Trips like this don't come around too often for us (that is, going away alone together for longer than 2 nights), and we certainly learned a thing or two this time around that we will be sure to remember for next time. Things like:
1) If you're going to go on a trip like this alone together, go for an entire week. Since Brandon is self-employed (as opposed to working for IHC and getting x amount of paid weeks vacation a year), every day off is a day he isn't getting paid--something you definitely feel when it's time to bring home the monthly pay check. But we've now decided that's a dumb perspective to take when it comes to vacation opportunities like these. We'd rather tighten the belt a little bit and enjoy the chance to be alone together for as long as possible.
2) Never, ever, EVER under any circumstances agree to a "90 minute" time share presentation. And because I vowed to not let that experience waste one more millisecond of my life, I'll leave it at that.
3) Even though we are both adventurous people and want to experience, well, EVERYTHING, we agreed that in situations like these we really just need to chillax. It's a vacation, for crying out loud, not The Amazing Race.
C'est la vie. We have learned, and the next time we get a chance to go to a tropical paradise, we will probably spend more time sleeping and reading books by the pool. For a week straight. With maybe just a few adventures/tours sprinkled in here and there. (But no, NO, NO, time share presentations!!!)
Yes, next time.
As for this time . . . I'm not complaining, mind you. It was a fantastic trip. I'm just greedy, and I spent a lot of time planning and preparing, so I wanted everything to be *perfect*. And it was in many ways.
Day 1: I said I wasn't complaining, right? Well, Day 1 found us sitting in the airport enduring no less than THREE flight delays. (We should have arrived 4ish. It ended up being around midnight.) It was actually quite nice to just sit there and read our books (both of us got totally absorbed in two of Malcolm Gladwell's books, Tipping Point and Outliers) and we actually had one of the BEST salads either one of us has ever tasted at a place called Cowboy Ciao's. The Stetson Salad. When our flight got delayed for the third time, we ordered another one:
Late night customs is always a good time:
Welcome to the Grand Mayan:
Day 2: We had a big adventure tour scheduled in the afternoon, so we spent the morning at the Mexican Wal-mart (kind of fun, in a weird way) getting a few things to keep for breakfast back at our place. We also went ahead and combed the Mexican candy aisle for little treats to take back home to the kids. "Souvenir" shopping done:
I had scheduled our adventure tours perfectly so that they staggered out over the 4 full days we were there, so I was slightly devastated when I realized I didn't get (read) the confirmation email that said we were supposed to arrive a half hour early. Long story short, we missed our first tour on our first day. (But I'm not complaining, remember?) After spending a good half hour on the phone re-organizing the times for our three tours (it was a buy 2 get 1 free thing I had already paid for . . . ) we finally found ourselves relaxing by the pool for the rest of the afternoon. But first, the gorgeous view from our room:
(I bought that hat for $5 at the Mexican Wal-mart . . .)La Palapa. Beautiful, romantic, and delicious. The best combination:
Terrible Instagram photo, but I like it anyway:
After dinner we walked the newly remodeled boardwalk. Despite what some people feel/say about Mexico, we felt totally safe and were happy to see families with young children everywhere. There were tons of vendors and yummy looking food. We almost wished we hadn't eaten dinner already so we could have tried some of the vendor food:
Does every beach in the world have these guys who pose as various types of "statues" that magically come to life when you put money in their bucket?
Lots of sandcastles with money buckets out as well:
I didn't buy a thing, but I just get a kick out of these jam packed trinket shops. They are so fun to look at:
Okay, all you people who have done lots of international travel apparently already know about this (I got a lot of comments saying so on Facebook and Instagram), but I was totally unprepared for the experience of paying some dude 500 pesos for a few squares of toilet paper at the public bathroom. Apparently the Virgin Mary approves:
Day 3: Our most relaxing day. (After the "90 minute" time share presentation in the "morning". That is the LAST millisecond they get from me!) Hung out poolside, took a walk on the beach and watched the sunset, and enjoyed another awesome dinner in a romantic setting. You can't beat that:
(Does Brandon care that he is wearing the ultimate tourist t-shirt? I don't think so.)
I was not feeling interested in carrying around my "nice" camera, so all of these pictures were taken from my camera phone. I think they turned out great:
My new Facebook profile picture. I got a comment from Kate's KINDERGARTEN teacher that said, "That's pretty steamy, Mrs. Reynolds!" Isn't that hysterical?
I know it's cheesy. Deal with it:
The panorama feature on the new iphone ROCKS:
I don't know why, but Brandon is a total magnet for this kind of thing. At the restaurant we were eating at that night they had some traditional Mexican entertainment. Near the end, they came out into the audience and grabbed a few people to get up and dance with them. They always, ALWAYS go for Brandon: