Thursday, May 4th
The day has finally arrived for my return “home” to Isla. I'm up at 6 a.m. Finalizing my packing (I've been packed for a month), and load the car at 7:30, eager to begin my voyage. Since my husband was flying out the same day for a flight to Houston, we ride together to DIA. We arrive at the airport at 8:30, with plenty of time for his United flight to Houston at 10:45, my Frontier flight to Cancun at 10:25. We had agreed to meet after check in for breakfast, but when I get to the Frontier check in, the line looks as long as those at the Cancun airport. It is very rare that I've had such a long check in, but almost one hour later and I get my boarding pass, go through security and make it to the gate by 10 a.m. I call his cell and wish him fun on his golf weekend, and I'll see him in 10 days. No breakfast together for us.
The flight was uneventful, but very full plane! I watched a movie, tried to read, but the anticipation was killing me. As we got closer to Cancun, I start looking out the window to see if I can spot Isla. I notice a lot of billowing smoke, which the flight attendant announced was simply from them burning off the sugar cane. Land on time and through customs, immigration in 20 minutes. AGI is awaiting my arrival and I'm whisked off to Gran Puerto to meet my sister, best friend and her sister, who arrived about 2 hr. earlier and are waiting for me at Gran Puerto. Hugs & Kisses all around, enjoy a Sol and cigarette and catch the 4:30 ferry! My heart is beating with excitement as Isla get closer – Home.
We taxi to NaBalam, check in and unpack and then off to the bar for some cocktails. It is so good to see Juan, Mario, Jose, Arturo, and David when we arrive. We catch up, inquire on their families and the aftermath of Wilma and slowly begin to unwind to vacation pace. As we sit at NaBalam's beach bar, we're introduced to the new general manager, Manuel Gonceles (sic?) who buys us each a shot of tequila! What a nice surprise. We were to see him, and the owner Lilia Martinez, throughout the week.
With grumbling tummies, we head out to dinner. For our first night, we chose Angelos. A long time friend, Beymar (incorrectly spelled), is now the manager there and we are greeted warmly and ready to serve us. My friends split a pizza, which looked to die for; I had garlic shrimp that was wonderful, and my sister had lobster. After dinner, we strolled Hildago and found many old friends along the way. Stopped at Aqua Adventures to say hello to Donna. She was packing it in for the night, so we chatted briefly and headed back to NaBalam for drinks and then off to bed! Our first full day tomorrow!
Friday, May 5th
My sister and I are always the early risers, we're up at 6:30 and make coffee (brought supplies and pot with us) and welcome the morning on our patio. Watch NaBalam come to life, greeting other guests and staff from our patio. My friend and her sister wake around 8. Once everyone is ready, we pick up our reserved golf cart at the front desk and off to Alex and Giovanny for our first yummy breakfast. The food is so good – omelets, huevos mexicana, fruit plate and club sandwich are our orders today. We relish the morning and our breakfast and then off to gather supplies. We get our water and juice for the room and then head to the Naval commissary. My friends are on a mission for Mexican controy – they use this at home instead of triple sec for their margs. Disappointed to find the commissary is closed and would stay that way for most of the day. Must have had something to do with the final day of the regatta. Oh, well....another day for the controy.
We head south and see what remnants of Wilma we can find. Mostly just trees that are damaged. Everything looks wonderful. We stop at Zama Beach club for some beer and to catch up with our friends – Ventura, Phillpe and Angel. Hugs and kisses all around, we spend a hour or so visiting. They are expecting a huge crowd from Cancun at 1 pm., so we left just as we saw the boat docking at the peer. We'll be back, for sure.
My sister wants to go to Punta Sur to look for small bowls for her daughters, so we head that way. We stop at Garrafon and check out what damage Wilma did here. It appears that the pier and the zip lines took the toll, as did some of the grounds. We hear workers, but never really see many people. It is hard to believe that they'll be open in July at this pace. Off to Punta Sur, behind the Caribbean Village and check out the wares the vendors have there. My sister finds bowls she likes, barters with them and get a pretty good deal. Three bowls for $6.00 US; not bad. We decide to go to the bank, check back at the Naval base and stop for some beers. Commissary still not open, but other errands complete, we take our stuff back to NaBalam and to our room.
Since we still have the golf cart till 5, we drive around checking out Miramar, shops, Jax, and spend much of the day sightseeing. Back to NaBalam for happy hour and then show and change for dinner. Picus is our stop tonight. Garlic filets for all of us. The prices are up slightly, and many of our friends have indicated that it has become so popular that at times it is difficult to get a table. We enjoy the evening and relax and talk about plans for the rest of our trip.
We're back to NaBalam at 9:30 and retire early. Tomorrow is our first full day on the beach, so we'll need our rest.