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Vacation Journal
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Trip report, June 2008.

Date: 8/21/2008

Ive been going to Isla every summer for a few years now. The past two years I went with my Sister, Brother in Law, and Nephew. This year my Mom and Stepmom came along too. I flew in from CA, Mom, Sis, Brother in Law (BIL), and Nephew came in from South FL, Stepmom flew in from GA. We all arrived together in Cancun on Saturday, June 7th. Dad didnt come. He refuses to fly so he misses out on all the fun. Mom and Stepmom had never been to Isla before, Stepmom had actually never been anywhere out of the country before so shed never seen the Caribbean. Boy was she impressed by the view from the ferry as we approached Isla. No descri-ption does that water justice. Fidel took our bags to Nautibeach for us and we made the walk as a group introducing Mom and Stepmom to the Isand. The heat was a bit much for Stepmom. Even though shes from South GA, shes not real outdoorsy. Walking through Isla in early June at midday was a little intense for her. Shed turned from snowflake white to beet red and her hair was dripping down her scalp like ham gravy, but she made the hike to the condo like a champ. She didnt seem exactly relieved to learn that her room was three flights of stairs up though! We had the top corner unit and the one next to it at Nautibeach. I shared with Sis, BIL and Nephew, the Moms shared the other unit. Now I know it might seem strange to some for Mom and Stepmom to be roommates, but Theres 4 wives and two husbands between them and Dad and theyre the best of friends.

Once we got cooled down and settled in we put on our swimsuits and went down to the beach. We spent the afternoon on the beach and by the pool enjoying drinks and snacks from the Sunset grill. After showers we watched our first sunset of the vacation from our balcony before walking to Jax for dinner. The Grouper Veracruz was delicious and moods were high. I cant remember the last time we all laughed together so much and I was the only one drinking! The Nephew, 12, was getting a little rambunctious by the time dinner was done (all jacked up from the sugar in his second virgin margarita!) so he mooned us on the walk back home to the condo! Good grief...what was I thinking coming on vacation with this much family! I usually spend my time on Isla just hanging out, enjoying the views, walking around town, exploring the different beaches. And here I was with a pre-teen ball of energy, the Moms who had endless questions and were both giddy with excitement about being on vacation, Sis and BIL were equally enthused as theyd been having a rough time due to economic circumstances lately and here they all were ready to do as much as possible as quickly as possible. I realized that night that Id better take every opportunity I can find to truly relax and soak up Islas magic. The rest of the time Id be leading the pack on a non-stop adventure!

Sunday morning we had breakfast at Sunset Grill and set out to explore the island on our golf carts. We had two for our group. Me, Nephew, and Mom were in one, Sis, BIL and Stepmom were in the other. We headed South and visited the turtle farm, waded the grassy beaches of Sac Bajo, walked the ruins and sculpture garden, and had lunch at Playa Tiburon. We spent the afternoon on the shell beach on the Caribbean side filling our bags with countless little perfect seashells. My Sister has a glass top table at home with a display compartment under the glass that she has filled with Islas seashells over the years. We had dinner that night at Rolandis and went to bed reliving the wonderful day wed had together.

Monday after breakfast we took the golf carts over to Garrafon de Castilla for a day of snorkeling. Mom and Stepmom didnt snorkel much, but enjoyed the day in the loungers with their books. My sister had an accident on her golf cart on the way to lunch. She was making a left turn and was far to the left side of the right lane and was signalling her turn when a local on a motorcycle came flying past her on her left as she started to make her turn. He crashed into her cart and slid underneath it scaring everyone half to death. He was OK though and apologized profusely in Spanish for what had happened. My sister was in tears. Even though it wasnt her fault she felt so bad for what had happened. It took her a good hour to calm down. We had a late lunch at El Veradero, the little Cuban shack on the canal, which helped to relieve my Sisters worry over the accident. I LOVE El Veradero! Ive had some truly delicious meals there. My nephews father is Cuban so he speaks Spanish the Cuban way and always enjoys talking with the couple that runs the place. He knows all the Cuban slang. The rest of the afternoon we spent at the pool and on the beach before a great dinner at the Sunset Grill. We went to bed pretty early as we had to be on the first ferry to Cancun the next day for our trip to Tulum.

Tuesday we met our driver, Humberto, at the ferry terminal in Cancun. He made a joke that if we couldnt remember Humberto, we could call him Antonio Banderas and somehow my Stepmom missed the joke. She called him Antonio for the rest of the day! She seemed to have an instant crush on him and it was so cute to see her flirting. Good thing Daddy didnt come! As we drove down to Tulum we stopped in Playa Del Carmen for breakfast before hitting the ruins. Dang it was hot! Scorching really. We hustled through the ruins to get to the beach to cool off. Stepmom waded out into the surf only to be sent flying by a big wave! One second she was standing there knee deep in the foam, the next second she was face down in the water with her butt shining towards the beach! I wish I had been quicker with the camera, but I only managed to get a pic once she got back up on her feet. After the ruins we went in to Tulum for lunch and then toured some of the beaches all the way down to the nature preserve. On the way back to we stopped at Dos Ojos to swim in the cenotes and wash the salt off of us. We all felt so clean and fresh after the cold cenote water and we napped much of the way back to the ferry.

Wednesday was beach day. We hung out on Playa Norte and went back to the shell beach to build our monuments. Every year my BIL and I build a rock or shell monument on shell beach and return to see if any of it survived the next year. We can usually find the barely recognizable remnants of our previous years efforts. Heres what I made this year:

Isla 08

After the shell beach we went to Hacienda Mundaca to show the Moms the casa and let them learn the sad lovers story. We had dinner at Ballyhoo and spent the evening relaxing together at Sunset Grill.

Thursday I had booked us guys on a whale shark trip and I had booked massages for the ladies, but we woke up to rain. We postponed the whale sharks until the next day and us guys roamed around North Beach for a while in the drizzle. When we returned my Mom was still getting her massage and after hearing Sis and Stepmom talking about how wonderful it was, my nephew decided he wanted a massage. When Mom was done, Maryanne the masseuse said she had time to do him too so he got his first massage. He was in HEAVEN! Hes already decided that he wants a massage every year when we go to Isla.

Friday morning the weather was perfect for whale sharks so the boys went out for that while the girls spent the day shopping. The whale sharks were incredible. So were the manta rays, golden rays, dolphins, sea turtles, reef sharks, squid, barracuda, grouper, moray eels and every other sea creature youve ever seen on National Geographic. The diversity and concentration of marine life in the Yucatan is truly amazing. We returned late that afternoon to hear the tales of the ladies day of bargaining to get the best deals on jewelry and share our adventures with the sharks.

Saturday was our last day together as a group, though Sis, BIL and nephew were staying another week. We stayed local on North Beach that morning and went back over to Playa Tiburon that afternoon to have an early dinner and watch our last sunset together.

Sunday morning it was back to the airport and back to reality for me and the Moms. Two more Islaholics were born with the Moms, and 4 more Islaholics were confirmed with the rest of us. Im going back in October for 9 days. All of us will be back next Summer.

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