Notes from Paradise


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North America » Mexico » Quintana Roo » Isla Mujeres
June 28th 2014
Published: June 28th 2014
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"Waking up, with sunbeams in my eyes, and the world outside, seems to pass me by. Embrace the land, where the ocean meets the sand, and emotion fades away, until you take my hand". Midnight Sun lyrics

As 'tis the life. If it was any better it would be illegal 😉 Can one be arrested for being "high" on happiness?

Our first day in Cancun at the boutique hotel was fantastic. (All went well with our flights, even though I was skeptical about United. Chicago/O'Hare airport is an entity onto itself yet a very interesting place to spend a few hours if you have to be somewhere.)

Cancun Airport had us through immigration & customs in no time! The quickest we've ever been processed. Many Canadian/US airports could learn about efficiency of getting travelers through as quickly as they did today. They've changed their operations at the airport; everybody used to have to scan your bags/carry on etc, but now, once you hit the button, if you get a green, you go through without hauling your luggage on the belt to be scanned. YAHOO!

Our driver was on time, and we arrived at our boutique hotel to a warm welcome and the place was out of a tourism picture. We entered marble steps to big glass doors to walk into this huge entrance way and the view through to the other side was awash with the turquoise ocean & palm trees. It's an art gallery here too, with a few on-site restaurants, but it is very much a small, quaint, lovely hotel.

Our suite is on the 2nd floor, large, with doors opening to the ocean and our own patio table/chairs and Jacuzzi tub on the balcony. The bathroom is so big it has a sitting area, then an en-suite marble bath and then a separate glass shower. A small family could happily exist in there.

We went down to the nice big pool, and there was literally only 2 people there. We picked two shaded loungers, and the bartender Ernesto (funny engaging guy) made us two margaritas and they brought us pico de gallo and fresh nacho chips to our loungers. We clinked our glasses together in total disbelief not quite believing we were in such a beautiful eye-popping spot. The beach was active for miles, and in front of our hotel were palapas with loungers which was stunning. Overall it just has a really nice quiet vibe for being Cancun. The weather was sunny, tropical with the smell of sea salt and mist in the air but the breeze was spectacular & refreshing. The tropical ocean smell is by far my favorite smell other than baby smell or freshly baked bread (hmmmmm). But soon the smell of limes was in the air with our drinks. "HOLA MARGARITA POR FAVOR"! We are on foot, so let's make it two.

We're in the hotel zone, between the ocean and the bay/lagoon and so we had to take a cab to downtown Cancun to see Las Americas, a huge mall. Probably a 20 minute cab ride. The stores are like something out of Beverly Hills. Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Victoria's Secret, Oakley and the malls are surreal. The food kiosks amazing, chocolate fondues, smoothies, gourmet popcorn - everything just has an extra pow factor here. It's a huge mall, built both with an outdoor & indoor vibe, and lots of glass and it sure has that "Vegas" kind of feel to it.

After cabbing one way, we decided to stroll back down the boulevard, and it was tres caliente, and after 1 km I said to Al, has the heat eroded our brains? Why are we not cabbing? But cabs/buses cannot stop on this one way busy boulevard so we kept hoofing it. I tell ya, my sweat was sweating it was so hot. At one point I turned around and waved at a bus, and he stopped - just like that! (where there's no bus stop but he musta just knew we needed help!) I got on and said, GRACIAS GRACIAS GRACIAS. Buses here are top notch, air-conditioned, playing sports on TV's and all for less than $1 US dollar. So we rode the bus to our next stops. It's interesting to pass all these huge resorts, different designs, architecture and extravagant. They are HUGE resorts, with waterfalls and water displays. On both sides of the streets all you see is water; ocean and the bay. There are pirate boats, yachts, as far as the eye can see.

We ended up at Las Isla outdoor mall which was designed to look like Venice with canals with a gondola too! It is really spectacular, with restaurants lining the waterway/lagoon. There's an aquarium with dolphins, movie theatre, and many high end shops and dining. (You WILL NOT find a Dollar Store anywhere in Cancun. Man it is one ritzy place)

We had dinner at this restaurant called La Madonna. Wow; hard to explain but it's ornate, Italian, with 20 foot ceilings (guessing) and two Madonna statues that must be 20 feet tall. It's like having the Statue of Liberty next to you. It has a main level, then a theatre like upper level with beautiful stone and marble throughout. It must have cost a fortune; and how the heck did they get those statues in the place? The Mona Lisa picture was probably 30 feet by 30 feet.

Surprisingly our food was quite good. Al had a balsamic glazed salmon with a Parmesan risotto. I had a scallopine Parmesan lemon caper chicken and a spinach pasta. OMG the spinach pasta no doubt was made in-house. Tender, light, and full of olive-oil, garlic and Parmesan flavors. His salmon was so tender, and my chicken was cooked tenderly and perfectly. Extensive wine list, excellent black shirt & tie service etc. We asked the server our questions about the pasta and how the risotto was cooked so perfectly in a relatively short time and they have their tricks I'll say! I love food and cooking, and my only recommendation to them was that the chicken needed to have more of a sauteed crisp to it, with added lemon and capers for the extra acid taste. (I know they will want to hire me for my opinion...heh heh).

We are enjoying ever nano second of our time together, and it feels like we are on a first date! Well perhaps we are a little "more weathered" now than back then, but Al still looks as handsome as he did on that first night all those years ago. Al just does not change. I think he probably weighs exactly the same (the dirty son of a barn door 😊 Me, well I'm pedaling as fast as I can, and trying my best but hey, after 3 kids and life's ups and downs, I think I'm doing OK. What did you say Al? Oh, isn't that sweet, Al says I am more gorgeous now than I was all those years ago. (Maybe in fact it's Al that's high on something making all those comments?) I guess it's just that happiness high I was referring too. Or maybe it's the extra cerveza he just had...or maybe it's the palm trees and sound of music in the air that makes it all so dizzingly surreal. But whatever it is, it sure feels dang good.

We ended the night in our Jacuzzi (very cool water with such a humid night), and the palms were swaying over our balcony and not a person in sight. It was heaven. We tried to take a few pictures to capture the moment, with the timer on our camera. But the humidity was messing with my camera so we had to give it a timeout back in the a/c. (I'm hoping I can post pics of our day.)

Our room was perfectly cooled, king size bed was very comfortable. We enjoyed a night cap, then fell asleep with our books on our chest as we'd been up since 2:30 am Friday. My "zzzzzzs" fought Al's "zzzzzs" I'm sure! Funny enough after such a beautiful day in a beautiful setting, I dreamt I was doing roadwork on a highway raking up brush. (What the heck!? Roadwork? Heck did I go all "spring-breaker" yesterday in Cancun & got arrested and ended up on a chain gang?) I was thrilled to wake up at 4:30 am and realize I was in a luxurious oceanfront room and not hacking down trees! Only my brain...

So it's very early, the Caribbean is beautiful this morning, though looks windy & slightly overcast at 6 am. Al is sleeping soundly while I check email and finish up my blog (all for you mom so you know what hijinks we're up to!) I just went out on the balcony and the sun is shining and the wind has calmed. she's gonna be a hot one again today.

After an ocean side breaky, we'll be off on our next leg of the adventure, hopping the ferry, rent our golf cart from Apache (isn't that one cool dude's name?), bungee cord our suitcases on the back & away we go, as free as the breeze to do as we please and get to our new accommodations at our villa! (how many times in life do we get to say "our villa?") Can't wait to jump in our own pool 😊 (Al will have to blow up those 2 floating chairs on his own lung power; lord I hope he doesn't pass out in the heat!) Oh and Marth how are things? Drop me a line friend.

Adios amigos!

Sal 'n Al doing up Cancun! (PS congrats Rory on getting honor roll, and congrats our dear Kelsey (for all you new to the blog, our neighbor & our 4th daughter as we like to refer to her) for graduating yesterday; I thought of you & wish I was there to see you complete this milestone in your life. So proud of you girl!)

"El mundo es mi ostra" (the world is my oyster!)


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28th June 2014

Hi Sal and Al. Awesome pictures. I love your blogs Sal. You have become really good a photo presentation. I could not avoid to notice all the commercials at the top of each photo, thinking you had written those also. Then I quickly caught on , ignored those 100 % and focused on your blog. Your words 'dizzily surreal' best describe your experience. You are blessed to have family and friends to help you accomplish this leg of the trip alone >> hence Happy honeymoon. Life should be made of many "mini and big moons". This is a biggie. You work hard for what you do, so you deserve a good break. I love the part where "Al' says you look more gorgeous than back then. I am sure he means it, and that it is not the "cerveza' talking. I got a gulp at the words "turquoise ocean". How nice to enjoy such God created beauty. Yes the smell of the ocean is a fave one of mine. Nothing like that other than baby fresh after bath. ;-) Have fun my friends. Hope your 'Villa" adventures are great. You are like love birds now...enjoy the peace and quiet...and soon your family will join in. Diego graduated back home also and was in the Principal's Honor roll. I was panicked when I did not see his name called..only because they saved the best for the end. :-) .It was funny to see me run up to the Marshalling Teacher to ask him if they forgot my son!!! So yes Congrats on Rory making Honors Roll. ..and congrats to all: Lara, Rory and Eva on the end of the school year and upcoming Summer fun. Enjoy my friends. Love and smiles, Zully xoxo

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