"The Day Before the Week"
On Friday night, I went to Target with my friend-neighbor after my dad picked up the dog. My plan was to get a few cute sundresses that would double as beach coverups so that I could get through the entire trip to Mexico without wearing any actual CLOTHES. Just dresses and swimsuits. Husband had already declared that he would not be taking any pants, just board shorts.
Unfortunately, I naturally was completely unable to find beach coverup sundresses, because it is October. Moving on.
We collapsed into bed after midnight, which caused us to forget a few things. Like, oh, say, Husband's epi-pen. Fun!
Saturday, October 4
We woke up at 6:30 and got to the airport around 8:30, for our 10:30-ish flight. We were both crabby and it was kind of hard to be nice. Not sure why, other than the late night. And because of all the SHIT going on at O'Hare this weekend, the gate agent announced that our flight was delayed just before we were to start boarding. Due to "weather". Cue many people rabbling noisily and fomenting rebellion. Which of course ended before it began, because once you are checked in and at the gate, there is nothing American Express can do for you. Plus all the other flights were full. DUH.
Once we were all boarded, we had an uneventful flight to O'Hare. I know lots of people hate O'Hare, but I absolutely LOVE it. It reminds me of going to visit my dad as a kid, so it always feels like the gateway to adventure to me - a travel playground! This feeling was only improved by the fact that UNLIKE SOME AIRPORTS (*cough* Atlanta), there was no separate terminal for destinations outside the US. That meant we didn't have to go through any crazy separate weirdness to get to our Cancun gate.
UNFORTUNATELY, because it was O'Hare, the gate changed six times. I'm not exaggerating even a little. Eventually we just camped between the two gates at an Eli's Cheesecake cafe and waited for the powers-that-be to decide from whence we would be departing. This, coupled with a long layover and the fact that some members of our party were not able to go outside to smoke, did not result in happy travelers.
We did have a good time people-watching, though, seeing folks from all over the country wandering around. I even saw a guy in an Iowa wrestling sweatshirt! I know that's not SO unusual in northern(ish) Illinois, but it felt crazy because I now live deep in Buckeye Country and don't see Iowans that often.
We watched about three trillion people walk by, and pondered our place in the universe. We marveled at the idea that it was 37 degrees where we were, and would be 88 degrees where we were going. We mocked the cluster of humanity that tried to queue before it was time.
So eventually we were able to board the plane. It felt like ten eternities. We get into our seats and settle in for a longish ride to Cancun. And guess who sits down next to us?! The guy in the Hawkeyes sweatshirt! He was from Bettendorf. I refrained from calling it the forgotten Quad City, which was the quickest joke I thought of when he said where he was from.
I don't know about Husband, but I napped for a good long time while we were flying over Alabama or wherever. There was a really great part, though, before we went over the ocean - I think I saw Lake Pontchartrain! There was a humongous bridge.
Then we chatted about the meteorological formations, because we are so interesting. Here is a picture I took - it's a little hard to tell in the pic, but in person these little clouds looked like puffs riding on waves. Please forgive the boring pictures - for some reason I wasn't quite as snappy as I usually am about taking pictures of E. V. E. R. Y. T. H. I. N. G.
Our ride was your average ol' regular plane ride, and we got into Cancun during the last full bits of daylight. The vegetation and general feel of the place really reminded me of Florida.
We quickly got past immigration etc. and through the gauntlet of people trying to pretend that they have your safe whisking to your hotel at heart. It was pretty much just as crazy as everyone said it was, so I was really glad I did all that reading up beforehand. I was also excited to use my Spanish after so many years, so I was throwing out "con permisos" like there was no tomorrow.
We had our transport booked through a company called Trafic Tours, and they were pretty great. Everyone was friendly and we ended up getting a private transfer to the Sun Palace.
At the hotel, we got checked in and then heard the short spiel about the resort credits, the hotel restaurants, etc. The guy seemed really nice - his name was Arturo. He asked Husband about his bitchin' black ceramic wedding ring, which was cute. Then we went up to our room, which was exactly what I expected from reading the reviews. I had asked for a quiet room and lots of diet Coke, and that was what awaited us. We were on the corner facing the "quiet" pool. I was pleased.
We were in Room 721, which I have marked on someone else's picture with the arrow. It wasn't as private as I would have liked, since I saw a guy across the hotel getting dressed in front of his giant sliding window, but it was a great spot. I was also a little surprised that it didn't seem as though we got a Concierge room, but I'm thinking that's another function of me asking for quiet over all else.
We went down to the beach and got a little bowled over by the surf. It's not really steady - you'll get some little waves and then one big one out of nowhere. We ordered room service, and then crashed and burned.
Sunday, October 5
Of course we woke up at five the next morning, because that's six o' clock our time, and our bodies hate us. But it wasn't too terrible because we got to see the sunrise.
It's kind of crazy, because you can't ever actually accurately capture something like that. It was a perfect pastel sunrise, exactly like Bad Ocean Art from a Florida hotel room. Impossibly gorgeous.
We got breakfast and went down to the beach. I also had to stop by the gift shop while we were downstairs, because I was getting the Stink Eye from the other ladies at the resort. It was so weird.
See, I have this thing. I feel like it's really strange to get super-dressed up when you are supposed to be relaxing. And it's hard to reconcile, because I understand that we all need to not be walking around naked, but at the same time, I'm on vacation! I don't want to be worried about what I look like when I am trying to have fun! But forgive the digression.
I bought a little dress at the gift shop so that I would be socially acceptable to the other women at the resort. Then we plodded on down to the beach.
Here is the view from our room on our first full day:
They set up loungers and an umbrella for us, we went in the water, it was all good. But everyone was clustered together, there was no breeze, and I am definitely more of a water person than a sun person. I finally convinced Husband that we had to get off of the beach, and have some 'VENTURE!
So we caught the bus to La Isla Mall. The great thing about the bus in Cancun is that it costs one dollar. Awesome.
La Isla mall is a sort-of outdoor mall. It was kind of like coals to Newcastle, though, because it was all full of Express companies - Victoria's Secret, etc. And we have lots of that here in Ohio. But there were some fun stores!
Here are some pictures that other people took, just to give you an idea of what it was like.
It was hot, but fortunately not too crowded. We didn't buy anything, though. I did try on a really cute dress that was too big on top and too small on the bottom, so I got that goin' for me ;)
We took the bus back to the hotel and went to the beach. It was a lot less crowded at that point. We went in the water again. I thought if I got past the surf, I would be fine. But I underestimated the random big wave and ended up accidentally body surfing. I lost my hat and my ten-dollar sunglasses, and Husband lost his expensive sunglasses.
But here's the cool thing!! We were laughing about it and sort of searching for everything. An Aussie found my hat and brought it back to me, and then the lifeguard found Husband's sunglasses! Then he found mine! It was pretty sweet. Husband gave him some money, which amazed him. All the staff at Sun Palace were so nice, but the lifeguard really took the cake.
We stayed on the sand a little longer and then decided to go upstairs before we got too much sun. We ordered room service again, and again it was delicious.
We ended up falling asleep at like seven o' clock while watching Men in Black. It was very cool of us - we are certainly not old and boring.
Monday, October 6
Since we went to bed so early, we woke up around 2 AM. We sat out on the tiny balcony and listened to the ocean. Then we realized that you could see the ocean and the stars from the bed if you didn't close the curtains, and no one could see us because we were on a corner facing away from the other wing. So we snuggled and looked at the stars and listened to the waves. And, thank Bob, fell back asleep. I know there's lots of stuff to do in Cancun at 2 AM, but not a lot of it involves pajamas. And we were NOT looking for a Coco Bongo time.
It was not quite as sunny on Monday morning, as evidenced by these slightly more moody shots:
But I think you will agree that it was still frigging gorgeous.
It started raining while we were on our way down to breakfast, which meant that everyone was gathered in the random spots under cover. I cannot overstate how wonderful and friendly the staff were, but the guests were a whole different vibe.
I'm not trying to be like, "Oh, that OTHER place we go is so much better", but we are used to people being a little more friendly. But the visitors that we encountered in Cancun were, for the most part, completely uninterested in acknowledging anyone else's existence. And it wasn't like they were too busy being lovebirds - one group of three couples were basically constantly together. I am incredibly grateful to have been able to go, and it was really beautiful, but there were some parts of it that were just weird. The fact that no one wanted to talk to each other was one of those things.
It got sunny again, so we hit the beach again! Woo hoo! Cancun really does have fantastic beaches. Then we went in the little shady part of the pool, which was great because I am pasty-white and am not looking to get any more sunburns. It only takes so many second-degree burns on one's nose to deter one....
Here is the "shady pool" spot, again on someone else's picture. Parasailing is one of those things I would have loved to do if we had more time. Then I would have taken approximately one billion more pictures, because I absolutely love pictures from above everything.
Even though we were only there three nights, and one of those nights was the travel night, we kind of had a thing going. Go to beach, go do other stuff, go back to beach, go to bed. Not a terrible life! If we had more time, I would have loved to go see lots of other spots, but it was also really nice to just be lazy and boring.
And get ready, 'cause here comes the best part of the trip. We didn't take any pictures, and it's really hard to explain why it was so cool. Are you ready? 'Cause here comes the caps-lock.
WE RELEASED BABY TURTLES INTO THE OCEAN!!! BABY TURTLES! IN THE OCEAN!!
Here is a picture that illustrates how I feel about baby turtles. This isn't a sea turtle, but BABY TURTLE!
So it happens at ten PM. We went down early to make sure we didn't miss it, and almost missed it. We were on the beach, and I looked up and saw them gathered at the shade pool. I ran up there, arms flapping, and got some baby turtles.
I mean honestly. Couldn't you just?
They kind of sit motionless in your hand, for the most part. Although on my way down the stairs, one started squirming.
We all got down to the beach and started letting the little dudes go. We got to each release a few, which was beyond all my baby turtle dreams. I figured out that if we waited until the wave was going OUT, they didn't get backwashed into the sand.
They were so funny! They would just chill until they felt the water hit them, and then they would start flapping their little flippers like "Put me in, Coach! I'm ready!" It was amazing.
After we were done, we went up to the room and finished packing. Unfortunately, we had been instructed to wear warm clothes, which meant that my airplane-travelin' sweater was soaked. As were my shoes and yoga pants.
Tuesday, October 7
Tuesday morning we got up early and checked out. Our ride to the airport left at 8:40. It was sad to leave - everyone was so nice and the hotel was so relaxing. Our flight didn't leave until like 12:40, so we got to spend lots of quality time in the airport. We ate at Jimmy Buffet's restaurant, which was disgustingly expensive. We bought cigarettes in the Duty Free shop! We people-watched.
It was my first time going through the Houston airport, and it was really nice. I could have done without another four-hour layover, but I did manage to get a sweet NASA hoodie and we ate gourmet airport food. Plus there was free wifi!
We got home super-late, which super-sucked. We were the last flight into the airport, the parking cost MUCH more than I expected, and I was worried that the dog would be climbing the walls. Next time we fly to Cancun, I am going to plan better and catch the nonstop flight. The endless air B.S. was not worth the money.
To Sum Up
It was a great trip, but not the greatest. I was super-glad we went and I would go again. Three nights was not enough. And, most glaringly, we are not fancy people :)
Here are a few more pics from around the internet of Cancun and the Sun Palace.
Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.