Brooklyn, New York
April 1, 2001
The inhabitants live in RVs parked under large palapas, but there’s nothing cheesy about the place. Some of these palapas have lofts and gardens. There’s a small, tight community here, (mostly Americans it seems) who buy these palapas for around $8000 and pay an annual maintenance fee, if you will, of about $3400.
The feature is snorkeling and diving. We were told by one father and son scuba team that the diving was the best in the area, maybe better than Cozumel.
We met Steve, an middle-aged hippie from Detroit who held court over the beach with his leopard print umbrella, who couldn’t say enough nice things about Paamul, shunning Playa and its "Gringo Avenue" as being too commercial for his tastes.
There are cabins for rent here, too, a spartan row of cinderblock that looked a little grim for my tastes. The reef here is big and sprawls onto the beach. Not sure about the snorkeling: the water seemed strangely oily – whether this was pollution or some aquatic expulsion from the reef I don’t know. The scuba divers told us that they saw some sort of very rare reef "spawning" the previous day. I saw some lovely little fish, but found the area a little empty. My companion had the misfortune of getting stung on the face by a small jellyfish, which killed the desire for snorkelling in me entirely. She recovered about fifteen minutes later.
We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting under a palapa, then had dinner in the open air restaurant on site. I think we had the best meal of the whole week here. I had spaghetti with marinara and avocado; my companion had gruper with vegetables. Israel, a young waiter here with a ready smile and Valentino eyes, gave us our first salsa lesson while a few other dinners ambled in and watched. They have some evening events, like dances, once in a while, and I imagine that the folks who live here come out for the bar at night.
From journal Paradise in spite of Cancun