A taxi was waiting right there when I got off of the plane. He took my bags and started to load me up. I asked him ho much the ride would cost (having travelled before, this is what you normally due so you know what you are getting into before it's too late). He asked me where I was going and when I told him he told me $5 US, but the Banana Beach usually covers the ride (and they did).
It looked like brand new landscaping to me, but I have never been there before. The place was very clean and the staff friendly. They checked me in and had someone carry my bags for me (although I told them that I could do it). They were very friendly about the whole thing and I didn't mind. When I got to the room my bag was put down and I was given a polite welcome as he turned away. I called him to give a tip and he seemed kinda shocked (as if it weren't that common). He then asked me my name, said I gracious thank you, and was on his way (he greeted me by name the rest of the trip).
I was VERY impressed with the room. I stayed in one of the hotel rooms (the newer addition). I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting the room to be that nice. The tile was laid with good detail, the windows looked as good as anything you would see in the U.S., there was a ceiling fan, a remote control air conditioner, satellite cable, a safe, a balcony, two sinks, and whirlpool jets in the tub. I have pictures and someday I might get them up on the web.
I showered after a long day of travel, put on some jeans, and headed out to get something to eat. I stopped by the front desk and the connected me to O'Jackies room. She told me that she and ellydogandme were going to meet up at Cholos around 8:30. She gave me directions to a local restaurant and I had my dinner (which was very tasty). The only unfortunate thing was that when I asked the waiter about Cholos, he had never heard of it. Living in California I felt a little bad because the word "Cholo" can be viewed as a racial statement (consequently, I never aksed anyone else the rest of the evening). He directed me to a place where he thought she might of said "Jaguars".
I needed to experience a lot on this trip so I wanted to see what it was like to get around on foot. I set off to downtown without having any directions (only the name). How hard could it be?. Downtown is a brisk 25 min. walk from Banana Beach, on my way I passed by Banyon Bay Villas, Coconut Hotel (which is owned by the same people that own Banana Beach), Playador, The Playador, Ramons, and a few more. People where zipping by in their golf carts and on their bikes, I thought it was very interesting as I have never experienced anything like that (never been to Catalina).
I looked around the front of Jaguars for some blondes, but didn't see anything. Right across the street is what looks like the city center (as far as activities go). They were having Friday night organized basketball games. I passed time by watching the young kids play. It was very interesting watching this event and I think I learned a lot about the local people in doing so. There was a woman announcer on the mic calling out the plays and the score. Some kid was keeping the score on a chalk board. If there was a time out, people would go onto the court and start shooting baskets. There wasn't much real organization. The refs where just older kids that I think were coaches for other teams. The kids didn't even run any real plays. It looks like each was trying to be either Magic Johnson or Micheal Jordan. It was very entertaining watching everyone interact. On occassion I would walk around the streets, but I wound up back there watching the game. After a while (around 9:30, I called it quits and decided to walk back to my room). I could feel the tempo of the island and the people. I don't think that most tourist frequently walked those distances, but it didn't seem much to me. I knew I had a busy day ahead of me so I just channel surfed a bit and caught up on some sleep.
O.K. This is getting very long winded so I will end with part 3