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North America » Mexico » Quintana Roo » Playa del Carmen
February 10th 2019
Published: February 11th 2019
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"If you're not lighting any candles, don't complain about being in the dark". ~

If there's one thing I would suggest, don't ever complain on social media about any little setbacks you're having while you're on a tropical vacation. Especially when you've escaped the bowels of winter hell like we did. No one will feel sorry for you, nor should they. In fact they may print off your picture & attach it to a dart board. Well maybe they will feel sorry for you if you've been hit by a car, kidnapped by pirates, been in an earthquake, stung by a jellyfish, or stranded by United Airlines for days without any help 😒 (I just had to throw that one in from our awful trip home in 2017 with them, not once but twice, the same summer when my Dad was ill. Long story, and all in my July 2017 blog...)

So when Al got sick with the flu while on the sunny shores here, he didn't complain. He knew better. He went up to the roof, lay in the hammock and worked his way up to a beer while reading some type of Micky Spillane novel he found in the condo. No sirree, no one will feel sorry for you even if you're sick in the sunny south because back home sucks with a capital 'S' & we're swinging our butts in a hammock with the sun on our face. (Aww, the poor guy - see the picture of him trying to overcome!)

I rib him even though the guy rarely complains when ill. The only problem with him not complaining is I never know exactly how sick he is because he goes real quiet. In December he texted me from work asking if I can pick him up because he was sick. No real urgency to it. I swear in the two decades I've know the guy, I can't remember having to go pick him up at work cause he's sick.

He had been at an out-of-office meeting so I had to find my way to pick him up and his directions weren't clear to me, traffic was heavy & I was frustrated. So he gets in the car, and I'm about to take him home while asking him what's wrong. The only thing he says to me is, "Hon I think you need to take me straight to the hospital - I'm having chest pain." OMG Al really? Could you maybe have texted me that little tidbit since I'd been delayed going to get him as I was trying to finish a bit of work. Had I known I'd have raced there.

I dropped him at Emergency, and they were great - rushed him right through. They ask a series of questions. The main being, "Do you smoke". No he doesn't. A big plus on his side. Anyhow, happy to say after a day in the Emergency, wearing one of those gowns where nothing is left to the imagination (heh heh), and many many tests later, they gave him all the all clear. Said he passed with flying colors. Have you ever wondered what 'pass with flying colors' means? Well here goes. It refers to when ships would come back from battle. If they had their colorful flags showing, it meant they were victorious. (You're welcome for that.) Clearly it was some indigestion, or he was feeling off that day which caused this scary sensation. Always best to error on the side of caution. For those of you who know Al, he's pretty fit. He runs, goes to the gym, and was an avid swimmer (competitive in his former years). Other than the nasty habit he has of licking batteries and eating Tide pods, he's in pretty good shape overall. 😜 (I hope Al is still reading that Spillane novel & not reading this...)

Al is also asthmatic and when he started to dive he was worried about his lung capacity. Well turns out Al uses very little oxygen from his tank compared to others when he dives. They call those divers 'air hogs'. Sometimes it means a dive is cut short because they've run out of their air. So many things go into dives, with all calculations that have to be made. Anyhow, sometimes these divers are much younger than Al, including those youthful millennials. So take that you millennials from us older Gen Xers.

DAYS OF MARGS & ROSES...

We had a wonderful restful week spent alone together despite the flu, sore throats and my sprained ankle. (We missed you all who'd visited us previously!) Al did some diving, and saw some huge eagle rays, eels, shrimp, lobsters, crabs, a barracuda and some bull sharks in the distance. Al's dive master told him a few days before she'd counted 44 lobsters in one area! It's bull shark season in the Mexican Caribbean from November to March, so he saw some of those. Bull sharks head to the Mexican Caribbean for warmer waters so the females can have their babies. He loves when he spots the sharks, which is a rarity. Al uses the same diving company all the time. They are small, and have to compete with the big companies who take out gads of people, and some using unethical practices to give their clients an up close experience. He feels safer, gets more one on one with his dive company, and they are very protective of the reefs and marine life. On his last recent dive it was just him and the dive master. And of course the captain and mate. The under the sea life suits Al very well. 😊 Keep this diving up and you'll be a mermaid...er 'merman' Al. I really wish I had the affinity and ability to do it and share these experiences with him. Alas, just not my cup of tequila. Burp. Hiccup. Somebody needs to stay on dry land and squeeze limes right mate?

While Al dove, I got some work done. I finally set the company I work for up on Instagram a few months back and boy is that one big baby that needs tending. Not only do you need eye-catching photos, you need to be engaging, funny, use effective hash tags, and post regularly. It gives me night sweats! Anyhow, I love exploring and taking photos so that part is easy. Tourism is expected to jump in 2019 to this area, but the vacation rental business competition is tough. A record 45 million tourists are expected to travel to Mexico this year and more and more people are choosing a private rental over a resort experience. You just need one stay in a condo away from a resort and I'll tell you, you'll be sold.

Many flock to the Riviera Maya & many of those tourists are moving out of the populated areas to explore more of this wondrous area. Makes perfect sense to me because the more I tour, the more I want to escape myself! Place likes Bacalar, Mahahual, and the larger city of Chetumal, which is near the Belize border are seeing a rise in tourism. And Merida is seeing a boom in tourism. It is located in the northern part of the Yucatan and is considered a quiet paradise away from it all. The peacefulness of the town, the beauty of its streets, and colonial houses make it a very charming location to visit. Add in the ancient Mayan ruins, architecture, exquisite gastronomic heritage, and lively music and you've got a real winner in Merida.

Al and I are making our way thorough all these dreamscapes and hope to get to Merida hopefully in the summer time. In the meantime, it's back to work to keep business humming along so I can get my gringo butt back there, and hopefully bring a few more of you with me on our travels. It is truly one of the best perks, and it's great to share it with our loved ones. (Girls trip ladies. Who's in? First 7 to respond are in!) Every visit there we make more friends, have new experiences, and learn something new. I'm getting a real handle on the Spanish if I say so myself. Or in español, "Me encanta aprender español".

The condos were full during our stay, & I'd like to say it's due to all my hard work getting bodies in those condos. The condo next to us (which is not one of our rentals), had a couple from Canada staying there. I am not often down lying on a lounger on the beach, but this particular day the whole family was there. The husband of said condo spoke to me as he'd overheard me mention something about where to get great take-out BBQ chicken, so he asked me about it. He introduced me to his 'younger' wife and told me they had been married a year and that he owned a condo elsewhere in Playa. He was renting it out, and staying at our complex. I spoke to them briefly, and I did not get a good vibe from that lad at all. Something about his demeanor was just off-putting. And for a good reason as you'll see..

Anyhow, didn't see this couple at all until maybe a day or two later. I'm up on the roof top reading, and I hear all of a sudden this crying, yelling, swearing coming from their condo next to us. It continued, and it was rather alarming to us, so I text the sweet guard Jonathan about what we were hearing through their sliding doors. Meanwhile it's the wife who is yelling repeatedly she wants to go home and that he's holding her captive. Captive? I think she said he had taken her passport. Yes it was that loud. Then we heard what sounded like a chair break and more yelling, crying etc. Many of the guests were hearing this commotion too, including the kids with us.

Finally the guard made his way to their condo, and we could hear them talking. He's trying to calm the situation down. We had made plans to go out, and as we pass their condo their door is open, and we can see that the guard has things under control. He had threatened to call the police, and of course things changed drastically. This was not fun to witness, especially for our kids who heard it. This stuff never goes on here and it cast an ugly pall on things.

When we came back through the lobby, we see the wife sitting there with her luggage. The guard is my good buddy, so he was privately giving me updates on the situation. The wife had told the guard that there had been a domestic dispute a few days before and she had a black eye. The old weirdo husband says he didn't hit her, that he grabbed a water bottle from her and she grabbed it back and it hit her eye. HMMM. (Who jostles over a bottle of water? Maybe a bottle of tequila? I digress...)

So the wife sat in the lobby for hours, till we saw her march down to the beach in her high heels and asked her husband for some money. Imagine being in a situation to have to ask your husband for money to go home? (I have 3 daughters - they'll never be in that position I'll tell you that much.) What really irked me was the fact he was part of all of this commotion and now he's down sunning his butt on the beach while his wife is upset & trying to leave. Apparently he was being waited on hand and foot by the waiters from the fancy bar next door. According to Martha, she said the wife told the waiters to bleep off. Poor waiters having to deal with those two. (I have no dog in this fight, but it was a very uncomfortable situation. Do we intervene? Is he abusive? Is she abusive? Are they both crazy?)

In the end, she didn't leave him. She would sit on her balcony and talk all day on her phone, complaining about him, drinking, smoking, crying...O.M.G. (Given what went on which was so upsetting, they got a note on their door from us. (OK me.) It said we will not tolerate any fighting, any abuse, yelling, screaming, swearing or any other unacceptable behavior. I noted that the condos are full of families and this would not be tolerated and further this is not the place for you if this is how you operate. And should any of these antics happen, the police would be called. We didn't hear anything the next day or so and it was back to normal. Good grief.

Finally they left - or so we thought. Turns out they moved to a condo across from us. (The complex is built in a horseshoe so they moved across to the other side of the building. Not far enough for my liking. So when I brought my coffee out to the balcony, I spot them sitting on their balcony yacking it up with another man who appeared to be Mexican. So I got the inside info from the guard again, that the 'guy' with them is some magician/illusionist they've paid to perform magic tricks. What the hell? Talk about odd ducks. One minute fighting up a storm like some bad reality show, and then the next paying some magician to entertain them like kids at a birthday party. So I say to the guard, I wonder how much I need to pay this magician to make those two disappear? Well he got such a kick out of that. Within a few more days they were gone. Poof. 👍 Good riddance. Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

HOME SWEET HOME...(and the streets are skating rinks...)

No one ever jumps up and down to leave a tropical paradise to come back to old man winter. And this old man was very cranky & mean so far this winter. Record snow in January, record cold, freezing rain, flooding...lord have mercy. From the sounds of it if pigs flew by the window no one would blink an eye with all the weather changes happening. And another major storm blowing through tomorrow. Hello Air Canada can I book a seat asap?

But believe it or not, having had an extended stay, I was ready to come home. We were delayed an extra day due to freezing rain and thunderstorms predicted for TO. Our connecting flight to Ottawa had us arriving after midnight. Knowing any delay would have us stranded in the airport made us delay our flight by a day. We'd made all our good byes only to turn around a revisit a few spots to enjoy another meal or drink! Overall our flights home were seamless - how often does my blog go that way?

While at the Cancun Airport, everything went smoothly. We arrived early and sailed though security etc. Decided to stop at a bar for a bite/drink. All tables were taken so we walked round the huge bar area to find a seat. Everything was taken at the bar, with people using the bar stools to store their purses & backpacks. 😞 Anyhow, this handsome guy (yes Al he was handsome) noted us trying
to find seats, and says to us, 'We can move down one seat if you want to sit here. If you sit next to my wife just beware she's really chatty'.

Turns out they (Jeff & Beth) are from the lower part of Michigan (one hour from Chicago) and had spent 5 nights on Isla Mujeres. We compared notes on our stays on the island. We chatted a bit about our lives, families (they have 3 boys, we have 3 girls...) and talked about our travels to Mexico. Very lovely couple. Their flight was the same time as us, so we all paid up and left at the same time.

After a bathroom pit stop, we passed them on our way to our gate, and we see Jeff leaving the gate walking with an airport official. Huh? Then we see his wife Beth being checked through to the plane. So now we are really wondering what's going on. A few minutes later, we see her come back off the plane to the gate area. So I said to Al, they are going to miss their flight - should I go see if I can offer any help to her? He says I guess so but what can you do? So I walk over, and call out her name and ask her what's going on. She's pretty upset & says they can't find her husband's tourist card that you are given upon arrival, which is stamped, put in your passport. You have to present it to leave the country. So Jeff was taken by the official to get another tourist card and the Southwest Airlines staff told Beth he would miss his flight so that's why she got back off the flight. She said they would not be able to fly out till the next day. They have no where to stay, are not seasoned travelers here, so of course it was all very upsetting. 😞

So I ask her if I can help her search her purse for his card. However, due to policy I wasn't allowed to pass through to help her. She's panicked and doesn't know what the form looks like so I'm explaining it to her. Meanwhile I'm looking at Al at our gate and they haven't boarded yet. Beth had this huge purse and she's got it upside down emptying it. I see the card come flying out and yell that's it! So she rushes to hand it to the staff, who now radio the official who had Jeff. The plane is waiting to go & the staff are still saying it's too late for them to board. So I wave goodbye as our plane is ready to board. As we are standing in line, we see him come racing back and is escorted onto the plane...Holy smokes - talk about cutting it close! I needed a drink once all that was over! Rather ironic the couple we spend time with has this happen to them, with their gate right next to ours. Now that I think about it...hmm, maybe we somehow jinxed them? (Remember folks, always keep your tourist card with your passport. It's a nightmare once it goes missing. And there's only so much of me to go around. Wink wink.)

We booked row 6, with an aisle and window seat and no one sat between us.Thank you God. Nobody kicked my seat, no one acted out movies in crazy voices, and we did not have a Nurse Ratchet (aka burned-out-flight attendant) from hell who abused passengers. (Oh yes these have all happened to us on flights.)

It was a great flight - calm and peaceful. We had only minutes to make our connecting flight as the bags took a long time to come and then we had to clear customs. As we boarded we were told by the staff that due to weather, many flights had been delayed that day. So arriving home at 1 a.m. in the freezing cold, navigating a driveway with sheer ice was even welcomed all because we weren't delayed! Small things mean so much after a day of travel that you almost forget that you are missing the 90F warmth of paradise.

Family was awfully happy to see us. (Maybe cause we came bearing gifts? Nah...they missed us!) House was in pretty decent shape. So it's back to reality for Al & I. WAH. When we woke Saturday morning, Al comes out of the bathroom after looking out the window and says, "Wow, the ocean looks very icy and cold this morning". What a very funnnnnny guy. So lookin' forward to seeing Mom & Cindy 😊

For those of you heading to the sunshine, I wish you a blessed trip. For those of you stuck here with us, I'm making margaritas. A girl needs some time to acclimatize back to reality right?

Sal and the guy wearing the parka, hacking at the ice in our driveway. Baby it's cold outside...

PS if you wish to read my blog re: United stranding us here it is called "Your Plane's Been Delayed Forever"...


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12th February 2019
Cheers baby!

Cheers Baby
Nice to see some Al gracing your pages, Sal. As the saying goes 'Behind every great woman is a great man'...Cicero.
13th February 2019
Cheers baby!

Cheers Baby!
Cheers Dave! Back at you baby! Al is my leading man - he allows me to bring him along in my story telling & in my blog with whatever antics we get up to. Always so nice of you to stop by with a word or two. I don't know how you keep up with everyone's blogs on this site. You are the best cheerleader ever! :)

Tot: 3.322s; Tpl: 0.066s; cc: 11; qc: 107; dbt: 0.0774s; 3; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.6mb