their margaritas and beer for 24 hours were making up for lost time. There was a true sense of relief and thankfulness in the air. We said hello to some friends and then headed home.

Tomorrow is cleanup day. The staff and work crews are coming to take down the plywood, chop up the fallen banana trees with machetes and sweep up the leaves. The Luna Blue Hotel & Garden will be open and accepting guests tomorrow afternoon.

Tomorrow night we will do our final Hurricane Dean blog with a wrap up of the things we think we’ve learned from this experience. Then, it will be back to blogging about more mundane things…like life on the shores of the beautiful Caribbean Sea.

We’re still here, and we’re still livin’ the dream.

Tony & Cheri
from paradise
Cheri after the storm
Tony in front of the Caribbean

12 Responses to “Hurricane Dean: What a Difference A Day Makes”

  1. Hilton Blackwell said

    I love reading your site, you provide some great insight about Playa! Great news.

  2. Bren said

    Oncw again I want to say thank you for keep us updated on what was happening in Playa. Your time and efforts have been very much appreciatied…..Enj0y your paradise…

  3. Cathy said

    I am so happy I stubbled upon your website. It has been interesting to read and so informative. I will be coming to Playa for the first time Oct. 6th on a Carnival cruise. I look forward to going to some of your “recommended” places and would love to stop in the Luna Blue and say hi! I was so glad you guys had no damage!! Again, thanks for all the great information you give us.
    Livin’ the dream through you!!

  4. Jessica said

    What wonderful news! I am so glad my little piece of paradise is still intact! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Bart & Christine "The Evil Monk" said

    Toni & Cheri –
    We were so thrilled to hear that not only the both of your are well, but also that Playa survived and the amazing Luna Blue. We hope to see you again in the near future. Our visit in February was tremendous with you.

    Take Care,
    Bart & Christine
    “The Evil Monk”

  6. Lori said

    Hola Tony and Cheri!
    I just wanted to let you know how glad I was to find your site. It provided me with a lot of comforting information during the Hurricane Dean experience. My very good friend, and the love of my life lives in Playa and works at Carlos and Charlies. I was so worried for his safety, along with all the other wonderful people I have met in Playa. Not to mention, that I am coming to stay with him at the end of next month for a much needed vacation before a major surgery. I was afraid that there wouldn’t be a town left for us to stay in, and I have been so looking forward to it since I was last there in April. Playa is definetly my favorite place in the world, and I , like you guys am hoping to someday be able to leave the rat race I live in and move down. If it weren’t for my 13yr old son, I’d be there now. But, the day he graduates, I’m selling the house, giving up the RN license, and off I’ll be. My son loves it there also, and can’t wait to have such a great place to stay on his summers off from college. In the meantime, if you get a chance, run down and give Hansel a big hug and kiss for me at Carlos and Charlies. I miss him terribly! Can’t wait to come to Playa next month, and definetely plan on tracking you guys down to share a margarita! Also, Kudos to you guys for what your doing to help those that were affected by the hurricane.
    Lori in PA

    PS-at your recommendation, I did let Fox news know that they are morons!

  7. Glenda & Bill Clapson said

    Thank you for putting this site on I have enjoyed it very much. My brother and sister-in-law, my husband and I will be staying with you for 2 weeks in Feb 2008. They have been there before. But I haven’t been anywhere but Oregon so it will be a big deal for us. I am so excited and so releived that you are doing well and the Lua Blue has servived Hurican Dean. Take care and we will be seeing you Feb 9th. We will be the ones with very pail skin due to sun deprivation on the Oregon Coast. Thanks Glenda Clapson

  8. Shoresfine said

    I am sorry to hear about the lack of assitance from the Red Cross. And I am ticked that TripAdvisor pulled your original Hurricane Dean thread. I continue to donate funds to your paypal account, and will do so as long as necessary. You guys are so special, and I can’t thank you enough for all you are doing. Keep up the good work, and keep us all informed on the progress.
    Nancy

  9. Pat R said

    Tony & Cheri,

    Hoping to meet you in a few weeks. Going to be in PDC 9/16 thru 9/23. We own a condo in Playacar. Love your website. Wish we’d known you last year when we were frantically trying to furnish the unit. We’re hoping to be living the dream within a few years.

    See you soon with a donation for your Hurricane Dean account.

    Take care of yourselves,
    PatR

  10. You guys are doing great work and I know it takes a lot of work, and expense, to hand delivery aid to those who need it most. We wish you best of luck in your efforts and we have provided a link to you from our Aug 29th page on Dean relief. We applaud all genuine efforts to help heal the damage and yours is certainly one.

    Very best from Kay and I, Gary Walten

  11. Jean Bell said

    Hello Playa Pals,
    Just read on LG blog where they gave a check of $10,000.00 to the mayor of Q.R. in Chetumal.
    Please, Please I beg of you not to do that with the left over money that has been donated.
    LG said they were too busy to keep going to Mahahual and trusted the mayor.I know deep in thier hearts they really “think” they have done the best thing by turning over the money to the mayor.
    LG has also worked so hard for the Mahahual people, just as you all have but ANYONE that has lived down there in Mahahual and Chetumal know how corrupt all the goverment workers are.
    The last presedent(Fox) was informed in great detail about the corruption in Q.R. and did nothing!
    The only thing that was done was to take out revenge on the people of Mahaual that complained.
    We always joked about just driving around with our wallets hanging out of the window because as soon as they saw California on our license plates they would make up some excuse to pull us over, then we’d pay them on the spot and off we’d go.
    The town officials were just as corrupt. The Harbor Master of Mahahual would not let any boat go into the water , on cruise ship day without his 10% cut along with the bribes from the cruise port he demanded.Chetumal came to check out one complaint about the demands and those officials were promptly paid off by the Harbor Master! This i have proof of.
    So I just pray in my heart that the mayor will keep the agreement with LG and BEG you Not to just hand over any money to the Mexican goverment.
    Thanks Again
    jean

    Jean,

    Please don’t worry. No money raised by the Playa Pals is being turned over to anyone. We don’t disparage what LG did in their fundraising. We think they did a great job. We understand your concerns, but the decision to make that contribution was in the hands of LG’s administrators. We are confident that they did what they thought was best to serve the region, regardless of any concerns others may have had. And frankly from what we have seen, the State Government (to whom LG actually donated) has done a lot of good work in Mahahual and the rest of the Costa Maya. Remember they are trying to help a lot of people.

    However, from the very beginning, Playa Pals have made it clear that their fundraising is solely to be spent on emergency goods to be taken directly to the people of Mahahual by the Playa Pals. We are thrilled with the possibility that governement, Red Cross, or other humanitarian aid will be coming into the area. However, it has not arrived yet, and Playa Pals continues to provide food, water and supplies. We’re going to spend every last penny. Today, individual food packages (about 200 of them) are being prepared for distribution tomorrow. Water in gallon jugs is being purchased today in as large an amount as the trucks can carry. Members of our “Dutch Army” are also out buying hundreds of mosquito nets for distribution. They have also organized and are hosting a local fundraiser for Mahahual in Playa del Carmen tonight which offers a raffle with some great prizes, including 5 nights at our hotel.

    The administration of LG actually asked if we would take their surplus money and spend it in Mahahual for them. Although we have had some problems with the way we were treated on their forum, we said yes. However, subsequently they decided to donate the money to the Red Cross. Again, that’s their decision, not ours.

    Don’t worry, every penny raised will be spent in Mahahaul.

    Tony & Cheri

  12. Jean Bell said

    Goodmorning Playa Pals,
    I have been waiting for the next update on Mahahual and the outcome of the money that Loco Gringo turned over to mayor of Chetumal for the hurricane relief.
    I have tried several times to e-mail President Calderon on his web site but once you press send the site freezes. Go figure!
    I think charging the poor people of Mahahual $50.00 u s per palapa is crazy. This was an act of God but the government is thinking it will discourage the people from rebuilding and they will be forced to leave thier property and the government will then come in, take that land and build a typical “Cruise Town” just like all the others.
    Funny thing, when had our palapas built (one over the intire front of our business and two on the beach just across from the business) we didn’t pay for a permit. hummmmmmmmmm
    Maybe if there is enough money left over you might want to pay for some permits.
    I would like to thank all of you once again for all you have done and are doing. God Bless you all.
    Jean

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