So I flew back from Mexico this morning and boy are my arms tired!
The culture at an all-inclusive resort is an interesting one. I would assume that it varies from place to place, but that the basics are always there.
First, there are no straws. You can always tell someone who has been to a place like this before because they have a straw. And that straw is usually in a 64oz (or larger) thermal container in which they keep their frozen beverage cold. They may as well have just had an IV bag. I saw bartenders pouring an entire blender’s worth of drinks into one container (that was not about to be shared!). And, since Mimi Rozmaryn wasn’t around, I couldn’t exactly borrow a straw….
Second, if you want a good chair, you wake up early and save one. The prime spots, whether on the beach, near the pool, in the shade are taken by 6:30am, at the latest. One morning I went downstairs at 5:30am. The sun was just starting to rise and the world was quiet. And then, at 5:45am, just as the sun was up, people came scurrying out like roaches with towels, books, and bags to save their places. And then they went back in to sleep for a few more hours until they were ready to face the day. It was fascinating.
When we first checked in, we were directed to the concierge desk who told us how to navigate the property – using the towel card, making dinner reservations, etc. He introduced himself, asked our names, and then asked us (me and my sister-in-law) if we were married. I thought to myself, “Wow, for a predominantly Catholic country, what a progressive question to be asking us!” I was about to answer ‘no’, when Lori said, “Yes”, paused, and then added, “but not to each other.” We tried to explain our reactions to Jorge but I’m not sure he thought it was as interesting/funny as we did.
Our resort had an enormous number of staff people. It’s not possible that they were all named Jorge, Jesus and Roberto. But by looking at their nametags, those were the only three possibilities. I figure that either they are all relatives, named after the same ancestors, or their real names are things like Jason and Spencer and they were trying to seem more authentic. Or maybe the label maker was lazy.
When you go to a place where there’s nothing to do, it’s easy to spend time speculating about things like this. I actually thought it would be hard to do nothing for four days, and for the first few hours, it was. And then, it got really, really easy.
I imagine that there are inappropriately dressed people at nearly every beach or pool in the world. In the case of our resort, this generally had nothing to do with the size of the person or their swimwear, (though there were a few people who looked like they belonged at the hotel pools in Tiberius, if you know what I mean). Mostly this had to do with people not dressing for their body type or age. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think any 50 year-old woman should be wearing a bikini she bought in the Juniors department, even if it fits. Yes, I am judgemental. That should come as no surprise to anyone who actually knows me.
When so many people have so much skin showing, you do see a lot of tattoos. I was surprised by the number of skulls, grim reapers and other death-related things there were. And these didn’t look like “memorial” tattoos for friends or family. I also saw a man sporting a huge alien head on the back of his leg.
We saw a nice wedding on the beach with more bridesmaids and groomsmen than I’ve ever seen. All schvitzing away in the sun. I think what people don’t think about when they plan their destination wedding is that there may be kayakers, parasailers, and the tattooed, inappropriately dressed people all nearby and inevitably in their pictures. Oh well.
I was told numerous times not to drink the water in Mexico. But if you don’t drink the water, you can’t drink the coffee, and since this was a vacation, coffee was non-negotiable. The other non-negotiable were blender drinks, mainly because it was crazy hot outside. It took a day, but we learned how to order. First, you watch the bar tender make something that looks good (really, they all look good) and ask, “What is that?” He says something you either understand (Coco Loco, Mango Tango) or something you don’t. Either way, you say, “I’ll take one of those.” Mainly it allowed us to try things we never would have known to ask for, and I still never found out what the blue thing was called….
I got some sun but not too much. I do have slight ‘owl eyes” from wearing my sunglasses. The good news was that I remembered to bring sun glasses. I also read a few books – including one called “Still Life” by Melissa Milgrom which was all about taxidermy. Seriously. And it was good. (Thanks, Rachel Gurshman!) Helene Moses lent me “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver and came home and signed up for a CSA. She also gave me “The Agony and the Ecstasy” almost a year ago but I didn’t quite get to that one yet.
There are no pictures of me or sister-in-law in Mexico. It’s always safer that way. I did not learn Spanish, parasail, or get my hair braided. I did nothing.