We utilized the last of our frequent flier miles on United to get from Tokyo to Cancun. While no one was beaten and dragged off the plane, the flight attendants were less than helpful and give us inaccurate information about a number of things, as well as some unsolicited career advice. (Random small talk resulted in a flight attendant telling me I should work for British Airways – so bizarre!)
Unfortunately, our 2 hour layover in Houston unexpectedly resulted in going through US Immigration. This means they started counting down the 90 days of The German’s tourist visa from when we transferred in Houston (despite the fact that we were immediately leaving the country again), as opposed to when he landed in NYC. (There are some little-known rules that were certainly created to prevent people from making visa runs to Mexico.) This was 10 days earlier than we had planned, which has created a scheduling problem with no obvious solution.
Our brief re-entry in the Houston Airport left a pretty poor impression: there were so many employees standing around and not doing anything (or just chatting to each other), the default demeanour of all the staff was “rude”, and everything was pretty dirty. It will be interesting to see how we both feel when we are back in the US this summer (and not jet-lagged or stressed about immigration).
The impetus for Mexico and enduring such heinous jetlag was a 4 day retreat with YouTube dance fitness star, The Fitness Marshall. (His routines are a bit like Zumba but with incredible amounts of sass. I have always wanted to take a live class with him.)
My friend Sue was a willing accomplice – a dance-filled weekend at an all-inclusive resort wasn’t exactly a hard sell – so I left The German at an AirBnB in Playa del Carmen for the weekend.
The resort had over 700 rooms and a ton of mediocre reviews on Trip Advisor, including rooms smelling like sewage, only 1 hour per day of terrible wifi and inedible food. I mentally prepared myself for the worst. While the food was terrible, our room smelled ok and I was pleasantly surprised to discover the retreat group was only 20 people!
Live events with The Fitness Marshall are usually hundreds of screaming fans, so I assumed I would be fighting for space at every class. With such a small group, it was no problem to get a great vantage point. He even came down and danced with me at one point, which was obviously a highlight (and I was thrilled I had Sue as a witness).
Another benefit of the small group size is that we really got to know everyone. We had lots of opportunities to interact with other participants as well as the Fitness Marshall crew. And between the resort and our host (Mind Body Spirit Vacations), there was no shortage of activities.
I was originally worried I would be one of the oldest people there, but there was a huge age range and people from all over the US. Everyone was so friendly, and we had tons of fun hanging out in the various pools, doing water aerobics, exploring the resort, and of course, dancing.
While the resort lacked good service and food, it was a jungle-esque location with an abundance of wildlife. Large iguanas were everywhere and not at all timid – I nearly stepped on one that was camouflaged with the sidewalk. The wild deer were not shy and wandered very close to the paths. Best of all, it was easy to spot wild monkeys in the trees!
On the down side, it seemed like most pool chairs were inundated with ants and we saw 2 snakes, one of which fell out of a tree right in front of us! (I don’t necessarily mind snakes, but I would prefer if they didn’t unexpectedly drop from the sky.)
I was pleased that my broken rib didn’t seem to be an issue. I quickly realized that any movements involving putting weight on my right knee or elbow, like crawling across the floor, wasn’t a good idea but I was able to do most of the class without risking a re-injury. It’s amazing to think that 7 weeks ago I was struggling just to sit up – the healing powers of the human body are impressive!
Sue and I had a fantastic time dancing, laughing, and drinking tequila. A resort of that size with unlimited alcohol meant terrific people-watching, and the on-site club was particularly entertaining. (There was one middle-aged guy on the stage in the club who poured a drink down his front, pissed his pants, and kept dancing. Seriously.)
All in all, it was a really great weekend spent with old and new friends, and I would do it again in an instant!
Despite the fun weekend, I wasn’t sad to be leaving the mediocre resort for someplace with much better food. We made a stop for chilaquiles in Playa del Carmen before dropping Sue off at the airport. Then The German and I headed to Live Aqua in Cancun for a mini “vacation” before we parted ways for the summer.
We had been to this resort before, so we knew there would be no children in the pools (it’s an adult-only resort), a gorgeous stretch of beach, and great service and food. And given my prior 4 days, I had a new appreciation for the attentive service and friendly staff (and the fact that I could drink wine out of a wine glass instead of a disposable plastic cup).
We spent our days lounging on chairs by the pool, gazing at the turquoise ocean with frozen drinks in our hand.
So after an incredible 13 month adventure together, I am pretty sad to be spending the summer on the opposite coast from The German. He is off to NYC to participate in The Recurse Center (a 3 month programming retreat) while I will go back to SF. We have dealt with greater distances, but it will be strange not to see him every day. On the positive side, being apart will really allow him to focus on programming, and I will get to see all my friends (and my clothes!).
I will spend the summer petsitting for various friends around SF and doing some contract work (details on that are still being solidified). We also need to figure out where we want to live in the Fall, so consider that a cliffhanger!