Mexico…in Words

Our flight started with some of the worst turbulence that I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve flown quite a bit.  I used to actually love flying–the excitement of going somewhere, that feeling of accelerating down the runway.  Ever since 9/11, though, it’s just terrified me.  When I fly alone I can premedicate with a drink at the airport bar, but downing a vodka martini while swatting away at two small children is generally frowned upon.  In public, anyway.

I won’t lie–my usual lack of religious fervor takes a backseat to my desire to live when planes swing from side to side.  Even the boy looked at me and said, “Mom, you said this would be fun.  This is NOT fun.”  I did my best to keep my calm face on despite the severe internal panic.

After the flight, the flight attendant told us that had been the worst turbulence she’d experienced in decades, which made me feel a bit better.

We had a nice condo on the beach, and our days consisted of hanging out at the beach in the morning, swimming in the pool in the afternoon, and just relaxing.  One thing that surprised me was how much the kids needed the relaxing, too! I mean, what’s stressful about their lives? But I think that school is hard for them–they work hard and are exhausted by the end of the day, and I couldn’t believe how much their little bodies just un-tensed.  We had few issues with the boy and conflict while we were there, which made me realize that a lot of the problems arise when we need him to do things right away during stressful times–in the morning before going to work, and in the evenings before dinner.  On the beach, there really wasn’t much he needed to do, and there were few time restrictions.

Despite all the relaxing time, though, I managed to learn a little travel lesson while I was there.  I thought it might be nice to take a boat trip to some of the nice beaches, and snorkel.  I went to the corner travel agent, whom I THOUGHT was with the registered tour place (mistake #1) and booked a 5 hour boat trip.  The guy was sketchy and I had a bad feeling, but I brushed it off (mistake #2).  That night, Eric said that he didn’t want to take the kids on the trip, he thought it would be too much for them. (Wise decision #1).  In the morning, my sister and I went to the booth where Carlos had agreed to meet us to pay for our transportation to the boat and back, which I had been told would be a private van.

When we got there, Carlos walked us up a block and practically shoved us onto a public bus, told the driver to drop us off at the Marina, and then jumped off at the next stop after handing us a slip of paper with the words “Hector, #10” written on it.  As we ride down the highway, I tell Sapana, “I hope this ends up being a fun story, and not a funny story.” (Insight #1)

We get off where the driver gestures and find ourselves standing amidst a LOT of really, really fit looking people scrambling to get onto bicycles.  Turns out the bus driver had left us in the middle of the Mexican National Triathlon!!  We looked idiotic wandering around the race area for a while, and then just got into the spirit and started cheering people on as they came in from the run and transitioned to riding.  I even asked someone where the ships leave from and he told us that the marina was closed for the next 4 hours!  We figured we’d hang out for a bit and then just hop a bus back (which would have been wise decision #2) but then I spied a passel of white people waiting on the other side of the marina and figured that was where we were supposed to be. (Correct, but actually unwise decision)

Indeed, there we found Hector waiting at gate #10, and got in line with a bunch of Mexican vacationers and a few foreign tourists.  The boat itself was fine initially, the snorkeling was awful, and the beach we went to was actually stunning.  The ride back, however, was painfully slow and when we asked what was going on, we found out that the boat crew had failed to bring enough oil for the journey and so could only run the engine at quarter-speed.  I mean, WHO forgets to bring OIL when you do this as a daily activity?!  Thus, the 5 hour boat trip turned into a 9 hour journey.  The entire way back the boat “captain” had people playing ridiculous games that consisted of “sexy dancing” and yelling “andale” a LOT, with blaring speakers.  Our ears hurt.

When we got back, Eric was worried sick and livid, which was rapidly cured by a few margaritas. (Wise decision #3)

Still, I can’t believe I got duped like that! I think of myself as a very savvy traveller, so it just felt like salt in a prideful wound.  Ah well. Next time, we’ll just hire a private boat (with oil) for about the same price.

Another thing that struck me–we went to the MegaMart there to go grocery shopping, which was larger than and more confusing than Wal-Marts here.  I couldn’t believe the MASSIVE amounts of produce that people bought!  The little plastic bags in the produce section here were about 4 times as large, and people filled them up with literally 20-30 fruits or vegetables at a time!  Partly, I think it’s because of larger family sizes and just that people cook more at home rather than go out, but it was still astonishing to watch.

It was also wonderful to spend time with my sister, though I feel that every time she spends a week with the kids she feels less and less motivated to actually HAVE children of her own.  Don’t get me wrong–she loves her niece and nephew, but they are a lot of work, too.  A few references were made that I should consider being the sole grandchild producer for my parents, and when we went to the airport to leave (our flights left at the same time) she chose to go and wait by herself at her gate half an hour early.  I can’t wait until the kids are old enough to simply drop off on her front doorstep for a week or two while Eric and I take a vacation by ourselves–she’ll love it.

All in all, a great trip.  I think we’re going to try for a yearly vacation, and alternate beach vacation years with more adventure travel years to get it all in.

Once the girl is potty trained, of course.