Opening Statement



Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Mexico Mayan Riviera Diary 1

Tuesday July 12th
We stepped off the jetliner at Cancun into a wall of heat. It was totally relentless, still before lunch, after a very early morning departure from Pearson. Fortunately we cleared airport security at both ends without incident, just walked straight through onto the plane and then off again, picked up our luggage from the conveyor belt, and got aboard our bus to the Royal Yucatan Resort. I fell asleep while looking out the windows into the clouds for most of the flight. Awoke to see the shiny blue Carribean below, then the coastline. Touch down, and now here we are.
We had a leisurely buffet lunch Mexican style while they cleaned our rooms. Janet and mine is gorgeous. Huge, almost like a small house, with a big sitting room, washroom, bedroom, two balconies, one with a private jacuzzi. It is a smoking room, not too bad. It's so nice I think we will stay in it rather than change to a nonsmoking one.
My cousin Donny and his wife Pearl flew down with us. Don and I plan to snorkel. The ladies want to just sun on the beach. We want to nap in the shade of the palms, read, relax, talk, and feel the stress of the year dissipate in the heat of the summer sun, the sea breeze, and the swaying palms.
We unpacked, rested up a bit and went for a swim in the large lagoon like pool. After dinner we went for a moonlight walk on the beach. It’s huge and must stretch on quite a distance. The sea was pretty choppy. The breeze delightful. The guy at the main desk recommended diving in some of the inlets along the coast, the water is less rough. And we might take a trip or two to see the Mayan ruins. But for now we look forward to some much needed sleep.
Wednesday July 13th
A day on the beach. I swam out a bit, less than 100 meters as the water was quite rough. Out there I could ride the swell of the waves, diving down about 3 or 4 meters to check out the coral and fish. It's mostly a sand beach, which Janet and Pearl like, but I saw some brain coral, sea ferns and a lot of big fish. There are Blue Tang, Parrot Fish, Stripped Sgt Majors, not unlike in Cuba only bigger. I swam along side a huge sea turtle, before heading back to shore.
There are turtle nests all along the beach, mounds of sand with eggs beneath. String is strung around them by the hotel staff. Do not disturb.
We lay in the sun, rested in the shade of the palm trees. It sure felt great. Later we went for a late lunch at the beach grill before returning to our room for a nap. Tonight we are going out for Japanese food. Life is good.
I will post some photos to follow, and continue adding to this post, I think.

Thusday July 14th

We slept in and had a late breakfast. We are at the Royal Yucatan Suites, an adult only enclave in a much, much larger "Palladium" resort, of which we also have full reign. We have a private buffet and a la carte restaurant, or can have our meals delivered to our room. There is a golf cart we can call to take us anywhere on the resort too. The best sandy part of the beach is set aside for us. Our fridge is stocked with 26'ers of rum, vodka, whisky and there are two varieties of beer; Mexican or Americano. All of this is included in our all inclusive rate, rather pricey but well worth it. We are wanting for nothing. Could have lobster everynight, or make private reservations at any of the other six a la carte restaurants around the resort, plus get a ride over. A very good deal!

Everything else seems very expensive, even by Toronto standards. Janet has a sore throat and needed some listerine; $9 for a small bottle at the tuck shop. The souvenier vendors sell outrageously overpriced shlock. Imagine you are staying at the Royal York on Front Street, and doing all your shopping there, and you get the picture, only it's all Mexican style. But really there is very little if anything else we really need. Shakira is playing a concert down the strip in Cancun. Tickets for $600. The girls were kind of disappointed. Don and I rather pleased because that nixed that.

After breakfast we headed out to the salt water pool by the point. Even though it was high noon we got a sun bed with a covering. The sea washes into the pool from two different points, so the water is always being refreshed. It is like an aquarium, carved into the rocks, filled with colourful tropical fish that swim in and out with the waves. Small  but numerous, very magical. The pool water itself is very calm and idyllic. Some folk brought their kids but it is about four or five feet deep with only a ladder to get in and out, so they can't leave them to run free terrorizing everybody else while they go get drunk at the bar. Nice touch.

I teach all year. Folks can take care of their own kids during the summer, and quite frankly it's scary to watch. Quite often many parents have a very weak grasp on what they are doing. In my opinion, Canadian tourists can be the worst. Their free little spirits are more often than not now just little monsters they are  stuck with for the next two months. They spoil them by going to some resort and letting them just run wild while they party themselves, and get quite indignant if anybody says boo. I've seen the kids wander off into the jungle, burn in the sun, drift off on an air mattress out to sea, run about screaming and yelling in the restaurants, around the slippery pool deck. At one resort, the parents were even laughing and taking their kids pictures with cigarettes and drinks in the disco. We will gladly pay extra for an adult only facility. Empty nesters, we've paid our dues. As a teacher, I'll work at straightening them out for the parents during the regular school year ahead. During the summer? Not my responsibility anymore. I don't even want to see them around.

Call me a cranky old man, an old school nazi fascist, "who just doesn't get it", or whatever. I've been around the blocks more than a few times during my twenty five years in the classroom, even made my fair share of parenting mistakes as a father. But today it is just totally insane. I'm not interested in playing the game anymore and saying it's not so. Message! Parents of the world: Danger! Danger! Danger! It's not, repeat not the "system" that is letting the students down, and setting them up for future failure....

But I digress. Excuse me. It is summer and I've earned the holiday. So there! :-)

I fell asleep for a few hours listening to the surf and enjoying the sea breeze. We walked back to the beach grill for a snack before we went snorkeling on the reef. The resort is on the sea shore of a long bay, fairly shallow and warm. Most of the coral is dead, but there are plenty of big tropial fish, huge schools of them everywhere. My cousing Don and I swam out to the breakwater. It was fairly rough but we rode the swells. I couldn't believe all the fish! It was so nice just swimming about on our own way out there. The sea, the sun, the surf. Some of the breakers were quite big but we are both good swimmers, been doing it since we were kids so it pretty much seems to come naturally, and I really feel I am in my own environment, the one I like best. Very invigorating.

If one can't move forward or backwards as you swim, follow the current to either side, and remember; you will always float back up. I think fear of the water is what makes it so dangerous. We checked at the resort. There are no undercurrents, riptide or dangerous fish. There are some stingrays you are warned not to step on and so on, but typical seaside stuff. Really, the most dangerous thing is the water is yourself and other people. Touch nothing, respect your limits, go with the flow and one should be fine. That's my advice anyway.

Back on shore Janet and Pearl were having drinks on the lounge chairs under the palms. We were in the main beach area and it was pretty rowded, kids running around and what not. That is the rocky part, which ironically is also where the fish and reefs are, but if you are not a diver, I don't know how good it would actually be for just swimming. If you are, it's a very good to great snorkel. I was quite impressed.

We headed back to our rooms around supper time to wash up, rest  bit, and are heading out later for lobster dinner.

I will take my water camera out next time and get some underwater pictures to post now that I know where to look. I have some more from out and about the resort and sea shore to post from today.

I saw another turtle swimming along the shoreline on my way back to our rooms.

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