Monday, March 9, 2009

Welcome to Paradise

It's Monday and I'm back to work after spending a week in paradise, or at least that's what it seemed like to me. The reality of going to work every day can be depressing, especially after the beautiful week I just had.

First, I have to tell you, I was no less than completely impressed with Cancun. All the travel advisories, I'm sure weren't for nothing, but I saw nothing that would make me concerned. I felt completely safe and totally welcomed by every single person I encountered. I mean everyone.

The week started a little rough, and I suppose had the potential of creating a terrible situation, but it didn't last long. After getting off the plane and going through customs in Cancun, Jon and I waited for our luggage. Jon's suitcase was the first to arrive. I sat at the conveyer belt for a half hour watching and waiting for my suitcase to show up. After all the bags but one were picked up by passengers anxious to start their vacation, I realized my bag was not coming off that plane. I filed my lost baggage claim and we took our transport to the resort. I was crying, Jon was upset and the taxi driver was all about karma. We shared the cab with a man who also lost his luggage and his girlfriend. Apparently they were supposed to meet in Atlanta, but her flight was delayed and he had to board the plane without her.

The taxi driver, in his best English, spent the 20 minute ride telling us our luggage would be returned and we could be miserable and then we'll have a miserable time, or we can be happy and have a good time because the worst thing that could happen is that we'd have to buy new clothes.

The guy we shared the cab with, Frank, was on board with what the driver was talking about; I, on the other hand, only got more upset with every word that came from his mouth. I had been packed for this trip for a full week. I had a suitcase full of clean, warm-weather clothes, while the clothes on my back were too heavy for the weather and, as every girl can attest to, the thought of having to go swimsuit shopping while on vacation, seemed daunting at best.

At the hotel, we were greeted by a man handing us each a glass of Champaign. It was delicious and exactly what I needed, but, above all, I'm a girl, and once a girl starts crying, sometimes it takes more than a glass of Champaign to stop the tears from flowing and that grabs the attention of every hotel employee, who came up to me and made sure I was OK. Everyone assured me my luggage would arrive tomorrow. We checked in, went to our room and I took a hot shower, put my dirty clothes back on and we went to dinner.

One bottle of wine later, I was feeling better.

After the second bottle of wine, I was also sure my luggage would show up at the hotel in the morning. I fell asleep sure things would get better. But I woke up 2 hours later and stayed awake worrying about my luggage until 5:30. At 6:30 Jon woke up and we got dressed and went to the front desk to see if my luggage arrived overnight. As we were standing at the desk, a man rolled my bag in the front doors and I gave the delivery man a hug and knew the rest of the week would be just fine.

And it was.

As was Frank's luggage and girlfriend, who arrived at the hotel at about 1 a.m.

Mexico is beautiful inside and out. I can't tell you about underbelly of the country, but what is on the surface is nothing short of spectacular. Seriously, I've never in my life seen such natural beauty. The water is crystal clear and the most amazing shades of blue you have ever seen. People are friendly and so happy when you just try to speak Spanish, even if you fail miserably, they are thrilled if you try.

Jon and I took three snorkeling trips to three different reefs. Our first trip was to a reef in a lagoon. We, well, Jon, drove a speed boat to the area. A man assigned us a boat, gave us some simple directions and we and three other couples followed him for about 20 minutes until we reached our snorkeling spot. The water was a little chilly, but what we saw made up for the chilly water. Floating along the top of the water, looking at fish through perfectly clear water is something I will never forget. The screaming 8 year old girl who was terrified of being in the water is something I will try very hard to forget. That aside, we swam for about a half an hour looking a fish and the reef and just spent the time being completely amazed. After the swim, we got back into the boat, which I thought it would be a good idea if I tried to drive it (it was not). Five minutes into our trip back, I stalled the boat and Jon and I were left drifting in the water, waiting for someone to come and rescue us, which they did. But that was as long as I got to drive the speedboat.

The next day I made up for it during a 30 minute wave runner ride on the open ocean. I am not very good at driving watercraft, I accept that, but I did it and I'm proud of myself for doing so. I'm even more proud of the fact that during that 30 minute ride, we were actually going to our third (Yes, I skipped over the second. I'll get to it) snorkeling spot. We were heading to a reef area where there was a 30 foot hole in which we could swim. We jumped off the wave runners and swam in the open ocean with no life jacket and tried to get up the nerve to swim into the hole.

Back onto the wave runner, it was Jon's turn to drive, and in less than one minute Jon threw us off the machine and right back into the water.

The second snorkeling trip, which happened right before the third one, I'm talking a matter of minutes here, was totally amazing. We took a bus to Playa Del Carman, then got on a catamaran to a protected reef in the middle of the ocean. We were between Playa Del Carman and Cuba. We were in open water and the tour guides made sure we understood if we touch any coral and we get cut, it would attract sharks. This time, the guides brought fish food.

Before jumping in the water, everyone was given a life jacket. Sitting on the catamaran, I noticed Jon's was torn practically in half.

"Go get yourself a new jacket," I told him. So he went to the nearest guide and showed him the jacked.

"Can you swim," the guide asked.

"Yeah," Jon said.

"This is Mexico. No problemo," the guide said.

Jon shrugged his shoulders and laughed and came back.

"I guess I'll be fine," Jon said.

He was. It was no problemo at all.

Once in the water, thousands of fish swarm our group searching for food. We could touch the fish, just not the reef. Swimming in the ocean is hard. The water isn't still and you have to fight a current, but it's not impossible and the guides were vigilant about keeping us all together.

Again, I'm sure you're tired of hearing this by now, the water was so clear. You can see straight through to the bottom. There's no odor, but it's extremely salty.

After the trip, we went back to the hotel and indulged in a couples massage. It was so relaxing and extremely professional. Honestly, this was the very first time I had a real massage and it was great. Fifty minutes went by in a flash.

Thursday morning, my birthday, Jon and I checked out of the resort and I boarded a transport headed to Cancun airport and he took a taxi to his next hotel. It was sad. Having spent 5 glorious days in paradise, leaving alone is, well, very lonely.

All in all, this trip was spectacular. We will be going back. The kids didn't come with us and, despite my initial concerns about leaving them, it was great that they weren't there. This trip gave Jon and I much-needed adult time. Everything we needed or wanted was handed to us with a smile. Anything and everything we wanted to do, we did. It was like a second honeymoon and I wouldn't have changed a single thing.


Autumn's Mom said...

That was a rocky start, but a wonderful vacation! I'm so glad you had a good time. The pictures are just beautiful. I've never been to Mexico (even though it's so close!

James said...

Sounds like the perfect trip. Glad you were able to relax and have a great time. I have been a bit concerned about our trip to Mexico with Lukas in May, but I am sure it will be just fine too. At least that is what I'm hoping for.

Anonymous said...

my name is also Diane Hoffman
I am a luxury travel specialist who owns my own travel agency- I was googling my name and your blog came up- I so enjoyed your Cancun adventure - You and I have the same name so you must love travel and adventure- Just wanted to say
glad you enjoyed your vacation
and I enjoyed your blog

Diane said...

Thanks Diane. I appreciate your comment. I do like to travel, but don't get to do it nearly enough. Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I inclination not agree on it. I assume nice post. Expressly the appellation attracted me to review the unscathed story.

Anonymous said...

Amiable post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you on your information.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...; You saved my day again.