Picking up where the Mexico list left off: my thoughts on the drier side of the vacation.
The not-so-great* Things that were awesome
All-inclusives aren’t for me. It wasn’t the dearth of vegetarian options (although calling something a vegetarian stir fry when it clearly has ham in it isn’t right). No, it was the lackluster quality of the food. Nothing jumped out as fantastic. The guacamole was bland. From what I hear, the hot dogs were plain disgusting. The Mexican food didn’t seem like it was Mexico – more like from some small town where Taco Bell passes for exotic cuisine. The alcohol was free and was from decent brands, but the vacation didn’t go in that direction.
The hotel, though, was pretty sweet. It was my first trip at one of the hotels Penny and Mike have access to through their vacation plan. We ended up with a two-bedroom suite complete with separate living room and three full baths. Plenty of room for all of us to spread out and find our own space.
Beach at Tres Rios. I knew ahead of time the beach was brown and the water was brown thanks to a chemical released by mangroves into the resort’s rivers that feed into the sea. I didn’t realize how brown it was. The sea looked like chocolate milk. None of us went in or really spent any time there.
Beach at Cancun’s Westin. Because of plans to have a nice last dinner in Cancun, we changed hotels for the last night of our trip. We spent an afternoon at the beach. This is what I wanted. I didn’t realize how much I prefer a beach to poolside until I got here and saw what I’d been missing.
Not being at work and having time to read. These shouldn’t even need to be listed. My dream job is to be independently wealthy and travel and essentially not have a job. Since that’s not going to happen in the near future, a week out of the office is heaven. I took seven books to read on this trip and finished six on the trip. I started the seventh in Mexico, but just ran out of time to turn pages.
Tulum. I love history. I like visiting places that have a sense of age. It was one of the reasons I wanted to go to London and is one of the reasons I want to tour Greece and Egypt one day. Tulum delivered. Yes, the outskirts are touristy, and you can buy all sorts of Mexicana, but Tulum itself wasn’t a theme park. The weather was somewhat threatening when we got there (and we had a crazy rainstorm after we finished), so that may have kept too many people from wandering the grounds. It wasn’t crowded, and the four of us could explore the ruins at our own pace. We did it without a guide so may have missed some of the significance, but picked up enough from the plaques around the park. The setting on the coast was beautiful.
Cotton candy. For our traditional nice vacation dinner out, we ended up at a stake and seafood place. The food was excellent; I wish I could remember the restaurant’s name. Between what we ordered and the check came a huge cone of blue cotton candy perched on what was probably a 3′ stake. Luckily, we were seated inside so our blue confection didn’t immediately dissolve in the Mexican humidity. Not sure how the people outside made out.
Last but certainly not least, my friends. Plainly put, I love Penny, Mike and Jason. The four of us have traveled often enough that we now know each other’s vacation rhythms. We know when to tease and when to back off (baked-Alaska-serving waiters not withstanding). We know we don’t have to spend every minute of the trip together, but we can all enjoy many of the same things, even if that’s simply sitting/reading/napping on a beach at the same time. Our adventures in far-flung locales are some of my happiest memories. I can’t wait for our next trip.
Next up on the travel agenda is a weekend in Charleston. Look for a future blog post about hurricanes and the Civil War and who knows what else I’ll encounter. If all goes as planned, I’ll be at Fort Sumter when this blog posts.