When my high school best friend & GBF, Jim (or James to some of you) suggested that we take a trip in the Fall, I left the destination up to him; my only stipulation? Could I get there on my JetBlue points? Yes?
And so it was off to Mexico for some sun & relaxation! We ended up staying about an hour South of Cancun in Playa del Carmen at a really nice resort (not all-inclusive), but gorgeous, nonetheless!
Wednesday, October 10th, 2018
It was a brisk Fall day, when I got up early to catch my flight to Cancun, where I would meet up with Jim before heading through customs. Bad news: his flight was delayed and we didn’t have much of a contingency plan, so I sat near the Cancun Airport baggage claim for around 2 hours until he arrived. Luggage in hand, we were off to meet our own transportation van, which would take us to Playa del Carmen and to our resort. The photos and website for the Grand Hyatt were gorgeous, but seeing it in person and the clear, blue water of the ocean was a whole another experience!
Once we dropped out things in the hotel room, it was time to go off and find some food. After walking around, we settled on a taquiera, where I ordered a mix of fajitas: steak, shrimp and chicken. What did Jim do, but immediately get on Grindr to chat with the local boys! After stuffing our bellies, we walked up and down the main street; 5th Avenue, where I spotted a carved wooden mask with none other than the Nebraska Huskers logo on it! (The Mexican community must really know their market of tourists!)
As the sun was setting, we went decided to head down to the beach for a bit. We found an empty cabana by the beach and setup shop for the evening. Watching the sun set with all the cotton candy colors was amazing and I could easily get used to this life (but leaving my love of Broadway behind would be too hard)!
After the beach, we went back into the shopping area to look for souvenirs. Jim wanted to find some sort of tequila or other alcohol, while I went for the novelty gifts. As we were walking around, I exclaimed that I wish I would have found one of the guys selling churros & Jim goes “he’s right there,” pointing directly behind me. Success! While they weren’t super fresh, they definitely comforted my sweet craving for the evening.
Thursday, October 11th, 2018
While Jim got up early to go to the gym, I slept in and enjoyed the amenities of our room. Once he got back, we went to check out the breakfast options. We got a nice view of the ocean from our table outside and I went to scope out the breakfast buffet, before settling on anything from the menu. I was a bit underwhelmed by the buffet: breads, yes, but where were the eggs, cereal, potatoes, etc!? I opted for the smoked salmon benedict and enjoyed the complimentary bread basket.
After our meal, then it was back to enjoy the ocean view and one of the many infinity pools. While we were sitting, I commented on how I needed to get one of the giant coconuts to drink before we left and again, a waiter appeared next to us, “Coconut?” Yes, please! (Between this and the churro guy last night, this was a good sign for the rest of this vacation!) I spent some time in the pool, then worked on reading my way through Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before; the perfect beach read!
Post-pool time, it was back into the city; for more exploring and trying to make Jim’s indecisive nature pick a place for dinner. After we walked for awhile, we ended up at a Thai fusion restaurant called Yum Yum (yes, just like the Thai restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen). Their complimentary appetizer was thinly sliced plantains with a spicy mango chutney; delicious, but a tad too spicy for my weak spice-tolerance!
We did a little more exploring and a quick trip to a Mexican grocery store for snacks before calling it a night. The next day, we had to get up around 4am to catch our bus to Chichen Itza; so no late night partying!
Friday, October 12th, 2018
Oof, that 4am wake-up call came too fast! At first I was angry with having to get up so early to catch our bus out to the Mayan ruins, but after I saw how crowded it got when we were leaving just after 11am, I was thankful for the early rising time!
Since my World History class in high school was crap, I realized how little I knew about the Mayan civilization and the crazy amount of math that went into how they built their pyramids and temples! Our guide demonstrated the significance of the snake and the number 13 in many of the Mayan’s structures (maybe Taylor Swift is a fan?); how when the sun set along the largest pyramid, that it’s shadow would cast and form the body of a snake! Then we went to one of the arenas where sacrifices were determined. We learned that from one end for the arena you could hear perfectly what was being said on the opposite end (where the ruler would sit) and the other side, you could hear nothing. This way the ruler could hear anyone trying to plan a strategy for the game. Yes, it was a honor to be sacrificed to the Gods, but even as I overlooked the giant cenote (where the bodies were tossed), it did not seem like an honor I’d want to have!
As we left Chichen Itza, we stopped at a marketplace (versus all the unauthentic merchants selling wares at the site) and were given tequila to try and time to shop. I found a mug for my Dad, some smaller gifts for various family & friends and an embroidered dress for myself. It was barely lunchtime and we were headed back to Playa del Carmen, while Jim took a nap on the bus, I caught up on some podcasts.
Heading back to the city, I found a little gelato pop stand and got a popsicle dipped in milk chocolate. However, my best snack find was “Nitro Breath” some fruity flavored cereal dipped into dry ice, which lead to it’s ability to “smoke!” I chose a side of chocolate sauce and blew smoke out of my mouth while walking up and down 5th Avenue.
Saturday, October 13th, 2018
Ok, so I admit that I underestimated the breakfast buffet at the resort! There were FOUR separate sections and I only looked at one! Oops. Well, you bet that was what I chose to eat for our last full day in Playa del Carmen. I started with a few “low value carbs” as Eva Chen would say, getting a little cheesy mini bagel, a slice of French toast, a slice of banana bread, some sliced ham and chilaquiles (tortilla chips with salsa, eggs and cheese). For round two, I ordered a special omelette from the omelette and made-to-order eggs station. And since they also had lactose free milk, I got some cocoa krispies for a sweet treat and a last round of chilaquiles and eggs.
Post-breakfast, we went back to the infinity pools and found a spot in the “Adults Only” pool. I spent some time art directing Jim for a good photo of me in the infinity pool and enjoyed another coconut drink! Then to wrap up the weekend, Jim and I went to the Cenote Spa for a relaxing massage. While I got to the local Asian massage parlor in Ridgewood about every month or so, this was a whole different experience! First of all, I didn’t know what to do with the locker, robe and slippers…then when I got into my massage suite, there was a full bathroom with a waterfall shower! When my masseuse came. she even asked what kind of music I wanted to listen to. Wow, this was luxury at it’s best!
When I was done, I took a quick shower and got dressed. I wasn’t sure what to do next and the staff seemed surprised that I was done so quickly! Apparently, I should have kept my robe on, enjoyed the steam room and relaxed in the cenote. Instead, I was back in my swimsuit, and sitting by the cenote with a hot green tea, waiting for Jim to wrap up his massage. Big oops.
After our spa time, we went back into the city to pick up the last of our souvenirs. I was on a mission to find a wood carved monkey with the Huskers logo for my brother that I had seen a few days ago, but couldn’t quite remember where I found it! I found a cute woven basket for Popo, some bracelets for my friend’s kids and a little embroidered dress for Ellie! I had just given up on finding the monkey again and settled for another wooden monkey, when I was leaving a shop and saw the Huskers logo peeking out of the back of the display! Thankfully, the salesman let me exchange the plain wooden monkeys for the Huskers one!
With our shopping wrapped up, it was time again to eat! I was amused by the restaurant with a giant sign of an extra long hot dog on a hamburger bun, but ended up treating myself to some queso fundido. On the way back to the resort to pack for the trip back home, we stopped by a convenience store and found Ricky Martin on a variety of water bottles!
At the last minute, Jim left to go meet up with a boy for drinks, so I stayed in the room to catch up on social media and enjoy all the amenities for the last time.
Sunday, October 14th, 2018
Ok, Mexico, you were great! Back to the USA it is…at least I also took Monday off work to catch up, relax and hang out with Tempestt and the kiddos!