I know that most of you have missed my retweeted blogs this week. Yeah, right! You’re probably saying, “here he goes again”. Another portion of my fan base is probably saying, “blog, what blog?”
Whether you have missed me during this week or just woke up from a deep slumber and are totally confused, “what’s he talking about”. Here is my recap of the first week from my (much needed) two week vacation.
Saturday the 3rd my wife, our daughter Cristina and our very special son-in-law Alfie (short for Alfredo), stepped off of the plane in sunny Cancun to what we thought would be a serenade of Mariachis and free Tequila. About 45 minutes later sans Mariachis and Tequila we were on our way to our villa at the Royal Caribbean Resort. Upon our arrival at the the Royal Caribbean we were greeted by a very friendly concierge named Selene; who now seems to be a part of our family, she seems to pop up everywhere. The other day I went to take a shower and could have sworn I heard Selene’s voice saying; “if you want to take a shower I can get you a good deal on soap and water”. Ok, so I was taking a nap and, no, Selene was not in the shower with me. Thank God! That would have been pretty embarrassing.
Once we settled into our villa, my wife Roxana, our daughter, Cris and our very special son-in-law, Alfie went to La Palapa for lunch. Lunch was uneventful, we had the usual guacamole with totopos a black bean soup (excellent may I add) and each had something Mexican, in the way of food that is. After lunch Cristina and I got on a bus to downtown Cancun where we went grocery shopping at the local supermarket Chedraui. Chedraui is polish for; I am the only non-Mayan name in the Mayan Riviera and surrounding areas. The reason that I know this is to be true, because the name doesn’t begin with an X (Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xplore. Catch my drift?).
So now Cris and I (keep up, Cris is my daughter) are in the supermarket making important decisions. Is the chicken in the freezer fresh or did it come over with Hernan Correz in 1519. Is the bottle of Vodka cheap enough, and more important, is one bottle enough. As we deciphered these very important culinary and AA related questions we came upon the deli.
The Deli, an experience all of its own. As we arrived at the deli it was a no brainer, two pounds of ham and some cheese, so we thought. In Mexico they measure weight in grams. Mind you I barely passed high school math; how am I supposed to convert pounds into grams??? Easy, find a Mexican deli employee who is smarter than me. FYI, if you’re ever in Mexico and want to buy ham, the conversion is half a kilogram is equal to a pound, or so she said. But, since she seemed to know more than me about this particular subject, I just went with it.
The next Deli challenge was asking for the Ham. Sir, would you like breast ham or leg ham? Ok… whose breast are we referring to, or whose leg for that matter. As it turns out leg ham is our traditional pork derivative; and when I say derivative, I mean exactly that. It’s no Boar’s Head. Breast ham refers to turkey breast, that sounds simple right? Not so much, at plain sight you can’t tell the difference. Anyway, we went with the leg ham, which by the way, has so many fillers I’m still wondering if the pig ever existed. After choosing the ham I was asked if I wanted the 90 pesos or the130 pesos a kilo brand, I immediately deduced that the more expensive option might have two less fillers than its cheaper counterpart.
Still at the Deli, we are now ready to tackle the cheese. Manchego cheese is a fine delicacy from Spain, of which I am very fond of. In fact, I could probably attest to the fact that it is my favorite cheese in the whole wide world. Looking at the wrapper, marked Manchego, and looking at the cheese, totally white, when Manchego is usually a bit on the off white side, I immediately deduced that the color had to do with the fact that the “manchego” was locally produced. So, we proceeded to get a pack of the manchego and one of good old American Cheese. The end to this story; the American cheese was actually American cheese, the manchego, not so much manchego. It turned out that what they refer to as manchego is actually white American cheese. So much for my powers of deductive reasoning.
We are now set with all of our groceries and headed back to the villa in a local taxi, driven by a local taxi driver, who charged me for a NY taxi ride… I thought I might have to mortgage the house to pay him off…
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, poolside, beachside, more guacamole with totopos, and the bottle of Vodka is rapidly evaporating.
Wednesday we had our yearly trip to Isla Mujeres. For those who have never traveled to Cancun, Isla Muneres is a small island in the Cancun bay, it is very quaint, a lot of restaurants, souvenir stores, small hotels as well as a couple of larger resorts, and beachside lounge chairs for the general public who just wants to spend the day. The only way in and out of Island is on a very modern and comfortable 15 minute ferry ride. It is getting to the docks that might become quite an ordeal if you are not a local, or in our case, tourists who do not want to pay tourist fares.
Two years ago my good friend Raúl Ferreyra, (probably the most humble Argentine I have ever met… ok one of two humble Argentines, he and Pope Francis) took us to Isla Mujeres by way of Puerto Juarez.
Puerto Juarez is the port where the locals ferry themselves to work on the island, the cost is US$5 cheaper than if you take the ferry from Hotel Row.
So, I decided to save US$20 and led my group to Puerto Juarez. After deep research (ok, maybe I exaggerated a tad on the research) and a couple of well place questions, I was told that route R1 would take us directly to the port. After a 45 minute bus ride and passing the sign that said “Puerto Juarez”, three times, the driver stops the bus in the middle of a street and tells us that we need to get off and get into a very small van with bench seating, set around the inside perimeter of the, did I mention, very small van. There were already four locals sitting inside the van as the four tourists (thats us) file into this, did I mention, very small van. As our driver takes off we are sitting adequately comfortable, at least I thinks so. About two blocks down the street the driver stops to pick up three more passengers, one holding a very sharp spear. Did I mention that my son-in-law, Alfie, is very special person?
When the three new passengers jump into the van, the one with the spear sits next to Alfie, the second one sits across from Alfie and the one remaining has to stand while hunched over, for lack of proper seating, his butt is now part of Alfie’s face. The van takes off and my wife is now feeling sorry for our very special son-in-law, so she scoots over, to where there is no scooting to be done, so that Alfie’s new addition to his face can sit down and detach his derrière. A few minutes later we are at the port and ready to hop on our ferry to Isla Mujeres.
On Isla Mujeres. We arrive on the island where we proceed to walk to our favorite spot where we spent the day two years ago with our humble argentine friend and his lovely wife, Clara. We decide to rent four lounge chairs close to the water, where we proceeded to enjoy the rest of the day.
Remember that I told you that these chairs were public and that Alfie is a special human being. Well Alfie is special in many ways. He is an excellent husband, a wonderful son to his parents and the son-in-law that all parents want to have. There are also other things that make him special. He is a very observant person, constantly being aware of all of his surroundings, this could be a blessing, but sometimes it could turn into not such a blessing. One of those moments happened when our neighbor on the beach, who happens to be wearing a speedo, turns his chair around and exposes himself to our special son-in-law. I will leave the rest to your imagination. Needless to say, our very special son-in-law is now scarred for life.
Other than that unsavory moment, the day at Isla Mujeres was awesome. The water was clear blue and calm, you can walk as far as you want and the water will rise no higher than your waist. We had three buckets of Sol beer, a Vuelta a la Vida (a mixed seafood cocktail) a Ceviche and Guacamole and Totopos. All without ever getting out of our lounge chairs. Now that’s the life!
At about 4 PM we walked back to the docks and headed back to Puerto Juarez. Upon our arrival at Puerto Juarez we refused to take a taxi back to the villa, we figured that getting financially ravaged by a local taxi driver twice in the same week was not on our vacation agenda. So, we waited and waited and waited for a bus, until one came along, we happily got on and an hour and a half later we were back in our villa reminiscing about the fine points of the day.
Thursday, it rained all day, but it was fine, we were still recuperating from our trek to Isla Mujeres as the family spent the day reminding me of how I should not quit my day job to become a tour guide.
Friday, more pool, sun and guacamole with totopos.
Saturday, Cris and Alfie left at 10:30 for the airport, at around noon the bellhop came to help us switch villas, and a new week of fun In the sun had begun.
No sooner than Alf and Cris left, we began to miss them. We love vacationing with our kids. But, our consolation was that our eldest, Roxy, was coming in Sunday morning.
Next week… The vacation continues.
By the way, did I neglect to mention, before I left Miami I made sure that I acquired Short Term Health Insurance, so that our trip would be free from worry of any health health situation which could arise. I invite you to do the same for your next holiday or business trip.