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Vacation Journal
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Xmas 2007 - The Best Trip Yet - part one (Fri/Sat - Dec 14, 15)

Date: 1/3/2008

The couple of weeks leading up to the trip were crazy. Working 12-14 hours a day, working weekends – trying to get everything done. I’m a project manager for software implementations, traveling every week from Denver (my home) to LA (where my client is), and this was a terrible time to be gone – our project goes live in 45 days and I am going to be gone for 17 days.

I flew home from LA late on Thursday night, I had to work on Friday and we (me and my 19 year old daughter, Elana) were flying out Friday night. I had packed the weekend before we left because I knew I wouldn’t have time before we left. And I was right.

Got up at 5am Friday morning determined to be done with work by noon. Hahahahaha. At 2:30pm, I wearily closed my laptop. There was still more to do (there always is) but it would have to wait until I got back.

T minus 7 hours and counting before the car picks us up to go the airport. A manicure and a pedicure help me leave work behind and start relaxing. The rest of the afternoon and evening flew by in a flash as I watered plants, paid bills, finished packing and showered – checking things off my list as I got through each thing.

I was happy to have someone else drive as it was snowy and cold. We get to the airport at 10:30pm for our 12:40am red-eye flight. The line to check-in is short, we grab a bite and a smoke and still have time to kill. It is way past my bedtime and all I want to do is get on that plane so I can go to sleep.

We finally load onto the plane – oh, it doesn’t look that full, excellent. Hey, why aren’t they closing the door? Hey, where did those other people come from? DAMMIT. We sat and waited for people coming from connecting flights. Finally leave the gate and have to go get de-iced. Not that I see that process – I fall asleep. Wake briefly and can’t figure out if we are being de-iced or are taking off. Decide it doesn’t matter. Go back to sleep. Wake briefly as we pass over Houston. Sleep again. Wake briefly over the Yucatan and notice faint traces of pink in the sky. We must be close. Sleep again until we start our descent.

Manage to wake myself long enough to fill out the paperwork – thank goodness I have done this a gazillion times before. Look out the window, notice the rain and then we touch down.

Obviously still not really awake – it registers that the terminal looks different but don’t figure out until days later that the reason that it looked different is because we came through Terminal 3. I didn’t even know they built another terminal. Which is kind of funny because I pride myself on knowing all things Isla related but as my friends can tell you, I occasionally miss some pretty major things (I like to call it the Jessica Simpson syndrome – others call it having a blonde moment).

The other thing my friends would probably tell you is that I go on and on and on when talking about Isla and all things related to my trips. Soooo, for all you people that like the long trip reports in mind numbing detail, you have just hit the jackpot.

But I digress.

Immigration and bags are pretty fast at the crack of dawn when your flight is the only one at the airport. We get the greenlight and head out to find Cancun Valet. As always they are there, even though we are an hour late. Hermando, our driver, is the same we had in March and so starts my favorite part of these trips – the recognition and welcome backs.

I notice a lot of new construction as we head to the ferry. Splendid – a Starbucks!!! That just confirms why the only time I spend in Cancun is getting from the airport to the ferry. Also lots of new condos going up, especially around Gran Puerto – they look all kind of fancy.

We make it for the 8am ferry and, since the rain has stopped, we ride on top. My skin and hair are soaking every bit of moisture out of the air and they are VERY happy. You know, it occurs to me that maybe I don’t look younger on Isla because I am more relaxed – it may be because all my dried out wrinkles get plumped up by the moisture in the air. LOL.

Normally, as soon as I hit the ferry dock, I breathe a huge sigh of relief and let go of about 50 lbs of stress. Didn’t happen. Maybe my huge sigh of relief happened the day before when I closed my laptop. Maybe I am just too tired to sigh that big.

Nonetheless, seeing the color of the water and feeling the warm air in my face makes me feel good. I realize though that I need sleep and food. Well, food first.

Another thing I like about Isla is the total disregard I can have about the luggage. Let them unload it, let the baggage guy grab it. I am all about spreading the tips around so I don’t have to deal with it.

We hop in a cab and take our short ride to our home for the next 17 days (have I mentioned we are going to be on Isla for 17 days???? Our longest trip is a couple of years and it is sooooo very needed.) - Suites Chac Chi. Our rooms are ready, we toss (okay, really our bags are very heavy and we lug them up the stairs and drag them the final few steps) them in the room, throw on some shorts and head back out for breakfast.

We go to the loncherias at the Mercado for breakfast – Tacos Tumbras the one farthest at the end. They remember me and remember what I want – Huevos Multelenos (sp?). Some food in my system and I start to breathe again. It finally hits me that we are on Isla – ahhh, there’s that feeling!

We grab some supplies from Super Xpress and head back to the room for much needed naps. Wake up around 2:30pm and need food again. Seems like on Isla I don’t need much food at any given time but I do need it often.

We grab a taxi and head to Playa Sol. (We get tired of the rate game with the taxis and it seems to be getting worse. If you ask how much, you get told anything from $15P to $50P. But we have also had arguments with taxi drivers if we only pay them $15P. So, we settled on $20P. We just get in, tell them where, and then give them the money when we get out. We are happy because we don’t have to negotiate. They are happy because it is at least what they expect, if not a bit more.)

The sun has come out but it’s a bit windy – side effect from Hurricane Olga, we are told. We sit under the palapa and order two plates of tacos pollo and guacamole. I looked for Marianne but she wasn’t on the beach. No worries, we have 17 days (hahaha) to find her.

We enjoy our food and then head back to the streets. On our way, we run into Javier – a guard at Nautibeach. He is another one of the people who always remembers me, and has a giant smile, hug and kiss for me. I love that and it’s my favorite thing about Isla – it feels like coming home and I get more hugs and kisses on Isla than I do in a year at home.

Off we go – for more hugs and kisses – this time from Rogelio (formerly at Playa Sol but now at Posada del Mar beach). Stop by Marianne’s – she’s not home. Wander down Hidalgo and stop at Comono’s for a beverage. Back to Marianne’s – this time she is home! Yeah!!!! It feels good to catch-up in person after all those e-mails.

With promises of lots more chat time (because how many days are we going to be on Isla???? Bet you didn’t know there was going to be a pop quiz, did you?), we wander back to Hidalgo and grab some food from the Cuban place. More hugs and kisses from our waitress (I think her name is Monica, Elana thinks it is Veronica). She used to work at the Crepes place (now closed permanently) where I spent a bunch of time on my last solo trip in January.

Elana has ropa viejo and I had a chicken sandwich (1/2 of which I shared with a kitty). At this point, we can hardly keep our eyes open (it is all of 7pm). We wander down Hidalgo, stop briefly at Super Xpress and run into Plu, our favorite taxi driver and friend. More hugs and kissed and catching up. He gives me his cell phone number and we agree to get together in the next couple of days for some drinks.

One final taxi ride and off to bed.

To be continued…..

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