Hurricane Dean: What a Difference A Day Makes
Posted by Tony & Cheri on August 22, 2007
Twenty 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