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Vacation Journal
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Crunch & Tomas Akumal/Isla May 2007

By: crunchie (View Profile)
Date: 1/4/2008

Prelude: A very stressful year. Tomas has received about 8 lay off notices, each of them cancelled at the “two minute warning”. Finally he actually is laid off. A week later he has a new job that pays more, but sucks. A 90 minute each way rush hour Dallas commute, and a company that works their employees so hard that many must take “mental health/stress” leaves for months. Tomas, my hero, does it anyway because we just do what has to be done to maintain a decent lifestyle. He rocks!
Saturday, May 12, 2007 0430:
Up at 0430 and out the door by 0600. Hit DFW at 0640. Tomas finally has learned after 17 years that he had better drive because Crunch is so paranoid she freaks at imagined shadows and nearly wrecks the car. Paranoia is rampant during the airport run & the weeks prior to every Mexico trip. It matters that much.

Check in at Sun Country. The gentleman is a total sweetheart as usual. Doesn’t say a word about the overweight luggage, and gives us 2 first class upgrades for $150 bucks. We LOVE Sun Country!

Security check – Crunch goes right on through because she actually knows the regulations and obeys them unlike many others in line who must live under a rock. Get a clue folks! Tomas’ boarding pass says “SSSS” on it, meaning he has just become what we call “Mr. Random” and he pops positive for bomb building by products in the “PUFF” machine and is given a very thorough 45 minute inspection including a swab check of the hands. He looked a little pale after the gloved finger and bend over portion, but anything for Mexico! Finally a supervisor is called in from the office &comes down to release Tomas. Please think twice about fertilizing your lawn right before you travel. It really does last several weeks on your hands.

Excellent flight, &quick trip through customs & immigration. Luggage all accounted for. Immediate peeing for men. 300 deep ladies line for Crunch. Oh well, it does burn the luggage waiting time. Toss TP into the trash & I know I am in Mexico!

Best Day private transfer that was reserved on-line & over the phone &was specified to be “private” and was charged at the “private” rate turns out to be a shared van. Waiting for more people. Stops in PDC, PA, Timbuktu, and then Akumal. All this for over $100.00 bucks. It was a total bait & switch, and after 18 trips to Mexico and never having anything pulled so blatantly I can really say this was the case. Buyer beware. After many exclamations of dismay & attempted negotiations to get the private transport Tomas had enough & went to the Get Dita hombre to cut a deal. Best Day literally chased him down & suddenly had private transport available for another $98.00 in addition to what we had already paid. Fine, just get us on the freaking road, por favor. During all this we greatly enjoyed our $5.00 airport beer. Nice and cold! We only used Best Day because Get Dita did not cover our Isla leg of the trip. Never, ever, ever again. (Editors note: The Villa Rolandi part of our stay was successfully booked through Best Day, with no problems).

Finally arrive at La Mirage in Half Moon Bay. Tipped our driver (not his fault!), and checked in with Roberto, and his fine gato, Morrison. Check in was the quickest and easiest we have ever had. Condo is awesome. By 2:20pm we are enjoying a couple margaritas, ceviche, and shrimp tacos & Empanadas at LBV. We are as “happy as dawgs up a bone tree”. Aaaaaaah. Lunch price $31.00 US & worth every cent. Walk back to the condo & unpack while listening to our Mexico Mix from the MP3 through our travel speakers. An awesome tropical storm blows through. All sound, light, fury. We just kick back on our huge balcony that hangs over the ocean with our cocktails and enjoy Mother Nature’s show. Walk 36 steps over to La Lunita & have delicious grouper filets and margaritas, & probably started with ceviche. All delicious. Service and ambiance great. $50.00 US including tip.

Sunday, May 13, 2007
Breakfast in the condo. Tomas cooked eggs with tocino y queso from the Midway food store. Just cook & throw in a warm tortilla with salsa. Yummy! After breakfast we hung on our beach at HMB. Back at the condo for cocktails & tunes. Tomas attempts to make cell phone calls to multiple contacts. He is hoping to be called back from lay off, but the clincher is that you have 3 days to report if they do. We might have to end our vacation. If you do not think that was puckering our……, well, you know what I mean. Be careful what you wish for! Dinner at Que Onda. We didn’t have our golf cart yet so we walked over. Got lost a little bit because they have that strange entrance in the jungle and if you turn the wrong way you end up in this little neighborhood. We manage to find our way in & enjoy awesome spicy shrimp pasta Viva Mexico, 2 margaritas, an order of garlic bread. $45.00 US with tip. After, we amble around HMB in the dark & end up at the Midway store for ice cream bars. We take these over to the condos across the street & lay on their beach chairs to enjoy our ice cream while looking at the stars. Heaven. After that we toddle on home & we are asleep by our usual 9:30pm. Lively aren’t we?

Monday, May 14, 2007
We walk down to Mango Café for breakfast. Met Donna. A very nice lady & mom of the owner of LBV. Low carb breakfast burrito for Tomas, Bagel with Cr. Cheese for Crunch, 1 juice & 2 waters for $10.00 US. Perfecto!

Back to the condo to freshen up & off to Akumal. A short walk that seems very long in the May heat & humidity. We sweat so much our clothes look like we put them on soaking wet. Luckily, our sweat don’t stink, so we actually smell delightful. Today we rent our golf cart from the lovely Nayeli (?sp). Then we snorkel Akumal Bay for the 1st time this trip. 3 turtles straight out from Lol Ha & all the other assorted fish you usually are privileged to see here. Lunch at Lucy’s, & we have the honor of being their 1st customers after they have been closed for vacation. 3 shrimp tacos, 2 shrimp empenadas, one scoop of coconut & one scoop of butter pecan ice cream all for $16.00 US. Sitting area not open so we just pull up a curb & watch life go by. More golf cart riding & snorkeling on HMB, then up to the room at 4:00pm for cocktails, showers, tunes, & relaxing on the deck. More calls that bring rumors of imminent call backs. Stressed on vacation – yikes! We drive to dinner in our golf cart. Look out Cueva here come. Tomas & Crunch in Nascar golf cart #4! Ahmad is our excellent waiter & we share ceviche, 4 margaritas, mini lobsters for Crunch, & shrimp with spaghetti for Tomas. 65$ US. We scream up the street to the Corner Store & buy ice cream bars enjoy them under the stars while picking out the constellations. And pondering the enormity of the universe.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

We motor on down to Turtle bay café for breakfast. Omelet for Tomas, French Toast for Crunch, 1 Coke Lite all for $14.00 US + tip & worth every penny. We return the golf cart. Walk over to Cyber Akumal & post on LG to make everyone jealous – ha ha! Then we grab a taxi to Puerto Aventuras. We walk around & are amazed at how much it has changed over the last 4 years. We most likely wouldn’t stay there now. Just wall to wall people. The dolphins are incredible but kind of sad. The Manatee is majestic, but has 9 tourists around him in the water all pawing at him while he tries to eat his lettuce. I totally understand people wanting to participate up close with the animals, but the whole thing leaves both of us feeling very sad, and never wanting to return.

Because we love to torture ourselves we walk to the Catalonia & down their beach even though it is 110 degrees with 300% humidity. We just love to hike and get all our bodily fluids drained. They have about 1,000 chairs lined up on the beach & it reminds us of a cruise ship. Ok, ok, we are condo people. No offense intended. I know it is a great place, but I have crowd issues! To Tomas’ delight, several sets of “topes” are sighted. (If you’ve ever seen the highway symbol for topes you’ll understand why we call them that.)

Lunch at Gringo Daves. Ceviche ok, not a contender though. We both had the grilled shrimp tacos & they were awesome. Also had 2 margaritas (electrolyte replacement!). The total was $43.00 US. Back to HMB for more, reading, relaxing, and snorkeling, & more job related calls to stress us out. Tomas’ union committee man tells him the recall will happen June 4th.Dinner is at LBV tonight. Ceviche, 4 margaritas, 2 orders of the awesome Shrimp La Buena Vida (bacon wrapped stuffed shrimp for you philistines) costs $72 US. Although we are full that is no reason not to get an ice cream bar, & see if you can eat it before it all melts. Let us apologize right now for getting melted ice cream on the Vista Del Mar beach chairs. Lo ciento!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007:
Tomas whips up a lovely batch of egg, cheese, tocino, & onion quesadillas. We rent the golf cart again from Nayeli, & after sharing several smooches (note Tomas’s happy grin) with her we are off 10 steps away to check the e-mail at the Cyber Café. We are checking for recall related e-mails from Tomas’ employer. Quick peek at LG to see if anything crazy is happening & we are off to Akumal Bay. We rent a couple lounge chairs from the senor de lounge chairs for $8.00 US. Tip the hombre as he puts them in our chosen spot for us. Sweet! Snorkel, people watch, snorkel. We see 2 tortugas and play in the fish ball. Lunch at Lol-Ha

Jalepeno popper appetizer, 2 orders shrimp tacos, 4 margaritas for $50.00 US. Ambiance – priceless. Tomas walked his shrimp tacos over to the webcam, but you slackers missed his taunting! More relaxing & snorkeling

, and then we motor back to the condo for cocktails & tunes on the balcony. More calls to work for Tomas, more stress – Rumor is that the recall could come at any minute. Luckily several cocktails, Jimmy Buffet, & the gentle lapping of waves mitigate the damage! Dinner at Que Onda again because I must have more Viva Mexico spicy shrimp pasta. Tomas has grilled shrimp. We also have garlic bread & 2 margaritas. $50 US Slept like babies after all those carbs. Actually we were in bed before most babies.

Thursday, May 17th, 2007:
Breakfast at Que Onda – 2 minutes by golf cart. Only one lovely abuela is present & she does it all. We are the only customers. Very slow, but we are not in a hurry. Decent, good food. Crunch had pancakes, Tomas had the travelers omelet with toast & fruit. $13.00 US. Off to Yal Ku & we are there for opening. Lots of time to snorkel in peace. See many, many fish, & we also see the biggest sting ray we have ever seen before. He is as big as an airplane. Actually a little scary & the adrenalin is pumping I may have lost an itsy bitsy little urine – Just kidding! He is located way out by the break where the current gets pretty rough in case you want to look for him on your next trip.. We cruise to Cueva Del Pescador for lunch after hours of snorkeling. Shrimp cocktail for Crunch, shrimp tacos for Tomas, 2 margaritas & 2 beers. $30.00 US We jump back in the golf cart & motor on back to the condo to chill on the beach. Every now & then the light breeze carries the happy babble of a rugrat, & occasionally a very contented humanoid passes by us with a beautific look plastered on their face. We retire to the room for cocktails, showers, & to pack for our move to Isla Mujeres in the morning. Tomas leans over the balcony to reserve our table at La Lunita. A reservation is not needed, but Tomas enjoys the process. We amble downstairs & a few steps down the beach for a lovely & romantic candle light dinner on the beach. They have saved our favorite table for us & throwing caution to the wind we dine with our toes in the sand. 2 margaritas, 2 orders of the jumbo shrimp, and an order of garlic bread costs $60.00 US. We undulate our way back to our condo after straying a short way down the beach for a desert of ice cream under the stars. Nighty night.

Friday, May 18, 2007:
We walk down to Mango Café for breakfast. 2 breakfast burritos with juice & agua for $10 US. Nayeli sends her employee Basilio to pick up our golf cart, & he is a very nice hombre. Works very hard because he loves his family & wants a good life for them. If you get a chance to meet him then you are lucky indeed. We take a taxi to Playa Linda for $85 US. Villa Rolandi’s private boat the “Cocoon” will pick us up here & take us to the hotel’s dock. We scheduled our pick up for noon & they arrive at 11:59 am. Surprisingly a couple other people including a young 20s woman with a baby also get on the boat. They seem quite familiar with it. We think they must be coming over for the gourmet lunch at Rolandi’s restaurant as the hotel does not allow children under the age of 13. Turns out they are the owner’s family, & more on that later! Our room is ready & on the 3rd (top) floor as we requested. We rent a golf cart from the hotel ($65 US/day), & head into town. We stop by Aqua Adventures (Donna’s shop) & she hooks us up with new masks & snorkels because our new ones we bought before we left were having serious failures. Tomas’ dry snorkel was swamping him, & Crunches mask leaked like a sieve. 73 bucks US for all & they were awesome! Stopped by El Sol to rent a golf cart for the rest of the trip & Donna’s name got us a discounted rate of $45 bucks per day. We dropped off some laundry at the very good lavendria on Guerrera & Medera. Lunch at Zamas beach club was $40 US for ceviche, 2 orders of lobster quesadillas, and 2 margaritas. We head home & chill for a while after this active day! Dinner at the hotels gourmet restaurant. 3 courses of that fancy stuff that we never have at home is included in our room rate. We pay 15$ US for 2 margaritas & 2 waters.

Saturday, May 19, 2007:
We enjoy our included continental breakfast en suite, & then enjoy a golf cart tour around the island. No nook or cranny is safe when we have a golf cart and a yen for adventure! We walk the long route on Punta Sur & sweat our tusches off. Then pick up our laundry ($5 US, Tomas gives her a 50 peso tip, just for being such cool folks and providing a great service), & head back to Villa Rolandi for lunch. Ceviche, seafood pizza, & margaritas are partaken from our lounge chairs on the private beach. The meal is included in our room rate. We snorkel over to Dolphin Discovery & attempt to free the dolphins. Unfortunately we are busted, but we just snorkel away as they yell from the dock. We then head up to Castillo de Garrafon (8$ US for 2), & snorkel our hearts out. We drive to Casa O’s for a romantic dinner. We both have the garlic fish fillet, share the garlic bread (you must both have garlic breath at the same time for it to be sexy, plus the evening remains vampire-free!) & we each have a margarita. $38 US and delicious! We motor on home & that is all I am telling.

Sunday, May 20, 2007:
Continental breakfast which was delivered at sunrise to our “magic box”, & then we hop in the cart & drive to the Avalon bridge to snorkel. Much of the beach here has simply disappeared, & there is a LOT less fish than last year. We do see a cuttlefish out by the break, & we enjoy watching him for an inordinate amount of time. We search every local hardware store for a bungy cord because our snorkel bag keeps trying to jump off the cart at every tope. Have a huge amount of fun trying to get the locals to understand bungy cord because we do not know the name in espanol. We go to Playa Lancheros for a fabulous lunch of ceviche & Tik’n Xic. With 3 margaritas & 1 beer it costs 42$ US. The portions are smaller & the prices are higher than last year, but is tastes so freaking good we do not care! We love enjoying our lunch while watching the day trippers being hauled in & led down the beach for their AI hamburgers & pasta. We feel very badly for them, but dang they are great entertainment! (Look at “lobster boy” there with the bright red skin. Gonna be a painful trip home for him!). We head back home & chill on the beach. Read, snooze, snorkel & repeat. Dinner at the hotel. Incredible service & presentation. Steak for Tomas, & jumbo shrimp pasta for Crunch. Appetizers of thin salmon slices & calamari with ice cream cake for desert. We feel like billionaires. Meal included in room rate. After dinner & a hefty tip to our waiter, we are gently rolled back to our room & tucked
into 8 million thread count puffy cloud bed. See ya!

Monday, May 21, 2007:
Continental breakfast in room. Then we jump in the golf cart & head to one of our favorite places, the turtle farm. They recover & rehabilitate felon turtles here. No, seriously, they rescue them & attempt to release them. Some stay if unable to be released. This is a tiny place that operates on about 5 pesos a week so we always try to pay a little extra to support the operation. Later we chill on Villa Rolandi’s private beach. Up until this point in time there have been many, many children at our adults only hotel. The owner’s family. They told us it was because of his grandchilds christening & also told us it was the owner’s birthday. Different staff = different stories. They completely took over the pool & beach areas so that you did not feel comfortable being at either. You felt you were intruding. Kind of a drag. We were a little concerned because the owner seemed to be extremely physical with his daughter who had the baby in her arms all the time. He kept rubbing her legs, and it just seemed a little off, if you know what I mean. We finally figured out the early 20s blond girl was his wife, & it was his child! That was actually quite a relief to us. We hit the beach for lunch & finally they all disappeared. All 30 of them. At last the resort was the tranquil paradise we remembered. After a lunch on the beach of ceviche & seafood pizza we snorkeled over to Dolphin Discovery again & watched the action. Unfortunately a huge barracuda zoomed us & we dropped the bolt cutters. We used mental telepathy to assure the dolphins we would keep trying. Apparently the powers that be do not appreciate snorkel quasi-terrorists watching the action for free, & when the gun squad showed up Tomas & I dove & swam away as fast as our snorkel vests permitted. We dozed on the beach & headed up to the room for cocktails & showers. Tomas called another of his work contacts & found out that his recall date was June 13th. We can finally relax. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Tuesday, May 2, 2007:
Breakfast on our deck again. I can stare at the water for hours. We jump in the golf cart & head to Mundaca Park. This is a sad little zoo, but we still go because our first time we really enjoyed the elderly gentleman who tended the cages & was really into trying to tell us in broken English about “his” park. A very cool man. It was 150 degrees & 99% humidity at 9:00 AM so this was a really fun hike!
We go back to our beach where we are the only humans & love it. Once again we snorkel over to Dolphin Discovery to “Free Willy”. Sadly, we are expected, & they are on us instantly. We pretend we do not understand yelling in Spanish until the dudes with the AK 47s appear, and then we book! It is much easier when you deflate your vest. After that excitement we dress up in shorts over our bathing suits & hop in the cart to head over to Playa Lancheros for another fabulous lunch of Tik N Xic. With ceviche & 2 margaritas & 2 beers it costs $50 US. I would have paid that just to enjoy the day tripper floor show. Pack 3,000 people on a catamaran with free booze & no sun screen apparently & see what happens. Just good, clean fun! Back to VR for more beach chillage. Ah, serenity. No idea where we had dinner because Tomas did not write it down. I am sure it was good & included seafood!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007:
Our last full day is here. We are sad to leave, but our livers need a rest, & we do miss the dog children a lot. We partake of continental b-fast on our deck whilst we gaze at the ocean in all its glorious shades of blue. We are on the beach by 8:45 AM in our favorite spot & we have it all to ourselves. Heaven! At 11:00 we hop in our golf cart for the final ride into town & return it to El Sol which has always treated us right. We lunch at Sunset Grill on Playa Norte. We have always loved this spot & had great food & service. Pricey, but worth every peso. Shrimp ceviche, 2 orders of shrimp quesadillas, 2 margaritas & 2 beers. Costs $48 US. A long leisurely lunch. We hop in a taxi & head back to “our” beach at VR. Snorkel, chill, snorkel, chill…… Dinner at the hotel is another 3 course gourmet feast fit for a king, & they treat us middle class blue collar ****s as though we are royalty. A post dinner stroll on the beach & we are in bed early to dream our Mexico dreams.

Thursday, May 24, 2007:
For the last time we enjoy our continental breakfast from the “magic box” while gazing over the beautiful ocean with Cancun in the distance. We are helped to the “Cocoon” and dropped off back at Playa Linda. Hop on the Best Day “shuttle”,& we are at the airport after a prolonged tour of Cancun. Actually it wasn’t bad because we were the last pick-up, but going home sucks! Very short line at the airport. We request the 1st class upgrade, but you cannot pay for it until you are on the plane. Apparently there is a lack of trust with the Cancun agents. Once on the plane we get the upgrade & enjoy the first class trip home. You just gotta love being only 2.5 hours by air from Mexico and our new best friend is Sun Country Airlines out of Dallas/Fort Worth. We post bail for our two very happy dawgs and after a one hour delay to get our bags due to a thunderstorm shutting down the ramp, we are right back home where we started and doing the laundry.[image][/image][image][/image][image][/image][image][/image][image][/image][image][/image][image][/image][image][/image][image][/image][image][/image][image][/image]

< Message edited by crunch -- 12/29/2007 4:43:48 PM >


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